Outdoor living is becoming increasingly popular, and for those who do not want to gather wood or regularly stoke the fire for a wood-burning fire pit, the option of building a natural gas fire pit is a terrific option. The electronic ignition and flame control settings are available on the gas fire pit.
Furthermore, you will not have to clean up any messes left by coal or coal dust on your patio. Similarly, you will not be left with piles of ash to clean up, nor will you need to scrape the pit to keep it clean. You can construct a gas fire pit outside to complement an existing ‘patio with firepit’ scenario, or you can construct a gas fire as part of a larger DIY project.
A gas fire pit should be kept a safe distance away from your home or garage. Setting up a gas fire pit near a power source or overhanging power lines is never a good idea. Make sure there are no underground electric cables before deciding on a location for the installation.
While gas flames do not produce sparks or flying embers, heat generation must be considered. You must also ensure that the gas supply is properly connected to your gasoline fire pit. Gas leaks can be hazardous, especially if the gas builds up in the pit. All fire pit burners require enough ventilation to ensure optimal airflow, which should be avoided at all costs.
This is quite crucial. Making gas connections is not a project that can be done entirely on one’s own. Before you do anything, you should consult with a competent specialist to see if your gas system can take the added load of a gas fire pit. To ensure the best results, they may also diagnose any issues and make necessary changes prior to the installation. Remember that a qualified technician must make all gas connections following local rules and legislation.
Before proceeding with your plan for a gas fire pit, thoroughly evaluate the site and how you will supply gas to the location. Depending on the location, installing a natural gas line by a certified expert may be simple.
Ideally, you’ll want to build an outdoor fire pit on a flat, level surface, such as a stone patio, deck, or flat yard.
To prevent radiant heat from traveling to the surfaces and starting a fire, put a non-combustible base beneath the fire pit when installing it on grass or decks.
As a non-combustible base for grass, a coating of sand or pea gravel can be used. Decks can be built with bricks, pavers, Hardie Board, or Dura Rock.
We recommend that you have at least six feet of clearance around the sides and above the burner area of your fire pit.
Once you’ve decided on the type and size of your burner, double-check the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure appropriate clearance to combustible materials.
Gas fuel types
A natural gas fire pit is less expensive to operate than bulk or bottled propane, but it is more expensive to install. When installing the gas line, keep in mind that its length, width, and pressure can all impact the flame height.
Pressure decreases with distance, which is why it is important to ensure that your gas lines can supply the additional volume and pressure required.
Connecting a portable propane tank is less difficult than installing a gas line. Propane is significantly more energy-efficient than natural gas and enables easy adjustment of the gas pressure, controlling the flame strength.
However, suppose your property already has a natural gas line that a utility provider supplies. In that case, it may be more cost-effective to have a licensed professional attach this to your fire pit.
You’ve decided on a spot for your gas fire pit. So, what now?
Other factors have an impact on the design phase (to your right). Start to question your preferences. What other things would you like to see?
- Size: What is in proportion to and correlates with what already exists? What will you wish to improve after installing your gas fire pit if nothing exists?
- Shape: What is your preference? Is it a circle, a rectangle, or a square?
- Surface: What surfaces appeals to you? Metal? Masonry, such as brick or stone?
When it comes to what powers and protects the fire, questions abound, such as height.
- Would you like to look down at the flame, up at it, or across at it? Is it better to have a table or a cocktail table?
- How high do you want the flame to go?
Aside from that, web terminology varies. As in gas fire pit kit, gas fire pit insert kit, and so on, the kit is used interchangeably.
Choose the perfect sized burner
Getting the highest flame possible could be the goal. Nonetheless, we strongly advise selecting a fire pit ring that is 12” smaller than the fire pit’s inside diameter. For example, if the interior diameter is 42”, a fire pit ring with a diameter of 30” is required. This creates a safe space between the flame and the fire pit’s edge. It also contributes to a more appealing appearance.
Choose your enclosure
The enclosure is a fire pit’s body. It houses the burner, as well as the gas and ignition components. You can build the fire pit enclosure on-site with masonry bricks, or you can purchase an unfinished enclosure, which is available separately or as part of a kit.
No matter what style of outdoor gas fire pit you install, ventilation in the base is required. Ventilation supplies fresh air to the ignition system, allows for continuous circulation and water drainage and prevents excess gas and heat from accumulating inside the enclosure.
Without sufficient ventilation, the accumulation of gas and heat could result in a potentially dangerous situation, such as an explosion. At least two built-in air vents on opposite sides of the fire pit should provide ventilation.
If your fire pit does not have an open bottom, you can create appropriate airflow by elevating the fire pit off the ground with risers.
Choose your burner and components
The most significant feature of your gas fire pit are the burners. They determine the height and size of the fire and are used to burn the gas.
Burners are available in a variety of shapes, materials, sizes, and BTU capacities. To ensure you get proper flame presentation, you should go through the available varieties and their BTU outputs.
You may buy a burner separately or get a fire pit burner kit that includes everything you need to get started.
Pans are placed directly beneath the burner and hold the media (like gas logs or lava rock). Some burners come with pans, while others require separate purchase of the pan.
