Cool and Unique Fire Pits
A fire pit can provide a warm and inviting ambiance year-round. If you’re considering adding a fire pit to your backyard, you may have questions about the different types of options and styles. There are a lot of unique fire pits and this post will provide you with a better understanding of the differences between gas and wood-burning fire pits and their pros and cons.
If you’d like to check out a really neat DIY tabletop fire pit that I made, click here.
Things to Consider about Wood Burning Fire Pits
Installation & Experience
If you want a wood-burning fire pit, you’re going to need a frame to hold the wood. The frame will need to be made from materials that can withstand high temperatures, like metal, stone, brick, or concrete. The pit needs to be big enough to hold large logs. If you’re in a suburban area, you’ll want to check with your city to see if there are any requirements on the distance the fire pit needs to away from a dwelling. If you like the distinct smell of a campfire and the sound of crackling logs, a wood fire pit would be the best option for you.
Convenience & Maintenance:
Wood-burning fire pits can take longer to light and reach a desirable level of heat. You’ll also need to clean out the ashes every so often to keep your wood-burning fire pit in good working order. Additionally, a fire pit that hasn’t been cleaned of soot, ash, and logs, can cause issues later with creosote. Creosote is a tar-like substance that can produce harmful chemicals, and can damage your lungs.
Fuel & Burning Options:
Obviously, a wood-burning fire pit requires wood. Not just any kind of wood, but dry seasoned wood. If you use wet wood it’s incredibly hard to light, and will create lots and lots of smoke and release significantly less heat. If you have wood lying around, but you’re not sure if it’s wet or dry, use a moisture meter. I use this moisture meter and it works great! I’ve been very happy with it. Wet firewood is considered to have a moisture content of over 20%.
Healthy, Safety, and Environmental:
A wood-burning fire pit may not be ideal for people with asthma or breathing conditions due to the output of smoke. Additionally, if you live in a dry climate, wood-burning fire pits emit sparks that could spark a fire outside of the pit itself. It’s best to have a fire extinguisher nearby just in case. I personally always have a few cans of ‘cold fire’ around the house. I like ‘cold fire’ because it’s easy to use. It’s similar to a spray paint can and it also doesn’t create a huge mess. You can also just make sure to have a garden hose nearby if you have one long enough to reach the pit from the water spicket.
You’ll need somewhere to store your wood while also keeping it dry. Additionally, it’s important to store wood away from your home because of the potential for termites. I recommend using a ‘Firewood Log Rack with Cover’ like this one. It’s inexpensive and gets the job done.
Unique Wood Burning Fire Pits
The Best Smokeless Fire Pit: Solo Stove
Things to consider about Natural Gas & Propane Fire Pits
There are a lot of different and unique fire pits that run on gas. While gas fire pits are convenient, they certainly do not put out as much heat as a wood-burning fire pit. Natural gas firepits are typically permanent since it will be connected to the natural gas pipes in your home. This can be a benefit as it’d likely increase property value. If you’re not wanting something that’s permanent, a propane burning fire pit would be sufficient.
Convenience & Maintenance:
Gas fire pits are much easier to light and they maintain a consistent temperature. They typically have a simple button you press to ignite the flame and then you flip the switch to turn it off. You don’t have to worry much about maintaining a gas fire pit as it doesn’t produce soot or ash and there’s nothing that you’d need to clean out.
Fuel & Burning Options:
A gas fire pit requires propane or natural gas. Depending on the type of gas fire pit you choose, you’ll have to option of hooking up a small propane tank to the unit, just like you would with a grill. Other gas fire pits will require a gas line to be connected which a professional would need to install. Also, a gas fire pit will be more efficient than a wood fire pit because you can control the amount of fuel you’re using.
Healthy, Safety and Environment:
One of the benefits of a gas fire pit is that it can be controlled and contained much easier than a wood-burning fire pit. It doesn’t emit sparks or embers. Additionally, I recommend looking for a CSA-certified gas fire pit. A gas fire pit that has been certified by CSA simply means that the fire pit has passed safety tests including temperature, rain, and wind testing. Gas burning fire pits also burn much cleaner than wood.
One nice feature about gas fire pits is that you don’t have to worry about storing wood. Depending on the type of gas fire pit you have, you may be able to put a cover over it when you’re not using it to keep it from getting dirty and to protect it from the elements.
Unique Gas Burning Fire Pits
Finally, a quick note on fire pit safety
First, check with your city to see if they have any codes or ordinances related to fire pits. Many counties require a minimum distance of 15ft from any building or dwelling. It’s best not to light a fire when wind speeds exceed 15mph. Do not use a wood-burning fire pit on a deck or enclosed patio. I also recommend that you keep a hose, or fire extinguisher within reach at all time in case something gets out of hand.