As the leaves turn and the air begins to chill, we’re reminded to prepare for the coming transitions. Whether you’re ahead of the game and have already readied your home for the colder months or just starting, now is the perfect time to get your outdoor kitchen prepared for the winter season.
You’ve worked hard to get your kitchen to your liking, and it’s important to take the time and energy required to protect your investment in the harsher winter climates. To continue enjoying your space for years to come, you will need to ensure your kitchen is prepared for cooler temperatures. Knowing how to prepare your kitchen is essential, as failing to winterize outdoor kitchens can potentially result in costly repairs later down the road.
To winterize an outdoor kitchen, all appliances, equipment, and surfaces must be attended to. Our team has outlined a few important steps that will help you keep your outdoor kitchen in good shape.
When spring returns, you don’t want to greet it with busted pipes. Water that remains in the pipes and plumbing system of outdoor kitchens in cold climates can cause big problems if you don’t implement proper preventative measures. When temperatures drop near or below freezing, the water in your pipes can freeze too, causing them to burst. This problem can turn into a huge nuisance, racking up hefty plumbing bills, leading to flooding, and putting your outdoor kitchen out of use until the problem is solved. Therefore, taking care of your pipes is a must.
To keep pipes from freezing and potentially bursting, we recommend that you shut off all water supply lines that lead to the kitchen from your indoor plumbing system. Begin by draining the pipes so that no water is left in them. Then, if possible, turn off the water supply that feeds pipes to your outdoor kitchen. Pro tip: don’t forget water supply lines connected to refrigerators, ice makers, and sinks as well.
After turning the water off, open the hot and cold faucets until no water runs out. You can also address any water caught in the drains by blowing compressed air into the drain valve. Unless you have a gravity-based kitchen winterization system in place, compressed carbon dioxide often works best for clearing water from lines.
Clean Your Grill
The grill is often the pride and joy of an outdoor kitchen. To make sure that your summer barbecues go off without a hitch, you must winterize your grill!
It’s a good idea to do maintenance on your outdoor grill at the end of the summer. If you don’t plan on using your grill or side burner this winter, go ahead and turn off the gas supply line to these.
Clean your grill thoroughly. That means scrubbing the inside so that there is no food or grease residue left behind. Don’t forget to clean the outside, too as grease on the sides of your grill can lead to rust. To remove grease that’s difficult to scrub off, you can use a degreaser. Polish the grill with stainless steel polish, and remove the grates and clean underneath.
To season your cooking surfaces, take the time to wipe vegetable oil over them, so they don’t rust. Anything in your kitchen that is cast iron should be seasoned like this as well.
Lastly, place a grill cover over your grill. Make sure it is designed for your grill and doesn’t allow moisture to escape.
No one wants to scrub away old food next summer so get rid of it now before winter hits. Ice makers and refrigerators should also be prepared to handle the temperature change.
Make sure your refrigerator or ice maker is emptied. Then, gently clean with soap and water, wiping down the inside of your refrigerator, freezer, icemaker, etc. Be mindful of any places where water might rest, and make sure it’s all dried up.
Turn the power off on all units. You should have already shut off the water supply and drained the water lines, as suggested in tip #1. You can turn off the ice maker and refrigerator’s circuits in your home’s electrical panel or just unplug the devices. Pro tip: Make sure not cover your ice maker or refrigerator, as this could lead to an accumulation of moisture that can create damage.
(Don’t) Scratch The Surface – Cabinets, Countertops, & Appliances
Dealing with outdoor kitchens in cold climates can mean wear and tear, cracks, and stains sustained from the elements. But the good news is that this can all be prevented.
The material will determine what steps are needed for adequate protection. Wood cabinets and surfaces will last the longest with oiling, however, can warp due to moisture. Stainless steel cabinets are the most durable outdoor cabinet material but will have the longest lifespan with an added layer of protection, specifically a powder coat finish. All of Danver stainless steel cabinets are powder-coated to ensure that your cabinets remain durable… even in the harsh winter months.
In addition, the elements can wear down the finish on stone countertops over time, but you can use sealers designed for the stone to prevent this from happening. This will help protect expensive outdoor stone surfaces from the threat of stains or other damage. While sealers and finishes can protect outdoor surfaces from wear, don’t forget to remove everything from inside cabinets and countertops.
Covering surfaces and appliances is a great method of prevention. But note that allowing moisture to get trapped underneath a cover can do just as much damage. As previously mentioned in tip #2, it is best to leave ice makers and refrigerators uncovered, because of their tendency to easily accumulate moisture. If you are unsure about what to cover or uncover, contact the manufacturer of your appliances for instructions on how best to protect them from the elements. In general, stainless steel appliances manufacturers recommend applying a coat of stainless steel finish.
Defuel The Fire (Pit)
Lastly, to winterize outdoor kitchens thoroughly, take care of fire pits.
Remove all debris that may have accumulated during warmer months. If your fire runs on gas, make sure to turn off the supply. It’s also a good idea to protect your pit from snow, leaves, and animals with a custom weather-resistant cover.
Follow these tips to keep your outdoor kitchen protected all winter season and start planning that first spring BBQ!