We know that deciding which fire feature is the right fit for you can be confusing. To make your selection process easier, we put together a list of the most common questions our customers have. If you don't find the answer to your question below, reach out to us here and we will be happy to assist you!
What’s the difference between a fire pit, outdoor fireplace and a chiminea?
A fire pit provides a 360 degree view of the fire, giving it a campfire feel. Fire pits come in many shapes, sizes and materials. Additionally, the are available in wood-burning, natural gas, and liquid propane fuel types.
Outdoor fireplaces are also available in the aforementioned fuel types, but provide a much grander presentation. If you don’t have a gas line readily available, an outdoor electric fireplace may be a great option for you.
A chiminea is a Spanish style, free-standing, outdoor fireplace, typically made of clay or metal. It’s a free-standing fireplace, with a bulbous base and vertical chimney. The most common fuel for a chiminea is wood, which you load through an opening at the front of the base.
Who can install my fire feature?
If you have a natural gas or liquid propane fire feature, contact a licensed plumber or other gas professional to perform the installation. Similarly, licensed electricians can install electric fireplaces. Rushing through this selection process may have you wishing you didn’t; so, it's important to take your time and find the right professional. There are safety risks involved with installing gas and electrical products, as well as local codes that have to be taken into account. Finding an experienced professional for your install will save you loads of time and give you peace of mind.
Can I leave my fire feature out rear round?
Yes, you can absolutely leave your fire feature out year round! Although made of durable and weather-resistant materials, it’s a great idea to cover your fire feature when you aren’t using it. If your fire feature does not come with a vinyl cover, you have a few options to help protect your investment. The first option is to purchase a cover, you can also use a tarp to protect your fire feature. If you have a free standing fire pit without a cover, we recommend storing it in a dry, covered location.
Can I use my fire feature inside?
No, we sell fire features designed to use outdoors, in open areas. With the exception of our electric fireplaces, do not use your fire feature inside of a building, garage, or any other enclosed area.
Wood Burning Fire Pit Questions
Does it matter what type of wood I burn in my fire pit?
We recommend that you burn dry, seasoned hardwood in your fire pit. These types of wood burn hotter, more completely, and create less smoke. What you’re looking for is wood with a moisture level of 20% or less, which can easily be determined by using a moisture meter.
Can I use my wood burning fire pit on my deck or patio?
We recommend using your wood burning fire pit on a hard, level and non-combustible surface. Concrete, rock and stone are all great materials on which to place your fire pit! If a fire feature for your deck is what you have in mind, check out our selection of freestanding fireplaces.
Natural Gas and Liquid Propane Fire Pit Questions
Where should I place my fire pit?
As a rule of thumb, we recommend placing your fire pit on a flat, non-combustible surface, at least 10 feet away from any building, combustible materials and outdoor material like trees. However, it is important to understand that each fire feature has different requirements for placement away from walls, structures or buildings. Always refer to your owners manual for specific installation regulations. Also, it never hurts to check your city and community open-flame ordinances!
Do natural gas or liquid propane fire pits require a lot of assembly?
Some fire pits come completely assembled; ready to use right out of the box. However, many models do require some assembly. Our manufacturers try to keep the time and complexity of putting the fire pit together to a minimum. Most of the time, assembly takes just a matter of minutes. If you have a natural gas fire pit, we recommend hiring a professional to run a gas line for you.
Can I convert my liquid propane gas fire pit to a natural gas fire pit?
Some fire pit models are both liquid propane and natural gas compatible; however, others are not. In fact, attempting to convert a fire pit that is not compatible for natural gas may void your warranty. We always recommend referring to your owners manual for model specific fire pit guidelines.
Can I burn wood in my natural gas or liquid propane fire pit?
No, you cannot burn wood in a natural gas or propane fire pit. Doing so can actually damage the fire pit, due to the intense heat generated from burning wood.
Can I cook on my natural gas or liquid propane fire pit?
