Winterizing Your Outdoor Kitchen

Winterize your outdoor kitchen to prevent damage and keep it in tip-top shape for next year.

When closing down your outdoor kitchen for the winter, be sure to detach all faucets and store them inside. Image: Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet

Getting ready for winter? Hoses disconnected and gutters cleaned?

If you have an outdoor kitchen, you’ll want to make sure all appliances, equipment, and surfaces are prepped and ready for winter, too. These essential steps will help you avoid costly repairs and fix-ups next outdoor season:

  • Shut off water to your outdoor kitchen — an indoor shutoff valve is ideal because it won’t freeze.
  • Drain all water lines; residual water might freeze, expand, and crack the pipes. At risk: outdoor sinks, ice makers, refrigerators, and kegerators. Leave drain valves open.
  • Switch off power to all electrically powered units — either unplug them or turn off the circuit breaker that controls the unit.
  • Give your cabinets, outdoor refrigerator, and grill a thorough cleaning, inside and out, to remove any crumbs and spills. Finish things off by wiping exteriors down with a good stainless steel polish.

Refrigerators and ice makers

  • Don’t cover outdoor refrigerators and ice makers — moisture can get trapped under the cover and damage electrical parts.
  • Remove any ice from trays and automatic ice maker bins. Wipe down interiors to remove any residual moisture.

Sinks

  • Close shutoff valves and disconnect hot and cold water supply lines.
  • Make sure supply lines are drained.
  • Completely remove faucets and store them indoors.
  • Cover sinks to prevent debris from settling in the basin.

Stone countertops

  • Seal stone countertops to prevent winter weather from damaging to surfaces. If you don’t, you could wind up with leaf stains, or worse, cracked and chipped counters caused by freezing moisture.

“One of our dealers near Chicago says he religiously seals his counters before the cold sets in,” says Chris Mordi, vice-president of communications at Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet. “That helps stone surfaces resist stains caused by birds, leaves, and dirt.”

Good exterior stone sealers for granite, marble, slate, and limestone:

  • DuPont StoneTech Professional BulletProof Stone Sealer; $46.50/pint
  • Prosoco SLX100; $75 quart
  • Stone Technologies Stone Sealer #1; $31 quart