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It's not too Early to Spice up your Summer

by Jon Nunan

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Everyone likes a Cookout (But those who have them LOVE their Gas Grills) HomeAdvisor.com, a nationwide resource matching homeowners to contractors in their area, has provided customer feedback concerning an extensive list of projects. Surprisingly (or maybe not), the biggest winners in the satisfaction department weren't kitchen or bathroom remodels; according to SM statistics, homeowners who hired a contractor to install a new gas grill in the past year unanimously agreed that they would recommend this project to others. That's 100%, people, and that's not easy to do.

Why so Wonderful?
So, why are homeowners so happy with their newly installed gas grills? Well, for starters, there's a good chance that many of these folks are seriously into outdoor entertaining; who isn't delighted when they make an investment they will actually use? However, we think that the incredibly positive homeowner responses to this project go a little deeper than a few happy hobbyists.

The fact is there are an increasing number of reasons to stay indoors. TVs are bigger, the internet is faster, traffic is worse; sometimes it seems like even the weather is more unpredictable! With all of these indoor enticements, having a good reason to spend time outside and a focal point around which to gather provides a very exciting break in the routine. Even if you aren't the type to grill every week, it's easy to see how having the tools in place to have an impromptu cookout when you feel the need can be a pleasant addition, especially in the winter when enjoying the outdoors is at its most difficult!

Once your gas grill is installed, you can have that feeling of cooking out any time you want. Unlike charcoal or wood, gas grills that are connected to a utility line are ready to go in minutes (plus, you never need to worry about how much fuel you have left). Gas grills are also healthy; grilling is a healthy way to cook to begin with, but when you take out the smoke created by charcoal or wood, your food becomes even healthier.

Gas Grills and "Barbecuing"
There are those in the outdoor cooking world who will quickly point out that "grilling" and "barbecuing" are two different things; those same folks will also say that the latter cannot be done on a gas grill. While it is true that slow-cooking over charcoal or wood is probably the hallmark of "barbecue," there's certainly something to be said for having a grill that never runs out of fuel, is as easy to operate in the winter as it is in the summer, and is very economical in comparison to purchasing wood or charcoal fuel. A cookout is what you make of it, and with the busy lifestyle most of us are accustomed to, the convenience of a natural gas grill makes for more opportunities to grill (and, if you know what you're doing, the flavor of grilled food leaves little to complain about)!

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Gas Grill Prices and Considerations
HomeAdvisor's stats indicate that the average cost of installing a natural gas grill is about $205 nationwide (note that this cost is for natural gas grills that must be hooked up to a utility line, not a grill that runs on propane in a container). The price of the grill itself can vary dramatically; many models can be purchased for under $500, but prices can also go well over $1,000.

It's true that many areas of the country are currently too cold for any but the most prepared and hardy grillers to get a few meals in, but one of the best reasons to start considering installing a gas grill in the middle of winter lies in savings. In the same way that winter coats and ski equipment go on sale when the weather gets warm, companies who specialize in grills and grilling equipment often offer deeper discounts during the winter off season. Since contractors who specialize in outdoor projects like grill installation and deck or patio work are also in the off season right now, you may be able to get an even bigger discount! If you've been planning on purchasing a grill anyway, doing it while it's still cold outside could save you 10-15% or even more!

Outdoor Kitchens
The increasing popularity of outdoor kitchens is a testament to just how much Americans love to cook outside, and at the heart of every outdoor kitchen is a good grill. When complimented with counter space, storage areas, seating, and maybe a sink, a simple grill can become the centerpiece in a great place to entertain friends and family. Though certainly more costly than a grill alone (depending on how complex your outdoor kitchen is, it can run anywhere from $1,000 to over $10,000), the convenience of having all the necessities you'd find in an indoor kitchen outside can make the grilling experience even better!

Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.