The Ingenuity of Fire Pits: Tips on Buying, Using, and Safety Precautions

I know you’ve felt it before: a chill sinking into the summer night and the darkening of our faithful blue skies that come earlier and earlier. With summer fading too quickly into an approaching and chilly autumn, it’s time to light the fireplace and brace ourselves for chilly and cooler temperatures. But don’t start slamming the hatches just yet! With the ever-growing popularity of outdoor fire pits, you can comfortably stretch out those summer and fall nights and enjoy the beauty of nature a little longer and much warmer!

Well…how do you know what type of fire pit best suits your needs and lifestyle? Should you use wood or gas? What shape or design should you pay attention to? And most importantly, how can you ensure your new cozy outdoor fire is maintained and used safely? A fire pit isn’t quite a fire pit, and it’s not quite a campfire: it’s a whole different animal. That’s why we’ve put together important tips for distinguishing between type, shape, function and cost, as well as important safety tips for your fire pit.

· Permanent or portable?

Before you even start researching outdoor fire pits, you must first check the city or zoning ordinance to make sure they allow fire pits, what type of fire pits are in place, and what the safety parameters are. Once that’s done, you must first decide whether you can benefit most from a portable or a permanent fire pit. Portable fireplaces are typically made of lightweight metal (Mexican fireplaces are made of clay or cast iron) and have a round design. These are equipped with wheels for easy on-the-go activities and for use on the patio or in the garden. With this versatility, you can easily move your fire pit to the deck, patio, various areas of the backyard, or in the garage. Another priceless bonus is that you don’t have to leave the cozy warmth at home. Pack it in the truck or SUV for the annual camping trip, or take it out on the road to a big party. Because portable devices are made from lighter materials and require no installation to use, they’re the most affordable and uncomplicated way to beat the late summer chills: both on the go and in your backyard.

The permanent fire pit (or purpose built backyard or patio fire pit), also known as a custom built or stationary fire pit unit, is made of stone, brick, rock or concrete; and for most, they are the more aesthetically pleasing addition to a patio or backyard. Custom fire pits should rise 1 to 2 feet off the ground and be approximately 36 inches in diameter at center street for adequate use and safety. As with portable units, you can choose between wood or gas to heat the area you want, but most products are energy specific so check before you buy. All in all, custom built fire pits are much more expensive due to the professional installation, attention to design, and heavy-duty, long-lasting materials required. but they will last a lifetime (with proper and regular maintenance) and will undoubtedly add value to your home.

· Design and shape?

The design and shape of your outdoor fire pit usually depends on whether you choose portable or stationary outdoor fire pits. Most often, the portable devices are made of metal or copper, have a large round shell design, and sit in a metal stand. Wood is placed in this bowl – or, if you choose a gas connection, ceramic logs or artificial burning coals – and the removable protective grille is placed on top. As previously mentioned, wearables are more function than design, so their options are somewhat limited. Wood-burning stoves also fall into the category of portable wood-burning stoves, which stand out for their antique wood-burning stove look, but are less practical because they’re smaller and emit far less heat. On the other hand, custom built or permanent fire pits come in a variety of shapes and designs since you are having the unit professionally installed. Typically, you’ll find these units in round, square, or rectangular configurations depending on your material of choice (brick, stone, wood, or concrete), and they come with a built-in steel wall and metal case doors to improve protection when not in use.

· Wood or gas?

Both portable and permanent fire pits require either wood, gas, or both. If the fireplace you have your eye on uses only wood, the most important thing is to find out what type of wood it is. Some fireplaces only burn regular firewood (stale wood is always the best choice over new or green wood), so you simply buy the same type of cord you would buy for a fireplace. To avoid safety hazards and general maintenance of your fire pit, never attempt to burn any pressed wood or firewood (paper wrapped quick starters). The reason for this is; Because fireplace logs are made from sawdust, they burn hotter than a fire pit made from cordwood can handle. However, some fireplaces offer the versatility to burn firewood, compressed wood, and firewood; in its security specifications. Just remember that unlike regular wood, only one log should be burned at a time. Also note that if a fire pit’s specifications allow for pressed wood, it will be able to burn somewhat comparable logs. The alternative to the wood fire is a gas connection. Gas burns cleaner than wood, uses ceramic logs and artificial burning coals, and can give you an almost real look and warmth for your trip or patio. The only catch with gas powered outdoor heating is that it requires more attention and constant attention due to its unlimited supply of combustible energy.

· Costs?

Cost is always an important factor to consider when looking for an outdoor fire pit. Portable fire pit units are the simplest and most affordable solution for your outdoor heating needs. It usually ranges from $150 to $500 depending on the different features and accessories that the wearable device comes with. This is because your portable fire pit is made from lighter and consequently less durable materials for easy portability; and does not require the costly installation that a permanent or custom built fire pit requires. Portable fire pits are the perfect investment for people who want a low-maintenance outdoor fire; but either you can’t afford the solid structure of a custom-built home or you have yet to find a relatively permanent home to reap the long-term benefits. Custom or permanent fire pits require durable, weatherproof materials such as stone, brick, concrete, or wood; and typically require a space in your yard 15-20 feet wide. Because of their lifelong permanence and the varied needs of backyard garden design, a professional installation is quite labor intensive and can run into the thousands. However, it all depends on your particular situation. For most homeowners, lifetime durability and projected usage usually outweigh the cost. But if cost is an issue, portable units are the simple, inexpensive quick fix to your outdoor heating whims.

· Dangers and safety instructions

We all love a good fire, but it’s important to remember that it’s a fire; and if we do not use proper safety precautions and adhere to certain fire hazards, your fire pit could spiral out of control causing property damage, illness and possible death.

  • Always follow the specifications and instructions provided by the manufacturer and installer for the power source to be used.
  • Fire pits should not be used on apartment buildings or apartment building decks due to clearance issues.
  • Make sure your permanent installation is installed a good distance from your home and anything combustible (usually your installer will automatically invoke this common sense issue, but if not, make sure it’s a good ten feet away Has).
  • Make sure you place your portable fire pit at least ten feet away from your home, yard, and trees, meaning anything that is combustible. Also, portable fire pits require you to assess placement according to wind patterns and where the smoke is blowing.
  • Don’t overfill your fire pit with wood or wood substitutes; or vice versa, overgas. Keep the fire small, contained and manageable.
  • Always use a screen cover to keep sparks and embers away.
  • It is necessary to consider how close your fire pit is to the ground. Raised 1-2 feet from a non-combustible surface will keep a small to medium sized fire at a safe distance but remember this is the perfect height for unsuspecting and inquisitive children and pets so close monitoring is crucial.
  • Always ensure your fire is completely extinguished before leaving unattended. Even with the right safety distance, a spark can turn into a raging fire in a split second, reaching every corner of your patio and garden in no time.
  • It is also a must to get a fire extinguisher otherwise you will be playing with fire.