Pellet grills take traditional barbecue and modernize it with ultimate convenience and the real wood smoke flavor we all love.
If you’re living in an apartment or complex and you’ve got a burning desire for barbecue, you may be thinking, am I allowed to use a pellet grill on the balcony?
I mean, pellet grills do operate differently than other grills and smokers, and they don’t have an open flame which is usually a restriction for cooking on an apartment balcony.
But how do you find out if you’re able to use a pellet grill on your balcony?
Before you go out and get a pellet grill, here’s whether you can use a pellet grill on a balcony, how to find out if your building and state allows it, and how to use it safely on a balcony for you and your neighbour’s sake!
Can You Use A Pellet Grill On Apartment Balcony?
Unfortunately the answer isn’t black or white, as it depends on several factors like the laws of the state and city you live in, and the rules and regulations of the building.
But since pellet grills don’t have an open flame, your building is much more likely to allow the use of pellet grills on a balcony, so long as all other safety regulations are met.
So, in order to be absolutely certain you can use a pellet grill on your apartment balcony, your best bet is to review your lease agreement, building rules and regulations, or contact the building’s owner for written confirmation.
Just be aware, even if there is no open flame, you are manipulating wood, heat, and smoke when you’re using a pellet grill so there is always a risk. So, if you are allowed to use your pellet grill on your apartment balcony, be sure to take all the safety precautions seriously.
If your building does not allow the use of any pellet grills on your balcony or patio area, then you can always look at a portable pellet grill, and regularly take it down to the park, tailgating, or camping instead.
How To Find Out If You Can Use Pellet Grill On Balcony
Although you may have to spend a bit of time getting up to speed with state and city laws and perusing any building or lease agreement, the time is always well spent. This way you can be absolutely confident that you are legally allowed to use your pellet grill on your balcony.
First, you have to check the laws of the state you live in, as well the laws of your city and county when it comes to fire and building hazards and safety. These rules differ from one place to another, so it’s important to know what your local laws dictate.
If you’re struggling to find the answers online, you can ring up your local government or refer to any building contracts which will have the rules and regulations listed under “Fire Code” or “Fire Hazards” etc.
If your state, city, and county allow grilling on a balcony, then the next step is to double check the by-laws of your apartment complex or condominium before firing it up.
If yes, then you’re all set. If it’s a no, you can try negotiating these rules with the landlord or the homeowner’s association and establish a middle-ground solution. If your efforts succeed, then great!
However, if they can’t be convinced it could be worth asking about electric grills and smokers – as these often have different rules too
How To Safely Use a Pellet Grill On Balcony (If Allowed)
Once you’ve confirmed that you’re legally allowed to use your pellet grill on your balcony, it’s time to set everything up correctly — for you and your neighbours safety.
We’ve put together a list of guidelines for responsible use of pellet grills that can help prevent fires from starting, smoke from accumulating, or other potential dangers.
- Allow adequate ventilation – Similar to when you’re using your pellet grill in any enclosed spaces, it’s essential that there is adequate airflow. Only set up your pellet grill in a well-ventilated, and open space with no plastic curtains or similar weather/ privacy barriers blocking the airflow.
- Keep a safe distance from flammable/combustible items – Your pellet grill should be at least 5 feet from the closest infrastructure. This includes timber walls, furniture, electrical wires/switches, lights, privacy screens, air conditioners, bug zappers, and pretty much everything. If you need to use an extension cord for your pellet grill to move it to the ideal location then absolutely do it. This is vitally important if you are planning to leave your pellet grill on unattended for any period of time.
- Regularly check for faults – Pellet grills are at the pinnacle of automation. But, in order for things to run smoothly the firepot and auger need to be clear of any ash or dust build-up. Check before every use and regularly vacuum your firepot to avoid any auger problems.
- Have a fire extinguisher on-demand – as fires spread fast in confined spaces like apartments or condos, it’s an absolute must to have a fire extinguisher within a hand’s reach ready to put out any fires that may arise.
- Minimize extra smoke – pellet grills are known for producing clean ‘white’ smoke, so you shouldn’t have any issues with billowing white clouds of smoke infiltrating your neighbours apartments. But, it’s still essential to keep a spick and span grill to reduce excess smoke from oil and grease.
- Keep it covered – You can store your pellet grill outside so long as it’s undercover, and you’re using a weatherproof cover as opposed to a dust proof one.
Other Options For Cooking On Apartment Balconies
If your state, city, or building doesn’t allow the use of pellet grills on your apartment balconies, it’s worth double-checking with them what IS in fact allowed.
For example, building rules are more lenient when it comes to electric cooking where there is no flame involved at all. This could mean you could look at using an outdoor electric grill on your apartment balcony, or an electric smoker.
It’s still worth double checking with your building before going out and setting one of these up, but it’s much more likely if there is no flame involved at all!
You could even explore the possibility of using an indoor smoker too, so long as your kitchen is equipped with an exhaust vent, and your building allows it.
It’s well established that the use of charcoal grills and smokers on balconies is prohibited. But, more and more buildings are allowing the use of controlled flames, like in pellet grills for example.
In order to be confident that it’s legal, always check the lease or building contract, and check with your building owner too. If in doubt, get it in writing from them to cover yourself.
Once you’ve got the go-ahead, take all the safety precautions you can, and if it still feels unsafe then you might have to look at alternative options.