If you buy a pan separately, consider the size and form of the fire pit, as well as whether you want the pan to be sunk into the surface or sit flat with the top.
The pan’s diameter should be large enough to allow for roughly three inches of clearance between the edges of the burner and the pan’s edge.
3. Connectors and fittings
Connectors and fittings are small components that sit within the enclosure and direct gas flow to the burner. To connect the gas source to your ignition system, we recommend using a whistle-free flexible line.
Corrugated pipe, elbow couplings, and sharp curves in your flex hose will cause unpleasant whistling.
During installation, gently bending the flex line will result in efficient gas flow and prevent whistling.
4. Air mixer
Propane fire pits necessitate the use of an air mixer. Air mixers function by bringing in fresh air to mix with propane before it exits the burner for burning. They must be mounted vertically, as close to the burner as practicable.
When an air mixer is mounted horizontally or attached to an elbow, the air slows slower, allowing gas to escape and producing flames beneath the pan.
The media sits on top of the burner and pan to hide them and helps disperse the gas to create a natural flame pattern. We offer a lava rock media or ceramic gas log set for a more traditional look. Colored fire glass, firestones, or fireballs are ideal for a contemporary aesthetic.
When the gas pressure is right, the media should only cover the burner by one inch.
6. Ignition system
The ignition system is responsible for starting and controlling the fire. You can choose a push-button, match-lit (manual), or automatic ignition system.
Automatic ignition systems are the most expensive and usually need an electrical connection, but they are also the most straightforward and convenient to use.
Automatic ignitions can be activated using a remote control, wall switch, Bluetooth, or a smart home system.
A complete gas fire pit kit represents two systems. First, you must construct the outer support structure, which will serve as the fire pit surround. The interior gas-ignition and flame-related components known as the fire pit insert must next be assembled.
The easiest approach to make a DIY gas fire pit is to buy a ready-made drop-in fire pit kit. The kits are typically in the shape of a bowl and come ready to install into the fire pit enclosure of your choice.
Tools needed for block assembly
- Rake (if building on grass)
- Shovel (if building on grass)
- AAA battery for burner ignition
- Exterior grade concrete adhesive
- Caulk gun
- Vapor barrier
Tools needed for the burner assembly
- Two adjustable wrenches
- 7/16″ wrench
- Power drill with Phillips bit
- Vent block
Putting together the gas fire pit insert
The quality and type of gas fire pit insert you choose will depend on your requirements. You will need to assemble three parts: the burner pan (to support the burner), the burner (for flame output), and the plumbing parts (to ignite the gas flame and to control the gas fuel).
Exterior support construction
If you are installing your fire pit on grass, mark your preferred shape and remove all grass, sod, and roots. Remove 2 inches of earth and level the area before adding 1-2 inches of paver base. Pack the paver foundation and continue to verify for levelness. If you place your gas fire pit directly on a paver patio, you can install the vapor barrier once the paver base is level and compacted. This will keep moisture from the ground out of your gas burner kit.
Lay the first ring of hardscape blocks in a circle with the specified diameter. To level, use a rubber mallet. Place the next ring of concrete blocks, making sure to leave room for the optional vent block and control panel. Allow enough space between the blocks to enable airflow underneath the burner if not using a vent block. Your gas burner kit will come with detailed instructions to help you do this.
Once you’re satisfied with the plan, carefully remove the second layer of blocks one at a time, apply concrete adhesive, and replace each block with strong pressure.
Place the burner on top of the concrete block ring after it has been assembled. To secure the burner ring, give at least 1 inch of overlap. Consult the gas burner kit manual for correct assembly instructions, clearance to combustible ratios, and gas connection instructions.
Once the burner is secure, lay the third layer of concrete blocks and repeat the same adhesive process used when laying the second layer.
After the concrete adhesive has cured, add lava rock until the burner area is covered with about 2 inches of rock.
Using fire glass and other fire media to decorate
Decorate your burner system with fire glass or other fire media alternatives to achieve the desired effect. Everyone has a style, from brilliant, jewel-like fire glass to traditional lava rock and contemporary fire shapes. The beauty of fire media is that you can swap it out seasonally to match your surroundings. You don’t have to stick to one style all the time. All materials used in your DIY fire pit project, including the enclosure and components, as well as the fire media itself, must be expressly designed for use in flames. Natural boulders, river stones, and the like should not be used in your fire pit since they can pop and break.
Is it possible to convert a natural gas pit to a propane pit?
Propane is much more energy-efficient than natural gas, and connecting a portable tank is less difficult than installing a gas connection. When using a propane tank, the flame strength can also be readily adjusted by controlling the gas pressure. A unique conversion kit can convert a natural gas fire pit to a propane fire pit.
Last words of advice
You will not be disappointed if you choose to build a gas fire pit, whether in your home’s outdoor space or on a patio. Follow all industry codes, seek advice before starting, thoroughly read your building instructions, and seek assistance as needed. If you have small children or pets, you can control the flame level of your gas pit just like you would a stove or other appliance.
Of course, you’ll still need to practice basic fire safety precautions as you would with any other fire. You can get a gas fire pit for a reasonable price online from a variety of merchants. Because of the variety of designs, you can also mix and match your other outdoor furnishings when shopping.
Last update on 2022-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API