The most functional outdoor kitchens feature sinks with faucets to make BBQ and pool party cleanup easier. One of the biggest benefits of having an outdoor kitchen is the way it helps keep your indoor kitchen spotless. The benefit is lost if you have to drag dirty, charred dishes and pans back inside to wash.
Here are 3 things to consider when choosing an outdoor sink:
The main uses of the sink
Some outdoor kitchen sinks are deep, double versions ready to tackle an army's worth of dirty cups and plates. Another outdoor kitchen sink/faucet combo will be mainly used to dump ice and make mixed drinks in a wet bar setting. Still another sink is designed with a cutting board/drain combo to help you prep ingredients for outdoor meals. You have your choice, so choose based on your needs rather than solely on looks.
You also must decide whether you will need hot water or not. You may want an on-demand hot water heater specifically for the outdoor kitchen, or you may set up a solar hot water heater if your outdoor kitchen gets enough sunlight. Waste water from the outdoor kitchen is another concern. Waste water can be tied back into your home discharge lines or can be set up as a gray water drain that feeds your flower beds or garden.
Knowing how you will use your outdoor kitchen sink will help you or your plumbing professional narrow down the type of sink and faucet you need. You can custom design a tall faucet and sprayer/stainless steel sink combo or buy a ready-made wet bar or grill sink fitted with a faucet.
The water source
Outdoor kitchen sinks in temperate climates should be fine for use year-round, but any plumbing in a frigid winter environment will need to be situated properly to reduce the chance of freezing or burst pipes.
Any exposed pipes are at risk of freeze damage, so the best bet is to situate your outdoor kitchen sink up next to an exterior wall of your home where there are water supply pipes already running. You can attach the outdoor plumbing to the indoor lines through a hole in the wall which you then seal and insulate.
If there's no way the sink can be close to your existing plumbing, you can run pipe from the sink to the home plumbing by burying your water lines under the frost line. This will tear up your yard any time the pipes must be accessed, but will help you tie a distant sink into the potable water supply from the home water lines.
Another option is to use a hose and fittings to feed your outdoor sink. The hose may be connected to your outdoor spigot or another water source. If you're prepping food or washing dishes with the water, install filters on any outdoor faucet fed by a well, rainwater or a nearby pond to protect faucets from sediment and people from contaminants in the water.
Winterizing your faucet
In areas with warm winters, it may be possible to avoid freezing outdoor kitchen pipes by heating the space on colder nights. In areas with bitter winters and subject to deep freezes for extended periods, you want to drain all of your outdoor faucets and pipes so there's no water in them to freeze, expand and bust the pipes.
When using a hose as your water source, simply disconnect the hose and shake the water out. Remember that many freeze-proof outdoor spigots only work when the hose is not attached. Buy quick-connect fittings for hoses if you use them often and don't want the hassle of unscrewing cold water hoses every time.
You can protect outdoor plumbing lines with heated tape run along the length of the pipes if you plan to keep using the outdoor kitchen year-round. Insulating and heating any lines in sink cabinets or above the ground is also a good idea. There are a variety of products on the market that are easy to wrap around small sections of pipe.
An outdoor faucet is a handy kitchen accessory in your patio or grill area. Your plumbing professional regularly installs and repairs outdoor kitchen faucets and is the best source for advice and reliable service on any of your home sinks. Contact a company like Tonka Plumbing Heating & Cooling Inc if you're ready to have an outdoor sink installed or need to have your current outdoor fixtures repaired.