How to Winterize Your Barbecue

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Learn how to prepare your beloved barbecue for the cold temperatures. You can certainly leave the barbecue out of doors in the winter, but it will require a few steps to ensure it’s properly winterized. The steps are very simple and this task can be accomplished in just one afternoon.

It’s very easy to procrastinate this task until the snow falls, since most of us are in denial about the winter. When we break down and finally get the grill ready for winter, it means we’ve accepted that summer is over and we can no longer enjoy our patio and barbecued burgers and kebabs. It’s a shame, but it must be done! When you take the best care of your appliances, they will run and run for years and years. As well, good preparation for winter means an easy transition when spring comes again, and you can finally bust out the barbecue and fire it up once more!

It is important to do this task in very late summer or early fall, like October. This is an ideal time because we still have a fair amount of daylight after a workday, and aren’t too cold to use bare hands and water (the steps involve some scrubbing).

There are several things you will have to protect the barbecue against. These elements include the winter weather itself; specifically, the precipitation. Also, small animals will seek shelter in any covered area they can find, so you will want to prevent their burrowing in the barbecue.

  1. Clean the grill

The trick to storing things away is to clean them thoroughly before putting them away. You will want to fire up the barbecue to a high heat so that it burns off any excess food. This will take around 15 minutes. Find something to do but keep your eye on it to ensure there is no fire.

  1. Clean the grill grates

Once the grill has burned off as much excess food as possible, turn it off. Then, while it is still hot, take a wire grill brush and scrape all leftover food. Once the grill has cooled, use soapy water or oven cleaner to get the remaining tricky stuff. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the grates with water when you’re done cleaning, so as to remove any soap or oven cleaner residue.

  1. Clean the inside of the grill

You’ll have to do this once the grill is cooled. Remove the grates and any rocks you have in the bottom, and get to scrubbing! Then you can add new rocks so the grill is ready for the next season.

If your barbecue has a drip pan, this is the time to clean it.

  1. Clean the outside

Get some fresh soapy water and a rag. Dampen the cloth with the soapy water and wipe down every inch of the surface. Be sure to include the knobs, propane tank, and hoses to get rid of any cobwebs and dust. As well, you will want to wipe down the inside of the lid. You can then hose off the grill cover to remove any dust or build-up.

Beware using super abrasive scouring pads or cleaning products, lest you ruin the paint. A patch test may be in order before you take on the entire grill.

Check the manual for any manufacturer’s recommendations. Your specific model may require special steps to winterizing.

  1. Fix problems

Now is the time to tackle any issues with the grill, so it doesn’t break down completely over the winter. The goal of winterizing is not only to protect the grill from weather elements, but also to give you a headstart in the spring.

Check hoses for cracks or other signs of aging and replace if necessary. Make sure the elements are in good working order, i.e. not cracked or rusting. Tighten all screws and make sure handles and gauges are in good working order.

  1. Store the grill

You’ll want a top quality cover for the grill for the winter. This will save the grill from accumulating dirt and rain or snow. If you have an existing cover, hose it down and check it thoroughly for holes or tears. These will only grow during the harsh weather of winter. Even the smallest hole will let in moisture and this may lead you to replace your entire grill in the spring. Get a new cover if necessary. Don’t bother with duct tape!

After you’ve cleaned and wiped down the grill, let it dry completely before covering it for the season. Ideally you will store the grill in a dry, protected place like the garage or shed. If this is not possible due to space, you can store it outside. However, you will have to take a few extra precautions:

  • Make sure the grill is anchored down and can’t blow over. Winter winds can be nasty and strong. If the grill falls over, the handles may break, knobs can snap, and parts can become bent.
  • It must be in a covered location so that it receives some shelter from the elements.

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