Fire Pit Tips and Tricks
There are some fire pit tips and tricks that may give you new ideas about how to best make use of your fire pit and keep it ready to use season after season.
Whether you're looking to have a romantic evening, enjoy a cup of cocoa with the kids, or invite your neighbors over for a pleasant visit, fire pits fit the bill.
The following article will teach you some fire pit uses you may not have thought of and some fire pit tips to extend the enjoyment by keeping your pit in prime condition.
Three Great Fire Pit Uses You Will Love
So, just what is a fire pit used for? Well, that depends almost entirely on what you want to use it for.
If you want it simply to add interest and beauty to your backyard or patio, it can certainly achieve that goal.
However, there are many more fire pit uses than their aesthetic appeal. Here are just a few fire tips on how to get more out of your fire pit.
Burn Different Scents to Keep Bugs Away
One of the most common fire pit uses is for evening gatherings of friends and family.
Unfortunately, this is also the time that mosquitoes and other biting insects are the most active. Not to worry; one answer to what is a fire pit used for is to keep mosquitoes away.
Any smoke will help cut down on the number of mosquitoes that attend your next gathering, but burning certain materials can really chase them away.
Adding bundles of herbs, like sage, lemon balm, and rosemary or eucalyptus to your next fire will have two benefits.
First, it will fill the space with the aromatic aroma of eucalyptus or whichever herb you choose to burn, and second, it will repel mosquitoes without the need of harsh chemicals.
Use Sand to Protect the Bottom from Heat
Regardless of which of the many fire pit uses you choose to enjoy, adding sand to the bottom of your fire pit will help protect it from the heat of the fire and may well extend the pit's lifespan.
While it is true that a well-made fire pit is designed to withstand the heat of a fire, over time, the metal may become warped or pitted.
To prevent this, add a thin layer of sand to the pit before adding wood.
The sand will act as insulation and protect the metal from the worst of the heat without taking away from the beauty or aroma of the fire.
Build A Fire Pit Grill
This is a very simple way to kill two birds with one stone. Once you have enjoyed the beauty of the fire, let it burn down to coals.
Add a grill grate above the coals and you are ready to grill hamburgers, hot dogs, veggies, and pretty much anything else you would cook on a traditional grill.
Not only can your fire pit cook the food as well as any grill, but you also have the added bonus of the smoky flavor you can only get from cooking over an actual wood fire.
If you intend to cook over your fire pit, only burn natural hardwoods, nothing that may have been treated with chemicals to make it light more easily or burn more slowly.
How to Make a Fire Pit Grill
If you want to take advantage of the heat from your fire pit to grill up some delicious food, you may be wondering how to build a fire pit grill.
Lucky for you, it is very simple to turn your fire pit into a grill.
All You Need Are Grates for the Fire Pit
The only thing you need to cook over your fire pit is the right sized grate. Fire pits do not come in one standard size and neither do the grates for fire pits.
It is vitally important that you find the right grate to fit your fire pit. If you buy the wrong size, the grate may tilt or fall into the flames.
Both of these may cause you to lose your entire meal to the fire.
To safely build a fire pit grill, you will need to measure the distance from one side of your pit to the other.
When you go in search of grates for fire pits, make sure you find one that is longer than the measurement you took.
Shape is also a consideration.
While you can get away with using a rectangular grate on a circular pit, a circular grate on a rectangular pit could cause the food to cook unevenly or make the grate completely slip off the fire pit.
How To Prevent A Fire Pit From Rusting
Rust is your fire pit’s worst enemy. Not only is rust unsightly, but once it has taken hold, it will weaken the metal and eventually wear holes in the pit or cause it to collapse.
Perhaps the most important fire pit tips are those that tell you how to prevent a fire pit from rusting.
There are several ways to prevent rusting in your fire pit:
- Keep it clean, since debris and dirt may hold moisture.
- Protect it from the weather with a cover or tarp.
