If you like spending time outdoors and entertaining, nothing quite beats having an outdoor kitchen during the summer! It’s the perfect spot to host your guests, prepare and cook delicious meals, fix up a refreshing beverage, and take in nature from the comfort of your own home. Luckily for those of us in the Mid-Atlantic, we still have a few weeks of summer left to enjoy the nice weather before fall comes. However, it’s a good idea to start planning for the colder weather now. Your outdoor kitchen and all of its appliances needs to be winterized every autumn to prevent the need for expensive repairs in the following spring. Here are some of the tasks you should be prepared to complete to prepare your outdoor kitchen for winter.
Plumbing concerns are the most apparent ones to address before winter. With chilly, often freezing temperatures common in the Mid-Atlantic region during the winter, your outdoor kitchen’s plumbing pipes are at risk of bursting if they are not prepared properly. Shut off the water supply lines that lead from indoors to your outdoor kitchen – make sure to use a valve inside the home as this will prevent standing water in your outdoor pipes. Once the water is shut off, drain all of the outdoor pipes – don’t forget any lines connecting to various appliances such as refrigerators and sinks. Finally, check to ensure that all drain valves are set to the open position.
While some homeowners will still use their grill off and on during colder weather, it’s still a good idea to give your grill a good scrubbing while closing up the outdoor kitchen. First, use a degreasing agent to remove grease. Polish the exterior with stainless steel polish. Scrub dirty areas with a grill brush, taking care to also clean the underside of the grates. You can season the cooking surfaces as well by applying vegetable oil and heating your grill at 500 degrees for twenty minutes. If you don’t plan to use your grill at all during the winter, turn off your gas line. Don’t forget to use a cover to protect it from snow! A synthetic material works best as it will allow any moisture inside to pass through.
Refrigerator and Ice Maker Preparation
If you’ve shut down the water supply and drained your water lines, you’ve already done some of the work involved in preparing your refrigerator or ice maker for the winter season. Once it’s time to close down the outdoor kitchen, power down these units and unplug them to prevent damage to the electrical components. Once powered down, clean the units thoroughly with soap and water. Ensure that the drain valve for your ice maker is shut and that the storage bin is emptied. It’s not a good idea to cover either unit for the duration of the winter as the accumulation of moisture that could result may damage your appliances.