Even if you’re not an avid hiker, biker, or camper, you probably enjoy the great outdoors. There’s just something pleasing about smelling the roses and listening to the wind rustling through leaves. Perhaps this is why so many Rock Valley, Iowa homeowners choose to add beautifully designed landscaping, soothing water features, or functional outdoor kitchens and other entertaining options to their backyard spaces.
Of course, when the temperatures cool in the fall and winter, it can become more difficult to lounge and entertain outside. This is where having a fire pit as part of your setup can be a major boon. You just have to make sure to perform proper maintenance, and any time you’re dealing with open flame, you need to follow safety guidelines. Here are a few essential fire pit safety and maintenance tips that will let you enjoy your backyard year-round.
1. Choose the right location
They type of fire pit you choose (gas, wood, etc.) will have an impact on usage and maintenance, but so will the location you choose to install your fire feature. If possible, you’ll want to choose a sheltered location in your yard where it’s not too windy. This will help to keep your fire burning, as well as reduce the potential for drifting embers.
You might also want to avoid placing a fire pit under a tree. It’s true, trees can provide wind shelter for your fire, but you could also end up with a lot of leaves, sticks, and other detritus clogging up your fire pit. In addition, there is some concern about setting brush on fire. It’s always best to maintain clearance of about ten feet around your fire pit, and that includes vertical space.
2. Install with care
Northwest Iowa residents know the damage winter weather can cause outdoor elements, which is why fire pits must be carefully installed to avoid the danger of cracking when cold outdoor air is in conflict with the fiery interior of your pit. Even with precautions like a reinforced concrete base or footers that extend below the frost line, cracking of elements in fire pits isn’t uncommon, but it’s best to do all you can to prevent it.
3. Be careful what you burn
If you have a gas fire pit, you won’t have to worry so much about the fuel source of your fire. As for wood burning options, make sure to stick with dry wood and kindling materials. If you want to burn trash, paper, or pressure-treated wood, you assume risks like creating noxious fumes or setting embers adrift.
4. Keep a fire extinguisher handy
Burning the right materials and adding a mesh cover to your fire pit can go a long way toward preserving safety, but any time you’re dealing with open flame, it’s best to have a fire extinguisher on hand to address emergencies.
5. Clean and maintain with regularity
Shoveling ashes regularly helps to reduce the risk of damage to your fire pit. Just make sure to douse them first. As for deeper cleaning and maintenance, consider hiring a professional service seasonally or at least annually. These professionals have the equipment and experience to keep your fire pit in ship shape for years to come.