Fire pits are ever-increasing in popularity in modern homes due to the atmosphere and warmth they provide. However, without proper knowledge, you might fail to generate enough warmth to create a cozy environment. So, how do you get more heat from your fire pit and what are the best ways to do so?
It is possible to increase the heat you get from your fire pit by supplying more oxygen, using softer and dry wood, using the right breed of wood, and increasing the surface area of the fire. All these will help the fire generate more heat and burn stronger.
To learn how to generate more heat from a fire pit, you must know how to light a fire in the first place. Without further waiting, let us look at how fire is ignited so we get a better understanding of the inner working of heat generation.
Understanding How Fire Works
A simple chart that helps us understand how fire is generated is a fire tetrahedron. The chart is nothing but a tetrahedron that shows the four essential components, listed below, to make a fire.
Energy is the heat that the fire uses to ignite and keep burning. The amount of heat the fire emits is a part of the total amount of energy it is producing. Therefore, increasing the amount of energy the flame produces will help increase the heat it generates.
This is the thing that the fire burns to stay ablaze. Fuel includes any material from gas, oil, timber, wood to anything that can burn and keep on burning. It is the item that reacts with oxygen in the air, and thus, generates heat.
Fire is incapable of burning without oxygen. Indeed, the fuel reacts with the oxygen in the air and causes a fire. Oxygen oxidizes the fuel and is responsible for the chemical reaction that causes a fire.
This is a rather recent addition to what was previously called the fire triangle. Without a chemical reaction, it is not possible to generate enough heat to sustain a fire in the first place.
Each of these components is crucial in igniting a fire. If any one of these components is missing, the fire will simply not light up. An increase in any one of these components will result in a stronger fire. Therefore, for this particular purpose, you must learn what could help increase these components so you can acquire more heat from your fire.
Fire pits can be an amazing addition to your home and a great spot for people to gather around and spend quality time together. There are a lot of fire pit options to choose from, but nowadays, smokeless fire pits are becoming the top choice for homeowners. If you are looking for recommendations, here are the 11 best smokeless fire pits for your backyard.
How to Light a Fire
Now, you need to know how to start a fire. Here is a simple rundown of how to do so. It only takes four things to light a fire, which are:
Tinder is an umbrella term for flammable branches, weed, twigs, and other follicles that help start a fire. These must be as dry as possible, otherwise, the fire simply won’t ignite.
It is the twig or branch that is used to make the fire.
It is the component used to light up a spark. In your case, it is most likely going to be a match or a lighter.
Your fuel is going to be what catches the fire. In most cases, for fire pits, it’s either going to be petrol or propane gas. Which fuel you choose to use depends on your personal preference.
Now, these are the steps you need to follow to light a fire:
- Create your fire pit by setting up the tinder in the center and surrounding it with kindling all around.
- Then, use the starter of your choice to light up the fire pit’s tinder. Keep feeding it more and more tinder until the kindling sets on fire.
- Then, continue feeding the fire with more and more kindling and tinder until the fire grows bigger. Hence, you can introduce larger fuel logs to burn for a longer time.
By following these steps, you should have a fire ready in your fire pit. Now that we have learned how to light a fire, let us focus on how to make your fire pit exude more heat.
How Do You Make Your Fire Pit Hotter?
There are various ways to make your fire pit exude more heat. These methods range from changing your fuel to replacing your fire pit with a better variant. But to keep things easy, I have listed 5 easy ways you can do to make your fire pit burn hotter.
1. Use Dry Wood
While common sense dictates that it’s better to use dry than wet or moist wood, it is often an overlooked factor. Dry wood can absorb the flame more easily because of the lack of tree sap in it. Meanwhile, tree sap is not flammable. Therefore, it is much harder for fire to burn wet wood.
As previously mentioned, energy is a key component in producing heat. And if the wood still contains sap, the fire you produce wastes a lot of energy trying to burn that otherwise less-flammable wood. Because of this, the fire has even less energy to convert into heat. As a result, you get less heat coming out of your fire pit.
On the other hand, dry wood is devoid of sap because the sap dries out over time. Therefore, it burns brighter and stronger and produces more heat.
Dry wood is usually grey or brown, while wood that contains sap is usually green. Therefore, while picking wood to burn, make sure to pick brown or grey-looking wood over wet and greenish wood.
2. Provide More Oxygen
Oxygen is essential to make a fire. Indeed, it is the oxidation capability of oxygen that allows for the fire to exist. Thus, an increase of oxygen also helps the chemical reactions that cause fire to occur faster and stronger. This will result in a hotter and brighter flame.
However, unlike wood, there are drawbacks to using oxygen to increase the heat of your flame. The major one being that although supplying oxygen provides an instant increase in heat and light generated from the flame, it does not last very long. Once we stop supplying oxygen, the flame immediately goes back to burning slowly. So, to keep a constantly hotter flame, there has to be a constant supply of oxygen.
