If you are fortunate enough to live in an area that has great weather in the spring and summer months, then you might very well have an outdoor kitchen. Since you cannot really use that part of the house during the cold winter months, you must know how to protect your outdoor kitchen.
If you have never winterized your outdoor kitchen before, the concept might seem a bit foreign to you. If so, you will want to continue reading to learn more about the process and discover why it is so important. We will cover some tips to help you effectively protect your outdoor kitchen from the elements and help your equipment last for years to come.
Why is it Important to Winterize Your Outdoor Kitchen?
The cold weather can wreak havoc on your outdoor kitchen. From gas lines that can break to plumbing pipes that could potentially freeze, there is a lot that can go wrong when the temperatures begin to plummet. It is important to properly take care of certain items, so they are protected.
Winterizing your outdoor kitchen is essential if you are not going to be using it for months at a time. If you do not follow the tips that are going to follow in this post, your kitchen will not likely last more than a few years. However, winterizing your outdoor kitchen will effectively protect your equipment and keep the kitchen in great working condition for years to come.
10 Tips to Protect Your Outdoor Kitchen in the Winter
While it is not difficult to winterize your outdoor kitchen, certain things need to be done to make sure that it is done effectively. You will want to have this guide handy so that you are sure you do not miss anything. Here are ten essential guidelines to follow as you set out to protect your outdoor kitchen this coming winter.
Make Sure the Faucets are Drained
Your outdoor kitchen does not benefit from water pipes that can stay warm during the cold season. It can get quite frigid out there, meaning that the water will freeze. After all, this is why you are not going to be doing any cooking in your outdoor kitchen during this season either.
In order to prevent any damage to your faucet, you will want to make sure that you get it winterized far in advance of the freezing weather arriving.
To begin, you will want to turn off the valves to the water in your outside kitchen. This will keep water from creeping into your pipes and causing damage. You should find these valves located underneath the sink.
It is also helpful at this point to put some loft insulation over the pipes. This will provide them with some much-needed warmth and help keep them from freezing during the winter. Frozen pipes will often break, which is what you are trying to prevent. Insulation has proven to be highly effective at keeping the cold away from the pipes in your outdoor kitchen.
Now that the water has been turned off and the pipes are insulated, you want to make sure that the water has all been drained away. To do this, you simply need to turn on the faucet. Any water that is still in the pipes will be pushed out, leaving you with pipes that are free of liquid.
It is now time to unscrew the faucet. There may be some water that has collected there, so you will want to dry that up with a sponge or a towel. Once you have done that, you can put the faucet back on. Another tip is to pour a bit of antifreeze down the drain in your outdoor kitchen. This will further help keep the pipes from freezing during the coldest part of the season.
Inspect the Sprinklers and Drain Them
Another major water source outside is found in your sprinkler system. You do not want to forget to winterize this as well, even though you might not consider it to be a part of your outdoor kitchen.
If you do not properly drain your sprinklers, the ripple effect caused by broken and frozen pipes can impact the kitchen itself. With that in mind, you will want to make sure that you turn off the sprinklers completely a few weeks before it turns really cold in your area.
You will not be watering your yard during this time anyway.
The best process for this is that after you have turned the water to your sprinkler system off, use an air compressor at the system’s water source entry to blow out the pipes. If you do that, there may not be much water left in the sprinklers because it will have evaporated, but you will still want to inspect the sprinklers anyway.
Go to each sprinkler head and remove it to shake off any excess water. Repeat the process with all of your sprinklers throughout the system to make sure everything is properly protected for the winter. This will keep the water out of your water pipes and further reduce the risk of any damage occurring to your outdoor kitchen.
Completely Clean and Polish the Grill
It would also be helpful at this point to completely clean your grill. If you have a stainless steel grill, you will want to take some time to polish it thoroughly as well. Since you will not be using it for a few months, it is a good time to get it all cleaned up. It will also make sure that it is ready for you when the warmer weather finally does come your way in a few months.
Begin by using a household kitchen degreaser. Spray it all over the outside of the grill, and make sure that you clean up any food residue that has accumulated during the season. It is important to have it completely cleaned before you start to polish it.
There are some great stainless steel polishers on the market. Select your favorite and then apply it to your grill. Take your time and really make it shine. This luster will last for several months and should still look great when you uncover it comes spring.
