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Does a Fire Pit Need Air Holes? (And Why a Smokeless Pit Might Make Sense)

Does a Fire Pit Need Air Holes? (And Why a Smokeless Pit Might Make Sense)

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Building a fire pit in your backyard somewhere might sound like a great idea to you. It can be a lot of fun to have a fire pit that you can sit by and enjoy with your friends and family members.

Many of the best memories of the summer occur circled around fire pits with your loved ones. If you’re considering building a fire pit of your own sometime soon, then you’re going to want to get it right.

You probably understand the basics of making a fire pit, but many people are unclear about how important air holes are. Does a fire pit need air holes or is this just an optional thing?

Keep reading to learn a bit more about fire pits and air holes. This should help you to make good decisions and get things right when building your fire pit.

You’re Typically Going to Need Air Holes

Air holes are typically going to be a necessary component when you’re making fire pits. If the fire pit doesn’t have the right amount of ventilation, then the fires will just die out.

Of course, air holes are going to be useful and necessary for a number of different reasons. The airflow that is created by the holes will allow the oxygen from the outside to keep the flames going.

Air holes can also help you to avoid scorching the surfaces that you place your fire pit on. Ventilation can keep you from damaging your patio, wood deck, or other spots where you might want to place a fire pit in your yard.

To get the right amount of airflow for your fire pit, it’s going to be necessary to have vent holes placed very particularly. Experts say that you should place a two-inch vent hole between every 24 or 36 inches around the base.

If you have a particularly large fire pit, then you’re likely going to need more vent holes. This is why most people try to make as many vent holes as they can so that things will work out better.

Advice for Making Vent Holes

Making vent holes sounds simple enough, but you still need to do things right to avoid having issues. For example, you’re going to need to make sure that you don’t use certain materials when making vent holes.

Don’t use plastic pipes or PVC to create the air holes that you need. Simply put, plastic is going to melt and cause chemicals to get mixed into the smoke from the fire.

It could wind up being dangerous for you to breathe, and this would make your fire pit unusable. Be sure that you’re using materials that won’t melt away and won’t create danger due to making the smoke noxious.

You’re also going to need to keep the vent holes clear of ash and other debris. If the holes get plugged up, then your fire pit isn’t going to function properly.

Even if a few of the vent holes get filled with ash or some other substance, it’s going to impact how well the fire can keep going. Do what you can to keep the vent holes clear safely while you’re using the fire pit.

Smokeless Fire Pits

Air holes aren’t 100% necessary when you have a fire pit because you could use a design that doesn’t require them. It’s possible to make what is known as a smokeless fire pit that allows oxygen to get to the fire another way.

This is a type of fire pit that makes use of both controlled airflow and temperatures. These fire pits are placed in the ground itself, and you don’t have to worry about a base for them.

There are different smokeless fire pit designs that you can try out, but the basic idea is that you’ll be using a hole in the ground and a vent tunnel. Some designs make use of two pits with a vent tunnel, and it will involve some work to get this type of fire pit set up.

It’s important to note that these fire pits will produce smoke despite being named “smokeless fire pits.” They’re named as such because they produce far less smoke than standard fire pits do.

Many people do prefer options such as this because they make less smoke than usual. Some people won’t like the extra work that’s involved, but it’s up to you to decide which route to take.

Fire Pit Safety

To be safe avoid things around your firepit

Fire pit safety is going to be crucial no matter what type of fire pit you decide to go with. If you’re careless, then bad things can happen to the surrounding area and your home.

You need to be mindful of things nearby that have the potential to catch fire. For example, there could be nearby tree branches that could catch on fire if the flames get too high.

This is why it’s wise to try to make your fire pit in an open area that is away from things that could be caught on fire. You might need to take the time to trim tree branches and remove debris from the yard for your own safety.

Most fire pit enthusiasts create a ring of safety around the fire pit location as well. The basic idea is to have a ring where there will not be any grass or debris, and this will surround the fire pit.

If some flames escape the fire pit, then they should hit the dirt and they won’t be able to spread. Before you go any further, it’s going to be best to set up a ring such as this around the fire pit to keep things as safe as possible.

It’s also going to be in your best interest to keep safety items on hand to extinguish the fire in case of an emergency. There are many things that can help you to douse a fire, and having them close to you will allow you to act quickly.

You could keep water nearby that you can use to put flames out if something does happen. Some people will also simply have a garden hose ready to be used if they feel that it’s necessary, but there’s some merit to also keeping a bucket of water around.

A fire extinguisher could provide some extra safety if you happen to have one that you can use. It’s also useful to have a fire blanket that can snuff out the flames by cutting off the oxygen.

Failing to have safety precautions in place could come back to bite you. You won’t always have a few minutes to go grab what you need if something happens, and this is why you should keep certain items close to you while watching the fire.

You should also try to avoid using things such as gasoline, alcohol, and lighter fluid. These things can make fires go out of control, and this might wind up causing damage to your fire pit if you aren’t careful.

Consider all of this safety advice carefully so that you can have a fun time using a fire pit. So long as you do things right, it’ll be possible to have a good experience.

Local Laws

Local laws also matter quite a bit, and sometimes it isn’t going to be legal to use a fire pit without permits. Some areas of North America need fire safety laws due to the danger of wildfires.

The dry conditions of certain areas during particular times of the year create a real dangerous situation. If people start fires and even a few embers wind up in the wrong spot, then it could cause catastrophic damage.

Before you even think about using a fire pit, you’re going to want to learn about the rules in your area. If there are permits that you need to obtain, then you’ll need to go through with that first.

This doesn’t mean that you absolutely cannot use a fire pit, but it does mean that you need to do your homework first. Learning about the safety precautions and understanding the local laws will allow you to do things the right way.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know more about fire pits, you’re likely going to feel a lot more confident about using them. Making your own fire pit can be a very fun experience, but it’s also something that you need to take seriously.

You do need to have vent holes to keep most types of fire pits going. A fire won’t be able to keep going unless it has the right oxygen flow, and air holes provide this when using standard fire pit designs.

Even smokeless fire pits that are placed in the ground still use oxygen to keep things going. These designs just use vent tunnels instead of using vent holes, but the idea isn’t any different when you get down to it.

You can decide which type of fire pit is right for you and your property. Most people will have an easier time buying some type of portable fire pit since it won’t take a lot of work to get it going.

Just be sure to follow the instructions properly if you go this route, and take all of the safety advice above into account. It’ll allow you to have the best experience when enjoying your fire pit on cool summer nights.


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