Preparing the outdoor kitchen for the winter is the best thing you can do to protect it from the elements and make sure it will serve you all over again next spring. Of course, not all backyard kitchen designs are the same. Some are sheltered and already quite protected, for example. Some are completely exposed to the bad weather. Now, if you add to that the fact that not all locations experience the same weather conditions, it’s fair to deduct the conclusion that not all people need to take the same exact measures to winterize the outdoor kitchen. Still, protected or not, outdoor kitchens get their share of torture due to the frequent rains, the dropped temps, even snow. To avoid one more backyard makeover any time soon, here’s what you need to do.
Clean all the outdoor kitchen cabinets
It is best if you remove all things you keep in the cabinets of the outdoor kitchen, giving priority to food. Once you clear all cabinets, it’s time to clean them. Then, you must take care of the surfaces – mainly the outdoor kitchen countertop. Now, the material will lead the way. For example, if this is a wooden countertop, it’s best if it’s sealed or oiled so that it won’t be affected by the moisture and low temps. If it’s stainless steel, polish them.
Drain the drains & shut the water supply
Since the water lines easily freeze during winter, it’s best if they are drained. Make sure all water lines are drained – the ones of the sink and the refrigerator. Of course, you need to shut off the water supply – the one connected with the outdoor kitchen. The intention is to avoid damage inflicted on the pipes and faucets due to the low winter temperatures. So, don’t forget to turn on the faucet and let even the last drops of water run out. Also, turn off the valve under the sink. If it gets really cold in your area, you may consider insulating the pipes every few years or have someone check on them. You may also pour antifreeze in the drain.
Remove all things from the refrigerator
It makes sense to say that you don’t want to find last summer’s things in the fridge next summer. Remove all items from your outdoor appliance and clean it well. Don’t forget to clean the external surfaces too, switch off the power, and unplug the appliance. That’s all assuming that you have already shut off the drain valve.
Take care of the cooking appliances
Naturally, the cooking appliances are a big part of your outdoor kitchen. Let’s say you have a grill, start cleaning it by removing the grease and debris. Remove and clean the grates, and apply oil when they are clean and dry. Do you have a pizza oven too? Remember to remove the crumbs from the tray.
Provide shelter to your outdoor kitchen
It’s wise to cover most parts of the outdoor kitchen to protect it from the elements. This step can be avoided if the winters in your area are mild and the outdoor kitchen area already sheltered by a wooden pergola, for example. Now, if you have some storage space – a garage or shed, to remove the furniture from the cold and keep them somewhere safe, it’d be a good move. Otherwise, cover them to find them in good shape next spring.