Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
marksj
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:38 pm

Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by marksj » Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:53 pm

In the early process of getting landscaping done in our backyard. Thinking about a fire pit but not sure. Anyone have one? We also have the option of getting the fire via a gas line (vs log burning). Excluding cost, any positives/negatives between the two? Or are fire pits just a fad? We live in northern California,if that matters.

Thanks in advance,
Mark

User avatar
momar
Posts: 1359
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:51 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by momar » Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:55 pm

They are great if you do a lot of entertaining. If you don't, then it is just another thing to maintain.
"Index funds have a place in your portfolio, but you'll never beat the index with them." - Words of wisdom from a Fidelity rep

sscritic
Posts: 21858
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:36 am

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by sscritic » Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:00 pm

I just bought a house with one and haven't used it yet (my granddaughters want to make S'mores). What's to maintain? It's concrete. It sits in the ground. It doesn't move. It doesn't rust.* It doesn't need paint. What am I missing?

* This must be the answer. The exposed gas pipe and the burner will rust after some time and need to be replaced.** Anything else?

** Not applicable to a pure wood burner.

User avatar
momar
Posts: 1359
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:51 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by momar » Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:11 pm

Stuff gets dirty. Stuff gets in it. Stones come loose. Concrete cracks.
"Index funds have a place in your portfolio, but you'll never beat the index with them." - Words of wisdom from a Fidelity rep

tim1999
Posts: 3483
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:16 am

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by tim1999 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:12 pm

I've always wanted one of those "chimnea" wood burning things, but have a fear that somehow I'll end up setting my whole yard on fire. Plus, I live in an area with small lots, and one of the neighbors would probably end up complaining about the smoke/smell.

Some municipalities have a ban on "open burning" but I think it usually targets people who like to burn trash in a barrel.

travellight
Posts: 2780
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 5:52 pm
Location: San Diego

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by travellight » Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:19 pm

I have one with a gas line. I don't use it much but love having it.... so, yea.

User avatar
climber2020
Posts: 1088
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:06 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by climber2020 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:35 pm

I helped my friend install one a few years back. He used it a total of 2 times, and now it collects old rainwater and other environmental goodies. A better option would have been some dirt and a few logs for the occasional backyard fire.

Muchtolearn
Posts: 1563
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2011 10:41 am

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by Muchtolearn » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:10 pm

A fire pit can cause a fire. So can a fireplace. I would never have either.

wingnutty
Posts: 296
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 7:32 pm
Location: Western Montana

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by wingnutty » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:23 pm

Can't understand the purpose of having a backyard fire pit with gas? I must be missing something.

I have a pit and we use it once in a while.

wenzee
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:52 pm
Location: North Carolina

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by wenzee » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:34 pm

Nay.
We had one and found it too smoky to sit around. With no chimney to direct the smoke above your head, it moves into your eyes and clothes.
We use ours now as a planter for flowers.
Wenzee

sscritic
Posts: 21858
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:36 am

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by sscritic » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:35 pm

Muchtolearn wrote:A fire pit can cause a fire. So can a fireplace. I would never have either.
So can a stove. So can a car. So can an oven. So can a barbecue. So can a gas lawn mower. I have seen more cars on fires than runaway fire pit fires.*

* I admit, I don't see a lot of fire pits on the freeway.

User avatar
bru
Posts: 1001
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:32 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by bru » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:43 pm

Cherokee8215 wrote: Plus, I live in an area with small lots, and one of the neighbors would probably end up complaining about the smoke/smell.

Some municipalities have a ban on "open burning" but I think it usually targets people who like to burn trash in a barrel.
Complain to who? You as the one doing the burning?

Fire pits, outdoor fireplaces, etc. are all the rage in my neighborhood. The wind patterns seem to bring the smoke right to my house. I can walk a house or two away and smell nothing. I don't like it especially if I have windows open/fans in the windows to cool the house and the whole house ends up smelling like smoke. Most nights it goes on well past midnight.

But there's really nothing to do since as you said there's no ordinances against it. I certainly wouldn't complain to the person doing it as they have the right. I just wish it wasn't every night from early spring through late fall.

stan1
Posts: 5900
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by stan1 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:59 pm

My neighbors have them. It makes enjoying your outdoor spaces much nicer after dark especially if you have a view of the city lights. We've had many nights filled with enjoyable conversation around our neighbors fire pits and outdoor fireplaces.

Most Bogleheads are going to run out to the gas meter to check to see how much gas is being used. It is true that its another thing that can break or go wrong.

Be careful with installation. In California the gas pipe needs to be in a deep trench and has to be permitted/inspected. My builder left a stub in the backyard for a gas bbq/fire ring which made install easier (we just have a BBQ).

