Learning how to install a built in barbecue grill; you’ll be able to add a fabulous accessory to a backyard, patio, or deck. Barbecues create a natural conversation area for parties and entertaining.
Today’s barbecue grills are a quantum leap forward compared to the backyard kettle barbecues of the late 20th century. Today’s offerings include must-have accessories such as: brick or stone enclosures, side burners, rotisseries, pizza brick trays and my favorite: infrared burners.
With so many options for fuel types, enclosures and accessories, choosing which grill to buy can become the most difficult part of the installation. Once the decision is made and the grill is delivered, here’s how to get started with the installation.
1. Is the barbecue grill area safe?
Barbecue grills are intended only for outdoor use. Do not install a built in barbecue grill in an enclosed area or under exterior windows. The sides and back of the grill should be at least 24-inches (2-feet) from any combustible material. Maintain at least 6-feet clearance above the grill hood and any patio roof, lighting or other combustible materials.
Do not locate a grill under sealed overhead structures, which could present a fire hazard. Choose a location that provides adequate ventilation for the grill on all sides. Check with the local building department or homeowner’s association, for local building regulations, before installing a built-in grill.
2. Installation of the grill
Assuming you have chosen an island built-in barbecue, begin the installation by choosing a flat and level location for the grill. Depending on the fuel source, the installation must conform to either the NFPA54 National Fuel Gas Code or the CSA B149.1 Natural Gas and Propane Installation Code. If the grill has an 110V power cord it must be supplied with a dedicated 15A outlet with a GFCI breaker (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) in accordance with the National Electrical Code. Do not use an extension cord to supply power to the grill. Such use may result in fire or electrical shock.
Before installing the grill or side burner in the island base, measure the opening. It should not be larger than the outside frame of the grill unit. The grill should rest on the lip of the island frame. For drop-in accessories, adequate cross ventilation must be designed into the enclosure to ensure the drop-in grill or side burner does not become overheated. Most bases will have a ventilation cutout, on either side, at floor level of 10 square inches for airflow.
Keep the gas lines routed away from sources of heat. Make as few bends as possible. The gas lines should be accessible when the grill is installed. Be careful not to kink the gas lines when lowering the grill and side burner into the cutouts.
The grill should be level after installation. Shim the grill as needed under the lip with non-combustible shims.
3. Safe LP gas connections
For plumbed-in LP installation, use a convertible regulator and set it for LP gas. The maximum line pressure is 14” WC and the minimum line pressure is 11” WC. Grills must be used with a gas pressure regulator. This controls and maintains a uniform gas pressure in the grill’s manifold. Important tip: attempting to operate a grill without an installed regulator could cause an explosion, fire and risk of death.
For installations using a LP gas cylinder the maximum fuel capacity is 20lbs. of propane or 5-gallons. Enclosures for LP cylinders require ventilation at floor level and at the cylinder valve level of not less than 10 square inches each.
4. Converting natural gas connections to propane is tricky
Most built-in grills will be configured for LP gas (propane). To convert the grill to natural gas will require the local gas company representative or a licensed contractor to make the conversion, hook up the gas line and install the required pressure regulator. The grill must be isolated from the gas supply pipe system by a manual shutoff valve. Check with the grill manufacturer to confirm no other parts need to be replaced for natural gas conversions.
5. Final assembly of the grill
Now is the time to install the main grill and side burner, connect the gas lines. Next, check for leaks with a non-corrosive leak-detection solution. Bubbles will show any leaks. Correct any leak found. Next install the sear plates, burner grates, and warming shelf. Connect the battery for the burner igniter. Check all screws and nuts for proper tightness one last time. Read all operation instructions provided by the manufacturer for operation of the barbecue grill and the installation is complete.