Investing in a propane fire pit comes with all the good feelings you can imagine and more. A well-situated fire pit can increase the value of your home by some extra thousands, not to mention the priceless value of the happy moments you spend around it with loved ones. While taking the step to equip your outdoor space with an eclectic propane gas fire pit is a superb one, there are important factors to keep in mind.
To make the best choice of propane fire pit that's well-suited for your home, here are 9 important tips to inform your decision-making process.
1. Placement of the fire pit
Consider what part of your home you'll be setting up your propane fire pit. As much as you can, ensure that you choose a well-aerated space where the fire pit can function without inhibition. Enclosed places can lead to a build-up of CO and CO2, which can be toxic to the health. Additionally, choose this space in terms of your preferred fire pit features, as it may largely influence the height, shape, and dimensions of the propane fire pit you settle for. Propane fire pits come in a variety of designs, so you can always settle for what works with your available space. If you don't have sufficient space for a fire pit table, a propane gas fire bowl can be a great alternative and can be easily paired with a bistro set for conversation and outdoor relaxation. Don't forget to choose a position away from a dry bush or low-hanging tree branches for safety if you'll be installing it in a garden.
2. Shape of the fire pit
Propane gas fire pits are designed in various shapes to suit the needs of different home and business owners. You'll always have ample options to work with for different parts of your home if you have a large space. The hack is to look to your existing décor for ideas on the perfect fire pit shape for your space. For instance, a round propane fire pit table can be great if you have more circular elements outdoors, as this makes it blend nicely into your existing design. The shape will determine the range of the heat supply and how many people it can warm conveniently.
Here are the available fire pit shapes and their advantages.
Round propane fire pit
This works great if you’ll have more people sitting around the fire pit. It makes for easy heat distribution and makes it easy to see the faces of everyone around the table. It’s the ideal shape for a round-shaped patio or garden.
Square fire pit
If you’re more interested in intimate conversations around your fire pit, the square fire pit is a great option to go for. It brings everyone sitting around it close and is great to warm 4 people comfortably.
Rectangular fire pit table
The rectangular fire pit table is ideal to host a large family or guests outdoors to an alfresco dinner. It supplies ample heating surface to everyone, including additional surface to wine and dine comfortably.
Height is another critical factor to consider and is centered around how you'll be using the fire pit as well. A decorative gas fire pit may not require so much detailing once you've decided where you'll be positioning it; you just need to be sure it's at an optimal height for that space. However, for more functional fire pits, the height will determine how you sit around the fire pit and the kind of chairs that would be paired with it. Dining height fires within elbow reach are typically within the range of 29", while a chat height fire pit table can be around 24" height.
A lower fire pit of less than about 23" in height, with ledges to place your drinks can work for lower chairs, like your lounge chaise. A column fire pit may also be suitable if you want something tall for aesthetic reasons. Before purchasing your propane fire pit, think about the many different ways you'd like to use your propane fire pit, and you can work around choosing a height that works for that purpose.
If you already have chairs that you want to pair with your fire pit, then they will be the standards guiding the height of your fire pit. You don't want to end up with a fire pit that looks out of place from your other furniture pieces or one that feels awkward to sit around.
4. Propane Tank size
Yes! This is an important one, as the tank size can largely determine the frequency of your refill trips. If you don't intend to use the fire pit daily, probably you only need it on those special days you'll be hanging out with family outdoors, the regular-sized 20 lbs. propane tank might work. However, if you want something that would last you for daily use, you might need to request a larger propane tank if you're buying a pre-built propane fire pit.
Another alternative would be to work with a larger-sized tank that will be positioned separately and will supply gas to your burner via a hose. If you don't have a separate place to keep a gas tank, then you may have to settle for whatever size that comes hidden within the compartment of your choice fire pit.
5. Size and use
As described earlier, your fire pit size is also worth determining. Think in terms of how big or small you want it to be. Average sizes are often between 36-45", while conspicuous designs which are often of larger sizes of more than 45", are usually the major statement piece on any patio, such as this large Sonder Bronze Rectangular Fire Pit. Smaller sizes of less than 36" can add up as part of the decorative elements of your outdoor setup. If you prefer a small fire pit, you should have a loof of this Sonder Primitive Fire Table. The design plan you're working with and how you intend to use the fire pit can help inform the size you settle for.
Also note that the larger-sized propane fire pits are more expensive than smaller-sized ones, so your budget also matters when choosing your fire pit size. The size also determines the amount of surface available for the fire area and also the extra surface to hold items. A propane fire pit table will be generally larger than a regular fire pit. How flexible do you also want it to be? You may not be able to change the position of a large fire pit as frequently as you can with a smaller-sized fire pit, and it's also important to think about this.
6. Determine surface type
Propane gas fire pits come in a variety of options, the most popular being fire bowls and fire tables. What kind of surface do you want your fire pit to have? More room for the fire area or more surface to wine and dine? This means you can decide to settle for a table and a fire pit in one unit or a gas fire pit with ample room for fire, with or without ledges to hold drinks and other small items. If you already have an outdoor table, then you need a standalone fire pit unit. If you've been considering what table to bring into your space, you might as well settle for a Wicker Fire Pit Table that brings you all the functionality you need in one unit.
7. British Thermal Units (BTUs)
This describes how many units of heat are required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by 1 Fahrenheit and is the standard for measuring heat supply. So how much heat supply would you want your propane fire pit unit to give off? To decide, think about the range you'll want the heat supply to reach. Your choice may largely determine the size to settle for. Additionally, it impacts the size of the flame that comes from your fire pit burner. A portable propane fire pit can supply up to 14,000 BTUs, and medium-sized ones can give off up to 20,000 BTUs.
8. Local fire regulations
You will need to familiarize yourself with the fire regulations in your locality. Areas prone to wildfires may not support any form of open fire, and this could mean no gas fire pits in such areas. Other localities may have less strict laws on open fire, with specific guidelines on the flame size and specific must-haves before purchasing a fire pit table. All of these are important to find out before purchasing your gas fire pit. Some localities may require you to get a permit to install a fire pit using natural gas, but you may not need to go through that hassle with a propane fire pit.
Every day, manufacturers come up with various designs with different materials for fire pits. This also leaves you a choice to determine the best material that works for you. A lot of work goes into determining the materials used in the fire pit bowl or table. Fire pit tables are mostly a combination of different materials, ranging from tabletop finish of reinforced concrete, glass, aluminum, tile, and more. The body finish could also be of steel, rattan, or ceramic. You could look further into details like the shape of the burner, the fire accessories; fire glass, ceramic river or lava rock, ceramic log, etc. All these details may be important to help you choose the best style.
Fire pits are great for achieving the perfect outdoor ambiance that you'll always look forward to. Beyond deciding to buy, you must take the effort to look at these 9 things to make a perfect choice. It's a great way to ensure value for your money and a propane fire pit that matches your style.