Top 5 Smokeless Fire Pit Safety Tips

Top 5 Smokeless Fire Pit Safety Tips

TechAwards is a reader-supported website. Purchases made through links may earn a commission.

With winter slowly fading away and the cool spring months just ahead, now is the perfect time to invest in a smokeless fire pit. A fire pit can turn a boring evening into a fun gathering in only a few minutes. Traditional fire pits are good at this as well, but they come with some disadvantages. The major disadvantage is the presence of smoke that makes certain seating positions uncomfortable.

A smokeless fire pit will eliminate the majority of this smoke. It’s not capable of removing all of the smoke entirely, but it does the job well enough that you can sit on any side of the pit without choking on smoke. This is a huge improvement over a traditional fire pit and we believe it makes it well worth the extra investment.

How Does A Smokeless Fire Pit Work?

a pile of logs burning in a fire pit

In terms of appearance, a smokeless fire pit looks nearly identical to a traditional fire pit. There are even inserts that you can buy to convert existing pits to smokeless variations. A smokeless fire pit will still produce smoke when the fire is initially started. It doesn’t begin to function until the pit is heated up and the genius design can begin to do its job.

The pit relies on a double-layered design to eliminate the smoke. There is the outer wall of the fire pit and then a second wall a few inches inside of that wall. As hot air rises from the fire, the smoke is pulled into the gap between the two walls. The smoke goes through a secondary combustion phase, which eliminates many of the particles that are present in thick smoke.

Smoke is a common byproduct of a fire that is not burning hot enough. If the temperature is too low, then there will be a higher percentage of particles in the smoke. Traditional fire pits don’t often reach the high temperatures needed to fully burn the fuel and remove the smoke.

The double-layered design of the smokeless fire pit produces much higher temperatures than a standard pit. Oxygen is pulled through a hole in the bottom, which feeds the fire and increases the temperature dramatically. The initial smoke that is produced is already much cleaner than the smoke from a normal pit. But then that smoke is pulled into the cavity for the secondary combustion phase and is burned even further.

This entire process creates a much cleaner smoke but it also creates a much hotter fire. Because of that, there are some important smokeless fire pit safety tips that you should be aware of.

Safety Tip 1: Keep The Pit A Safe Distance From Other Objects

The increased temperature is one of the biggest concerns when using a smokeless fire pit. It’s recommended to keep your smokeless pit at least ten feet away from your home. And it’s not only the easily flammable objects that you need to worry about.

Some building materials begin to warp at temperatures much lower than it takes for them to catch fire. A common example of this is vinyl, which can begin to warp or melt at temperatures of 160 degrees Fahrenheit [1]. It won’t ignite until it reaches 730 degrees Fahrenheit [2]. Thus, it’s important to maintain a safe distance from vinyl home siding despite it having an ignition temperature much higher than wood.

Safety Tip 2: Keep The Pit A Safe Distance From People

We all love to gather around the smokeless fire pit and soak in the warmth, but there’s a safe distance for doing so. A traditional fire pit will often advise distances around 7 feet. A smokeless fire pit; however, requires distances between 10 and 12 feet. You’re still guaranteed to feel plenty of warmth with the extra heat that your new fire pit is pouring out.

RELATED READING: Top Competitors to Solo Stove

Don’t make the common mistake of thinking “this won’t happen to me”. Thousands of people suffer serious injuries each year from fire pit burns. In 2017, there were 5,300 reported injuries related to fire pits and outdoor heaters [3]. Many of those injuries could have been easily avoided if the patients had maintained a safe distance from the heat source.

Safety Tip 3: Be Mindful Of Your Clothing

Knowing what to wear around a fire pit can prevent serious harm. It can mean the difference between a minor burn and one that quickly spreads around your entire torso. Many people simply go outside to the fire pit wearing whatever clothes they had on prior. We advise taking a moment to consider your attire and to make a change if your clothing wouldn’t be safe around an open flame.

The first factor to consider is the material of the clothes. Certain clothing materials will ignite easily and burn quickly. Some of the most flammable shirts are made from acrylic, rayon, and blends of cotton. Cotton is a natural fiber with a high percentage of cellulose polymer. Cellulose is also contained in wood and is part of what helps it burn hot and fast. Brief exposure to flame can ignite a cotton shirt immediately.

The next factor to consider is how the clothes fit. Ideally, you want to wear clothes that fit snug against the body. This is the same as if you were at a campfire or cooking over an open flame. Baggy clothes are far more likely to move unexpectedly and make contact with the flames.

Finally, it’s a good idea to wear clothes that can be opened from the front and removed instead of being pulled over the head. This will make it much easier to remove the clothing quickly if it ignites.

Safety Tip 4: Know How You Will Extinguish The Fire

You should never start a fire without knowing how it will end. This safety tip applies to all outside fires, including smokeless fire pits. If you aren’t prepared to extinguish the fire, then you won’t be able to leave abruptly or put out the flames if they begin to spread.

A single bucket of water is not sufficient for putting out a fire at this temperature. Having a bucket of water nearby is certainly beneficial, but you need to have a reliable water source. A water hose attached to the house and placed at a safe distance is a great option. But be careful not to blast the fire with enough force that it sends embers out of the fire pit.

RELATED READING: Solo Stove Bonfire vs Yukon

Many homeowners also choose to keep a shovel nearby. Shoveling dirt onto a fire is a great way to extinguish it if you don’t have a reliable water source. If you aren’t comfortable digging on your property, then use that bucket to gather dirt elsewhere and keep it nearby. Dirt will smother the fire and prevent it from receiving the oxygen it needs to stay alive.

Safety Tip 5: Always Read The Instructions

This final safety tip should always be the first that you follow before using your new smokeless fire pit. Not all fire pits are created the same. Some use different fuel sources that burn at higher temperatures. The instructions will include the information you need to safely and reliably use your fire pit outdoors. For example, they may recommend a safe distance of at least 15 feet because of the increased temperature.

Enjoy The Outdoors Safely With A Smokeless Fire Pit

When used safely, a smokeless fire pit is a great way to enjoy the outdoors even when the temperature is lower than ideal. These fire pits burn hotter than normal pits and they produce significantly less smoke.

Just make certain that you read the instructions, wear the right clothes, keep a safe distance, and be prepared to extinguish the flames.

Resources

  1. https://ezsnapdirect.com/is-your-vinyl-siding-melting-here-is-a-quick-and-inexpensive-solution-2/
  2. https://cbsaustin.com/news/local/fires-become-deadlier-on-homes-with-vinyl-siding-study-shows
  3. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/injuries-backyard-fire-pits-rise-experts-warn-n887416