Whether you own a ring or a bowl, a chiminea or a propane table, taking proper care of your fire pit is essential for getting the most out of it and making it look great for your summer barbeques. Fire pit accessories are a dime a dozen, with some being amazingly handy and others more or less falling under the category of ‘completely useless.’ Certain salespeople may try to sell you on the merits of waterproof wood or heat-resistant padding, but the odds are you aren’t going to need half the things getting peddled on you. A little research and insider know-how is the best way to establish a good maintenance routine that will keep your pit burning hot for years to come.
Campfire rings are the most basic style of fire pit. They’re metallic enclosures that allow you to burn a fire directly on the ground. Not much is needed to keep these in shape, but you can buy some special chrome-plated forks so you and the kids can cook food over the open flame, or even grilling plates to cook up more hearty servings. Traditional pits, often with a circular screen supporting a top, can be a little trickier to keep clean because they collect so much soot and ash after just a single fire. Specially designed vacuums help you combat the build-up and ensure the next fire will start as easily as the last. Once sediment has begun to cake at the bottom of the bowl, it’s extremely hard to get out.
Gas fire pits aren’t nearly as problematic for maintenance as their primitive counterparts. Because the flame burns clean and ends as soon as the gas valve is shut, there’s no collected sediment. Many homeowners spend a little extra for propane-powered pits simply because there’s not much upkeep involved. It’s nice knowing that you can flip a switch to start or end a fire, and even use toggles to control the heat and intensity of the flame. The obvious drawback is having to refill propane tanks every couple of weeks, depending on the frequency of your fires, but it’s another case of having to weigh the costs and benefits of maintenance against convenience.
Outdoor firepits can make a great addition to any backyard, but the different varieties each present their own set of challenges. If you’re willing to put the work in, good old-fashioned fire pits will suite you just as nicely as a fancy propane burner. You have to decide which appeals to you more and what you’re willing to spend on not only the pit, but also the proper accessories for it.
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