Safety Tips and Use Guidelines
- Do not light a fire indoors.
- Find out what the local laws and regulations regarding outdoor fires are in your area. We recommend consulting with your local fire marshal and checking all local, state, and federal fire codes before making a final decision about what type of outdoor fireplace, fire pit, patio heater, or chimenea to purchase.
- Carefully read and adhere to all manufacturer instructions that come with your fire pit, chimenea, patio heater or outdoor fireplace for details on fire safety and fuel use for the specific model you have purchased. Tampering with your item will void any manufacturing warranties.
- Always inspect your fire pit, patio heater, or chimenea thoroughly before use. If you install a natural gas patio heater or fire pit, the item must be inspected thoroughly by a qualified professional before installation, and should be inspected by a professional at least annually.
- Do not place combustible materials near or in your outdoor fireplace, fire pit, patio heater, or chimenea. Low-hanging branches, dry grass, brush piles, wood piles, awnings, wood furniture, propane, flammable gases or vapors, paper, compressed paper, plastic, and Plexiglass should all be kept at a safe distance. Be sure to clean any cobwebs or debris from your fire pit, chimenea, or patio heater before lighting. Do not hang anything from your item, including clothes, towels, or decorations. We recommend a distance of at least 4 feet from any flammable material. Even if these materials have been treated to be flame-retardant, follow local fire codes and specific safety instructions for your fire pit, chimenea, or patio heater to ensure the lowest possible risk. Clean soot off of your fire pit, chimenea, or patio heater periodically to prevent build-up. Make sure the item is not in use, and has cooled down, then use a soft brush or cloth to remove the soot.
- You will want to periodically check your propane, LPG, or natural gas patio heater for gas leaks, especially during periods of heavy use. DO NOT USE A LIGHTER OR MATCH TO CHECK FOR LEAKS! If there is a gas leak, you will certainly find it, with devastating results. Also, check the flexible hose that connects your patio heater to a fuel supply monthly for cracking, splitting, or deterioration. If there are signs of degradation, replace the hose with an equal length hose per the manufacturer's instructions. Make sure to turn the gas supply off when the patio heater is not in use.
- Before lighting a fire in your gas or LPG fire pit or patio heater, smell the area of the appliance for gas, including the base since gas settles. If you smell gas, immediately shut off the gas supply, extinguish any open flames, and call your gas supplier or fire department. Follow their instructions.
- If any parts have been submerged in water, immediately get replacement parts. Do not use the parts that were submerged, as there can be unseen water damage.
- Do not disconnect fuel supply while the fire pit or patio heater is in operation.
- Do not operate your fire pit, chimenea, or patio heater unless it is on a level surface.
- Position your patio heater so that it is shielded from strong winds and gusts.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on hand when you have a fire going. Do not leave your fire unattended, and be aware of children or pets that may be near the fire. Do not touch your fire pit or chimenea while it is in use - many fire pits, chimeneas, and outdoor fireplaces come with tools, so you can carefully adjust screens as needed, and you can use fireplace tools to stoke the fire. We also recommend a pair of heavy-duty gloves when handling the fire. Beware of potential hot spots on your patio heater before turning it off. Leave plenty of time for your fire pit, chimenea, or patio heater to cool down before touching or moving it.
- When placing a fire pit on a wood deck or patio, make sure to put down a fire pit pad, bricks, or stones in a 3 or 4 foot radius underneath and around the fire pit, to ensure that escaped embers do not light the deck.
- For fire pits, screens are very important. Screens help catch flying embers or ash when the wind blows. This keeps you, your guests, and your neighbors safe. We recommend use of fire screens at all times.
- Always start with small fires! This will help you gauge how fires behave in your fire pit or chimenea. A small initial fire will also allow any excess manufacturing materials to burn off. We recommend an initial burn of 30 minutes.
- Do not burn pressure-treated wood or manufactured fire logs in your fire pit or chimenea. These items release toxic gases that can be harmful. Do not burn chemically-treated wood, or wood treated with paint or stain creosote. Wood pellets are made specifically for wood stoves, and charcoal is made specifically for grills: we do not recommend burning either of these in your chimenea or fire pit. Never start a fire with gasoline, kerosene, or other petroleum-based accelerants. Consult your local hardware store for recommendations for clean-burning wood. Some hardware stores will have fuel made specifically for fire pits and chimeneas.
- Do not put out fires in fire pits or chimeneas with water. This will cause a sudden change in temperature that can crack or warp your fire pit. Instead, when you wish to extinguish the fire, keep a mound of dirt and/or sand on hand and stir plenty of these materials into the fire. Continue stirring until you are sure there are no longer any warm, glowing embers in your pit. Once the fire has been extinguished dispose of the ash from your fire pit, fireplace, or chimenea, place it in a tin can and mix it with water. Also, keep a bucket of water on hand in case a fire starts outside of the fire pit.
- Clearance needed for patio heaters can vary widely by model and fuel-type, so please read the safety and maintenance instructions that come with your patio heater. General recommended clearance for propane, LPG, and natural gas heaters is 3 feet on all sides; for electric patio heaters, it is 2 feet from the overhang, and 6 inches on each side. Please note: These are estimates only! Consult local fire codes and follow all manufacturer and fire department safety recommendations when establishing clearance for your item. When in doubt, the more clearance, the better. We might want to clarify that this is clearance from brush and overhangs. You can stand as close as you like to your patio heater - that's the point!
- Electric and natural gas patio heaters and fire pits require special installation. You must hire a certified electrician, gas supplier, or service agency to install your patio heater or fire pit. Propane patio heaters, outdoor fireplaces, and fire pits do not require special installation because they run on an independent fuel source; however, you still must consider local fire codes and fire safety. Be sure that your service professional has performed a gas pressure leak test before working with your gas line.
- Never burn wood in a gas, propane, or electric fire pit or patio heater!
- LP Gas supply cylinders must be marked in accordance with specifications of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The cylinder must be arranged for vapor withdrawal per the instruction manual, and must include a collar to protect the cylinder valve. These cylinders should be stored outdoors in a well-ventilated area, out of reach of children and animals. Before storing these cylinders, please consult local codes regarding gas and fuel storage and safety.
- For LPG patio heaters or fire pits, please hold the valve for at least 5 seconds. The safety valve, or thermocouple, will need some time to warm up before gas can safely be released.
- Pay attention to the building materials for your fire pit, patio heater, or chimenea. If you plan on using the item frequently, make sure to take notice of the gauge of steel, the thickness of the materials, how the clay was finished, etc. If cost is more of a concern for you, please note that lower gauge steels, sheet metal, and air-dried clay are more susceptible to damage with frequent use.
- To prevent rusting, tarnishing, or water damage, we recommend that you purchase a tarp or heavy, water-proof cover for your item. For stainless steel or copper items that have tarnished, a steel or copper polish will remove any tarnishing easily.