If you're planning a diy fire pit project here is our 11 point checklist. Building a diy gas fire pit is not complicated, but make sure you've got the following points covered.
- Is My Fire Pit Project Subject to Local Codes?
- How Much Gas Do I Have?
- Is my Fire Pit Burner Rating Compatible with my Gas Supply?
- Have I set the burner out of the wind?
- Is My fire pit enclosure ventilated?
- Are the gas jets in my burner facing up?
- Do I need an air mixer valve?
- Does my fire pit structure have drainage?
- Do I have an Emergency Shut Off Valve?
- Have I followed the manufacturers' instructions?
- Are the burner and tray manufactured from stainless steel
Is My Fire Pit Project Subject to Local Codes?
Whether it's a diy project or you have a contractor doing the work for you, the project may be subject to local codes. To quickly discover if your fire pit project will be subject to local codes you can contact your local Fire Dept. because these are the guys who will be signing off on the project when it is done. Find your local Fire Dept. here.
If you don't do this, you may buy equipment that does not comply with the Codes in your area and will be unacceptable to the inspector!
How Much Gas Do I have?
At the heart of every good fire pit is the gas supply. Whatever gas source you choose, you need to establish how much gas it can deliver to your fire pit. You will need to consult a qualified gas technician to calculate how much spare capacity your system has, and what size gas line you will need to run to your fire pit. You can find your nearest National Fireplace Institute gas technician here.
If your domestic gas supply or gas storage tanks do not have any spare capacity, then you could use the small ( 20 lb ) propane tank option
A 20 lb propane tank has about 400,000 Btu's / per hour maximum output. Therefore if you want to use a 100,000 Btu rated burner, the gas bottle will empty about 4 hours. Choose a 50,000 Btu rated burner and the bottle will last about 8 hours.
Remember a bigger burner will not give you a bigger flame unless you can supply it with sufficient gas
Is my Fire Pit Burner Rating Compatible with my Gas Supply?
At this point, your Gas Technician will have given you a Btu figure or range available from your gas source. Now you can order one of the many burner kits on the market, ensure that the Btu rating of the burner matches or is within the Btu range your Gas technician gave you. We would also recommend utilizing a burner pan to simplify the whole installation process.
Have I set the burner out of the wind?
It is highly recommended to set the burner at least two inches below the top of the fire pit structure to protect the flame from the wind.
Is My fire pit Enclosure Ventilated?
All fire pit structures must be ventilated. The minimum requirement is 18 square inches of ventilation located on two opposite sides of the fire pit enclosure. ( 36 square inches in total ) These vents can be configured as one large vent each side or several smaller ones as long they total 18 square inches each side. Vent covers should be installed to prevent the little critters getting into the fire pit structure.
The objective here is to create 'through ventilation' of the fire pit structure.
For propane installations, these vents should be located as low as possible in the structure.
Are the gas jets in my burner facing up?
We have yet to encounter a fire pit ring manufacturer that recommends the burner be installed with the gas holes facing down! Gas holes pointing upwards, please!
Do I need an air mixer valve?
If you have a propane system, then you must install an Air Mixer Valve at the base of the burner. ( Not required for a Natural Gas fire pit )
Does my fire pit structure have drainage?
When it rains, water inevitably will get into the fire pit enclosure. Ensure that you provide an efficient method for the water to drain out.
Do I have an Emergency Shut Off Valve?
All fire pits that do not feature electronic ignition systems with a flame sensor and automatic gas cut off must be fitted with an Emergency Gas Shut Off or Key Valve.
The Key Valve must be located in an easily accessible position on the fire pit structure.
Have I followed the manufacturers' instructions?
Always follow the manufacturers instructions!
Are the burner and tray manufactured from stainless steel?
Outdoor fire pits have a tough life with the weather and extreme heat of the burner. Black steel products might not even last a season before they start rotting. Make sure your fire pit burner and tray are manufactured from stainless steel. The best manufacturers warranty their stainless steel burners and pans for at least five years!