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12.10.18. The Importance of Venting Outdoor Islands
25 years ago, I took a leap of faith and started in the BBQ business. It has been a wonderful ride with plenty of highs and lows. I have always prided myself on making a product that people enjoy, a product that brings people together. Bull was one of the first companies to develop a deliverable, fully constructed outdoor kitchen, and we have been very fortunate that this sector of our business continues to grow with the addition several styles and designs along the way. A large part of our outdoor kitchen business is components. This would include products that complete an outdoor kitchen such as doors, drawers, refrigeration, side burners, and storage. These products give contractors the ability to create stunning outdoor living spaces that are one-of-a-kind. Over the past few years, I have noticed an alarming trend in safety-related accidents stemming from improperly constructed islands. In each case these accidents could have been prevented with simple venting. By nature, propane is heavier than oxygen making it more susceptible to collecting in places without air flow. Natural Gas, although lighter than oxygen, can also build up. These types of gases can and will collect in confined areas, making it imperative that an outdoor kitchen be vented correctly to allow these gasses to escape. Unfortunately, there are currently no specific codes that reference venting when building an outdoor kitchen. The nightmare scenario is created when you combine a BBQ that has been neglected, a collection of excess debris, grease, and carbonized food particles with an outdoor kitchen structure that has not been vented. If the debris catches fire and gas has collected under the BBQ, then you can imagine the disastrous scenarios that could possibly play out. Many contractors are simply unaware of the need to vent outdoor kitchens. I felt that I needed to do something to prevent these types of accidents. I want people to enjoy their BBQs, and the last thing that anyone wants is for someone to get hurt. To try to lower the number of accidents related to non-vented outdoor kitchens, Bull introduced vents and vented doors as part of our product lineup. These vents are constructed of 304 stainless steel to prevent rust and are very easy to install. The most important thing when installing vents for outdoor kitchens is to consider placement. At Bull we place several vents in our outdoor kitchens to create a cross-flow of air. Two sets of vents are placed on at least two sides of the kitchen. Depending on the design of the kitchen this could be a set of vents on each side, or a set on one side coupled with a set on the backside of the structure. Each side that the vents are placed on will have a vent for the top and bottom of that side. The same applies for the other side that has been designated for venting. If installed properly, this creates enough airflow so that the gas will safely escape the structure and not collect. I believe this is a very important issue facing the outdoor living industry and needs to be addressed. I have committed Bull to helping this cause and I am actively lobbying for legislation that will add proper venting for outdoor kitchens to the national building code. The best part of being in the outdoor living and BBQ industry for the past 25 years is seeing how much people enjoy entertaining in their backyards with their family and friends. At Bull, our goal is to offer safe outdoor kitchens free of danger.