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Heavier than air. High pressure gas. What's not lit, is like water and "falls" to either "Pond" and can ignite, or blow away. Dirty gas & produces soot. Mount Holes UP. Can run smaller hoses LONG distances. Use darker glass or Lava rocks to avoid seeing soot. Always leak test. If you Smell Gas, Leak Test AGAIN.
Lighter than air. Low pressure gas. What's not lit, goes up & ignite in your face. Cleaner gas. Holes up or down (best up). Overstate what you need in BTU's. Bigger not better w/ burners; or burns faster than can supply = low flames. Run 1-2x size of the pipe they say; min 3/4" pipe; best >1" as its the "fuel tank". Leak Test
Flare fittings are also called compression fittings are rounded - see above - and the males sides are designed to "seat" into the female sides (to become one). If you thread tape them then they cannot seat into one another and WILL Leak; if not now, later.
Most people don't realize LP/ Propane tanks have 2 sets of connection threads; an outer (Acme) set and an inner (POL) set. Outer is for Low Pressure and is most common; grills, heaters, etc. Inner threads are for High Pressure connections and filling the tank. They are REVERSE THREADED = Lefty tighty! For our regulators push in the black hand wheel and turn to the left to tighten. When snug, stop.
Used to, but found cost over $1000 and lasted 2 years (in Florida salty air). Costing almost $40/mos to have ability to light your fire - no thanks! We suggest beefy Bernzomatic TS4000 or smaller LTR200 - Windproof, great for cigars, dont get stolen and LAST SEASONS! Light windproof lighter over burner, slowly turn on gas until lit, stand back and turn up. WORKS EVERY TIME!
Ever turn the gas on a grill on, and you click the push button igniter; click- click- click- click - WOOSH! Well, that's low pressure, most fire features are high(er) pressure. With Nat Gas, fire goes up, with LP, it goes down than up; dangerous! Light windproof lighter over burner, slowly turn on gas until lit, stand back and turn up. WORKS EVERY TIME!
We don't think every DIY'r should use one. Depends on your installation and only if it's well ventilated and you've seen our video about the dangers. Reduces, not eliminates soot. Can back-flow gas if not sized right. We prefer some LP soot (20x less than a wood fire) over the possible dangers. Use dark glass or lava rocks when using LP gas.
YES, our burners can be used indoors or outdoors as log lighters as well as in dual purpose wood & gas fire pits, as long as you protect the gas supply. With wood, embers radiate heat down; with gas, heat radiates up. Best to keep the burner off the floor and under the wood grate (for cleaning & efficiency).
If you're going thru a surface thicker than 3" than we offer a low profile coupling and a longer key to make it fit (and you'd buy a nipple at the local hardware store depending on your depth). If shorter than 3" we suggest a 1.5" diam PVC piece to shim back the valve body from the surface.
Burner height is purely a preference of the builder/ user. Few basics we preach on pits: Keep entire pit at 12" or less from gound for enjoying warmth; and the burner be at the top 4" or so, so you don't waste gas to see it. Our unique fire ring mounting kit allows you to move up and down up to 3" (less actual surface thickness). Best to put burner above heat absorbing material (hardie board, concrete, pan, pea gravel...) and not just sitting on the bottom.
Burner size is another preference of the user but remember: BIGGER IS NOT BETTER especially w/ Nat Gas where it's easily possible to burn gas quicker than you can supply it = low flames. With LP bigger means any portable 20# tank may ice up quicker if not in a water bath. Too small looks like a single candle on a big cake; too large and the flames lick up the sides. Looks fine w/ 6-12" from the fire ring to a wall and 5-7" from side and 1-2" or so from end of a linear burner.
All our rubber and thermoplastic hoses are whistle-free. "Whistle-free" is generally about a metal hose. They are flexible due to corrugations in the metal down the hose; and much like a 'silly straw', when the corrugations are all evenly spaced out, and you blow in it, there is a terrible whistle. We use "whistle-free" stainless which means they alternate the corrugations to eliminate the whistle. If your pit is whistling, a rogue hose is generally the culprit.
The Propane reaction from Liquid to Gas at the regulator is a very cold one; much like Freon. As the reaction occurs in “portable <100 lb tanks”, a tank gets very cold and begins to sweat. Soon “sweat” turns to ice, and as more ice gathers on your tank, it can no longer keep the reaction occurring and flames will go very low and you’ll loose ability to change the flame size altogether (other than hose down the tank/ which warms it).
If the tank ices up, or you want to prevent it from icing up, you will need to find a way to keep you tank warm; best/ easiest… find a $5-7 party tub from walmart or local hardware store (like the kind you put keg or drinks in), put the tank inside it, submerge 1/3 of the tank in water; it will insulate it and eliminate the icing up; even in cold weather. The water will get very cold but will not allow the tank to ice up for several hours and then a change of the water will allow it to last for hours again. Amazingly enough when you take the tank out of the water you see how cold the reaction was as there will many times be a 2" think ice cube around the bottom of the tank!!
