No summer ever lasts forever. And as the winter draws in, you may find yourself retreating to the comfort and warmth of indoors, abandoning your backyard for the next eight months as the cold front creeps closer.
But what happens to a fire pit when the summer ends and your evenings are primarily spent indoors? Is it just left there to sit and rust, haunted by the fun memories of summer’s past?
No. Fortunately, that’s not the case. Even long after the summer is over, you can still make use of your fire pit. It’s entirely possible to embrace outdoor living and activities even when the temperature drops.
Fire pits are a great way of creating a focal point in your backyard and a feature that can be enjoyed and surrounded by friends and family.
If you want to keep these traditions alive during the winter months, you’ll need to know how to properly maintain your fire pit and how to protect it from the elements during the winter season.
The most effective way to protect your fire pit from winter weather is to invest in a cover for it. Many high-end fire pits will come with a cover already attached, but more affordable pits often do not.
Wood burning fire pits or “open” fire pits are more difficult to maintain during the winter, and should ideally be stored in a shed, garage, or another shelter during the cold months.
Many modern fire pits act as a 2-in-1 fire pit & outdoor table combination. These are ideal for winter use as the pit can easily be covered with the tabletop and utilized all year round.
Do fire pits burn grass?
It’s possible to place a fire pit directly onto a lawn and use it there. However, if the right precautions are not taken, the grass might suffer significant damage. To avoid this, it is recommended that a mat or other protective layer of material be placed underneath the fire pit.
You should also rotate the fire pit on a regular basis, water the grass before using it, and buy a raised fire pit with a spark screen. All of which will lessen the chances of your lawn being burned by the pit.
To further lessen the chances of your grass becoming burnt or damaged, you should find an area of ground that is completely flat and level, or as level as possible.
If you situate a fire pit on uneven ground, it probably won’t stand as intended, causing it to wobble and increasing the chances of it toppling over. An accident such as this is a serious safety hazard as it can lead to a fire breaking out in the garden or it could even injure one of your friends or family members.
An easy and cost-effective way of stabilizing your fire pit is by placing patio slabs or brick pavers under the legs. You can find these slabs at any good hardware store and can further help to protect your grass from becoming burned or damaged due to your fire pit.
Do fire pits keep you warm in winter?
Yes, they certainly can. But the best way to get the most heat out of a fire pit depends on the sort of fire pit you have. While both provide warmth, wood-burning fire pits and gas fire pits operate in quite different ways.
To get the most heat out of your wood-burning fire pit, start with dry, softwood firewood. Making sure the wood is dry will result in warmer, faster outcomes since it improves the surface area and allows more oxygen to reach the fire.
Furthermore, softwoods (wood from coniferous trees such as pines, spruces, and firs) produce the most heat. Softwoods are also easier to light than hardwoods!
Wood grates are another excellent choice for increasing the amount of heat in a pit. These are steel grates that are installed in the bottom of a fire pit to raise the wood and allow for increased oxygen and air circulation.
Gas fire pits, on the other hand, offer greater control over the size of the fire and are easier to start. They also produce the same amount of heat as a wood-burning fire, but without the ash and smell.
How do I protect my patio from a fire pit?
Because of its availability, affordability, and durability, concrete is one of the most commonly utilized materials for patio construction. During the winter or cold weather, wood-burning fire pits are primarily used to generate good heat, which is then used to keep patios and backyards warm.
Most gas and wood-burning fire pits have a wrought-iron, steel, or copper bottom that conducts heat and can burn anything placed beneath it that is heat-sensitive.
Although concrete is not flammable, it will burn if subjected to high temperatures. Concrete can be burned by both portable and permanent fire pits, causing it to expand and crack.
You should never use a fire pit directly on your patio or wood deck. It is the quickest way to destroy your outdoor space, and you risk causing damage to more than just your property.
Ensuring that you take the correct safety precautions when using a fire pit on a patio or a wooden deck will keep you as well as your friends and family safe. The best way to do this is to invest in a genuine, high-quality fire pit mat to keep the heat away from direct contact with your surface.
