When I first bought my townhouse, I thought I knew the condo grill rules. Turned out that not only was I wrong, but the fire code also changed 2 years later. Let’s talk about the rules and outdoor grilling alternatives for condos!
One quick note before we go an further. I’m not a fire code inspector, or a lawyer. I’m a long-time resident of a coastal condo community who like outdoor grilling in good weather. Make sure you double check with your Homeowner’s Association and local fire code inspector (or possibly the fire department) more information about the condo grill rules that apply to you.
And one more note: this post contains affiliate links. This means I may receive a small commission if you buy through my link. You won’t pay any more if you use this link.
Why Condo Grill Rules are needed
In a simple word, it’s fire. Big fires. While it wasn’t caused by a grill, waking up to a 7 alarm blaze across the lake from my house gave me an even stronger appreciation for following fire prevention rules. Fire is no joke and can be catastrophic when multiple buildings are attached or close together.
When you live in a condo or other attached property, fire damages not only your unit, but can also do damage to your neighbors. A few months ago, I watched a patio fire damage multiple units in my own building. While this wasn’t a grill-related fire either, those moments waiting for the flames to be contained were intense. You really don’t want to risk starting a fire using an open flame grill.
And the condo grill rules may change over time too. What was acceptable for years may no longer be allowed. If the rules change, you may find that existing open flame grills will be grandfathered in. There’s always the risk because those rules changed for a reason.
As with everything please consider the safety of yourself and your neighbors!
Outdoor Grilling Alternatives for Condos
Assuming you have an outdoor space (patio or balcony), your HOA may allow you to use an outdoor electric grill as an alternative to a gas or charcoal grill. And if they haven’t added that to the list as option, try asking them to consider it.
A neighbor of mine told me about the Weber electric grills as an option for outdoor grilling. In my community, new open flame grills are prohibited and electric grills are allowed. Because of the smoke an electric grill can create, you use to use it an open space. An outdoor electric grill should not be used indoors.
Weber makes two of their smaller sized Q grills with an electric heating element that I used for more than 5 years. They’re a great alternative that can work within the condo grill rules.
Weber makes a solid product. While I wouldn’t necessarily compare a gas to an electric grill, for what’s available I’ve been very happy with the results from my Weber Q2400 electric grill. The results I’ve gotten my with electric grill for burgers, chicken, and even RIBS have satisfied my seasonal grilling needs.
A couple of downsides of electric grills.
One of the benefits of an electric grill is that you don’t need to refill the propane tank. For someone like me, lifting a heavy tank would have been an issue anyway. And there are a few downsides to consider if you have grilling options.
Rain is a problem. Electric plus water is a bad combination. Conversely wind plus flame are an even worse plan, so in that case electric wins.
Electric grills are not generally do not have the largest cooking spaces. Or if they do, they are either extremely expensive and need to be hard wired. The Weber electric grills are great for cooking for a few people. I can cook a few smaller things for one person or one type of dish for multiple. Cooking for a huge party of people could be a challenge, but if you’re creative about what you’re cooking (staggering your dishes), things can all work out well.
Final thoughts on Condo Grill Rules
Condo grilling rules are in place for a reason: the safety of you and your neighbors’. They’re not there to simply annoy you or stop you from enjoying your home.. Safety is important. Fortunately outdoor electric grills are a great alternative to still have an awesome grilling experience.
So over to you. Have you had issues with your HOA about outdoor grilling? What solution worked?
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