SP-diceman
Posts: 3968
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:17 am

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by SP-diceman » Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:01 pm

sscritic wrote:
Muchtolearn wrote:A fire pit can cause a fire. So can a fireplace. I would never have either.
So can a stove. So can a car. So can an oven. So can a barbecue. So can a gas lawn mower
So can a bolt of lightning! :)

User avatar
momar
Posts: 1359
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:51 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by momar » Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:08 pm

bru wrote:
Cherokee8215 wrote: Plus, I live in an area with small lots, and one of the neighbors would probably end up complaining about the smoke/smell.

Some municipalities have a ban on "open burning" but I think it usually targets people who like to burn trash in a barrel.
Complain to who? You as the one doing the burning?

Fire pits, outdoor fireplaces, etc. are all the rage in my neighborhood. The wind patterns seem to bring the smoke right to my house. I can walk a house or two away and smell nothing. I don't like it especially if I have windows open/fans in the windows to cool the house and the whole house ends up smelling like smoke. Most nights it goes on well past midnight.

But there's really nothing to do since as you said there's no ordinances against it. I certainly wouldn't complain to the person doing it as they have the right. I just wish it wasn't every night from early spring through late fall.
That's an interesting definition of "right". The right to ruin your house.
"Index funds have a place in your portfolio, but you'll never beat the index with them." - Words of wisdom from a Fidelity rep

sscritic
Posts: 21858
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:36 am

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by sscritic » Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:13 pm

momar wrote: That's an interesting definition of "right". The right to ruin your house.
We need a crackdown on cooking. The odors drift across the boundary of my yard and assault my olfactory senses. It doesn't matter whether the neighbor is cooking indoors or out, if my windows are open, I get to enjoy every smell. Oh, you mean I could close my window? Never mind.

User avatar
momar
Posts: 1359
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:51 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by momar » Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:18 pm

sscritic wrote:
momar wrote: That's an interesting definition of "right". The right to ruin your house.
We need a crackdown on cooking. The odors drift across the boundary of my yard and assault my olfactory senses. It doesn't matter whether the neighbor is cooking indoors or out, if my windows are open, I get to enjoy every smell. Oh, you mean I could close my window? Never mind.
Not all of us live next to Bobby Flay.
"Index funds have a place in your portfolio, but you'll never beat the index with them." - Words of wisdom from a Fidelity rep

MidnightX
Posts: 140
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:07 pm
Location: So. Cal.

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by MidnightX » Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:19 pm

I have a fire pit in my yard. The first time I used it, a neighbor called the fire department because they saw the smoke and thought there was a fire. It was somewhat embarrassing when the fire department showed up in front of my house with sirens blaring. The firemen suggested that if I use the fire pit, that I should notify the neighbors ahead of time. I have never used it since.

User avatar
bru
Posts: 1001
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:32 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by bru » Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:04 pm

MidnightX wrote:I have a fire pit in my yard. The first time I used it, a neighbor called the fire department because they saw the smoke and thought there was a fire. It was somewhat embarrassing when the fire department showed up in front of my house with sirens blaring. The firemen suggested that if I use the fire pit, that I should notify the neighbors ahead of time. I have never used it since.
I enjoy a quiet neighborhood, without having to smell someone elses smoke, hear their noise etc. but I realize I don't live in a vacuum and people live their lives.

Unless there is a legal reason, you have the right (yes I'm using that term again) to use your fire pit. If you want to let your neighbor know, in my opinion that is above and beyond what would be reasonable. Do you let your neighbor know when you are mowing your lawn or using your weed wacker?

If they continue to call the fire department it seems they should be told that they should stop reporting a backyard fire pit as a fire needing a truck roll.
Last edited by bru on Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
FrugalInvestor
Posts: 4886
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:20 am

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by FrugalInvestor » Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:05 pm

wenzee wrote:Nay.
We had one and found it too smoky to sit around. With no chimney to direct the smoke above your head, it moves into your eyes and clothes.
We use ours now as a planter for flowers.
Wenzee
And even if you do have a chimney (and it is wood burning) it stinks up the neighborhood and reduces the outdoor enjoyment of your neighbors and perhaps their indoor enjoyment if they leave their windows open. If you get one and have nearby neighbors you want to be considerate of then go with gas, not wood.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

epilnk
Posts: 2632
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:05 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by epilnk » Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:24 pm

marksj wrote: We live in northern California,if that matters.
It matters. Though it matters where in NorCal. Here in the north central valley we have a significant air quality problem, so we have no-burn days. It's voluntary in our town and a part of me has always wanted a firepit, but I have asthma so I probably wouldn't use one even if I had one. If I got one anyway it would probably be a freestanding unit, because I suspect it would turn into a white elephant. Though those coffee table types with a propane tank might be cozy on a chilly night.

