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The Super Handyman: Take care of grill in offseason

It’s never too cold to cook outdoors. Well, a lot of people would not agree with that, especially during the wintertime! But this IS a good time to take a closer look at your grill and make some repairs and improvements during the “off” season. You can do most of the work in your garage or workshop, and stay reasonably warm while you are doing it.

If you have a gas grill, go ahead and start your burners to see if the flames are even. If there are any places where the ports look like they might be clogged, take note of these so you can clean them later. If your starter isn’t working, replace the battery, if needed, or replace the starter kit.

If your grill is gas, disconnect this while doing the maintenance. If you are using propane, the tank should be stored outdoors out of direct sunlight.

Gloves, safety glasses and a dust mask will be helpful in protecting you from the fallout. You should do the cleaning outdoors, and if you are working on a deck or patio, put down a dropcloth to catch the debris as you work.

Start with a stiff wire brush or putty knife to knock off the top layer of soot. Grease will respond best to oven cleaner.

If your gas grill has any clogged gas ports, use a pipe cleaner to clear these out.

Look for bare metal spots that could develop rust. Sand off any rust that you already have. Buy a metal primer and paint made for grills, as it can take the high heat it will have to endure.

If you need to order parts, you should be able to find them on sale at this time of the year.

Put everything back in place except for the gas connections, and install a good cover to protect it during the winter. When it finally warms up outside, your grill will be as ready as you are to get cooking again!


Q: Our concrete patio has a pitted surface and we would like to make it look smooth again somehow. How do we do this? – L.J.

A: It’s not as hard as you might think. Check your hardware store or home center for a concrete topper or leveler. It needs to have a bonding agent in it to stick to your existing slab. Just clean it really well and apply the topper. You’ll need to choose a good-weather day, too. It will take a little practice to get it smooth, but you should be able to do it yourself. Just follow the package directions.


Vinegar is one of those everyday household products that we all have in our homes. It has tons of uses there, as well as in the shop and even outdoors. It’s really inexpensive and can save you money in many cases. We have put together a list of some of our favorite tried-and-true uses for the stuff. You can get this information, as well as a lot of other interesting tips, on our website at

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