For those who would like to start enjoying their patio a little earlier in spring and a little later in the fall, a fire pit could prove to be just what they need. Whether it be a gas fire pit, a fire pit table, or a chiminea, there are many different types and fire pit designs to choose from. There are a few things, however, that need some thought before actually choosing a fire pit.
Where on the patio will it be located? If it is to be centrally located then a round design would be suitable. It should be made so that it can be viewed from all directions and all those who are sitting around the fire pit or on an outside bench can enjoy watching the flames as well as feeling the warmth. A centered fire pit should also have a screen or cover so that flying sparks or embers won’t be a problem.
Is the fire pit to be used for cooking as well as warmth and relaxation? Before cooking on it, the fire pit should have several fires built in it. This will burn off any “new” residue, enamel, or paint and will also give the cook an idea of how hot and fast it burns.
Will it be a gas fire pit or a wood burning one, and how large an area will it be placed in? Area size will be important in deciding how large a unit is necessary and what size logs will be needed to burn in it. If wood is the fuel of choice, choosing a type of wood that is recommended for fire pit use and isn’t dangerous to a person’s health is important. Also, the pieces of wood should be cut to fit within the fire pit unit and not stick out over the sides or top.
There are lots of different woods that can be used in fire pits or chimineas. Hickory is a popular one because it gives such a wonderful taste to meat and other foods cooked in the fire pit. For keeping mosquitoes and insects away, Red cedar is a good wood to use. Mesquite burns very hot, but is also very popular for cooking meats. It gives them a tantalizing smoked flavor. Some other woods that are used especially for their wonderful smell are apple, pine, and juniper. Of course, the practical person might prefer to burn scrap lumber in their fire pit, which is fine as long as they remember that it burns very fast and they should never burn treated lumber, as it can emit harmful gases.
Safety is always an important factor to consider when using fire pits, fire pit tables, chimineas, or gas fire pits. Here are some rules of thumb to go by:
- Never use a fire pit on a flammable surface.
- Never use water to put out the fire in a fire pit.
- Never leave the fire unattended.
- Keep children and pets a safe distance from the fire pit and always know where they are.
- Always have a fire extinguisher nearby.
- Never place flammable items such as tables, umbrellas, outdoor benches, towels, and so forth near the fire pit.