No patio or outdoor living space is complete without a fire pit. This versatile accessory allows you to safely build fires outside your home. Fire pits are available in dozens of sizes, materials and styles. However, they all live up to their namesake by featuring a "pit" that's used to contain a fire. If you're thinking about buying and using a fire pit outside your home, you should follow these five safety tips to protect against injury and property damage.
#1) Create 20 Feet of Clearance
A good rule of thumb is to create at least 20 feet of clearance when using a fire pit. In other words, there should be a minimum of 20 feet between your fire pit and any flammable objects or surfaces, such as your home. If there's less than 20 feet of clearance, your fire pit may cause an unintentional fire.
#2) Burn Dry Wood
Another safety tip to follow when using a fire pit is to burn dry wood. Wet or soggy wood doesn't burn efficiently. It's difficult to light, produces minimal heat, and has an unpleasant aroma. Furthermore, wood with a high moisture content is more likely to pop, which could result in injury if you're standing nearby.
#3) Don't Leave Unattended
Even if you maintain at least 20 feet of clearance, as well as only burn dry wood, you shouldn't leave your fire pit unattended. It only takes a second for a stray ember to ignite nearby surfaces. And if you aren't there to watch your fire pit, you won't be able to prevent the unwanted fire from spreading. The bottom line is that you or someone else should watch the fire pit at all times.
#4) Keep Water Nearby
It's always a good idea to keep water nearby when building a fire -- and fire pits are no exception. With a jug or other large container of water, you can extinguish your fire pit if needed.
#5) Wait Until Cool to Remove Ash
Finally, you should wait until your fire pit is completely cool to remove the ash. It can take up to 48 hours for a fire to completely extinguish to the point where it's no longer hot. As a result, your fire pit may look cool shortly after the fire has stopped burning, but touching it could result in a painful burn. So, wait at least 48 hours after the fire has gone out before attempting to touch your fire pit and remove the ash.