From campfires to bonfires, telling ghost stories to making s’mores, there’s nothing quite like gathering around the fire spending quality time with family and friends. Once limited to wood-burning fires created during camping trips or mountain vacations, fire pits have become a backyard staple in recent years.
While the scent and crackling of a wood fire can bring back memories, it requires a commitment. You need to make sure you have the firewood on hand, then start the fire and wait until it reaches peak burn to fully enjoy. And when you’re ready to end the evening, you either choose to extinguish the fire or wait until the fire has burned down to cooling embers to call it a night. And even then, it’s recommended that you extinguish the fire with water.
Outdoor propane gas fire pits allow you to have fire on-demand. Endless summer without dodging the smoke from a wood-burning fire? Sign us up. Want to have cocktails outside before heading inside for dinner? Did you promise the kids you’d roast hotdogs for dinner over the open fire? Or maybe you want to relax outside by the fire with your favorite beverage and a good book.
Much like a fire pit fueled by a natural gas connection, with a propane fire pit it’s all possible with a simple hook-up to a 20-pound propane tank and the flip of a switch.
If you’ve been thinking of adding a propane fire pit to your home’s outdoor space, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will help you to select, install, and safely use a propane fire pit.
Pros of Propane Fire Pits
Avoiding blowing smoke aside, a fire pit fueled by propane offers many other advantages over a wood-burning fire:
- Convenient Start and Stop: Most propane fire pits use an ignition system – electronic (hot-wire) or a push button (spark), while some allow for a match-lit start. When you’re ready to move on, simply turn off the flame to stop the flow of gas and extinguish the flame.
- Heat Control: A dial allows you to adjust the level of flame and heat. Propane gas fire pits produce heat ranging from 30,000 to 60,000 BTUs, with the average use at 50,000 BTUs.
- A Clean Burn: Propane burns clean. You won’t need to worry about soot, smoke, or ashes.
Size Up Your Space
Before you hit the stores or online searches, evaluate the space where you’ll place your propane fire pit. Safety should be your first priority.
It’s recommended that your fire pit be positioned at least 15 feet from your home or any structure such as a shed or cabana.
You can place it under an awning or other outdoor ceiling structure, but it’s recommended that the flame is at least 80 inches from the height of the covering structure. This is true for any overhanging tree branches. For patio umbrellas, the best practice is ensuring the umbrella is free-standing and no closer than 60 inches to the flame.
Make sure the it sits on an even, solid and non-flammable surface such as cement or stone or non-flammable deck material. Always have a fire extinguisher and water source nearby in case of emergency.
Choosing Your Propane Fire Pit
Now for the fun part, choosing your propane fire pit. Coming in all sorts of shapes (round, square, rectangular), materials (metal, cement, stone, ceramic, heat-resistant glass or concrete) and sizes, you have many options.
Think about how you’ll use your propane fire pit. Do you want one that allows for flexible use? Then choose a portable model, where the propane tank sits nearby and connects to the fire pit via a hose. If you’d prefer one that also serves as a piece of patio furniture, choose a dining table or side table model.
Fire Pit Bowls: These models best imitate the look and feel of a campfire. Made of concrete, stone or metal, propane fire bowls come in varying sizes that sit on the ground or tabletop. These are the most versatile since they look great on your patio but can also travel with you on camping trips or other outdoor excursions.
Fire Pit Tables: From side tables to large dining tables, there are many varieties to choose from. With a gas fire pit table the propane tank is enclosed in the tank holder area, out of sight for a clean, polished look. You can have dinner and continue to enjoy time with your guests all in one place.
Fire Pit Columns: Columns are a decorative way to add a fire pit to your outdoor space. You can gather around the column or place it in a corner to add warmth and atmosphere. Fire pit columns also use tank holders to hide the propane tank.
Most models come with a cover so you can choose whether or not to have the fire pit exposed while using the table and also protect the pit when not in use.
You won’t want to rely on only the stainless steel burner to create your experience. You’ll want to add a filler to help spread the heat and give the visual appeal of a coal or wood-burning fire. Choose from lava rocks, ceramic logs or fire glass. Change it up to suit your mood or the season.
Installation & Safety
Propane is very safe to use. Follow these safety precautions as you set up and enjoy your propane fire pit.
- Install your propane fire pit in a space with proper ventilation. Propane needs airflow to burn safely.
- Check for leaks. This is true the first time you set up your propane fire pit and every time you use it. Propane gas leaks caused by loose connections or damaged lines can lead to dangerous ignition.
- Clean and maintain your propane fire pit. Make sure the burner and connection pipes are free of clogs from dirt and other build-up.
Installing a propane fire pit in your home’s outdoor space will bring hours of relaxation and joy to you, your family and your friends.
If you have any questions about making the right propane fire pit selection for your home, we are here to help. Moyer is your comprehensive source for propane, offering residential and commercial propane services and delivery, including propane tankless water heaters and propane for pools. Learn more at emoyer.com/services/propane/ or call 215.799.2003.