Editors note: Many firepits don’t come with decent instructions - our thanks to John Ansart of Chimineas.com for the following guidelines.
Fire Pits and Portable Patio Fireplaces are becoming increasingly popular. Their popularity has generated an influx of new styles, designs and materials from the leading outdoor fireplace manufacturers. With their popularity increasing patio fireplaces are appearing more and more in a wide variety of retail stores from home center chains to grocery stores and specialty shops and catalogs. Unfortunately some retailers both on and offline do not provide comprehensive use and care instructions vital to the safe and fun use of their outdoor fireplace.
Our use and care instructions are simply a guideline based on our experience. These are not meant to supersede but enhance the use and care instructions you may have received with your outdoor fireplace.
If after reading these instructions if you still have questions please be sure and contact the retailer who sold you your firepit or the manufacturer directly before use!
Selecting a Firepit
There is a large selection for firepits on the market each with its particular pros and cons. Here are some things to think about when selecting your firepit.
-If your firepit will be traveling with you it is a good idea to purchase a model which breaks down easily and is relatively light weight.
-If you will be using your firepit as a centerpiece for your patio a “dish” or “bowl” design which is viewable from all sides works best.
-If you select a “bowl” or “dish” style be sure it has a screen dome or cover to help prevent flying sparks.
-Be sure to consider the firepit size if you intend on burning fireplace size logs.
-When purchasing a model with a grill be sure there is a tool included to lift the grill from the firepit when you are done cooking so you may enjoy the open flame.
Before you purchase your outdoor fireplace/Firepit be sure and consult your local fire Marshall. Patio Firepits and outdoor fireplaces are for OUTDOOR USE ONLY and should NEVER be burned indoors!
In most cases assembling a Firepit or Patio Fireplace is relatively easy since in many cases they are portable. So unlike a cast iron chiminea which is very heavy and should be assembled close to where it will live the patio fireplace or firepit can be assembled indoors.
Be sure to read ALL of the instructions. I know your new firepit may seem simple to assemble however sometimes the order of assembly must be followed exactly or you have to revert back to step one and undo what you have accomplished.
When assembling fastening nuts and screws we suggest you leave them a little loose and finish tighten when you have completed the assembly of the component parts.
If you plan on using your patio firepit at home in more or less a permanent location it is important you select a firm, level, and immovable surface. We do not recommend placing your patio firepit on a deck.
Remember: ALL patio firepits are for OUTDOOR USE ONLY! Never have a fire in your firepit indoors or anywhere there is an overhang! Be sure to keep you’re Firepit away from your house, railing or anything else that could potentially catch fire. Be sure the area above your firepit is free of tree limbs, overhangs or anything else that could potentially catch fire.
If your firepit will be traveling with you camping etc. be sure to follow the same guidelines as those for home use.
Your first fire(s)
Just like a new grill it is a good idea to have a few fires before you use your firepit for cooking. This is more important with those units which have enamel or painted finish.
Never use gasoline or other petroleum based accelerants to get the fire going! Fat wood or our fire starter works best! Never touch your firepit while it is burning or even immediately after the fire is out. Keep children and pets a safe distance away from the firepit.
What should I burn?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions. There are several types of wood which work great in firepits and a few that are absolutely detrimental to your health. The size of the wood will vary depending on the size of your firepit. We recommend using wood which fits within the unit and does not protrude out of the top. For shallow models the logs may protrude above the rim but be sure they do not cantilever over the sides.
Do Not Burn
Pressure treated wood emits toxic gasses when burned. A good rule of thumb is that if it has a greenish tint it may be pressure treated. If you are not sure DON’T burn it! Old railroad ties or any wood treated with paint, stain creosote etc should not be burned. Again if you are not sure what type of wood it is or DON’T burn it!
Types of wood to burn
There are several types of wood that many people love to burn however extra caution is needed.
Eco Logs is hands down the BEST wood to use. This product is manufactured from the dust of hardwood floor manufacturing companies and is compressed into logs at 80,000 PSI. These logs come in packs of 8 and are very inexpensive but burn much longer and with much larger flames than some of the fake logs you see in the supermarket or local home center. There is no paraffin used to hold the logs together so they burn slower and better!
Red Cedar has a nice aroma and keeps the mosquitoes away however it has a tendency to “pop” therefore be sure and have a spark arrestor in or on the neck and a screen over the mouth.
Mesquite is an excellent cooking wood for those who intend on using the firepit for cooking but it burns very hot. Be sure and use only a few pieces at a time. Although mesquite is noted for its ability to thrive in near drought conditions, this culinary wood is best known for its qualities in smoking meat. Chefs, regardless of culture or location, hail mesquite as the only option for smoking brisket. For firepit users mesquite gives steaks an incredible flavor. *Remember Mesquite burns hot so limit the number of pieces.
Scrap lumber is a popular fuel for firepits however dry pieces of pine and spruce 2"x4"s, 2"x6"s etc burn fast and hot. This type of wood can be easily split into small kindling.
Green or wet wood causes a lot of smoke, which may annoy neighbors.
Pinion Pine both smells great and wards off mosquitoes. This makes it probably the most widely used firepit wood.
Apple is harder to come by but it is an excellent firepit wood. Apple has a wonderful aroma.
Alligator Juniper - New Mexico Alligator Juniper - This traditional firewood will provide a unique aroma in your firepit, fireplace, chiminea, or stove.
Hickory - Who doesn’t love the traditional taste of a tender ham smoked with some good old-fashioned Hickory? Try using Hickory in your firepit for some great tasting burgers. Just about any fireplace wood can also be used in a firepit. Be sure it is seasoned for a more pleasurable experience.
The maintenance may vary depending on the type of material your firepit is made from. Ideally you should remove the ashes from your firepit the day after you use it.
Some models may require occasional painting. Ask your local paint store representative which paint is best for your type of firepit.
Storing your Firepit
If you intend on leaving your firepit outdoors it is a good idea to cover it to protect it from the elements. BE SURE your chiminea is completely cool before covering it!
Some models come with a lid however it should still be covered.
Although firepits in general do well in adverse weather conditions it is a good idea to store it in a shed, garage or indoors during the off-season.
General safety tips:
Although most people are conscientious we always provide a few “common sense” tips just to be on the safe side.
-Always have a fire extinguisher handy when burning.
- Be aware of children and pets.
-Never leave your fire unattended.
-Do not touch the outside of your firepit while it is in use.
-Do not extinguish your firepit fire with water.
-Do not burn on a wood surface or any surface which is flammable.
-Be aware of your surroundings!
We hope that the preceding information will help you to enjoy your firepit to its fullest!
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