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Tips for Installing and Staying Safe at a Fire Pit

There’s nothing better than cozying up to a warm fire on a cool fall night. This is especially, true when you can do so in the comfort of your own backyard.  For many, having a fire pit means spending time with family, friends and (hopefully) indulging in some S’mores.

How to get started?

Before you get to the relaxing around the fire pit stage, you need to figure out what type of fire pit you want and where it works best in your yard. Here are some tips to get you started on the installation process:

  1. Is this going to be a portable or permanent fire pit?

    The portable option offers convenience. You can  move it to fit different entertainment situations, but might take up valuable space in your garage or yard when it’s not in use.  With the permanent option, your fire pit can act as a statement piece because it gives you creative room to design.  It could also be a great DIY project.  Planning a fire pit can be simple and fun for all family members to participate. Check out these tips from DIY Network about how to install your own fire pit.

  2. How much are you willing to spend?

    Price will depend on the size and scope of the pit, if you‘re building or buying, and the materials used.  Watch for price markdowns and end of summer sales.

  3. Pick the location

    Choose a spot that is far from any combustibles such as brush, shrubs, plants  and low- hanging branches.  Also, be mindful of patio roofs.  You want to place the pit at least 25 feet away from any structure.  Make sure the fire pit area is flat and level. 

  4. Do your researchIf you’re looking to buy, fire pits can be found at almost all major retailers.  Some styles are bowls, chimineas and tables that offer plenty of burning options – wood, propane, gel fuel and natural gas. If you’re making this a DIY project, research steps on how to begin and for guidance throughout the process.  A simple Google search can be enough to find the perfect pit for you.  For more inspiration, take a look at these designs from HGTV. There can be restrictions and codes on fire pits depending on where you live, so check with local city and county authorities first.

Let’s Review Some Fire Pit Safety

  1. Always place fire pits on a non-flammable surface (patio, blocks, concrete) and Never put a fire pit directly on grass. Always keep your fire pit outdoors – never inside the house or garage. 
  2. Keep the fire small.
  3. Check the forecast and avoid windy conditions.
  4. Keep area around fire pit clean by picking up leaves or any other combustible materials.
  5. Keep water or a garden hose nearby.
  6. Learn your wood!  Plywood or composite woods can release toxic fumes.  Pine and cedar are soft woods that can “pop” or shoot sparks.  Hickory, oak, and other seasoned hardwoods are your best burning option.
  7. Never light the fire with gas or lighter fluid.  Use small sticks, crumbled up pieces of paper, or buy fire starter packs.
  8. When you are done with the fire for the night, be sure to douse properly or turn off any burners. The U.S. Fire Administration states that 16 percent of outdoor fires are attributed to hot or smoldering objects, such as hot embers or ash. Keep an eye on the extinguished fire until the embers stop steaming.

There are plenty of options and factors to take into consideration when getting a fire pit for your yard.  This can be a fun project that makes summer nights last longer.  Fire pits are not only attractive, but also functional in providing entertainment and heat, plus you can cook snacks on. Now you can become the envy of the neighborhood with a new fire pit! 

Make sure your time around the fire is as relaxing as possible. It’s good to check in with your ERIE agent to determine the proper coverage for your home, and everything inside (and outside) of it.

ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York).  The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Refer to the company licensure and states of operation information.

The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of July 2022 and may be changed at any time. 

Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. 

The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states.  ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York.  ERIE Medicare supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia or New York.  ERIE long term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York. 

Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.

Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.