Heat-resistant mats also aid in the collection of ash and other debris, making it easier to clean your patio. Above-ground fire pits also have the advantage of portability and the ability to keep heat from damaging your surfaces.
How do you winterize a fire pit?
When you return to utilize your fire pit, rain and snow might make it difficult to light. The most important measures you can take to winterize your outdoor fire pit is to make a conscious effort to keep it clean and dry all throughout the winter months. Here’s how to do it:
- Remove any rubbish and debris from your fire pit so that it does not corrode or become clogged throughout the winter.
- Cover your fire pit with a weather-resistant cover that fits snugly. During the winter, this keeps damp and leaves out of your fire pit. For the greatest results, select a cover that precisely fits the dimensions of your fire pit.
- Turn off the gas and the power to the fire pit.
What do you put under a fire pit?
The heat emitted by a fire pit is normally between 1,000 and 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is enough heat to kill your vegetation and harm your deck.
So, in order to keep the grass under your fire pit from becoming burned, or your deck from developing burn marks, you must take precautions to preserve your backyard surfaces.
You should start by making sure that your fire pit is sitting on top of a heat-resistant surface of some kind. You could easily purchase a hardboard made of cement, landscaping tiles, concrete, or any other heat-resistant material to place beneath a fire pit on grass or your valuable deck.
These non-flammable, heat-resistant materials will absorb a significant amount of heat, shielding your surfaces from the heat of the fire pit. Alternatively, you can create an elevated platform to place your fire pit on, to prevent your backyard surfaces from becoming damaged or scorched.
Brick pavers are heat resistant and robust enough to survive excessive heat temperatures, so you can rest assured that your grass will be safe.
If you don’t have pavers at home, you can buy them cheaply. However, keep in mind that if a fire pit is placed on an elevated site, it may topple over, so proceed with caution.
What should I put at the bottom of my fire pit?
Learning what to put in the bottom of your fire pit takes more planning than you may have considered. This is mainly because there are so many different materials to choose from. Here are the most popular materials that people choose to put at the bottom of their fire pits:
- Lava Rocks
- Fire Pit Glass
While there are a few different types to choose from, arguably the most sensible choice would be sand. This is because it is relatively cheap, easy to install, and provides an excellent heat shield. You can find super-cheap sand suitable for use in a fire pit here.
However, if you have a slightly bigger budget, we recommend opting for Lava Rocks. Lava rocks are intended to be placed at the bottom of your fire pit. They are not only visually appealing, but they are also extremely tolerable to heat.
You don’t have to worry about them cracking, fracturing, or exploding like other stones! “Lava rocks” are often made of obsidian, which is formed from magma- so you can rest assured knowing that these rocks will never explode in your fire pit.
Looking to get your hands on some cool Lava Rocks? We recommend checking these out.
Why is my firepit Smokey?
There could be a number of causes for a smokey fire in your fire pit. Here are some of the most common reasons why you may be getting more smoke than warmth from your fire pit.
- Moisture Buildup – The most prevalent cause of a smoky fire pit is moisture. In a fire pit, only well dried and stored wood should be utilized. Moist wood is frequently the result of improperly stored wood. Water evaporates and turns into smoke when the wood is burned. When you use yard trash in your fire, you run the risk of having too much moisture in the fire.
- Debris or Waste – Due to the increased risk of smoke pollution, yard waste should never be used as kindling in a fire pit. While it may seem simple, yard waste or trash can contribute to increased smoke and pollution. Instead, use correctly dried kindling to establish the framework for a high-quality, low- or no-smoke fire.
- Type of Kindling – The type of wood you’re burning can also contribute to the production of undesired smoke. Green Pine is well-known for its ability to produce a lot of smoke as well as a lot of soot.
If smoke is an issue that is particularly bothersome for you, you could always consider investing in a smokeless fire pit. These use natural gas or propane gas and work just as well as ordinary wood-burning fire pits.
However, thanks to the use of gas and propane, these smokeless fire pits do not produce any polluting smoke. They are also less regulated than typical fire pits. We also prefer that gas or propane pits burn cleaner and that the fire can be quickly extinguished.