An electric blanket is an easy way to keep tanks warm. They are UL rated, washable and produce an even amount of heat. Wrapping blankets allows you to skip the water bath altogether, so there is less hassle. Another plus is that they fold up and store easily and can be used for multiple tasks, for instance warming up people.
From an article we found online, every blanket found was made out of acrylic. They recommended a cotton sheet or a towel to wrap around the tank so that if any ice formed, it didn't make contact with the blanket.
(search Sunbeam Electric Blanket)
Larger tanks are thick-walled and don’t have this problem as they are designed to contain the cold reaction w/in their very thick walls. Should you start with a small portable tank for your fire feature and eventually wish to move up to a leased larger tank, they start at 40-50 gallons and move up from there. It's cheaper overall (I pay $65/ year or so to lease 2 hotdog 100 gallon side by side ground tanks). They can be usually situated up to 100' from the street and easily filled by the truck when you wish and can last an entire season easily.
BTU's are determined by not just the burner, but by the gas pressure, the line size as well as its length. We dont measure our burners in BTU's, and usually if someone is calling us it's because their gas installer is running a pre-plumbed gas line to a pit from a buried tank or street gas connection. Simply tell them you need 200-300K BTU at the pit and you will be happy! Our LP kits all come with a 20 PSI / 500K BTU regulator and it's far more than most need; but again the purpose of a fire feature is a ball of fire for ambiance and warmth; too much is never a bad thing; the key valve goes from zero to ...
Are they necessary/ mandatory? NO. While we sell extremely high quality thick stainless pans, they are merely to make it easy, and provide that professional finished and sexy look. Feel free to try cement board (a water-durable, mold-resistant panel for use under tile and other finishes in a variety of interior and exterior applications). Sold as Hardie Board, Durock, Wonder Board from your local hardware store <$15 3'x5' sheet (over wood, ceramic, metal studs or by itself).
Also try cooking/ pizza pans, pots or mixing bowls from your local restaurant supply (<$20 and once covered by pea gravel below the burner, and lava rock or glass above it...function the same as our pans)
Ceramic or concrete bowls / planters... anything heat retardant which you can also find in a statuary or home improvement store... can easily substitute for higher priced alternatives.
Just like many department store gas fire features/ pits/ tables with the tanks inside, we offer kits for putting your LP tank inside (ITCK+ Kit). Remember a standard LP grill tank is not supposed to be mounted on it's side or it can leak the liquid propane into the regulator before it turns it to gas; which in turn can kill a regulator. Portable tanks such as 20# or smaller are designed to be portable and while will work for fire features; when using with larger than 12" rings and such, may ice up after a little use without a partial water bath or way to keep them "warm"; rendering the fire feature useless until the tank "cools" down (heats up).
The smaller a portable tank the quicker it will ice up so keep that in mind when you decide to put a tank in a fire table.
When you assemble our kits into your creation, assemble from your gas supply or tank to the mounting kit and instead of finally mounting the burner, you can purchase a 1/2" cap to put in place of the burner. Leak test the fire feature and once you feel confident there are no leaks, uncap the mounting nipple and screw on the burner; and even if there is a small leak inside the pit from the nipple to the burner... it's supposed to breathe fire from here!
Up? Down? Up? Down? Chicken? Egg? We suggest always mounting with the fire holes facing up; ESPECIALLY with PROPANE as it otherwise falls (as it's heavier than air) and can pond and become dangerous. As for Nat Gas, many installers like to mount the burners with holes down as to avoid water in the lines (we hear of that sooo rarely, we don't feel it's worth it). We prefer the gas going straight up or being near to the top of the lava rocks, glass, etc. as otherwise wind blows the gas (hydro static pressure) around within and sometimes it all ends up on one side or uneven, or can blow out altogether easier.
The best filler for below the burner and still allowing water to drain, but not soo much gas or heat, is pea gravel. It's ideal for any pit, pot or table (below the ring or burner). If you see our Propane instructions for building a fire pit, pot or table, we insist in using pea gravel to fill in any areas that may be hollow and where gas has the ability to leak, and potentially pond. In fire features that are not well ventilated (like most pits), should there be a hollow ponding area for gas to accumulate, the byproduct is an eventual "whoosh", which is also know as a flare up (3,500 degrees that can instantly cause first degree burns and or quickly melt the end off rubber hoses).
Above the Burner:
Lava Rocks ($3-4/ 10 lb bag) or Glass Gems/ Fire Glass ($1.20-7/ lb) can be purchased from online retailers or found locally at Dollar Stores, Craft Stores… I like Glass Gems as they are shiny and slick and soot doesn’t really stick well to them and the morning dew cleans them. For Propane/ LP pits use darker glass; Copper, Black, Cobalt Blue… as they don’t show the soot as much. For lava rocks local outdoor supplies sometimes have black lava rocks… For Natural Gas its clean so any color works fine. DO NOT USE Skipping Stones, Regular Rocks or anything that isn't heat rated as they retain water and under extreme heat will “Fracture” or “POP” and you don’t want a 150 degree rock popping into your lap! Avoid Granite, Marble, pebbles and regular rocks…