Outdoor Kitchens and Winterization
Every portion of the country has challenges when it comes to wintertime. With some, it will be the snow and the ice. In other areas, it will be wind, rain, or even mild hail. Your outdoor kitchen may be in use for part of the winter, but that doesn’t mean that it does not need some special care.
Even if you live in an area that doesn’t see a lot of snow, you should plan ahead. Making sure that your outdoor kitchen has some cover and some extra care will be good for keeping it in good condition.
Outdoor kitchens are built to take the elemental changes. The refrigerators in particular are made to be impervious to the cold. They don’t need in most cases to be brought inside during the winter, even in higher elevations or colder climates. They do need to be switched off before the weather hits freezing.
Even if you use it during the wintertime, it’s a great time to clean it thoroughly and to get it in good shape. If you’re in the higher desert elevations, or in a snow prone area, then it will require a little more.
Empty your cabinets and clean the inside of the refrigerated unit.
Switch the power off to the units. If possible, unplug them. If you can’t unplug, switch your circuit breaker off.
Clean the entire outside of each unit, stove, refrigerator and grill.
If you have a sink attached to your outdoor kitchen and you’re in a cold area or a very high elevation, you may be prone to freezing. Take some special care for your sink unit in these areas.
Close off the supply of water to your sink and open the taps completely. Blow out the lines using air or even carbon dioxide. This will assure there is no water in your lines to freeze.
Use a cover to keep any dust, grit or debris from blowing into your sink and clogging the drainage area.
Clean the outside of all of your units. Wash them with a very mild degreasing agent. Particularly if they are stainless, but for all outdoor kitchens, you’re going to want to wash them with a mild soap, and nothing more. Never use any type of cleanser that has a gritty base to it.
For your grill, the cooking areas should be seasoned before you cover it. Using a soft clean cloth, and vegetable, wipe all of the areas that are cooking surfaces with vegetable oil and place them back onto your grill.
If you’re not going to be using your grill during the wintertime, shut off the gas. Remove the tank and store it in an area that is not prone to freezing. Cover the grill and all parts of the outdoor kitchen with tarp or covers.
Even if your kitchen is use all winter, it’s a great idea to clean and re-season it during the fall to keep it in the best shape. The myth about not covering your grills and outdoor kitchen elements in the wintertime is just that, a myth. The high desert in particular sees a great deal more wind and sand blowing in the winter. Protect your outdoor kitchen by covering it in the winter.
Christopher D. Griffin is an author and recognized expert in the field of Phoenix Landscaping and Desert Pool Landscaping. He specializes in all aspects of outdoor construction. Combined with his NFL experience (1996-1997) and civil engineering degree (B.S. University of New Mexico), Chris is an innovative genius in creating backyard environments and portrays his work at Unique-Landscapes.com