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To a dedicated griller, a shiny new grill can feel almost as important as a newborn baby. You want to protect it, make sure it has everything it needs, and give it the right amount of cover for a long and glorious life. One of your biggest enemies will be rust. This has lots of grillers wondering- do grill covers prevent rust?
It depends on how you use the grill cover. If a storm is coming, and you decide to cover up, you’ll be keeping your metal dry and preventing rust. But you’ll want to uncover your grill soon after a storm to avoid moistness under the cover.
In this article, we’ll discuss what causes grill rust, what effects it can have on your grill, and what you can do to prevent it. Along the way, we’ll hopefully answer a few of your grill-care questions and get you on track to a long and fulfilling grill lifespan filled with smoked meats and barbeque ribs. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it.
How to Use a Grill Cover
Grill covers are built to keep your grill safe from the elements. This means everything from wind and rain to sand and scorching heat. It’s safe to say that if you want a longer lifespan for your grill, a grill cover is the way to go. But what few people know is that there’s a wrong way and a right way to use one.
If you’re living in a humid climate, you may be going whole-hog on the grill cover, putting it on every time you get done with your grill out of a well-intentioned desire to protect your perfect little grill. But while this may seem like a no-brainer, there are a few things to consider.
Did you know, for example, that a grill cover can actually increase humidity in a grill? When you use a grill cover all the time, humid air seeps under the cover, and moisture accumulates on the inside, providing the perfect environment for the gradual growth of harmful rust. Over time, this could cause serious problems with your grill.
To prevent this, make sure you leave your grill cover off the grill if you’re living in a humid climate. It may seem stupid, but it may also save your grill from an untimely death. Keeping harmful moisture particles away from your grill’s metal surface will keep it working long after you buy it.
That’s not to say that you should always leave your grill cover off. While a grill cover can actually create the perfect environment for rust, it can also be a great way to deter it. It’s like a multivitamin- take one a day, and your immune system will thank you. Take one an hour, and you’ll likely be needing an ambulance soon enough.
To properly use a grill cover, keep up with your Weather Channel app, covering your grill when there’s a storm on the way and uncovering it when the storm passes. Doing this will keep your grill from getting wet and rusting during a storm and prevent humid conditions under the cover afterward.
When you’re trying to dry off your grill, sunshine is your best friend. If you’ve just experienced a particularly hard rain and need to get harmful water out from under your grill’s lid, open it up and let it sunbathe for a little while. Your grill will thank you with a rustless range.
Special rules apply if you’re living in a bayside environment, though. For humid, oceanside areas, a grill cover will be your only defense against the harmful ocean air floating all around your grill, so you’re going to want to keep it covered up.
Grills hate saltwater, and leaving your grille exposed to the salty is like keeping it underwater in your backyard pool. After a while, you’ll start seeing serious issues and will likely need to call in a maintenance service.
If you’re living in a dry area, you’re not always in the clear. While you won’t be having to bring your grill in for maintenance if you live it uncovered, some difficulties may still arise. For example- some dry environments have sand and dust particles floating in the air. These can be just as bad for a grill as saltwater.
If you want to prevent rust and other issues in a dry environment, use your cover on rainy days or to prevent dust and sand accumulation. In a dry climate, it’s all about experimentation. You’ve got a lot of leeway when there’s not much humidity and rainfall, so take advantage of it. Experiment with your grill cover to find out what works and what doesn’t.
So, there’s no clear answer as to whether or not a grill cover will always prevent rust. But, if you use it right- taking it off and putting it back on at the correct times- you’ll likely find that you can prevent rust and keep your grill in working condition for years or even decades.
Place Your Grill Away from the Rain
If you’ve got your grill in an open, sunny space- move it! While that sunny area on your porch may seem like a great place to keep your grill, it’s actually doing you much more harm than good. Open spaces mean lots of rain and moistness, which means more rust.
To keep this from happening, find a sheltered spot on your porch or patio, and move your grill there. If you don’t have one, you might find it fun to build a roof structure over your grill- something like a mini gazebo or pavilion to keep your BBQ safe from Mother Nature and her tumultuous moods.
You might also be smart to place your grill under a tree- anywhere where there’s cover, really. Doing this will prevent your grill from getting soaked on rainy days and prevent water from building up inside of it or on any of its other valuable metal parts.
While keeping your grill under a tree may help partially solve the water problem, it will create other problems. For example- squirrels- wanting to get into a nut’s nutritious core- may find your grill to be an excellent cracking spot. In this case, you’ll find tiny dents all along the outsides of your grill.
You’d also be smart to move your rain cover over your grill before a storm comes along. As we’ve said before, a covered grill is safer during storms, and will stay away from harmful moisture buildup. Just make sure you take the cover off afterwards.
How Else Can You Prevent Grill Rust?
While a grill cover can prevent grill rust, it’s good to know a few more ways of keeping your grill rust-free. Combining these methods with good placement and cover usage will keep your grill looking shiny and new for ages. So don’t let your grill rot- it cost as much as a new Porsche, so treat it that way.
While you may think that giving your grill an excellent rinse every once in a while won’t hurt it, you may be doing some severe damage. Putting liquids directly onto your grill has the exact same effect as leaving it out in heavy rain.
To avoid this effect, try using a moist rag to clean your grill down instead. Most likely, you just need to clean off the range and a few parts around the lid. Using a moist rag on these parts will prevent water from seeping into unwanted places and keep your grill from rusting.
Clean Your Grill
Just like we mentioned above, giving your grill a nice cleaning every once in a while can prevent rust buildup and extend the life of your grill. To do this, make sure to use your grill brush and other grill-safe materials. Using the wrong cleaning materials can be just as bad as spraying it down.
There are all sorts of sites peddling effective grease-cleaning solutions for your grate, so make sure to do some searching. After a while, you’re sure to find a grease-busting solution that will help you keep your grill in tip-top shape.
Shelter It During the Wintertime
During the wintertime, your grill will be exposed to some pretty vicious moisture and cold temperatures. To prevent rust during off-seasons, make sure to move your grill inside and keep it away from doors or windows. Covering it up will also help.
Coat With Oil After Use
If you want to go the extra mile to prevent rust, coat your grates with oil after every use. The oil will stick to the grates and repel water. It will also lube up your grate for the next use.
All in All
All in all, there are many ways to prevent grill rust. Using a cover correctly can prevent rust, but you’d be wise to go over the correct procedures for grill cover usage. Combining a grill cover with other methods will lengthen your grill’s lifespan the most.