Given our temperate climate, many Tallahassee-area residents barbecue throughout the year. Not only does barbecue cooking taste fantastic, but alfresco cooking—and dining—lets us spend more of our valuable time enjoying the fresh air and open spaces of our respective yards.
But why settle for a barbecue grill and picnic table when you can replicate the functionality and entertainment value of your home’s kitchen and dining area outdoors?
Many Floridians are doing just that by upping their open-air cooking game with outdoor kitchens. Developing outdoor kitchen space can be as simple as adding more cooking and meal prep options to your barbecue area or as elaborate as constructing a complete functioning kitchen and entertainment area with features designed to protect them from the elements. Of course, the configuration of your outdoor kitchen will depend on your desires, budget, and home and property layout.
Whatever you might be planning, the electrical technicians at Tallahassee’s Meeks Electrical Services will recommend that you consider your electrical needs before starting any project work. Along with potential plumbing needs, safe electrical power is instrumental in ensuring the optimal functionality of your outdoor kitchen. The best means of determining your outdoor electrical needs is by consulting with a residential electrical contractor. Your contractor can help guide your planning by navigating you through all the considerations we’ve highlighted below.
Running extension cords from the house to your outdoor kitchen is not an effective or safe means of delivering electrical power to your appliances and other electrical equipment. Your outdoor kitchen should be wired to the house with 220V wiring rather than the standard 110V used inside, and outdoor outlets should also be 220V with GFCI protection.
Thus, one of your first considerations is where you’re going to run your wiring from the home’s electrical panel or breaker box to the outdoor kitchen. Once you’ve established a clear path, you’ll need to determine how much electricity your outdoor kitchen will demand and where the wiring will need to run.
While you might be planning to conduct most of your cooking with a grill or smoker with no electrical demands, what other appliances and electrical equipment will make your outdoor kitchen ideal? Consider the possibilities:
Most of these appliances and equipment will need outlets, but you’ll want to directly wire any lighting and ceiling fans. You might also need outlets for additional kitchen tools such as blenders or food processors. Despite roofing or other weather-protection features you might be planning with your outdoor kitchen, we suggest you purchase appliances, equipment, and furnishings specifically designed for outdoor use.
Before starting work on your outdoor kitchen, ensure you have secured the necessary permits for the job. Depending on the project’s scope and who’s doing the work, these can include construction, electrical, and plumbing permits.
Don’t underestimate your need for lighting and cooling your outdoor kitchen area. Effective lighting should illuminate all cooking and food prep areas and provide accent lighting options for the rest of the space, particularly the outdoor dining area. You might also consider illuminating potential safety hazards such as steps and deck edges.
While air conditioning isn’t viable for your outdoor kitchen, you should consider adding ceiling fans to covered areas, especially over the cooking area. Our summers are hot, and the heat from outdoor cooking can make it stifling.
If you’re interested in setting up an outdoor kitchen, consult with the residential technicians at Meeks Electrical Services. We can address its electrical power needs. Our experts can assess your planned design with the home’s existing electrical infrastructure to ensure safe and effective wiring and powering of its appliances and other electrical features. For all residential and business electrical needs in the Tallahassee area, contact Meeks today at (850) 575-3201.