As the weather begins to cool down, outdoor barbecue meals may start to taper off as well. Whether you plan to keep your barbecue covered up outside or store it inside, one thing is certain. You’ll have a longer lasting, better functioning barbecue if you give it a deep clean and inspect and deal with any problems before storing it away. Here’s what to do:
Why is it So Important to Winterize Your Barbecue?
It’s always nice to start the barbecue season with a grill that’s shiny clean and ready to go. Apart from that, though, there are other compelling reasons to deep clean and winterize your barbecue:
- Cleaning the inside of your grill will ensure bits of food are not left over. Little critters such as mice find a barbecue a great place to call home in the winter, especially if there are morsels of food left for them.
- Mold likes to grow on leftover food and grease especially in the last weeks of Fall and the first weeks of Spring when the weather is above freezing and moisture is in the air.
- Leaving grease and food residue in the grill over the winter can trap moisture, which can promote the development of corrosion and oxidation.
Here is a general guide to cleaning and preparing your barbecue for winter storage. Your model of barbecue may have specific requirements that should be addressed to avoid harming the grill, so please refer to your owner’s manual for more detailed information.
Some Items You May Need:
Stainless steel cleaner or porcelain cleaner
Soap and water and sponge
Cleaning Your Grill Grates
- Fire up your grill and let it run on high heat with the lid closed for about 15-20 minutes. This will make sure all the chunks of food are burned off the grill and the grates will be easier to clean. This also kills off bacteria or mold in the barbecue and carbonizes any remaining food elements on the grills or inside the cover.
- Whether this is a propane or a natural gas grill, turn the fuel off at the source and disconnect it. If it’s propane, double check to make sure the gas is turned off at the tank before disconnecting it from the grill to prevent any propane leaking out from the tank.
- After it’s cooled down, take your grill brush and scrape off any remaining food debris.
- When the grates have cooled, remove them. You can soak in soapy water to completely clean them. Be sure to completely rinse the soap away and dry them thoroughly.
- Consider spraying the grates with vegetable oil to prevent rusting.
Inspecting the Interior Parts
If inspecting your grill is not something you regularly do, now is the time to start. Gas grills are very safe when used as directed, and proper maintenance will help to prevent accidental fires.
- Inspect all hoses on the grill. Look for signs of brittleness including cracking, abrasions, holes or tears. Ensure all the hoses are tightly connected. Look out for sharp bends or kinks.
- Check the exterior of the gas cylinder for rust, dents, bulges, corrosion, or punctures. These signs may indicate a leak. Have an expert take a look at your cylinder if you suspect a leak.
- For cracks too small to see, create a soapy solution. Mix equal parts water and liquid detergent. Apply some of the solution to the closed valve where it connects to the gas tank, using a soft-bristled brush or a spray bottle. Turn the gas on slowly. If bubbles appear in the solution, you may have a gas leak. Tighten the tank’s connections and repeat the test.
- Important! Turn off the gas supply valve if you find any of these signs. Have your grill repaired by an expert before storing away.
Cleaning the Interior
Clean the burner protectors: Remove the burner protectors and use soapy water and a sponge to give them a good scrub. The accumulated grease and grime should wash right off. Make sure to dry thoroughly.
Clean out the burners and venturi tubes: Venturi tubes are pipes that go out from the burners and connect to the grill control valves. They allow air and gas to mix together, altering the intensity of the flame.
- Remove the burners and venturi tubes. Using a hose, spray water into the ends of the tubes to get rid of debris or insects.
- Take the burners out and clean them using soapy water, including the grill holes. If needed, use a small paperclip to clear the grill holes of debris. If the holes are deteriorated and cracked, replace them with new burners.
- If your burners are not easily removable use a sponge lightly moistened with water to wipe down the burners. Failure to re-assemble your grill burners correctly could result in a fire hazard.
- To prevent rust, coat the burners and other metal parts with cooking oil to repel moisture that can build up over the winter.
Clean the cook box: Use a grill brush to clean the excess grease and debris from inside of the grill into the collecting bottom tray.
- Remove the bottom tray and throw out the grease and debris. Some of the debris may be caked on. You might need to use a sharp putty knife to remove the stuck-on debris. Wash out the bottom tray with soapy water.
- Then rinse and dry, and then put it back into position under the burners.
Clean the Exterior of Your Grill
If you have a stainless-steel grill, you can use a stainless-steel cleaner to wipe down the outside surface with a paper towel. If you have a porcelain grill, you can use a specialized porcelain grill cleaner.
Inside or Outside?
Some people choose to keep their barbecue grill in their garage for the winter. (Please do NOT store the propane tank anywhere inside). If you leave it outside, finding an area such as a porch so that the grill is shielded from the elements is most advantageous. Good quality stainless-steel grills are quite resistant to inclement weather. Lesser quality grills made with lower quality materials may fare better being stored inside.
A Word About Your Propane Tank
For safety sake, never store a propane tank inside the home. If you bring the grill into the garage or a shed, leave the tank covered outside. If you leave the grill outside, keep the tank connected and shut off, then cover the grill as usual.
To Cover or Not to Cover?
This is a hotly debated subject. Simply put, the biggest drawback is that a cover can attract moisture as well as keep it out. Some people decide not to cover their grills. If this is your decision, it’s best to make sure that your grill is sheltered by a porch or awning so that it is at least partly sheltered. It’s also best not to store it on grass, where critters and insects are more likely to hover and where moisture collects.
If you are going to cover your grill it’s important to get a good cover that will let the moisture out. These are typically more expensive covers that have vents or covers that are made of a breathable material. Covers that don’t have the appropriate venting or breathable materials will trap moisture in with your grill and can lead to corrosion.
Take the cover off at least once every two weeks, wipe down the barbecue, and let any moisture evaporate. If the cover is damp at all, let it dry before replacing it.
Your appliances are important. For the very best in appliance repair and maintenance, you can count on C&W Appliance Service. Get in touch with us at (855) 358-1496 or submit our online service request form for prompt, reliable service.