As with any fixture exposed to the elements, fire pit maintenance is required to keep the unit fully functional and a pleasing addition to your outdoor living space. Also, since open flames and high temperatures are involved, fire pit maintenance is critical to safe operation. Here’s what to do to ensure that your fire pit is an asset to your lifestyle and landscape for many seasons to come.
Keep it Clear
Don’t allow encroaching shrubbery, weeds or high grass within 10 feet of the pit. Also be aware of overhanging tree limbs that could be ignited by embers. Locating the pit in an area that offers some shelter from the wind is also recommended to prevent spreading sparks into the yard.
For wood-burning fire pits, dry wood that has been split is preferable. Anything else such as pressure-treated wood or flammable trash may produce toxic fumes or corrode the metal of the fire pit. Use kindling to start the fire; avoid charcoal lighter fluid or other liquids that may damage the pit.
Ashes can be corrosive to the metal bowl of a fire pit. A day or so after a fire, shovel ashes out of the pit into a metal can with lid. If the pit was used the night before, you may want to drench the ashes after removal from the pit—live embers can continue to smolder for quite some time.
If a masonry pit becomes coated with soot or other residue, it can be scrubbed with a diluted solution of 90% water and 10% muriatic acid. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the masonry with water after cleaning. Wait two or three days for full drying to occur before using the pit.
Metal fire pits may be affected by rust and surface corrosion. Most superficial rust can be remove with a wire brush. A variety of commercially-available coatings formulated from oil or silicone can be applied to retard rust formulation. Make sure you buy the product appropriate for the specific type of metal used in your fire pit vessel.
Maintain Gas Lines
Natural gas-fired pits don’t create ashes, however they do impose important requirements for upkeep of the gas combustion system. Consult and follow manufacturer’s specific instructions to keep burners clean and fuel lines working properly.
If You Cook, Clean
Fire pits utilize for outdoor cooking should be kept clean of the accumulation of grease and other food drippings. These substances stain surface of the pit and, in metal pits, accelerate rust and deterioration.
Use a Cover
A cover protects your fire pit from the elements and keep out leaves and debris, particularly during a season when its not frequently utilized. If the pit didn’t come with a cover, universal covers made of vinyl or metal are commercially available.
Fire pit maintenance keeps this most appealing enhancement to outdoor living safe, attractive and long-lasting. Nothing draws an indoor gathering outdoors like the warmth and aesthetics of a fire pit. It touches a deep and innate human tendency to socialize around flickering fire light. With these fire pit maintenance tips, you and your family can enjoy the benefits of a fire pit for a long time.