Everyone loves to grill, especially in the summertime when the weather is nice and drinks are cold — throwing a good steak on the grill can make the evening more enjoyable. But once the season is over the ultimate task of putting away that grill comes into play.
Although some may not want to put it away entirely and instead choose to brave the cold and utilize their grills in the winter. While grilling in the winter season is safe, some would rather store their grill for the season.
Where and how to properly store a grill are big questions that many owners have. Ensuring that their investment does not rust or corrode is important.
A backyard patio may be the only place to store a grill. Proper storage and cleaning depending on the type of grill itself and there may be some problems with unwelcome visitors or pests.
Is It Okay To Leave Gas Grills Outside in the Winter?
Some choose to continue using their grill all year long and that’s not a problem, except braving the cold.
Grilling in the winter may mean there are a few extra steps or things to keep in mind in order to ensure your equipment won’t get damaged in the process.
Cenex.com has broken down some basic steps in order for one to grill in the wintertime.
First, clean the snow around the grilling area. This will help the grill to preheat and prevent any slippery or hazardous conditions in the grilling area.
Next, turn on or light the grill. If you have a propane grill, it’s important to let it preheat or warm-up for a few minutes longer than usual. The colder temperature will affect the heat-up time and it may take longer to warm up.
Be sure to avoid windy conditions. Keep the lid to the grill closed as much as possible.
Cenex.com says, “Every time you open the grill, cold air rushes into the cooking space and it will need to reheat once the lid is closed again.”
Lastly, dress for the occasion. Be sure to bundle up but avoid hazardous clothes that might catch on fire such as long scarves.
Storing Grills in the Winter
Once it’s decided that the grilling will be placed on hiatus until warmer, more enjoyable temperatures return, storing a grill will be the next to do. Ensuring that the equipment is cleaned and stored properly means that the grills will remain in good working condition for years to come.
Thoroughly cleaning the grill is the first step in preparing the grill for storage. Inspect the grate for any bits of charred food or leftover grease and brush it away.
It’s vital that the burners are clean and clear of debris. Once this is complete, the next step is to coat the burners and other metal parts with cooking oil. This prevents rust from forming on the grill while in storage.
If the grill will be stored outside, be sure to check that the propane tank is shut off and cover the grill.
NorthernBackyard.com says, “If you are going to cover your grill it’s important to get a good cover that will let the moisture out when covered. Covers that don’t have the appropriate venting or breathable materials will trap moisture in with your grill and can lead to corrosion.”
Tips For Winter Storing Your Grill
Now that the grill has been prepared for storage and the perfect, safe spot has been found there are a few things to keep in mind once the grill has been put away.
Animals may find shelter in the hull of the grill. These spaces seem to be good areas for animals seeking refuge from the cold to hide and make a home for themselves. With the lid and storage cover providing protection from the elements, any leftover bits of food scraps are a welcome supply for them.
You’ll also want to remove as much debris, food remnants and grease from your grill as possible to deter rodents and wildlife from snooping around.
However, when springtime comes and there are unwelcome remnants of those visitors, it’s okay. Clean out the hull, removing anything they may have left behind and then heat up the grill. Let it run for about fifteen minutes to ensure the grill is clean.
While mold has a hard time growing in below-freezing temperatures, the last weeks of fall and early weeks of spring are an ideal time for mold to accumulate. If mold is found, cleaning and heating the grill are the best way to get it safe and operational once again.
Lastly, the threat of corrosion and oxidation may be the biggest worry of grill owners. To ensure grills last long regular maintenance and cleaning is key.
The main causes of corrosion and oxidation are leftover grease and food residue. This is because any leftover organic materials trap moisture and promote the development of corrosion and oxidation.
Weber.com says, “Cleaning your grill before any lengthy period of time when it won’t be used, will help reduce the chances that corrosion or oxidation will develop on the grill components, which will prolong the life of the grill.”
The simplest way to prevent this from happening is to clean the grill before storing it.
Grilling doesn’t have to exclusively be a summertime experience. It is possible and safe to grill in the wintertime. However, for those who would rather save the grilling for more enjoyable climates, storing the grill until that time arrives is the best option.
While leaving a grill outside is safe there are a few things to keep in mind when storing. Never bring a propane grill inside a home. Propane can leak carbon monoxide gas which can be deadly. Instead, grills will need to be stored outside.
To ensure the functionality of the grill next season, a thorough cleaning is recommended. The scrapping of bits of leftover food and grease is important for storage. Finding a good grill cover is also necessary. This will help keep the grill debris free in the winter months.
While the grill is in storage there are a few possibilities pertaining to the condition of the grill if it was not cleaned well enough. First off, animals could use it as shelter. Grills offer the perfect home for small animals in the cold winter months.
With a small food supply and covered area, they could make a nice home for themselves.
The possibility of mold is quite likely. Again, if the grill is not cleaned well enough and food scraps are left, mold could begin forming in spaces where moisture is trapped.
Furthermore, corrosion or oxidation could occur. This could damage the structure of the grill depending on where the problem is and how it goes unaddressed.
The same conditions that make it appealing for animals and mold to live and grow are the same conditions for corrosion and oxidation to occur. Sources reiterate a good cleaning will do the trick in avoiding these annoyances from occurring.