- Use a barrier to protect the metal's finish from the heat; sand and lava rocks are great choices.
- Coat the fire pit with oil after cleaning it.
- Inspect it regularly, and if you find a bit of rust, clean it away with a wire brush and coat the area with paint designed to withstand heat and prevent rust.
Should I Cover My Fire Pit?
The only way to prevent rust completely is to keep the metal in your fire pit dry. This means keeping it protected from the elements.
If it is a small and portable model, you may want to consider putting it in your garage or basement when not in use. You should certainly store it inside during the off-season.
If moving your fire pit indoors is not an option, then the answer to the question ‘Should I cover my fire pit?’ is an unequivocal yes. A good cover should be made to fit your fire pit.
It should fit snugly to prevent wind-driven rain or snow from getting underneath it. If the cover has a tendency to blow around in the wind, put a weighted object on top of it.
If you cannot not find a cover to fit, or you’ve had a fire pit custom built, then a waterproof tarp or heavy-duty plastic cover will work just as well.
Just be sure that the tarp or plastic sheeting is tied or well weighted to prevent it from blowing off during a storm.
How To Clean Out a Fire Pit with Lava Rocks
Many people add lava rocks to their fire pits for good reason. They are aesthetically pleasing, even when the fire is not lit, and they can help protect the metal from the heat of the fire when it's burning.
In addition, they can help prevent rust by absorbing moisture.
Do you know how to clean out a fire pit with lava rocks? It's crucial that you do. If you haven't cleaned them, you'll notice that lava rocks will lose their effectiveness if they are not properly cared for.
One important method to increase their effectiveness and protect your fire pit is to regularly clean the rocks.
Dirt, dust, and debris will build up in your lava rocks over time. If left untreated, they can retain moisture and lead to rust, as well as detract from the appearance of your fire pit.
Clean Lava Rocks with Water
The good news is that lava rocks are quite easy to clean. Place them in a bucket of water and let them soak.
This will soften anything that has become lodged in the porous surface of the rocks.
If you have used your fire pit for cooking, you might want to add a bit of dish soap to the water to tackle any grease that may have dripped on the rocks.
After soaking, simply dump them out and spray them with the hose to wash away the dirt. Let them dry and they'll be ready to be placed back into your fire pit.
How Long Do Lava Rocks Last?
If cleaned regularly, lava rocks should stay attractive and effective for several seasons. The more you use your gas fire pit, the more frequently you will have to replace the lava rocks. If your lava rocks start to get crumbly, it's time to replace them.
How To Keep A Fire Going For Your Wood-Burning Fire Pit
All the above fire pit tips suggested fire pit uses or ways to protect your fire pit. Here are a few tips about how to keep a fire going, from how to place firewood in a fire pit to where to place your fire pit and more.
- Choose the right wood: Large pieces of dry wood will burn hotter and more completely.
- Cut down on the wind: While you can’t change the weather, you can decide where to put your fire pit. Place it in an area where at least part of the wind is blocked and your fire will burn longer and more safely.
- Build a teepee of wood: Fire needs a fresh supply of oxygen to keep burning. Placing the wood in a teepee formation leaves the center open for air to reach all sides of the wood.
- Have plenty of wood on hand: Regardless of how carefully you choose the wood and build the fire, a fire will always need more wood to continue burning.
Familiarize yourself with how to keep a fire pit going and what to put in a fire pit so your next gathering isn't cut short.
If you have to search "What do you put in a fire pit?" in the middle of an event, it might be troublesome.
Fire Pit Tips and Tricks Final Thoughts
There are almost as many fire pit uses as there are people who own fire pits. What you put in a fire pit has a lot to do with how much enjoyment you get out of it. These fire pit tips and tricks should help you understand how to prevent a fire pit from rusting, how to clean the pit, how to turn the fire pit into a grill, and more. With proper care, your fire pit will burn for years to come.