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How To Keep A Fire Pit Going As Long As You Need (Hours, Days)

Sometimes, you want the fire pit to go on for a long time. It may be for insect control in the evening or for warmth during a chilly night. Whatever the reason, there are ways to keep a fire pit going for hours or even days. Regardless of the method, it's essential to make safety your priority. If you plan to keep the fire lit...

how to keep a fire pit going

Sometimes, you want the fire pit to go on for a long time. It may be for insect control in the evening or for warmth during a chilly night. Whatever the reason, there are ways to keep a fire pit going for hours or even days.

Regardless of the method, it's essential to make safety your priority. If you plan to keep the fire lit for hours or longer, do not leave the pit unattended. Always have a fire extinguisher or bucket of water nearby in case of emergency.

Additionally, be mindful of the type of wood you use, as some species burn longer and hotter than others. We will touch more on the safety tips below. Plus, we'll explain how you can keep your fire pit going as long as you need.

If You Have a Wood Fire Pit

Wood fire pits are among the most common types of fire pits. They're affordable and easy to use. However, keeping them going for a long time requires some input from your side. 

Here are our tips on keeping the flame burning bright for hours on end. 

1. Select the Right Wood Type 

The wood type can make or break your bonfire experience. If you choose the right one, you can enjoy your whole night away. 

The key is to select wood that burns brightly, produces less smoke, and has a long burn time. Hardwoods usually meet the criteria. 

Some examples include:

  • Oak
  • Hickory
  • Maple
  • Birch 
  • Sweet chestnut 

These types of wood take longer to burn and have a higher heat output, making them perfect for longer-lasting fires. They also produce less smoke. 

On the other hand, softwoods like pine and cedar may ignite quickly but burn faster and produce more smoke. They're best used for quick fires and not for long-lasting ones.

If you have softwoods at hand, there's no need to waste them. You can always use them to start a fire. Since they burn quickly, it will be easier to get the fire going. Once the flame is strong enough, you can gradually add hardwoods for an extended burn time. 

You must also select the proper kindling for the fire pit. Kindling can be any small and dry wooden material, like shavings and twigs. Make sure you use dry kindling since wet material is difficult to ignite and will not help the fire grow. Newspapers are a remarkable option here. 

2. Add Stones to the Fire Pit 

We bet you didn't think of this one! Adding stones to your fire pit can be a game-changer. Stones retain heat, which helps keep the fire going. 

The science behind this mechanism is quite simple. The heat from the flames creates air pockets within the stones, making them act like a sponge. These air pockets fill up with heat from the fire, which eventually radiates to the surrounding area. 

Some stones with high heat retention properties are granite, basalt, and soapstone. Basalt can withstand high temperatures of 700°C (1,292°F), which makes it an ideal choice for fire pits. 

If you plan to cook or grill on the fire pit, we'd recommend using soapstone. It doesn't absorb heat as quickly as basalt but retains it for much longer. 

Clean the stones before use to avoid getting debris or chemicals in your fire. Also, do not use porous stones or river rocks in your fire pit, as they may explode when heated.

3. Consider the Weather Conditions 

Sometimes, Mother Nature is not on your side. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy your fire pit. 

If it's a windy day, try to position your fire pit away from the wind direction. For example, keep the fire pit close to a wind-breaking surface like a wall or fence. 

However, don't move it too close to nearby vegetation or flammable objects. On average, the fire pit should be 10 feet or more away from any combustible materials, such as wooden structures or trees. 

4. Stoke the Fire 

Stoking simply means adding more fuel to your fire. That's a sure-shot way to keep the fire going on for a long time. Here's how to stoke the fire: 

  • Add more tinder or kindling to the fire. 
  • Put smaller wooden logs on top of their larger counterparts, as they burn quickly. 
  • Add larger logs as the fire grows stronger. 
  • Use a rake or shovel to stir the embers around to ensure they get enough oxygen. 
  • Do not smother the fire by adding too much wood at once. 

5. Make Room For Oxygen 

Do you know what's the most crucial component for a fire to burn? It's not wood, and it's not lighter, either. It's oxygen. 

If your fire is not getting enough oxygen, it will smolder and die out quickly. To ensure that doesn't happen, leave a gap or two between the logs when stacking them in your fire pit. 

Another way to provide more oxygen is by using bellows or blowing gently over the flames. 

