Summer is the perfect time of year for outdoor entertaining. But before you start planning the menus and guest lists, make sure your house and yard are ready to take on the fun.

“Your grill, outdoor power equipment and appliances play a big part in your summer routines,” said Jamie Breneman, contributor to “So you want to make sure everything is in good working order to avoid any unnecessary hassles that may get in the way of your fun-packed summer. A few simple steps can guarantee that your entertaining space is a welcoming place for guests.”

Before You Fire Up the Grill

If you have a gas grill, check for leaks. Mix a small amount of dishwashing liquid and water in a spray bottle. Spray the hose and all connections then, with the hose connected to the propane tank, open the gas. If bubbles appear, you have a leak and need to replace the hose or fix a loose connection.

Also, check the flame on gas grills – it should be blue. A yellow flame means there are either clogged air jets or burners that need adjustment.

Clean the grill, inside and out. Scrub burners and grates with a wire brush, then cut the grease build-up with a vinegar and water solution. Rinse clean and let dry thoroughly. A good, all-purpose cleaner can take care of the outside of the grill.

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