What To Know When Considering A Backyard Fire Pit
For those homeowners that miss their fireplace during the summer months, you’ll often find them entertaining with a backyard barbeque or around the fire pit. Yes, it is true that a fire pit needs to be constructed. However, it offers an addition to your backyard that can only be matched with a deck. It is so much more luxurious than just a grill.
When considering the acquisition of a fire pit, you should consider the style, size, materials of which it is made, the available space, the cost, and local ordinances. Some municipalities ban open fires.
Of course, there’s a plethora of other issues to consider when determining whether or not to purchase a fire pit. They include:
- The cost
- Whether you want a permanent pit or a portable one.
- Whether to select a wood-burning pit or a gas-burning one.
- Selecting the style of the pit
- Where to place the pit.
- The ambiance around the pit
- Safety issues
- Fire pits and homeowner insurance
What’s The Cost?
Of course, the first thing on your mind is whether or not you can afford the expense. Fire pits can cost as low as $100 if you opt for something basic. In fact, you can be a fire pit kit at a local hardware store. If you feel energetic, then you could tackle the construction of a pit on your own. In this case, the cost will vary up to several thousand dollars, especially if you intend to add seats and other amenities.
A Permanent Pit Vs. A Portable Pit
As mentioned, you have a choice. A permanent fire pit can be designed and constructed to coordinate with the colors, style, shapes, and materials you already have in your yard.
There are pre-packaged kits that include everything you’ll need for a pit and still be permanent. Of course you can have a fire pit designed and constructed.
The portable variety can be moved to different locations of your property. Commonly, portable fire pits include a fire bowl that is made of copper, steel, or cast iron. There are also fire tables that use propane or natural gas to fuel the fire. Chimeras pits are freestanding and include a chimney-style vent.
Placing The Pit
If you opt for a portable fire pit, then you’ll need a fire-resistant surface on which to place it. Such surfaces come in metal, pavers, or bricks. It is not suggested that you place a portable pit directly on grass or a wood deck because embers flying from the pit could start a fire.
Municipal authorities require that a permanent fire pit be placed at a minimum of 10-feet from your house and neighbor’s yard. Some municipalities don’t require a permit if the pit fits within a particular sized space. Others demand that the local fire department inspect the site where you intend to put the pit to ensure safety. There are also communities that may ban wood burning fire pits. It’s best that you check with your locality to see what their rules are pertaining to backyard fire pits.
A Wood Burning Pit Vs. A Gas Burning Pit
The fuel commonly used on a fire pit includes wood, propane, or natural gas. If you like the rustic sound of a wood crackling fire, you may prefer the wood-burning pit. For this type of pit you will be required to keep logs on hand.
Natural gas or propane has the benefit of providing an instant fire without the need for logs. Of course, there is not the crackle and smoke that one experiences with a wood fire. A propane pit will feature an attached tank. A fire pit that works on natural gas will need a gas line run from your home to the pit.
The Ambiance Around The Pit
You may want to use a fire pit in the evening after the sunsets. So you will want lights around the area. Light posts or overhead strings of lights would suffice. However, be sure that the string of lights is not over the fire pit. If you use light posts you may have to consult with an electrician. However, you can avoid that by using energy-efficient LED lights that can be plugged into
a nearby outlet.
Of course, whenever you burn a fire there are safety issues you must abide by
- Observe wind direction when starting the fire.
- Don’t use flammable fluids including gasoline, lighter fluid, or other substance to light the fire.
- Don’t wear flammable or loose-fitting clothes.
- Keep children and pets about three feet away from the pit.
- Don’t use soft woods including pine or cedar because they can throw sparks as they burn.
- Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose or bucket of water close by.
When you’re finished with the pit be sure to properly dispose of the ashes. It is suggested that you wait for the ashes to cool and then put them in a metal container and splash water on them.
Fire Pits And Homeowners Insurance
A fire pit can increase the value of your property. So it’s advised that you increase the coverage limits of your homeowner’s insurance. You should also review the policy’s liability coverage to determine if it protects you if a guest is burned or otherwise injured when near the pit. It is also possible the policy may offer coverage for repairs should the fire from the pit damage your neighbor’s property.
Regardless of whether your insurance policy does or does not cover the pit, it may be wise to notify the insurance company that you have a fire pit. If the policy does cover the pit, then not notifying the insurer may affect whether you will be covered should an accident occur.
If you decide on a portable fire pit, contact your insurance agent to see if you can add it to your policy.
If you are a resident of Mercer County, New Jersey and you’re considering adding a fire pit to your backyard, you can trust the experts at Mercer County Chimney Service to provide you with information on fire pits. Moreover, the company can build the pit for you should you decide to have one.
Mercer County Chimney Service also offers chimney services including chimney cleaning and maintenance and chimney inspections. The staff also has the knowledge to repair any chimney damage. It also offers fireplaces, inserts, and stoves.
For more information call Mercer County Chimney Service at (609) 802-5288. Or visit the company website.