Make Sure the Gas Line is Turned Off
This is a part of the winterizing process that you will not want to forget. If you want to fully protect your outdoor kitchen during the colder part of the year, you need to make sure that you completely switch off the gas line going to this area of the home. Of course, this only applies if you are using a natural gas grill.
Gas hoses can be fragile. You want to make sure that there is no gas stuck in them to freeze or cause other problems during the winter. You also do not want any potential fire hazards to result from gas leaking out when you are not at home. You can avoid this risk by just making sure the supply is cut off completely. You will not need it for a few months anyway.
Polish all of the Cabinets
You also want to make sure that your cabinets are ready for the winter. It is better to clean them now and have them polished so that they also look great when you are ready to resume outdoor cooking duties in the spring. This is an especially important task to perform if your cabinets are of the stainless steel variety.
Make sure that you use a quality stainless steel cleaner. Get all of the dirt and grime that has accumulated off the cabinets before you start to polish them. For that, you will want to take your time and use a quality stainless steel polisher. This is similar to waxing your car. You are spending some extra time now to make sure that your cabinets look great years from now.
Safely Stow Away All Outdoor Furniture
If you really enjoy relaxing outside, you have probably invested a great deal of money in your outdoor furniture. You might have lawn chairs, tables, seats, sofas, pool chairs, and so much more. These all need to be protected from the elements during the winter months if you have any hopes of them lasting for more than a season or two.
If you cannot use your furniture at all during the winter, it is best to pack the pieces up and put them away. You can cover them all up and put them in a shed, workshop, or basement. Really, any storage area will do just nicely. The key is to get them out of the snow and rain, covered up so they can withstand the elements.
One tip as you go about this process is to make sure you put your furniture away in a location that is easy to access when you need it. You never know when the time will come that you are ready to open up the outdoor kitchen again. You will be thankful that everything is easy to get out of and be uncovered when the time arises.
Clean Everything Out of the Refrigerator and Freezer
Since you probably only use your outdoor refrigerator during the spring and summer months, this is an essential task to perform. Go ahead and look in there and take any perishable food that is still good and put it in the refrigerator inside your house. Everything else can be tossed out.
This is a good time to make sure that you have discarded any food items you no longer need. Since even condiments lose their taste after a few months, go ahead and get rid of those in order to provide yourself with a clean slate when the next season rolls around.
Once you have cleaned out both the refrigerator and freezer, go ahead and clean the inside and wipe everything down. Once you are finished, you can go ahead and unplug it. Depending on what type of freezer you have, you may need to let it thaw out unplugged for a few hours before you can get the job done. Make sure all the ice inside melts before you close everything up.
Now that everything is sparkling clean keep it that way throughout the winter by placing a box of baking soda inside so any residual moisture is cared for and mold or mildew doesn’t grow.
Clean Out the Ice Maker
Now that you have prepared the refrigerator and freezer for the winter, it is time to make sure the ice maker is protected as well. Go ahead and remove any ice that is still in there and then unplug it. You will probably have some frozen water in there that has accumulated. Allow it to thaw out completely before you start to clean.
A simple kitchen cleaner and towel are all that you need. If your ice maker is a separate piece of equipment, you will want to cover it and stow it away for the season once you have cleaned it. Similar to what you did with your refrigerator and freezer, place a box of baking soda inside. You can just place it with your outdoor furniture. It will then be ready for you when the next season comes around.
Get a Cover and Put it Over the Grill
By now, your grill should be completely cleaned and dry. It is now time to cover it up. For this, you will want to invest in a cover that is made to fit your particular grill. The key here is to make sure the grill is well protected from all of the dust, grime, and other particulates that will accumulate outside throughout the winter.
Prepare the Fire Pit
Now that your outdoor kitchen is properly winterized, it is time to do something fun. While you will not be doing any cooking outside for the next few months, that does not mean that you can’t enjoy the fire pit. In fact, this is the season to do exactly that.
A fire pit is a great place to socialize during those cold winter months when we all seem to be couped up in the house for weeks on end. Make sure that you clean the pit out and get rid of all debris that has accumulated. Go ahead and test it out at this point just to make sure it is ready for use when the time arises.
Now that you are aware of how to properly winterize your outdoor kitchen, it is time to prepare for the season to come. Consider what you need to take care of your outdoor equipment as the temperatures begin to drop, and make sure that you are ready when the time comes. This will give you many more happy years with your outdoor kitchen.