It’s that time of year again, when the summer season winds down, and we ready ourselves for the coming chilly months. And if you’ve been enjoying the outdoors to the fullest it also means preparing your grill for its own hibernation.
Unless you live in a year-round warm climate and have the luxury of uninterrupted grilling, winterizing your outdoor grill is an important thing to do. Because while today’s grills are made to withstand a great deal of stress, they still need some care when out of use for the long term. That way, when the outdoor season rolls back around, your grill will be in tip-top shape and ready to go. And while it may seem like a chore, getting your grill ready for the winter will help maintain the overall quality and performance as well as extend its working life—so the extra effort is certainly worth it.
Here are some quick, easy, and helpful tips on prepping your grill for the snowy season.
- Clean Your Grill – Before readying your grill for the winter, you will want to give it a thorough, intensive cleaning. You don’t want any grease, food particles, or other built-up soiling to spend the winter getting even more attached to your grill. And you definitely don’t want any little critters or insects being attracted to your grill interior.
- Cut the Fuel or Power Source – This depends on what type of grill you have. If you have a liquid propane grill, turn off the gas and disconnect the line. It’s all right to keep the LP tank in the unit if you wish, as long as it’s disconnected. If your unit has an electric ignition system, remove the battery so that the contacts don’t corrode
- Oil It Up – Your grill may be tough, but never underestimate the potential for nature to affect everything. To protect the grill grates and burners, apply a light layer of cooking oil. This will help to repel moisture and prevent rust from forming. Make sure you use an oil that won’t go bad over the winter. And don’t overdo it, as excess oil can bring unwanted attention from insects and animals.
- Rotisserie Motor – If your grill does have a rotisserie system, remove the motor and store it either in the grill cart or indoors. Even if it’s waterproof, it can still be affected by extreme temperatures and weather.
- Cover the Burners – It’s best to remove the burners from the unit and wrap them in plastic wrap or plastic bags. This keeps out insects and protects them even further from the elements. You may also want to wrap the connecting parts of the gas line.
- Check Storage Areas – If your grill cart has any drawers or cabinets, give them a once-over for anything you don’t want stored outside over the winter, as well as any stray ingredients, spices, rubs etc. or anything that might go bad.
- Clean the Exterior – You should also clean the exterior of the unit thoroughly. You’ll want the grill to look as well as it performs when you start cooking again.
- Cover It Up – You should already have an appropriate grill cover to go over the unit. If not, get one ASAP. A quality cover is vital in keeping your grill protected. Remember, no matter how durable your grill unit is, it can still be affected by prolonged exposure to the elements.
- Put It Away – If your grill is freestanding or moveable, why not get it out of the elements altogether by storing it in a shed or garage? If that’s not an option, any covered area will still be helpful. However, you should make a point of removing any propane tanks before placing a grill indoors for safety reasons. Propane tanks need to be stored in a well-ventilated area.
We know it’s not easy putting your grill away for the winter, but by following these tips you’ll be far happier in the Spring when you uncover the grill and find it in prime working order. And, as always, refer to your owner’s manual whenever maintaining or cleaning your grill for any brand-specific needs.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.
What is the best way to clean grill grates?
Opinions vary on the best way to clean grill grates. You can read more on the subject here.
What temperature is too cold for propane?
-44 F° is the freezing point for propane. But cold weather can affect propane before that, causing it to contract inside the tank.
Is it OK to leave a gas grill outside in winter?
It’s certainly OK to leave a gas grill outside in winter, as long as you take the proper steps (see article above) to prepare and protect the grill from the elements.