We do not recommend cooking over natural gas or propane fire pits. The grease and drippings from food clogs the burner and gives your fill a dirty appearance. Also, these types of fire pits burn a bright yellow flame for appearance, and produces booth soot and smoke. The flames at the base of the burner, produce a cleaner blue flame, keeping the fill relatively clean. However, the yellow flames, which will come into contact with any food being cooked, will cover said food in a layer of soot. It’s not tasty, trust us!
Do I need a pan under the fire pit burner?
If your fire pit uses liquid propane, a burner pan is necessary because an air mixer is required to ensure a clean and safe burn. A pan provides adequate space for the air mixer to function.
For natural gas, having a pan under the burner isn’t required, but we do recommended using one. The pan keeps excessive debris from clogging the burner nozzles, adds extra support for the burner, and also makes it easy to access the gas line for inspection. Another benefit of using a pan is that it cuts down the amount of media (fire glass, lava rock, etc.) you need. Finally, the pan supports the gas line, which means that you don’t have to fill the bottom of the pit with gravel to stabilize the pipe.
Will the wind affect the flame of my fire pit?
The short answer is the wind can affect the flame of your fire pit. The wind can blow the flame sideways or, if the wind is strong enough, even extinguish the flame entirely. If the wind does blow out the flame, wait until the winds die down to enjoy your fire pit. If wind is a frequent concern, installing a wind guard greatly reduces the wind’s effect on the flame. Have a look through our collection of wind guards here.
Can I use natural river rock in my fire pit?
No, we do not recommend using stones or rocks you collect. Rocks you may find on a river bank, for example, have moisture stored inside of them. When heated, this moisture causes the rock to expand and even explode. This is why it is important to only use stones designated as heat resistant. Explore all kinds of fire-safe media here.
Can I layer fire glass over lava rock or stone in my natural gas or liquid propane fire pit?
Yes, you can layer glass over other types of media! In fact, using rock or stone as a base layer, then covering with fire glass can save you money. Place a layer of rock up to the burner, then cover with fire glass. Be sure to use a smaller size rock as your base layer to fill in any voids, and preventing the fire glass from falling through. As always, make sure the rocks or stones you choose are heat resistant. Find all of our fire-safe media here.
Outdoor Fireplace Questions
How much maintenance does an outdoor fireplace require?
The amount of maintenance of your outdoor fireplace depends on the fuel type you choose. Wood-burning fireplaces require the most maintenance such as locating and storing wood, not to mention cleaning out ashes. If you have a natural gas or liquid propane fireplace, media or artificial wood requires little maintenance. You’ll need to clean the artificial wood/media periodically to remove any soot build up. Electric fireplaces require little to no maintenance. You’ll want to dust the exterior regularly as you would any outdoor appliance or furniture.
Do I need a permit to add an outdoor fireplace to my outdoor living space?
Check local codes and ordinances to see if they permit outdoor fireplaces. If your city allows outdoor fireplaces, ask if there are any additional actions you need to take before building or installing. Typically, you don’t need a permit, but it’s always best to confirm!
How do I choose a location for my outdoor fireplace?
Prior to installation, consider the clearance overhead as well as the potential footprint of your outdoor fireplace. Always call before digging! You’ll want to check the location of any underground utilities to save yourself time and possibly some heartache. You don’t want to put a permanent structure on top of utility lines. You’ll want a spot that is nice and level, but make sure any water is able to flow way from your chosen location. Notice the wind direction in your space, wind can negatively affect the functional use of your outdoor fireplace. You wouldn’t want wind pushing smoke in to your outdoor living area.
Can I put my outdoor fireplace inside my screened-in patio area?
Yes, installing an outdoor fireplace inside a screened-in patio is possible. However, proper venting is imperative. Always check to make sure the fireplace has a functioning vent and consult an installation professional. If it is a ready to use item, please refer to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Can I cook on my outdoor fireplace?
You can certainly cook in your wood-burning fireplace, if you have the proper tools and equipment. It's hard to beat a delicious meal cooked over an open flame. Always make sure to use natural hardwood free from artificial additives. Avoid cooking with certain softwoods, like pine, due to the toxic resins they naturally carry. Please note that wood is the only outdoor fireplace fuel type acceptable for cooking. Outdoor natural gas, liquid propane, and electric fireplaces are not designed for safely cooking a meal, and should not be used for this purpose. Explore our collection of cooking accessories here.
