Humans have been building fire pits ever since the Stone Age. While these were rudimentary — consisting of nothing more than holes dug into ground — they were still critical in allowing our ancestors to cook meat and survive the harsh winter temperatures.
Today, we continue to use fire pits for these and other reasons. According to a survey conducted by the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA), fire pits are the second most popular outdoor furnishing, only behind chairs. But if you plan on buying a fire pit, you’ll need to maintain it. By following the tips listed below, you can make your fire pit last for countless years to come.
#1) Choose a High-Quality Fire Pit
Arguably, the most important thing you can do is choose a high-quality fire pit, such as those offered here at S&S Fire Pit. While other companies mass produce their fire pits overseas, we handcraft each and every fire pit here in the United States. On average, it takes at least four hours for us to complete a single fire pit, so you can rest assured knowing you are getting the highest quality available.
#2) Watch What You Burn
When using your fire pit, you should avoid burning trash or pressure-treated lumber. Instead, choose natural, locally sourced wood that’s dry and not wet. Burning trash and/or pressure-treated lumber may release toxic fumes and chemicals, some of which may damage your fire pit over time (not to mention it’s bad for your health). And wet wood simply doesn’t burn as easily, so you may struggle to get it lit.
#3) Don’t Use Lighter Fluid
Assuming you use dry wood, you should be able to light your fire pit using nothing more than small pieces of tinder and kindling. You shouldn’t, however, use lighter fluid to get it going. Aside from the risk of bodily harm and property damage it poses, lighter fluid may damage the finish on your fire pit. It’s doubtful any noticeable damage will occur after just one or two uses of lighter fluid. Nonetheless, it’s best to err on the side of caution by avoiding lighter fluid altogether.
If you struggle to light your fire pit, check out our previous blog post here for some helpful tips.
#4) Allow Fire to Extinguish Naturally
Sure, it’s easier and faster to extinguish your fire pit by dousing it with water, but this increases the risk of damage. Unless it’s an emergency situation and you need to get the fire out ASAP, you should await for the fire to extinguish naturally. Dousing a still-burning fire pit with water causes sudden temperature changes. The 1,000-degree fire is suddenly cooled, which can lead to weaken the fire pit’s structural integrity.
#5) Clean the Grate Before and After Cooking
If you use your fire pit for cooking — as most owners do — you should clean the grate both before and after cooking on it. A wire grill brush is an excellent accessory that every home chef needs. Using a wire brush, you can scrub your fire pit’s grate to remove any stubborn food or debris. Failure to do so will result in food particles hardening onto the grate.
Also, consider applying a cooking oil over the grate before adding your food. A thin layer of vegetable oil will “season” it, while also discouraging rust and corrosion. You can experiment with different types of cooking oils, though many home chefs prefer traditional vegetable oil because of its high smoking point and ease of use.
#6) Keep it Covered
Don’t leave your fire pit exposed to the elements. Ideally, you should either place it under a covered area or use a grill cover to protect it from the rain. Without some type of protection, your fire pit will get soaked — and this can lead to rust and corrosion. Keeping your fire pit dry is essential to preserving its structural integrity and original appearance. This isn’t limited strictly to fire pits, however; this applies to all steel and iron-containing metal accessories.
#7) Remove Ashes
When you are finished using your fire pit, wait at least 24 hours for the fire to extinguish and the ash to cool. Once it has cooled, you can dispose of the ash by scooping it out with a shovel and transferring it to a safe, non-flammable metal container. Never attempt to remove ash that’s still hot. Even if it looks gray and cool-to-the-touch, it could hold enough heat to spark a second fire.
#8) Wipe Off Soot and Residue
When fire pits burn, they’ll produce small amounts of smoke. And within this smoke is soot, which can stick to the surface of your fire pit. Soot isn’t a serious concern, but it’s a good idea to remove it nonetheless. After your fire pit has cooled (about 24 hours), wipe down the surface with a damp paper towel. You don’t have to use any special cleaning products, as a small amount of water should suffice, leaving your fire pit looking nice and clean.
Following the tips listed here will allow you to get more use and enjoyment out of your fire pit.
If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help. https://ssfirepits.com/contact/