Before the cold, snow, and ice set in, there are several things we need to winterize each fall. Most of us think about unhooking garden hoses and providing for our pets, but one of the most important things we need to do is to take care of our grills.
Whether your model is powered by gas, charcoal, or both, you should take some steps every fall to protect it and to make sure it's in the best possible condition when grilling weather returns next spring. Here are some of the most important things you need to do with your grill before cold weather hits.
Almost nobody grills meat straight out of the package. We all have our choice of flavor additives to add flavor to our steaks, chicken, or chops, and products like hot dogs and bratwursts are already seasoned when purchased. These add-ons definitely make our meats taste better, but our grills can suffer from the corrosive effects of the sugar, salts, and other ingredients.
The grill should be cleaned immediately after use during warm weather, but an extra-thorough cleaning in the fall is important too. Remember that whatever you last grilled will be there all winter long. Make sure to get the grates, the burners and their covers, and the bottom of the grill. Check your drip can area as well.
Bleed Off Gas
Liquid propane is discharged from the bottle under pressure, and if you leave lines pressurized all winter long, it can take a toll on the lines and seals that carry gas to the burners. The ups and downs of winter temperatures can cause the gas to expand and contract inside the lines, making this effect worse. In time, this pressure can cause leaks that will impair the grill's performance and could even be dangerous.
As you winterize, let all that gas out. Turn off the bottle, then turn all the burner knobs up to their highest setting. This will ensure that there is no pressure left behind in the lines.
Protect from the Elements
Almost everybody has a grill cover, but it's not enough simply to slip it over the top. Make sure it covers the entire grill, and take steps to secure it from those persistent winter winds. If your grill is kept near the sidewalk or driveway, relocate it to shield it from salt used to treat those surfaces. Consider placing wood blocks under the wheels and feet to protect them from moisture and corrosion as well. If possible, take it to a covered porch, the basement, or the garage to give it some extra help. Just be sure to remove the gas tank and store it outside.
Your grill is really an outdoor kitchen appliance. Take the time and effort to care for it the way you would a range or refrigerator. With a good preparation plan each fall, you'll greet spring ready to get back to the grill.