High-tech BBQ grills are more like sophisticated, professional, cooking devices instead of a simple metal pan and grill that uses charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid. If you want to put an expensive BBQ grill away in long-term storage, this guide gives tips on how to prepare it for storage.
Special Handling Required for Propane Tank(s)
If your BBQ grill uses propane instead of charcoal, you need to store the tank(s) properly.
DISCLAIMER: Self-storage units do not allow storage of propane tanks, like the kind used for professional BBQ grills.
You will need to separately store the propane tanks by keeping them in a safe place as they cannot be placed in a rented storage unit due to the safety and insurance rules.
If possible, use all the propane in the tank(s) before storing them, so they can be stored empty. To remove the tank(s), turn off the propane tank valve, and then disconnect the propane tank(s) using a wrench. Wrap the valve(s) with plastic that is taped in place to prevent insects from nesting inside. Wrap the gas line connector, which stays attached to the grill with plastic that is taped in place.
Do not bring the propane tank(s) inside. Do not store them in a garage or a shed. Even a small gas leak may cause an explosion if storing the propane tank(s) in an enclosed space. It is best to store them outside, under a cover, in an area away from the house and garage that is not in direct sunlight.
Be careful not to store the tank(s) next to the vents for the clothes dryer or the furnace. Make sure children do not have access to the tank(s). Use a concrete block to elevate the tank(s) off the ground, to help keep the tank(s) from rusting out at the bottom.
After disconnecting any propane tank(s) and putting in a safe place, here are the steps to take to prepare your professional BBQ grill for long-term storage in a rental storage unit.
Clean the Grill Thoroughly
Give the BBQ grill a thorough cleaning. This is necessary so that when you take it out of storage it is not all gunky with dirt and old grease. When it comes to your grill’s cooking surface, fire is your friend. Have one last BBQ and when you’re finished cooking, get the temperature really high so the fire burns off any left over grease. Once the grill has cooled take an abrasive sponge with some soap and water and scrub off any stubborn dirt and grease. Make sure you wash away all the soap when you’re finished so it doesn’t leave a residue.
Be careful not to use abrasive cleaners on painted or stainless surfaces because they can easily get scratches. Be sure to empty and clean the drip pan. Empty and clean the ash collector for charcoal models.
Disconnect and then separate all the burner parts and grill parts. Use a grease removal cleaner and/or an oven cleaner to make it easier to remove grease from the grill and any parts that are covered in grease. You can also opt to use an abrasive sponge with some soap and water and scrub off any stubborn dirt and grease. Make sure you wash away all the soap when you’re finished so it doesn’t leave a residue. Once clean, wipe all the pieces dry.
Spray all the metal parts with cooking spray thoroughly to provide a barrier that helps prevent rust formation. Place all the pieces in zip-lock type plastic bags that can be securely sealed to block out moisture. Since every grill is different, we recommend that you check your manufacturer’s recommendations for how to clean it and what cleaning products you can use.
Perform a Maintenance Check
Check to make sure all the equipment is in good condition. Make sure the gas hoses are intact. Replace anything that should be replaced. Some like to use the annual maintenance effort as a good time to repaint their BBQ grill. Once you maintenance check is complete, use a grill cover to add an additional layer of protection.
Preparing Your Grill After Long Term Storage
If you did a good job cleaning the grill before putting it away in storage, the startup should be fairly easy. If you missed some food scraps, then you may have a problem with mold that developed. If you put the BBQ grill in storage that is not climate-controlled you may see some corrosion and rust that developed due to the exposure to moisture.
To prepare for a startup of a BBQ grill again, give it a light cleaning to remove dust. Use some stainless steel polish and a soft cloth to shine the steel surfaces. Check the integrity of the propane tank(s) when refilling them to make sure they are safe and intact.
Reconnect the grill to the full propane tank(s). Check for any gas leaks around the valves and connectors using a bit of dish soap. Gas leaks will show up by blowing bubbles in the soap. Before trying to light the grill, stop all leaks and allow 15 minutes in the open air to dissipate any gas that escaped.
If any part of the grill has mold on it, scrape it off. Then, light the grill according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Run the grill at the highest temperature for 15 minutes before using it to cook anything that you will eat. By running the grill on high for 15 minutes you will remove any residue of old cooking oil spray on the grill parts and sanitize the grill. Then, it will be perfectly clean for cooking.
Ready for the Next BBQ!
Grills that are maintained well and stored properly can last for a very long time for years of service. Many enjoy extended use by storing their BBQ grill inside instead of leaving it outside in the harsh elements.
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