Keeping Outdoor Fires Safe in Winter
RESIDENTIAL OUTDOOR FIRE PITS AND PIT TABLES
There is no need to stay chilly or remain stuck inside during the cooler months. A nice cozy propane or gas fire pit or table is just the trick to keeping you, your family and your guests warm and entertained in your outdoor living room.
Fire pits and tables come in lots of sizes and styles that will suit your individual needs. Enjoy picking and choosing a style that is right for you but make sure you make the correct choice of fuel source for your fire pit or table.
What’s in a Fuel?
Fire pits and tables can use wood (the classic fire pit fuel) as well as propane and natural gas. Each source has its own pros and cons to consider. The following is a short list of considerations to be made:
Wood is inexpensive and can give off a pleasing scent depending on the wood type. The crackle of the fire is appealing but can also be dangerous if the fire “crackles” too much. Wood burning also gives off noxious smoke that is toxic to the air and to those sitting too close to the fire. Lighting the wood can be tedious and difficult at times. Extinguishing a wood fire can be tricky as areas of the burned wood may still be hot enough to ignite if the right conditions are present. The remaining ashes must be periodically cleaned from the fire pit or table in order for it to work correctly. If you do choose a wood burning fire pit or table, be sure that it is out in the open and away from buildings and other flammable materials. Of all the fuel sources, wood burning is the least safe.
Propane is a non-toxic natural fuel used to power gas grills, appliances, heaters and more. Propane is easily available at hardware stores and some grocery stores. Propane comes in canisters of 20lbs, which can be attached to most standard hookups. Propane does not give off noxious fumes or smoke. Propane is a clean burning solution that is portable. Many fire pit tables have compartments within them to store the propane tank – hiding it from plain site and keeping the aesthetic look of the outdoor living space. An average 20lb propane tank will fuel a fire pit or table for about 12 hours, just be sure to monitor the flame strength. Propane must be replaced periodically and is a safer fuel source than wood. Again, be sure that it is out in the open and away from buildings and other flammable materials.
Natural gas is also a non-toxic natural fuel used to power stoves, ranges and other items within the house. To use natural gas for your outdoor fire pit or table, you will need to have the area plumbed with a natural gas line to the fire pit table. This means you need to be sure you want your fire pit or table placed where it is! Plumbing a line for natural gas will require a permit from the Town of Sahuarita to determine pipe size, burial depth, and location before the work can start. While this may take some time and more money to install, in the end, you will have an endless source of clean-burning fuel to your fire pit or table. There are no canisters to replace or hook up. Natural gas as a fuel is as hands-free as you can get and is safer than wood.
Most people choose propane as their fuel of choice as it allows for the most flexibility (you can move your fire pit or table to a new position in the backyard if you’d like) and is a cost effective and safe source of fuel.
For whatever you choose, your fire pit or table will be a source of great entertainment for years to come. Choose your fuel well and enjoy!
The Planning and Building Department is dedicated to providing a safe environment within the Town. If you have any further questions, please contact us at 520-822-8866 or visit our website at http://sahuaritaaz.gov/planningandbuilding.