Charcoal is a favorite cooking fuel for grilling enthusiasts.
It can get much hotter than gas, allowing for the perfect sear with all of the chemical reactions that impart great flavor.
While charcoal is typically used outdoors, you might be wondering, can I burn charcoal indoors?
Let’s take a look and find out.
Charcoal Produces Toxic Gases
Can you burn charcoal indoors?
In most cases, the answer is no.
Charcoal can produce toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide when burned in an enclosed space with insufficient ventilation.
These gases can be harmful or even deadly if inhaled in high concentrations.
Carbon monoxide is particularly dangerous because it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, making it difficult to detect without a carbon monoxide detector.
It can cause symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea, and confusion, and in severe cases, it can lead to loss of consciousness, coma, and death.
To minimize the risk of exposure to toxic gases from charcoal, it is important to always use charcoal grills and other charcoal-burning devices in a well-ventilated outdoor area.
Never use them indoors or in enclosed spaces such as tents, garages, or sheds.
It is also important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use and to never leave a burning charcoal grill unattended.
You can in some cases use a small charcoal grill in a semi-enclosed area like a covered outdoor kitchen or a sunroom or conservatory that opens up into your yard or deck.
- The Grillerette Pro is a small charcoal grill that can be used in a semi-enclosed environment with plenty of ventilation. What it does is it blocks grease from spilling on the charcoal, which creates a 90% reduction in smoke.
- The Primst Multifunctional Charcoal Grill is a Korean-style grill that is perfect for tabletop cooking with a group of friends. Made out of anti-rust stainless steel material it has two ventilation holes on the side to get different flame sizes.
While you should never use charcoal in fully enclosed areas of your home, your indoor/outdoor flow areas could be ideal for charcoal cooking.
Never use a full-sized charcoal grill, as this could produce excess levels of dangerous gas.
Never use a charcoal grill in an unventilated space, especially near combustible objects.
For your safety, keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
Putting out charcoal can be difficult and pouring water over the grill can produce dangerous amounts of steam.
This First Alert Aerosol Spray is affordable and should be kept nearby any time that you’re grilling.
Carbon monoxide and other toxins may still build up in semi-enclosed spaces.
Installing an affordable detector like this Carbon Monoxide Alarm will give you peace of mind.
The Bottom Line – Can I Burn Charcoal Indoors?
You should only burn charcoal indoors in very specific situations.
Generally, charcoal use in a kitchen, dining room, or anywhere else in the main areas of the home is dangerous.
Only use a small grill in spaces that open up to your yard.
Use a carbon monoxide detector and if you aren’t sure if there’s adequate ventilation, take the grill outside to be safe.
Never use a large charcoal grill indoors.
Charcoal cooking is convenient and results in great flavor, but you should always consider the safety of yourself, your family, and your friends first.