10 FIRE PIT SAFETY TIPS FOR THE BACKYARD (OR CONDO TERRACE, IF ALLOWED)

by | Mar 23, 2022 | Interior Design, Real Estate

If there is one common theme that has emerged on the real estate scene over the past two years, mired in the pandemic and restrictions, it has been a growth in popularity of home renovations, especially outdoor space. And that includes backyard fire pits.

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According to a RE/MAX Renovation Investment Report last year, more than half of Canadians renovated their home in 2020 with the intention of living in it. Twenty-nine per cent renovating to enhance their lifestyle for non-essential reasons (aesthetic and/or recreational purposes) and 29 per cent doing so for essential reasons (safety and maintenance). Only 16 per cent of Canadians said they renovated to increase the market value of their home in order to sell within in the next one to three years.

Fire pits: Lifestyle first

When the weather changes and cools down little by little, nothing beats gathering around a cozy fire pit with friends and family. It creates a fantastic vibe while you relax and chat. Also, the summertime means backyard barbecues and pool parties. Or it means gathering around a fire pit on the condo terrace, if allowed. Backyard or condo terrace, it can be dangerous if safety precautions aren’t taken.

If you are using a fire pit in your backyard, it is essential to follow some safety guidelines to ensure everyone stays safe. The National Fire Protection Association has estimated 8,600 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or smokers each year.

That’s why you need to ensure safety on the basis of priority. Here are 10 safety tips to keep in mind when using your fire pit:

Find a suitable place

Finding an appropriate place for your fire pit is among the first few things you should consider. It’s better to keep at least 10-20 feet distance from the main home area.

You need to find an even surface while choosing where to set up. The surface must not be made of combustible material that can easily catch fire.

Also, look for an open area with no tree branches overhead. Your patio roof should also be far enough away that it won’t catch on fire if sparks fly.

Be aware of the weather

If you’re looking to enjoy a lovely, calm fire pit evening with friends, be sure to check the local weather conditions first. Too much windy weather can mess up the fire and cause accidents. It’s best to wait for calm weather before lighting up the pit.

Avoid all flammable things

One of the most important things to remember is making sure flammable items are not around the pit. Whether it’s any fuel, combustible material, or even your dress material that can easily catch fire, keep it away. Also, stack your firewoods at a safe distance from your fire pit.

Fire pits: Only use seasoned, dried wood

To build a proper fire and keep your home safe, only use seasoned, dried wood in your fire pit. Wood logs seasoned or dried for six months or more are ready to burn to produce plenty of heat and fire aesthetics like crackling sound.

Greenwood or particles like green leaves, bark, etc., will cause a lot of smoke and improper burning. That could end up causing you breathing difficulties and other physical discomforts. So never put anything except well-dried wood into your pit.

However, you can use smokeless fire pits. This type of fire pit uses wood as a fuel but doesn’t produce smoke.

Image: Pexels

Keep an extinguisher nearby

Don’t forget to keep fire extinguisher material around your fire pit. It can be a bucket of sand, water, or a commercial extinguisher. Keep it close by to tackle any situation. Remember, a quick response is key to preventing the fire from spreading.

Use a fire pit mat

A fire mat is a great way to protect a combustible surface from fire pit hazards. A fire pit mat will work as a barrier to fire-prone surfaces like a wooden deck or the grass on your lawn. You can buy them or make one yourself.

Keep children and pets away

Kids and pets are unpredictable. They can easily get harmed by fire from a pit. So it is crucial to ensure fire safety when using a fire pit around your toddler or dog.

Keep your child and pets away from the area. Arrange restrictions like fire pit screens and fire gates around the fire pit. And always be around your kids.

Arrange seater in a safe distance

Arranging the seating at a safe distance is among the most important things to remember for ensuring fire pit safety. Keep the bench or chairs that people will be sitting at a safe distance from the fire pit if you don’t want anyone getting hurt by the fire while they are moving around.

Another thing to keep in mind is the size of the fire pit. Ensure that you have enough room for people to sit around it comfortably. If you have a large fire pit, you may want to consider putting a fence around it so that people don’t accidentally step too close and get burned.

Fire pits: Never leave a fire unattended

An unattended fire can quickly get out of control and cause severe damage. In addition, there is always the risk of someone getting injured if there is an accident. Even for a few minutes, an uncontrolled fire can also be a significant safety hazard for people and property in the area.

It is always best to keep an eye on your fire pit for these reasons. If you need to leave the area for any reason, make sure to put out the flames entirely first. This will help ensure that everyone stays safe and that your fire pit does not get out of control.

Extinguish properly

It’s important to extinguish the fire properly in order to avoid any accidents. Make sure there is no live flame before pouring water on the fire. If there are still embers, use a metal poker to stir them around until they’re extinguished.

Then, use a brush to clean off any ashes or debris. Be sure to do this after every use in order to avoid any potential fires.

Photo by Francois Van Staden from Pexels

Other maintenance tips

To ensure your fire pit’s utmost safety and longevity, it needs proper maintenance:
  • After extinguishing the fire, clean the pit as soon as possible. The best way is to clean it after every use. This will help prevent the build-up of ashes and soot, which can be challenging to remove.
  • Try to use a wire brush to scrub the surface of the fire pit. This will help remove any built-up residue or dirt.
  • If there is any build-up inside the pit, use a metal scraper to scrape it away.
  • Always keep your fire pit clean. A dirty or defective fire pit is more prone to accidents.
  • Store your fire pit in safe storage when not in use.

And finally…

A fire pit is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and entertain guests. Still, it is essential to take safety precautions.

Ensure you have a fire extinguisher on hand and that the area is clear of flammable materials. Keep an eye on the fire, and never leave it unattended. Have a great time around the fire pit!

Top photo by Bob Clark from Pexels

Kathy Koch is an author at Fireplace Fact and a sustainable interior designer who is always looking for ways to create something new, exciting and refreshing.

 

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