How To Install A Built In Barbecue Grill

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Installing your own built in barbecue grill will add a wonderful accessory to a backyard, patio, or deck. They make a great conversation area for parties and gatherings. And, for most men, there is nothing more primal or satisfying than grilling over an open fire.

Today’s built-in barbecue grills are a far cry from the backyard kettle barbecues of the last century. Today’s offerings include accessories such as: brick or stone enclosures, side burners, rotisseries, pizza brick trays and infrared burners. With so many options for fuel, enclosures, and accessories, choosing which grill to buy may be 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.

Make Certain The Barbecue Grill Is 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 from any combustible material. There should be at least 6-feet clearance above the grill hood to any patio roof, lighting or other combustible material. Do not locate the grill under a sealed overhead structure. Choose a location that provides adequate ventilation for the grill on all sides. Check with the local building department or homeowner’s association before installing the grill.

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Barbeque Grill Installation

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 a 110V power cord it must be supplied with a dedicated 15A outlet with a GFCI breaker 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, make certain the opening is not 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. Check the grill and make certain it is level after installation. Shim as needed under the lip with non-combustible shims.

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 the gas pressure regulator, which controls and maintains a uniform gas pressure in the grill’s manifold. Attempting to operate a grill without an installed regulator could cause an explosion and possible 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.

Natural Gas Connections

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.

Final Assembly

Install the main grill and side burner, connect the gas lines and check for leaks with a non-corrosive leak-detection solution. Bubbles will show a leak. Correct any leak found. Next install the sear plates, burner grates, and warming shelf. Connect the 9-volt battery for the burner igniter. Check all screws and nuts for tightness one last time. Read all operation instructions provided by the manufacturer for operation of the barbecue grill and the barbecue grill installation is complete.

Last Updated: May 27, 2012
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About Bill Washburn William "Bill" Washburn has a BA in advertising from the Art Center College of Design and has taught at the University of Southern California and Northrup University. Writing from a well-connected studio in the rural foothills of the west coast, he is a frequent speaker at local art associations and has published numerous articles discussing periods of art history and the fundamentals of drawing and painting. William is a master gardener who grows his own culinary herbs, organic heirloom vegetables and a variety of fruits. He writes frequently about his gardening experiences on his website Pioneer Dad. He is an accomplished advertising writer, fine art painter, and art director with more than 20 years' experience. 

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