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How to Divert Smoke From A Fire Pit?

Fire pits are a wonderful addition to your outdoor space as they are an ideal gathering spot for friends and family.  But the cozy warmth is less inviting when you have to keep inhaling lungfuls of smoke! There are a few ways you can cut down on the smoke produced as well as divert smoke from the fire pit.  You can divert smoke by using...

How to Divert Smoke From A Fire Pit?

Fire pits are a wonderful addition to your outdoor space as they are an ideal gathering spot for friends and family.  But the cozy warmth is less inviting when you have to keep inhaling lungfuls of smoke! There are a few ways you can cut down on the smoke produced as well as divert smoke from the fire pit. 

You can divert smoke by using accessories like a wind guard or you can purchase a specific type of fire pit that diverts the smoke automatically. Keep reading for our suggestions on getting a more enjoyable fire pit experience. 

What Causes Excessive Smoke?

Excessive smoke in a fire pit can be caused by a variety of factors, and understanding these factors can help you reduce or eliminate the smoke. Here are some common reasons for excessive smoke in a fire pit:

  • Wet or Green Wood: Wood that has not been properly seasoned or dried contains a high moisture content. When burned, this moisture evaporates, producing a lot of smoke.
  • Poor Airflow: Inadequate airflow can cause incomplete combustion of wood, leading to more smoke production.
  • Burning Trash or Treated Wood: Burning trash or wood that has been treated with chemicals can release toxic fumes and produce more smoke.
  • Damp Weather Conditions: Fire pits tend to produce more smoke on damp or rainy days. This is because the moisture in the air can affect the combustion process.
  • Poor Maintenance: A dirty or clogged fire pit can hinder proper airflow and combustion. 

5 Tips for Keeping Fire Pit Smoke to a Minimum

  1. Only burn properly seasoned firewood
  2. Ensure there is sufficient ventilation
  3. Burn smaller pieces of firewood
  4. Regularly clean your fire pit
  5. Keep fire pit covered when not in use

Your Fire Pit Shape Can Make a Difference

Believe it or not, the shape of your fire pit can make a difference when it comes to diverting smoke. Around the fire, vertical structures (like you) "attract" the smoke. 

This is because warm air rising from the center of the fire pit causes a low pressure area to form. The cooler surrounding ar is sucked in to replace the warmer air as it rises out of the fire pit. When you are standing close to the fire, you prevent cool air from entering which creates another area of low pressure — meaning the smoke is sucked in your direction.

You can combat this issue by foregoing a round fire pit and building a horseshoe shape instead. By placing a wall or tall rock at the open end of the horseshoe, the wall will act as that second area of low pressure and thus divert smoke in that direction. You can further protect yourself by sitting on the side of the horseshoe instead of its center.

Wind Guards

Another option for diverting smoke is a fire pit accessory called a wind guard. 

Fire pit wind guards are designed to redirect airflow, which can help to divert smoke away from those gathered around the fire. These transparent or partially transparent accessories create a barrier that the wind must navigate, which can disrupt its patterns and force smoke to move in a different direction. 

This innovation provides a more enjoyable and smoke-free experience for outdoor gatherings around a fire pit, making it an excellent addition to your outdoor space. You can find wind guards at most retailers where fire pits are sold. They start at about $40 and go up from there.

Here are a few examples from Amazon:


Fire Pits with Chimneys

Fire pits with chimneys effectively divert smoke by channeling it upward and away from the seating area. The chimney's design creates a draft, drawing air from the fire and sending smoke and fumes above head level.

Amazon offers several options for fire pits with chimneys:

Consider a Dakota Fire Hole

A Dakota fire hole, also known as a Dakota fire pit, is a traditional and efficient method of creating a fire pit (or cooking fire.) It's named after the Dakota Sioux Native American tribe, who are credited with its development. This fire-building technique is particularly useful in windy conditions and for diverting smoke away from those enjoying the flames.

To create a Dakota fire hole:

Dig Two Holes: Start by digging two holes, typically about 8-12 inches in diameter and 18-24 inches apart. One hole is the fire chamber, and the other is the air hole. Both holes should be of similar depth.

Connect the Holes: Dig a tunnel or trench connecting the two holes. The tunnel should slope gently from the air hole to the fire chamber.

Ignite the Fire: Build and ignite your fire in the fire chamber, using small sticks and tinder to start. The tunnel acts as a natural chimney, drawing air from the air hole to fuel the fire. This promotes efficient combustion, reducing the smoke produced.

Fuel the Fire: As the fire burns, you can add larger sticks and logs. The Dakota fire hole is efficient because it maximizes oxygen intake, resulting in a hot and virtually smoke-free fire.

A Dakota fire hole is a more eco-friendly option, as it leaves a smaller impact on the environment compared to traditional fire pits or campfires. It is also often used by hunters or campers because it is less likely to attract unwanted attention in wilderness settings.

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