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Residential considerations when specifying a fire pit

Have you considered a fire pit for your balcony or backyard but were confused about the different options available or not sure where to start? No worries. We’ve put together a list of considerations to help you find the right fire pit for you.

Location always plays a significant role in the selection of a fire pit.  Many residential situations will call for natural gas as its running costs are quite a bit less than propane or bio fuel. However, the actual installation of hard piping gas lines can be a bit more complicated.  Running a line under a deck is not usually an issue but running it up and through stone pavers or a solid concrete deck can pose a challenge. Running a fire feature to the back of a long garden can add up if you have to run a gas line 50 or 60 metres.

With propane tanks, one has to figure out what to do with the tank. Can it be housed in a container or tucked around behind a bench or a bush?  Generally speaking, you can’t run a hose longer than 5 meters or 15 feet.  Can it run on top of the deck?  Yes, although not the most attractive, sometimes it’s the only solution.  

With biofuel, you have the advantage of not needing lines, hoses or the changing of tanks.  You do have to fill it up with liquid ethanol and generally you “burn” through the liquid each time you have the fire pit on. On the bright side, it burns much cleaner than propane and does not off-gas.  Therefore, it might be more suitable in situations where you don’t have a great deal of open air venting.  Open air venting is definitely required for natural gas and propane.  

For the lighting of the actual units, match lit burners, as seen below, are ideal for taking the guess work out of lighting.  You either have a skeleton key for gas and propane or a lighting wand for biofuel.  In the absence of either of these, children cannot light the fire pit.  Electronic versions with either a remote or a wall switch can be “flicked” on by children.   

Lighting a fire pit

Considering how the family will interact with the fire pit is a key consideration.  Do they intend to sit around it just for the effect, the conversation or the ambience?  Or do they intend to have dinner or drinks around it?  Does the fire pit need to function as a table when the fire pit is not in use?  When it is not in use does it look aesthetically pleasing or an eyesore when off?

Hemi 26" campfire experience

As a general rule of thumb, we don’t recommend glass shields for residential situations as they can be more of an attractant to kids than having no glass.  In commercial situations, the regulations often require it, but it can be overkill in a residential situation in our opinion.  Glass can definitely retain heat and cut down the effectiveness of heat transmission.  Think of it like a traditional campfire – having an artificial barrier in between the family and the fire is somewhat off-putting. Glass barriers can also add to the cost of the unit.  

Hemi 36 Linen Flame w glass

In terms of permits and regulations, residential situations are a little more relaxed, albeit this is changing over time from an insurance point of view.  It is always recommended that the fire pit have a certification standard be it CSA in Canada, ANSI in the US or CE in Europe.  The standard is only the start – from there look closely at the actual components themselves including the vessel or container.  Many products on the market will last for just a season or two and then you will be throwing them out – due to rust or broken starters or components.  Pretty much like anything else you can buy on the market – “you get what you pay for”.

Any questions? Don’t be afraid to call Solus Fire and Water 1877 255 3146 or visit