Wood Burning Oven Questions
What’s the difference between precast concrete ovens and masonry oven kits?
There are some similarities and differences between concrete and masonry ovens. Both are constructed from refractory material, which means it is resistant to decomposition by heat, pressure, or chemical attack, and retains strength and form at high temperatures. Both are permanent structures, so make sure to place it in an appropriate location. We always recommend checking local codes and ordinances for any restrictions. Both are types of “brick” ovens capable of achieving high heat levels, for a true Neapolitan pizza.
A precast concrete oven, or modular oven, is a fast and reliable way to add an oven to your outdoor living space. Typically, a precast oven comes in several, easy to assemble pieces. The best thing about this type of oven is that the dome, the most difficult part to construct, is already assembled. Additionally, the dome, tends to be thinner than traditional masonry oven kits, meaning a shorter heat up time! Finally, precast ovens assemble into a solid, fixed structure, which gives you the ability customize the exterior finish of your oven. Take a look at our precast concrete ovens here.
A masonry oven kit, on the other hand, is better suited for the DIY aficionado. Pizza lovers in particular, believe that the best pizza ovens are made from refractory bricks, and built on-site. The large bricks used to create this type of oven give you excellent temperature stability. This makes a masonry oven ideal for long, low-temperature cooking, as the retained heat in the brick releases slowly. Explore our collection of DIY masonry oven kits here.
How soon can I use my oven after installation?
You can start cooking in your oven as soon as it is properly cured!
Why do I need to cure my oven?
We know it’s tempting to start up a blazing hot fire in your beautiful new oven, but doing so may ruin all of your hard work. New, unused ovens have residual moisture stored inside, which needs to be safely and slowly baked out. If you improperly cure, or do not cure your freshly finished oven, it may crack, compromising the integrity and functionality of the structure.
How do I cure my oven?
The idea behind curing fairly simple: introduce heat into the oven gradually, over a number of days. Slowly drying out the oven minimizes the risk of too much moisture escaping at once, resulting in a crack. Proper curation actually improves the strength of your oven’s dome. The curing process for your oven depends on the brand of oven you have. We recommend checking your owners manual for your oven’s specific curing instructions.
Is any type of crack going to ruin my oven?
Finding small cracks in your brick oven is completely normal. Curing minimizes the risk of structural cracking; however, superficial cracks do not compromise the integrity of your oven. Although constructed of heat resistant, refractory material, the continuous expansion (heating) and contraction (cooling) of the oven creates small cracks. This is nothing to worry about and is the sign of a well loved oven!
What type of wood do I use in my oven?
Dry, seasoned hardwoods are the best for cooking; some of our favorites are Mesquite, Oak, and Maple. Hardwoods burn hotter than softwoods and don’t carry resin, which can stick to the inside of your oven. If you’re set on using a softwood like Cedar or Pine, make sure you properly cure the wood to reduce the sap content. Removing the bark from the wood will also minimize sap, moisture and smoke. These are only a few examples of the types of wood you can use for cooking. Check out our post about cooking with wood fire here!
Can I use my oven year round?
Yes, you can use your oven year round and in any climate. There are, however, a few important measures to take in order to protect your investment. First and foremost, the structure you build around your oven is there to keep the oven dry; moisture is not your oven’s friend! This is why we also recommend capping the chimney of your oven when you aren’t enjoying it. You may need to adjust the amount of fuel and cooking times during colder months; be open to experimentation! In below-zero conditions, we recommend firing up your oven a bit slower than normal, giving the oven time to expand.
What can I cook in my oven, besides pizza?
Even though most people associate brick ovens with making pizzas, the possibilities are endless! Rotisserie meats, fish, bread, empanadas and desserts are just a few examples of what you can cook in your oven. When exploring new recipes, keep in mind that cooking times may be a little different than conventional household ovens. Also, always make sure you’re using the correct cookware to protect your oven and your food. Check out all of our cooking accessories here.