I know you have already felt it: a coolness settling into the summer night and the darkening of our faithful blue sky arriving earlier and earlier. With summer coming up too quickly with a cool fall soon on the way, it’s time to light up the fireplace and prepare for increasingly cold temperatures. But don’t start batting down the hatches just yet! With the ever-increasing popularity of outdoor fire pits, you can stretch out those summer and fall nights in comfort, and enjoy the beauty of nature a little longer and a lot warmer.

Now… how do you know which type of fire pit best suits your needs and lifestyle? Should you use wood or gas? What shape or design should you look for? And more importantly, how can you make sure your new outdoor roasting fire is maintained and used safely? A fire pit isn’t exactly a fireplace or a campfire: it’s a different animal entirely. That’s why we’ve included important tips for differentiating between types, shapes, functions, and costs, as well as crucial safety tips for your fire pit.

· Permanent or Portable?

Before you even begin researching outdoor fire pits, you should first check your city or area ordinance to make sure they allow fire pits, what type of fire pits, and what the safety parameters are. Once this is done, your first step is to decide if you could benefit more from a portable fire pit or one that is permanent. Portable fire pits are usually made of lightweight metal (Mexican fireplaces are made of clay or cast iron) and have a round design. These come with wheels for easy on-the-go activity as well as for use on the patio or in the backyard. With this versatility, you can move your fire pit to the deck, patio, different areas of the backyard, or garage with ease. Another invaluable advantage is that you don’t have to leave the heat roasting at home. Take it to the truck or SUV for the annual camping trip or take it on the road to a follow-up party. Because portables are made of lighter materials and require no installation to use, they’re the most cost-effective and hassle-free way to beat the post-summer chill – whether on the road or in your backyard.

The permanent fire pit (or specifically designed garden or patio fire pit), also known as a stationary or custom fire pit, is made of stone, brick, rock, or concrete; and for most, they are the most aesthetically pleasing addition to a patio or backyard. Custom built fire pits should be raised 1 to 2 feet off the ground and have a median road diameter of approximately 36 inches for wide use and safety. Like portables, you can choose between wood or gas to heat your desired area, but most products have a specific power so be sure to double check before you buy. In general, custom-built fire pits are much more expensive, due to the professional installation, attention to design, and strong, durable materials that are required; but it will last you a lifetime (with proper and regular maintenance), and will certainly provide an equity increase in the value of your home.

· Design and Form?

The design and shape of your outdoor fire pit generally depends on whether you opt for portable or stationary outdoor fire pits. Most of the time, laptops will be made of metal or copper, have a large round bowl design, and sit on a metal stand. The wood will sit in this container, or if you opt for a gas connection, ceramic logs or fake coals, and the removable protective screen will sit on top. As mentioned above, laptops are more about functionality than design, so your options are somewhat limited. Fireplaces also fall into the portable category, looking like an old-fashioned wood stove, but because they are smaller and allow much less heat to radiate, they are less practical. Custom or permanent fire pits, on the other hand, come in a myriad of shapes and designs, due to the fact that you are installing the unit professionally. You can typically find these devices in round, square, or rectangular configurations depending on the material of your choice (brick, stone, wood, or concrete), and they come equipped with a built-in steel mesh liner and metal cabinet doors to enhance protection when not in use.

· Wood or Gas?

Both portable and permanent fire pits will require wood, gas, or both. If the fire pit you have in mind prefers wood exclusively, it is very important to find out what type of wood. Some fire pits will exclusively burn regular wood logs (aged wood is always a better choice over new or green wood), so you’ll only be buying the same type of cords you’d buy for a fireplace. To avoid safety risks and general maintenance of your fire pit, you should never attempt to burn pressed wood or fire logs (quick start wrapped in paper). The reason is; that because the logs are made of sawdust materials, they will burn more than a handmade fire pit for wood can handle. However, some fire pits will offer the versatility to burn wood, chipboard, and logs; in its security specifications. Just remember that unlike regular wood, only one log should be burned at a time. Also keep in mind that if a fire pit’s specifications allow chipboard, you’ll be able to burn somewhat comparable logs. The alternative to a wood fire is a gas connection. Gas will burn cleaner than wood, use ceramic logs and fake coals, and can give you an almost lifelike look and warmth for your ride or patio. The only problem with gas outdoor heating is that it requires closer and more constant attention, due to its unlimited supply of flammable 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 cost effective solution for your outdoor heating. Depending on the different features and supplies that the portable comes with, it will typically range from $150 to $500. This is due to the fact that your portable fire pit is constructed of lighter and therefore less durable materials for easier transportation. transportation; and it doesn’t require the costly installation that a permanent or custom fire pit requires. Portables are the perfect investment for people who want a low maintenance, outdoor fire; but you can’t afford the solid structure of a custom build, or you have yet to find a relatively permanent home to properly reap the long-term benefits. Custom or permanent fire pits will require all-weather resistant materials such as stone, brick, concrete or wood; and generally require a space in your backyard that is 15 to 20 feet wide. Due to its lifetime permanence and the variety of backyard landscaping needed, professional installation is quite labor intensive and can cost you thousands. However, it all comes down to your particular situation. For most homeowners, the lifetime durability and projected use typically outweigh the cost. But if cost is an issue, portables are the quick, easy, and cost-effective solution to your outdoor heating whims.

· Hazards and Safety Precautions

We all love a good fire, but it is crucial to remember that it is a fire; And if we don’t take proper safety precautions and adhere to specific fire hazards, your fire pit could get out of control and lead to property damage, illness and possibly death.

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s and professional installation expert’s specifications and direction for which power source to use.
  • Fire pits should not be used in apartment buildings or multi-unit home decks due to clearance issues.
  • Make sure your perm is installed a good distance from your house and anything combustible (usually your installer will automatically mention this common sense issue, but if not, make sure it’s a good ten feet away).
  • Be sure to place your portable fire pit at least ten feet from the house, various backyards, and trees—that is, anything combustible. Also, with portable fire pits, you need to assess the location based on wind patterns and therefore where the smoke will blow.
  • Do not overfill your fire pit with wood or wood substitute; or on the contrary, excess gas. Keep the fire small, contained, and manageable.
  • Always use a screen cover to keep sparks and embers at bay.
  • You need to consider how low to the ground your fire pit is. Raised 1-2 feet from a non-combustible surface it will keep a small to medium fire a safe distance away, but remember it’s the perfect height for unsuspecting and curious children and pets, so close supervision is crucial.
  • Always make sure your fire is completely out before letting it out of control. Even with the proper safety distance, a spark can turn into a raging fire in a fraction of a second, reaching every corner of your deck and backyard in no time.
  • It is also essential to get a fire extinguisher, because otherwise you are playing with fire.
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