Your 21 Point Checklist
We all like to save money where we can, so much so that the DIY ing has become a multi-billion industry .
However, there are times when perhaps it's better, read safer, to pay a little more and buy professionally made equipment. This is never truer than when dealing with gas. So unless you are a Certified Gas Professional we would always recommend buying purpose-built equipment and having a professional install it.
This doesn't mean you can't build a fire pit, far from it, but purchase the important parts, the tray/pan, the burner, and connection kit, then hire a professional to connect it up!
With that in mind, here are 21 tips or things to consider when you are planning/building your gas fire pit:
- If you have constructed a tray or pan to put your burner and fire glass in, do ensure it has adequate drainage in the bottom of the tray/pan. This also applies to fire bowls. Otherwise when it rains, water will collect in the bottom of the tray/pan and rise up above the level of the holes in the burner. Worse still water could then get inside the burner. This could prove to be dangerous when you come to light up the fire pit later on. Provide plenty of drainage holes in the bottom of the pan/tray. Do not light a gas fire pit that is not throughly dry around the burner/tray.
- The overall structure of your fire pit should have through ventilation built into it. That means ventilation on two opposite sides at or near the bottom of the structure. The recommended minimum is a total of 36 square inches of ventilation, which is divided between two opposing sides of the structure.
- It is always best to use a Certified Gas professional to connect up and approve the gas part of the installation. Test all gas connections, smear washing up liquid over the joints and turn on the gas, then look for any bubbles forming, which shows there is a gas leak from that joint.
- Never use broken ordinary glass as fire glass, wine or beer bottles for example, it simply not safe. Like Gas Fittings, Fire Glass is not something you should skimp on.
- For outdoor fire pits, we always recommend you use stainless steel trays/pans and fittings. Preferably 304-grade stainless. Ordinary steel will be rusted badly within a year. There are some manufacturers that use aluminum for their pans and trays which is also very durable along with a few fire pit burners that are made from brass.
- Do not compact fire glass or lava rocks, just lay them gently in the fire pit, as per the manufacturers' instructions.
- Using some form of cover or lid over at least the burner/tray when not in use will add years to the life of your fire pit.
- If you are using propane, you will need an air mixer valve. This is attached to the base of the tray or burner. Make sure the arrow on the side of the valve is pointing in the direction of the gas flow. ( Towards the burner / tray )
- Do not put a screen between your burner and your fire glass, creating a cavity and a possible build-up of gas!
- If you are running a gas feed from your house supply, make sure that you are providing enough gas to get a flame. The further from the house the larger diameter gas pipe you need. ( See No 3 ) Minimum should be 3/4” diameter, and for longer distances, you may need to use 1 - 1 1/2" diameter. See our guide to gas feed pipe sizes here. It is very important to make sure that the your gas supply can deliver enough gas for the BTU rating of you chosen burner.
- Ensure you choose a suitably sized burner for the size of the fire pit you are building. e.g Our linear burners are fitted into a 6” wide fire tray. Over 6” wide and you should choose an ‘H’ burner to spread the flame over a wider area of the fire pit, otherwise, the overall effect will be a bit of an anticlimax. This also applies to circular fire pits and is why we have single, double and triple ring burners, to spread the flame over a larger area.
- Do not ‘bury’ your spark ignition probe in fire glass, allow a little air space around it to allow it to light. If necessary use a small piece of metal mesh (stainless of course) to build a small cage around the probe. Then cover that with your fire glass.
- Do not use porous rocks on any fire, they could explode.
- Always install the burner beneath the fire glass. ( You wouldn’t believe some of the things we’ve seen )
- You must always incorporate an easily accessible safety valve in your fire pit design. It should be located in an easily accessible position on the fire pit structure.
- Ensure any capping stones or tops, stone walling etc. being fitted around the fire pit are not too close to the heat source otherwise they may crack if they get too hot. Remember that fire glass will radiate heat as well as the burner.
- Flat drop in trays should be installed below the top level of the structure, not flush with the top ( to retain the fire glass, and protect the base of the flame from the wind )
- Do not use any combustible materials near the heat source in the construction of your fire pit. Fire pit burners radiate a lot of heat.
- Ensure drop in trays/pans are installed level, this is in regard to the way the gas flows out of the burner holes as well as for water drainage purposes.
- Remember if you have a small flame, you won't get a bigger one with a bigger burner because bigger burners need more gas. See if you can increase your gas flow to the existing burner to get a bigger flame.
- Do not cook on gas fire pits that are not properly designed for that purpose.