Cooler temperatures are on their way, and for some of us that means it’s time to close down the outdoor kitchen for the season.
Of course, there’s still plenty of fun you can have in your outdoor kitchen during fall and winter—especially if you have an outdoor fireplace or fire pit to cozy up around. But if you know you’re not likely to spend much time outside until spring, you’ll want to make sure everything is properly prepared for the dormant season.
Here’s a checklist of tasks to winterize your outdoor kitchen:
Shut off the gas line
If you’ve got a gas grill, be sure to turn off the propane or natural gas line if you’re not planning on doing any grilling for a long time.
Shut off the water and let your pipes drain
We don’t usually get too many nights that dip below freezing here in San Jose, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. A frozen pipe can burst and cause a lot of damage, and plumbing outside your home is at a much higher risk since it has less buffer from the elements. Prevention is pretty simple for an outdoor kitchen—all you have to do is locate the shut-off valve to your outdoor kitchen, turn the water off, and then turn your faucet on until the water drains out.
Clean your grill grates
We know you can’t wait to get your grill up and going again next season. Make sure that first cookout in the spring is a pleasant one and avoid nasty surprises by cleaning your grill grates now! Here’s a full guide to cleaning your grill.
Cover your grill
Give your grill a little TLC by protecting it with a grill cover. This will protect it from frost, ice, and debris such as acorns and dead leaves that can accumulate in small cracks.
Unplug your appliances
Appliances still draw power from the outlet when they’re not in use, so go ahead and unplug anything you’re not planning to use until the spring. And of course, there’s no point in keeping your refrigerator running all season if you’re never going to use it. Clear out the contents and unplug it.
Secure furniture and décor
You don’t want winter winds knocking over your furniture or scattering your possessions into the neighbor’s backyard! Be sure to take down shade umbrellas, pack up the kids’ summertime toys, and take down any hanging décor that may not withstand wintery gusts well. If you’ve got lightweight furniture, stack it up or put it into storage.
Take care of rusty spots
If you spot rust on metal surfaces, you’ll want to take care of it now to prevent further corrosion over the winter. Use a wire brush, steel wool, or sandpaper to scrub rusty spots away. Once the rust is removed, you may also opt to use a commercial rust converter to hide the effects.
If your kitchen was built by Unlimited Outdoor Kitchen, then you can skip this step, since we use rust-proof coatings on all of our outdoor kitchens.
Clear out your fireplace or fire pit
As a general rule, you don’t want to leave old ashes in your fire pit. But as you’re preparing the rest of your kitchen for the winter, it’s a great opportunity to make sure everything’s tidy. Check out our full post on fire pit maintenance for additional details.
Dreaming of upgrades?
If while you’re winterizing your outdoor kitchen, and you keep thinking of extra features that would keep you grilling all year long—such as a fire table or fire pit—give us a call! We’ll help you find appliances and features that complement your current backyard setup, or we’ll even help you design everything from scratch. Give us a call at (888) 747-4554 or click the banner below to get the process started.