A good solution for that could be to place the fire pit somewhere with plenty of ventilation, so that the carbon dioxide from the flame can go away and fresh oxygen can enter, thus keeping the flames nice and hot.
3. Use Soft Wood
There are two types of wood: softwood and hardwood.
Softwood tends to burn faster and with a lot more heat and energy. This kind of wood also dries a lot faster. Therefore, it is great if you want a quick and hot flame.
On the other hand, hardwood burns a lot slower and lasts a long time. However, it produces a lot less heat, and since the focus of this article is to produce hotter flames, softwood is the best fit here.
Hardwood would be useful for camping or creating a bonfire for parties, for example.
4. Make a Larger Fire
The larger the fire, the hotter it usually burns. Increasing the size of your fire will help it access oxygen. And as mentioned earlier, the more oxygen a fire gets, the hotter the flames burn.
You can increase the size of the flame by adding more tinder and kindling. Then, you can spread the ashes and fire logs around to increase the surface area of the flame. This will create a larger and more open flame. This will also help the flame acquire more oxygen and make it easier for the emitted oxygen to escape, thus making the flame larger and hotter.
Make sure to spread all the twigs and kindling around evenly to get a more consistent dispersion of heat and create an even fire all across.
5. Select the Right Type of Wood
The intensity of the flames also depends on the type of wood you use. As mentioned above, a fire burns hotter on soft and dry wood. So when choosing wood for your fire pit, you must make sure that the variant of wood you choose possesses these desired traits.
Apple, ash, birch blackthorn, cherry, hawthorn, maple, oak, pine, sycamore, walnut, and yew are excellent choices for firewood.
These trees have comparatively dry and softer wood. Therefore, these burn out quickly but will provide you with a warmer flame. Since this article does not focus on the duration of the flame, I feel confident in recommending you these trees for your intended purpose.
However, it is to be noted that hardwood usually burns at hotter temperatures than softwood. But the problem with hardwood is that it takes a lot of time to reach such hot temperatures. Whereas, softwood does not burn as hot but reaches its maximum temperature much faster.
Now that I have shown you how to make your fire pit burn hotter, I would like to end this discussion with some precautions to keep in mind while handling your fire pit. Regardless of how beautiful it may look, fire is dangerous and can cause us a lot of harm if we’re not careful around it.
Mosquitoes are annoying, to say the least. Not only because they spread diseases, but also because they ruin a perfect evening outdoor experience with their constant biting. One way of keeping them away is lighting a fire in your fire pit. But the thing is, not all fire pits can keep mosquitos away. Can a propane fire pit keep mosquitos away? Read our article to find out.
Safety Precautions to Take Around Fire Pits
Below are a few things to be aware of around fire pits in general.
Do Not Leave Your Pit Unattended
Fire spreads very quickly. Therefore, you must never leave your fire pit unattended. Even if the flame is gone and there are only a few scrapes of ember remaining, make sure the flames are completely gone and the pit is cool before you leave it alone. Otherwise, it could cause a severe accident.
Avoid Using Construction Wood
It is usually okay to use any kind of wood you want while making your fire pit, but it is recommended to avoid construction timber such as plywood and other treated wood pallets.
The reason behind this is that treated wood contains toxic chemicals that could be potentially dangerous to the people inhaling the fumes from your fire pit.
Make Your Fire in an Open Place
Make sure to start your fire in an open place. Fire spreads fast and there is little to nothing people can do once a fire gets out of control. It is especially more dangerous in confined spaces as it is easier for the fire to spread and harder for people to escape.
Not only that, but the fumes from the fire can also be deadly in confined spaces. There can also be a lack of oxygen, which will cause the fire to burn lightly.
Check for Proper Weather
Make sure not to light your fire on a windy day. Wind can blow away burning tinder and kindling, which could reach nearby bushes and other flammable objects, and therefore, cause a fire.
Besides, it is best to light your fire pit in relatively humid conditions because in dry climates, there is always a chance that your fire gets out of control and causes the dry foliage nearby to catch on fire.
Nothing beats spending a cool night outdoors gathered around a fire pit. You can bond with your family, catch up with friends, or simply relax while watching the dancing flames. Once the weather gets colder, you will be needing more heat from your fire. As we have discussed in this article, there are a lot of ways to make your fire pit generate more heat. All you need to do is figure out which way will be the most effective for you.
I hope this article helped you get a better understanding of how fire is created, what is needed to light a fire, and how to make your flame burn hotter. Fire is an amazing element, but it is also very dangerous. Make sure to exercise caution when engaging with fire, especially when you are trying to make it burn hotter. As long as you follow the safety precautions that we listed, you will be able to successfully get more heat from your fire pit.