No doubt, fire pits add a relaxing vibe to your outdoor space and move your outdoor experience up a notch, still, your choice of fire pit fuel can impact your overall outdoor experience. The last thing you want to be dealing with is struggling to decide which fuel type is best for your fire pit. The fire pit fuel is an essential part of your relaxation experience and needs to be done right so things don’t go wrong on important nights you’re spending with loved ones.
Various fire pit fuels exist; while some enjoy the traditional feel of burning wood and hearing the logs crack in the fire, others find the smoke-free fire from a gas fire pit more endearing. Before buying a gas fire pit or installing one that uses wood to supply heat, there are various things to note to help you decide.
Important factors that impact your choice of fire pit fuel
Choosing the right fire pit fuel is a product of many decisions, and it’s important to consider how each factor affects you before deciding to purchase any type of fire pit. Some often find themselves at a loss for what to do, when caught up with challenges regarding fueling their fire pit. The following factors are important to note before deciding on the best fuel type for you.
The heat supply from propane gas and natural gas fire pit is often measured in terms of BTUs, based on information from your fire pit manufacturer and the specifications of your fire pit. For wood-burning fire pits, determining the BTUs supplied can be more challenging, as it would largely depend on the type of firewood being used and the quantity put in the fire.
So, if you’re particular about being able to control the heat supply from your fire pit, then it would be best to go for natural or liquid propane gas that could easily be controlled from your fire pit unit. Wood-burning fire pit can be a great option if you prefer an intense heat supply on a cheaper scale.
Another aspect that you can’t afford to overlook when choosing your fuel type is the smoke emission from each. For instance, propane fire pit gases often burn without any form of smoke emission. This is largely not the case with burning firewood, as it would give off smoke. The quantity of the smoke emission would also be determined by the type of wood used. Softwoods such as pines are prone to give off more smoke than hardwoods like oak.
Before you decide to settle for wood or gas fire pit fuel type, it’s important to be sure that there are no regulations restricting each type of fuel. In areas where exposed fire such as those from a wood-burning fire pit is prohibited, it strikes out any possibility of settling for a wooden fuel type. Also, for natural gas, there are regulations guiding how the supplies reach your home. It’s important to be familiar with all of these regulations before deciding to go for any of these fuel options.
Propane gas is a more neutral option, often requiring fewer regulations to use. Hence if your locality has strict regulations on the use of wood fuel or natural gas, the propane gas fuel for fire pit is a much friendlier alternative.
Most fire pits are designed to have specific fuel modifications. This means if your fire pit is designed to use propane gas, you could possibly modify it to use natural gas, but you can’t burn wood in it.
You have to be aware of any specification that comes with your fire pit, if you’ve purchased one or have a specific one in mind. Some people also prefer to choose a type they want and work with a technician to modify it for their fuel preference. While this is not a bad idea, it’s best to go with manufacturer specifications and the best expert opinion, before embarking on such projects.
Longevity of fire pit:
Since your choice of fuel type will impact the type of fire pit you buy, you need to think about the long-term use of the fire pit. While a wood-burning fire pit is flexible and can be easily operated as long as there’s a firewood supply, if you’re living in a region where it’s safe to use it, you’ve got to think about how long you’ll be using the fire pit. It becomes challenging to operate if you have to relocate to a region with stricter rules.
Propane gas fire pits offer more flexibility and can last a long time so long there’s a continuous supply of gas. Natural gas fire pits may not be as promising, especially if something goes wrong at the source of supply. For your fire pit unit to last long, you’ve got to use the best fuel designed for its use.
The fuel type to choose for your fire pit would also matter if there are health concerns around its use. If exposure to gas fumes or firewood smoke can adversely affect someone’s health, then it’s best to go for clean fuel that would not give off fumes or smoke. The only contact with gas fumes may be at the point of installation of gas after a refill, ensure that the person with health challenges stays away in such instances. When all is done and the air is clear, the person can enjoy the warmth from a propane gas fire pit instead of from a firewood-burning fire pit, which may be hazardous to the person’s health.
One aspect that could matter in your choice of fire pit fuel is your regional weather. How hot, cold, windy, or wet it gets can limit your choice of fuel type even if other factors are just right. You’ll agree that windy regional weather is not the best place to settle for wood fuel for many reasons. Where safety and concentrated heat supply is a priority, you definitely wouldn’t want to settle for wood burning. Of course, where intense wetness and nighttime heat are prevalent, woodburning wouldn’t fit in.
A propane gas supply that can be easily regulated, in terms of its heat supply and flame height, is just right for regions with extreme weather changes.
What to know about wood-burning fire pit fuel
Once in a while, the laid-back traditional feel of burning firewood may be all you crave. While it may seem not too modern, it comes with some side perks that may make it a more suitable option for some people. Some of these benefits include the following:
Unlike propane or natural gas supply, a wood fire pit can be a cheaper option—often why some people still prefer it. With more than enough wood lying around in the backyard of some owners, it makes logical sense to use it as a source of fuel for their fire pits than to purchase propane or install natural gas lines.
Freedom to cook/roast
Some propane fire pits often have cooking or roasting restrictions, since food droppings can clog the fire holes. However, with wood-burning fire pits there are no such restrictions and it’s easy to cook and roast all you want over a wood fire pit.
For people who love to spend time outdoors sitting by a fire pit, it could be challenging to run out of gas when you least expected it. This is often not the case with firewood as it’s almost readily available for most firewood lovers.
With all of the factors above in mind, it’s best to ensure that if you have to settle for burning firewood, you use only hardwood such as; maple, hickory, and oak. They burn hotter and often give off less smoke compared to softwood like pine and spruce. Generally, avoid any form of wet or green wood.
What to know about gas fuel type
Natural gas or liquid propane gas are more energy-efficient and contribute little to greenhouse emissions unlike wood burning. While they may be more expensive to install, they also have benefits that make them worthwhile.
Easy operation: Operating a gas-burning fire pit is much easier when compared to a wood-burning fire pit. With the turn of a knob or the push of an ignition button, you’re ready to get warmed up.
Stress-free use: Gathering and starting a wood fire takes time and expertise to master, but with gas fuel, this is not on your list of worries. This means you can enjoy warmth as often and easily as you want to, once you have a sufficient gas supply in your tank.
Wood fuel and gas fuel fire pits all have their exciting perks and not-so-exciting parts. As a user, you’ve got to assess all the factors listed above to determine the best fuel type that suits your needs.