With summer sneaking upon us, it’ll soon be time to fetch out the garden furniture and with firepits being an ever-growing garden accessory for your summer dining, this blog has compiled a list of some useful tips for protecting your firepits.
Firepits have become a welcomed addition to a patio or outside area and are a perfect accent for entertaining family and friends and keeping that warm glow on those cool summer evenings. However, while all garden furniture care is important the firepit often gets overlooked and unprotected. In order to keep firepits at its peak performance, they require maintenance and care and if done correctly can double its lifespan.
Your first role of action to protect your firepit should be to buy a cover for when it’s not in use. Not only will the cover protect from any inclement weather or rusting, but the cover will majorly reduce the amount of cleaning necessary in the future. Covers for your firepit or outdoor heating are easy to come by and come in all shapes sizes. Our recommendation would be a tie fastening cover to reduce the chances of it blowing away, however, if you are unable to get hold of either of these options you could use some vinyl tarp and place some stones or weights down to secure it.
Cleaning Your Firepit
There are usually 3 types of firepits metal, masonry and gas burners and each of these has their own methods of being cleaned. We suggest cleaning a metal firepit with soap or washing soda (1/4 cup) and hot water. Use a dry scrub to remove dust and debris from Inside and around the firepit. Cleaning around the firepit is just as important as any loose twigs or leaves could catch fire under the heat. Rinse the firepit thoroughly with fresh water at the end and be sure to dry fully as any moisture or dirt left behind can cause mould or mildew. In order to prevent this further, we recommend that you store inside if possible or away from the elements to evade rust forming on your pit.
A masonry pit should be scrubbed with paver cleaner, bristled brush or pressure washer and a mixture of ½ cup of dishwashing liquid and hot water. Finally, coat the firepit in masonry sealer to prevent staining.
Gas burners can be treated like a grill, keep the burner clean, ensure the vents are clear and check gas and pressure each season to ensure it is safe to use.
If you’re planning on grilling on your firepit make sure to clean your grates afterwards and remove any left-over grease. To clean use a wire brush and some soapy water, make sure to dry thoroughly afterwards.
Firstly, some manufacturers actually recommend using sand in your firepit. If you are unaware of whether to use this method, the first step that you should take is to check if your manufacturer’s care guide suggests doing so. The recommended amount is usually an inch or 2 at the bottom of the pit. You can pick up a bag of sand from your local landscaping store for a relatively cheap price.
The main benefits of using sand in your firepit is it helps to soak up the heat and evenly distribute it throughout the firepit. It also works as an effective heat shield, protecting the metal bowl from the intense heat from the fire itself.
There is no actual harm of using sand in your firepit, it’s safe and easy to install. The only negative issue that can arise is that the sand can mix in with the ash making the cleaning process a little more tedious than normal.
Extinguishing your Fire
The first rule when taking care of a wood burning fire pit is never to extinguish the fire directly. This should only be in an emergency situation and alternatively, you should always allow it to die out naturally. The drastic change in temperature would damage the firepit’s integrity causing it to warp or crack.
Never attempt to use accelerants on a wood burning firepit, accelerants can be hazardous to your health and your firepit by causing an extremely hot fire that will burn and mark your firepit. Lighting your pit with small pieces of tinder or kindling should always be a viable option in lighting your fire and keeping it lit.
Removing Ash After Use
If you want your fire pit to last then removing the ashes is vital for its longevity. Ash is very acidic and is destructive to both metal and masonry if held there long enough. We suggest waiting 24 hours for the fire to cool before removing the ash. The best way of doing so is to remove with heat resistant gloves, as well as a shovel and place this in a non-flammable container. Be careful, however, as even when ash looks grey and cool to touch, it could still hold enough heat underneath to relight a fire, therefore caution should be taken when removing.
Other Protective Measures:
Be Careful What you Burn
Under no circumstances should plastic or other forms of rubbish be used in and around the firepit. When plastic melts it can produce toxic fumes and chemicals, which is hazardous to both you and your firepit. Plastic will also go sticky and gooey when melted which can very tricky to remove, and therefore, this should be avoided at all times.
To prevent discolouration metal firepits are often painted black. However, over time discolouration and rust will occur naturally especially when burning wood. Every now and again you should touch up your firepit to give it a healthier look and cover up those rust spots. Or if you are using a masonry firepit give the inside a coating of spray that's able to withstand temperatures up to 600-650°C.
By following these tips listed in the blog, this will allow you to not only enjoy your firepit but will also enhance its lifespan. To explore our full range, shop all of our fire pits and outdoor heating options here.