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Winterizing Your Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen is a major investment – in time, money, and effort spent making it the perfect place to entertain and enjoy your outdoor space. Don’t leave this important area unprepared for the harsher weather of winter. Here is a simple guide for how to prepare your appliances, equipment, and surfaces to avoid costly repairs when the warm weather returns.

The first thing to consider when preparing your outdoor kitchen is your plumbing. If the temperature outside dips below freezing, any water that remains in the pipes can also freeze and cause your pipes to burst or split. Not only will this mean replacing the plumbing affected, but you also could experience significant damage from flooding. Locate your shut off valve to the outdoor plumbing inside your home, and shut off the water supply. Next, you’ll need to drain the lines. Be sure to include all outdoor sinks, ice makers, refrigerators, and kegerators. Leave drain valves open.

The next step is to prepare your grill. Use a good de-greaser to thoroughly clean away the built up grease. Polish the grill with stainless steel polish. Don’t forget to remove the grates and clean underneath them, as well. Apply vegetable oil to the now clean grates, and heat the grill to 500 degrees F. Allow the oil to season the the cooking surfaces for twenty minutes at this temperature. If your grill will be unused during the off season, turn off the gas line. Some grills will not need a cover, but be sure to use one designed specifically for your grill if you do choose to use one. This will ensure that moisture is able to escape appropriately. Contact the manufacturer of your appliances for instructions on whether they should be covered and how best to protect them from the elements.

Turn off the power to your refrigerator and ice maker through your electrical panel or unplug the units, and clean them thoroughly as well using soap and water. Be sure the ice maker’s storage bin is empty and the drain valve is closed. If you have stone countertops, you’ll want to seal them to prevent damage such as staining, or cracked or chipped counters caused by freezing moisture. Sinks can be covered to prevent debris settling inside the basin, and remove faucets to store them indoors.

Proper care and preparation prior to winter will save you from unexpected freezing and damage and make it easier to return to using your beautiful outdoor space in the spring.