The outdoor kitchen has become one of the most popular home improvement projects. If you have an outdoor kitchen or are planning one for the future, make sure you have the following checked off your list.
1. Construction. When you surround your grill with cabinets, countertops, and wood, it is vital to have a stainless steel sleeve, also known as an insulated grill jacket, for the grill to rest in. The sleeve will keep your outdoor kitchen structure cool and protect your kitchen from any burning or warping.
2. Electricity. Always use a ground fault outlet or GFCI outside. Never use an extension cord for permanent installation. It’s wise to put the outdoor kitchen on its own GFCI circuit board inside your house. If you ever need to reset the system, it is easier to access it indoors than to search for a buried outlet outside.
3. Plumbing. Your outdoor kitchen must be winterized if you live in a four season area. One option is to use an ejector pump to flush the water lines at the end of the season. You can also install a gravity-based system with the pipes running to an insulated, below-grade space. All you need to do is open the valve and empty the pipe when the weather gets cold. No matter where you live, insulating the entire run of hot water pipes is beneficial to having hot water water for cleaning and food prep.
4. Ventilation. Install grill panels every four to six feet to ensure gases do not build up and explode. If you are using natural gas (NG), make sure to install each vent panel as high as possible as natural gas rises. If using propane (LP), make sure to install the vents as low as possible as propane is a heavier gas that sinks. Also, be sure to position your grill away from doors and windows and downwind from any lounging or dining areas so your guests aren’t battling wafts of smoke every time you cook. Lastly, install an emergency gas shut-off valve. In the event of a gas leak, having an emergency shut off valve can avoid a 911 call.