Last Updated on September 19, 2022 by HodgePodgeDays
Winter is approaching with astonishing rapidity and if you are still spending a lot of time outside, you will have already noticed the nights drawing in and the temperatures dropping from ‘pleasant’ to ‘quite chilly, really’. Rather than change your outdoor entertainments, why not invest in a fire pit to make your outdoor space cosy and welcoming. Here are some tips and tricks to keeping your firepit working effectively and effortlessly.
Protect the Bottom
Depending on the type of fire pit you have, it might have an open base with a catchment basin for falling ash and embers, or it might be solid, with all the debris being contained in the bottom of the firepit. Whichever type you have, the base of your firepit can get incredibly hot when it is holding a roaring fire, and over time this repeated heating and cooling can weaken your fire pit’s structural integrity. Prevent this damage by laying down a layer of lava rocks or fire sand to insulate the base from the worst of the heat. The layer of sand, should you choose that option, has an added advantage of reflecting heat away from the base out towards your seating area, making your patio or deck even cosier.
Think About the Burn
As well as getting a good quality fire pit – a good recommendation for getting a fire pit in the Newcastle area is Forest Fuel – you should think about what you are going to burn. Avoid things like plastics and rubber: they not only smell terrible and throw out choking black smoke, but they have been linked to respiratory illnesses. Instead, opt for well-seasoned woods that have been thoroughly dried. Some will be sold as ‘kiln dried’ which means they have practically been baked to remove as much moisture as possible to provide a smoke-free, clean burn. Wood from trees like apple and cherry trees smells lovely, herbs like sage are not only fragrant, but they help to keep pests like midges and mosquitoes away. They’re also good for banishing unwelcome spirits if you are a spiritual person! Dense, slow-grown woods, such as oak and ash will burn well for a long time when properly seasoned to do so with less smoke.
Another excellent tip when buying your fire pit is to invest in some tools to help you get the most out of your fire pit and keep you safe while you do so. These include things like:
Barbecue Grill: this fits onto most firepits and can be used for everything from boiling water for tea to grilling steaks and even making toast.
Heatproof Grabber: Take the uncertainty out of logs tumbling as they burn with a handy tool that will allow you to reach into the fire and reposition burning logs that seem about to fall.
Poker: There is something highly satisfying about using a poker to push logs around and seeing the fire rejuvenated from your simple actions.
Heat Proof Gloves: No one should be reaching into a burning fire, but sometimes a fire that seems to have completely died can be smouldering deep inside. Never move your ashes without heat proof gloves on, just in case your fire is one of those clinging tenaciously to life.
Ash Shovel and a Bucket: Make sure you think of how you will dispose of your ash – it can be surprisingly plentiful after a leisurely night around a cosy fire! You can use the shovel to scoop the ashes into a metal bucket, and then carry them to your bin or composting area – or you can keep it to use as emergency road salt in winter or to discourage slugs and snails from your garden: ash is full of potassium salts.
Use a Fire Pit Mat
Finally, invest in a fire pit mat to go underneath your fire pit. This will protect your patio, deck or even grass from scorch marks caused by the intense heat, and will also contain any fallen embers or drifts of ash. With a fire pit mat, in summertime you can simply roll it up, clear it away and there will be no sign of your fire pit – until next winter!
This is a contributed post.