The Joy of Grilling

A built-in grill keeps you cooking all year long

If you think about it, what could be better than a built-in grill in your backyard?

No running to the store to get your propane gas tank refilled at the last minute. No more struggling to get the charcoal to light and coaxing the coals to a heat high enough to cook over.

And installing a built-in gas grill is a lot easier than you might think, says Mike Frentz.

“We get lots of people in the store who want to do it and we tell them it’s really quite simple,” he says.

We’ll take you through it step by step right here and you’ll be grilling in no time.

Important Note: You must purchase a gas grill that is intended to operate on Natural Gas.

Give some serious thought to where you want to put the grill. Once you’ve installed it, you’re not going to want to move it so consider things like distance from the house and logical placement in relation to your patio or outdoor room. If you’re one of those who likes to entertain outdoors, you’ll want to be able to cook and visit with your guests at the same time. If you’re more of an indoor person, or you plan to use your grill year-round, you’ll want to think about installing it near the back door of your house or kitchen.

Getting started
“The first thing you need to do is mount the steel pipe base into the ground,” Mike says.

So here’s what you do.

You want to mount the steel post the grill rests on before you run the gas line to it. So dig a hole in the ground where you want your grill to stand. The hole should be about 2-3 feet deep and 12-inches wide.

Next, mix up about 100-120 pounds of cement, pour it into the hole and then set the pole in the middle. When you do that, the gas tubing coming thru the pipe should be situated about 6-inches below ground level and above the top of the cement.

Get connected
The next step is to set up your gas line to connect it to the tubing on the steel post. It’s time to move indoors to your basement.

First you want to turn off the gas at the meter. There may be two valves attached to the meter, so make sure you shut off the valve before, not after the meter.

“Next, go to the basement to find a location where you can tap into the gas line,” Mike says. “The most logical place is by the gas water heater or dryer.”

There you’ll find a Drip Leg where you can add a line in.

Often, you’ll see a scenario depicted in picture to the right where there is a fitting, shaped like a T, where the line splits off to the water heater or dryer. Below the tee is the drip leg and off the side of the tee is usually a valve. All you need to do is remove the drip leg, add a short nipple and tee and then put the drip leg back into the tee you just installed.

You’ll want to add an adapter that converts the pipe to a 3/8” flare. You'll end up with the set-up shown in the picture to the right.

The next step is to deal with running the line of copper tubing from your gas pipes out to your grill. Measure how much you’ll need to run the length from inside out to your grill. Frentz and Sons Hardware sells copper tubing by the foot in up to 60’-lengths. They’ll cut the tubing for you and even flare the ends and put a flare nut on each end to connect it all together.

Now, dig a trench about 6” deep from the steel post outdoors to the spot where you’ll run the gas line out of the house. That spot is where you want to make a hole through the basement wall. If your foundation is brick, concrete block or poured cement, you’ll want to drill at least a 1”-hole in the wall using a carbide tipped drill bit.

Now feed the copper tubing through the hole and connect one end to the gas line inside and the other end to the post outside. You will need a flare union to connect the tubing to the line coming from the grill.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll want to fill in the hole around the copper tubing going through the hole in the house using cement patch or duct seal to seal it up.