Oh Those Warm Nights...
There is nothing more inviting than the ambiance and warmth of a fire pit on a comfortable summer night. Fire pits nowadays don’t have to be these bulky or obstructive objects. So many makes and models allow for different sizes and some of which can be used in any setting. The first question to ask yourself is “do I want a gas or wood fire pit?” After answering this question, the next thing to consider are the precautions to consider for safe operation.
Wood Fire Pits
Wood fire pits require a structure that can withstand the high temperatures that the flame creates. Some people opt to dig a hole and surround the enclosure with retaining wall material such as cultures stone or brick. These materials are perfectly suitable for a wood fire pit. Other types of wood fire pits make use of tempered metal designed to withstand high temperatures. Fire pits should never operated in a homemade metal enclosure. It doesn't matter how educated you are in metal work; a hot fire can melt even the most heat resistant metals. It is highly recommended that you purchase an actual metal fire pit designed for the use of a fire.
Placement is one of the most important considerations for safety. Choose a surface that is stable, flat and most importantly non-combustible; for example: bricks, gravel, paving stones, or concrete. Decks or porches are certainly not good options as a hot drifting ember can set wood ablaze. There are other options for wood surfaces (see gas fire pit below). A wood fire pit of any type should never be placed underneath a roof, canopy, or low-hanging branches. Wood fire pits need clearance to breath. If you are wanting to place a fire pit under a covered area, then a gas fire pit would be a better solution. It is a good idea to keep the wood fire pit 10 or more feet away from any structures.
Gas Fire Pits
Gas Fire Pits have taken the fire pit industry by storm in the last 10 years or so. Gas fire pits have become extremely affordable and exist in all shapes, sizes, styles, and for different applications. Some gas fire pits are built for assembly and contain a stand or surround. These fire pits are designed for use in almost any setting. With the exception of low enclosures, gas fire pits can be used under coverings such as canopies, stacked decks, and patios (refer to your manual for clearance requirements). There is also a new type of fire pit that has entered the market that can be placed on any type of surface. One product I particularly prefer is the Napoleon Patioflame. This fire pit is completely transportable and can be purchased for natural or propane gas.
Choosing the burner ring size will determine the size of flame. Some people think that the larger the ring, the larger the flame. This is a myth. Often times a smaller ring contributes to a more concentrated, thus larger flame. This is of course dependent on the gas pressure and gas line throughput. A natural gas flame with always be larger than a propane flame. However, propane allows for easy installation and mobility.
Whether it be wood burning or gas burning, a fire pit creates an inviting gathering place. Now more than ever, having a fire pit in your backyard is attainable with the many options on the market today.
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