6. Keep the Wood Dry

The drier the wood, the longer your fire will burn. Store the wood you intend to use for the fire pit in a dry place, away from any moisture or water. 

You can also use a firewood rack to elevate the wood off the ground and prevent it from getting damp. Similarly, buy kiln-dried or seasoned wood that has been dried for at least six months to ensure it burns efficiently. 

7. Stack Up Logs In a Teepee Shape 

The way you place the logs will also impact the duration of your fire. Instead of stacking the logs in a haphazard manner, arrange them in a teepee shape. It is a regular cone-like structure, with smaller logs at the bottom and larger ones on top.

Such a structure facilitates airflow, which is just what your fire needs to keep burning. The tepee shape also ensures that the logs collapse onto each other as they burn, keeping the fire going for longer. 

If You Have a Propane or Gas Fire Pit

With a propane or gas fire pit, the more fuel you add, the bigger and better the fire will be. But sometimes, that may not be enough. In that case, here are some things to check. 

1. Leak Inspection

If the fire doesn't seem to be burning brightly or consistently despite the control knob being on high, you may have a gas leak. Not only does it affect the quality of fire, but it's also a health hazard. 

Check all the connections and valves for any damage or leakage. A simple solution is to rub soapy water (a mixture of water and dish soap) over a connection or valve. If it bubbles, there's a leak. Turn off the gas supply and call for professional help in such instances.

2. Use Wind Shields

Like wood fire pits, the wind can also affect propane and gas fire pits. A gust of wind can easily blow out your flame or disrupt its consistency, making it challenging to maintain the fire for long. 

Luckily, many portable propane fire pits come with built-in wind shields that can be easily set up to protect the flame. If your fire pit didn't come with one, get a separate wind shield. 

For the time being, you can also consider moving the fire pit to a less windy area or creating a temporary barrier with something like a large piece of cardboard. But if your fire pit is not portable, getting a wind shield may be your only option. 

3. Keep the Burners Clean

Just like any other appliance that uses gas, your fire pit's burners can also get clogged with debris and dirt over time. As a result, the debris may enter the fire, forming sparks. It can also affect how long the fire can stay lit.  

Clean the burners regularly to remove such blockages and dirt. How often you clean will depend on the frequency of fire pit use. If you use it extensively, we'd say clean the burner every month. 

Use a soft brush to clean the burner ports. You can also soak the burners in hot water and dish soap for a few hours to loosen any stubborn debris. After cleaning, make sure the burners are completely dry before using them again. 

4. Use an Automated Fuel Monitoring Systems 

There's no bummer like having the time of your life in the backyard with family and friends, only to realize that your propane or gas tank is on its last legs. 

Pop! There goes the fire. 

Avoid such disappointing moments by using automated fuel monitoring systems, which will alert you when your fuel is running low. You can then arrange for a refill before your next gathering. 

5. Get a Timer 

Gone are the days when you'd fall asleep only to wake up in the morning and realize in horror (while thanking your stars) that you left the fire pit burning all night. A timer can help you avoid such mishaps. 

Many manufacturers now offer different options of fire pit timers for gas and propane fire pits. You can set timers for 12 hours or more. The fire pit will automatically shut down the gas when the timer goes off. 

It's a great way to burn a fire for a long time without worrying about constantly monitoring it. Plus, it saves fuel because the fire pit won't be on unnecessarily. 

6. Limit the Flame Height 

The lower the flame level, the longer the propane or gas will last. So, if you want to extend the life of your fire, adjust the flame to a lower height. It might not be as impressive as a roaring fire, but it will still provide warmth and ambiance. 

7. Use Fire Glass

Another tip is to use lava rocks or fire glass in your fire pit. These materials are designed to retain heat and radiate it back into the surrounding area, making them efficient in providing warmth. 

Ready for the fun part? They also come in various colors and can add a decorative touch to your fire pit. 

To Happy, Long Hours At Your Fire Pit…

It's much simpler to keep propane and gas fire pits going for the whole night, especially if you can't be bothered to add more kindling or adjust the logs. But if you prefer the old-school feel of a wood-burning fire, that's totally okay, too. 

You'll just have to put a little extra work in. Irrespective of the fire pit type, do not compromise on safety. Always keep an eye on the fire and store the fire pits (portable ones) properly, per the manufacturer's instructions, after use.

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