line of chafing dishes on a buffet table outdoorsline of chafing dishes on a buffet table outdoors

Chafing Fuel Handling Tips

Whether you’re running a catering company or hosting a birthday party, chafing fuel is essential for keeping food warm. Like other open flame supplies, however, chafing fuel needs to be handled properly to avoid accidental burns or other injuries. Gel and wick chafing fuels require different handling and are suited for different situations. That’s why today we’ll be going over some safety tips for handling chafing fuel. 

Setting Up Chafing Fuels

Before lighting chafing dishes, it’s important to know how long the event is expected to last. Are you catering for a 4-hour wedding reception or 2-hour birthday party? Chafing fuels are available with different burn times, so having the right kind will prevent the need to switch chafing fuels during the event. Also remember that chafing fuels are only meant to keep food warm. Do not rely on them for cooking. 

Check with local building code officials regarding the use of open flame products. Also speak with the venue to review any special procedures or protocol. Blunt objects should be used to open chafing fuel lids. Before lighting, make sure that chafing dishes are in position and secured properly (e.g. under a chafing dish). Chafing fuels should never be lit while directly on top of tablecloths or table tops. 

Lighting the Chafing Fuels
Employees’ hair, clothing and loose items need to be secured to avoid contact with flames. Butane lighters or long-handle matches should be used to light chafing fuels (NOT matches or small lighters). Unlike candles, you shouldn’t use one chafing fuel to light another. If you’re working with wick chafing fuels, check that there’s enough space between the heated object (e.g. pan) and the product. If there isn’t enough room, you’ll need to switch to chafing fuels. Finally, make sure everyone follows the venue’s protocol for open flame use. 

Proper Chafing Fuel Use
Please note that gel chafing fuel flames are harder to see than those on wick chafing fuels. You should carefully examine fuels before touching to avoid accidental burns. Chafing fuels should never be lifted or moved once lit. All flammable items such as clothing and paper plates should be kept away from active chafing fuels. Someone should be watching lit chafing fuels at all times. 

Packing Up
Gel chafing fuels should never be blown out. Instead, use a small non-flammable object to cover the chafing fuel. Wick chafing fuels are fine to blow out, and it’s important to never touch the wick afterwards. Employees need to let chafing fuels cool for a while before touching. Lids should be replaced to avoid any spillage. Once chafing fuels are put away, everyone should wash their hands to remove leftover residue. 

We have a great selection of wick and gel chafing fuels to fit your needs. Our gel chafing fuels are made from methanol and ethanol. They are odorless and leave no residue. Our wick chafing fuels use a non-flammable liquid to provide safe burning. All chafing fuels come in recyclable containers. Visit our Chafing Fuel Buying Guide to learn more about our products and select the right one for your next event!


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