User avatar
6miths
Posts: 688
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:55 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by 6miths » Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:19 am

Agree with the above. Wood smoke is nasty stuff as far as asthma and other respiratory problems go. Especially when burned in the open as opposed to a high efficiency wood stove. I wood go with natural gas or propane even for a much cleaner burn though these options lack the aesthetics of a wood fire.
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain

marksj
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:38 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by marksj » Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:20 am

Wow.

Posted what I thought was rather a uninteresting question (but of interest to me at the present time), went out to dinner with friends and when I come back to check to see if anyone posted a reply.... Lots of great observations, comments and remarks.

Epilnk, I am aware of the "no burn" days in NorCal, so your comment about the coffee table with a propane heater in the center is appealing.

Stan1, we have a nice view of our city so city lights look great at night. July 4th fireworks can be seen from our backyard. If we do go with a gas line, we will get all the necessary permits, etc

MidnightX, "...I have never used it since." that is my fear too; we'll use it once per yer (or less) when family visits from the east coast.

From reading the other posts, I guess parts of the country do not have "no burn" days. Especially on days when the air is of poor quality, asthma sufferers can get the blunt of it.

Momar, we don't entertain as much because our backyard is not that usuable, hence our desire for landscaping. But then again we may not entertain as much even after the landscaping is done....

Thanks everyone for the responses!

Muchtolearn
Posts: 1563
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2011 10:41 am

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by Muchtolearn » Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:05 am

sscritic wrote:
Muchtolearn wrote:A fire pit can cause a fire. So can a fireplace. I would never have either.
So can a stove. So can a car. So can an oven. So can a barbecue. So can a gas lawn mower. I have seen more cars on fires than runaway fire pit fires.*

* I admit, I don't see a lot of fire pits on the freeway.
You're call. I don't think I have ever seen a fire pit but it sounds interesting albeit dangerous. Although I am probably in the extreme I have not yet an oven in over 20 years. This is not for fire reasons. Rather, I only use a microwave. Given that I have not eaten meat in all that time, it is no problem for me and simpler. There is something called fasta pasta which cooks up to 8 ounces of pasta at a time in the microwave for 13 minutes or so. My wives when I've had them did cook. I don't like fires of any kind. But ss, I respect your preferences, and that is why in an 8 horse race there are bets on all of them.

sscritic
Posts: 21858
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:36 am

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by sscritic » Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:23 am

Muchtolearn wrote: You're call. I don't think I have ever seen a fire pit but it sounds interesting albeit dangerous. Although I am probably in the extreme I have not yet an oven in over 20 years. ... I don't like fires of any kind. But ss, I respect your preferences, and that is why in an 8 horse race there are bets on all of them.
I rarely use an oven, but I just moved to a house with a gas cooktop from one with an electric cooktop, and I rediscovered how much I like fire. Not only does the heat arrive quicker, but the open flames are much more of a visual delight than glowing red resistors hidden behind black glass (but like all art, it's all in the eye of the beholder).

I respect your choice to stay away from fire; it can be very destructive. I once had a problem with one, and now I am more careful.

User avatar
scubadiver
Posts: 846
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 9:48 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by scubadiver » Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:58 am

We have a chiminea and probably use it 6-10 times per year, maybe a bit more. It only cost about $120 at Lowes two years ago and was worth every penny. Great for entertaining and my three year old daughter loves making smores over it. The DW is pregnant with #2, so I think this is something we'll be using for many years to come. Never really had a problem with complaints from neighbors, but they are normally right out there with us enjoying some wine, beer, smores and conversation.

Of course fire risks are a concern, especially with wood burning fire pits that put off sparks and burning embers - this can be mitigated with a few basic precautions. I would definitely get one, but probably the wood burning variety rather than a gas burner. Or, you can just get a free standing chiminea. If it turns out that you're not using it, you're only out $120....and if you are using it regularly, I'm sure you'll find that it was money well spent. Either way, you can always add a wood burning firepit later on if you find that the chiminea gets a lot of use.

sscritic
Posts: 21858
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:36 am

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by sscritic » Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:11 am

I just saw an ad for a little wood burning fire pit table that you could fill with ice to cool your brewskis when the day is hot.

http://www.truevalue.com/product/Floren ... /37288.uts

Fancier and more expensive fire pit tables can be seen here:
http://www.woodlanddirect.com/Outdoor/Fire-Pit-Tables

User avatar
gatorking
Posts: 1103
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 6:15 pm
Location: Burlington MA

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by gatorking » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:04 pm


User avatar
dratkinson
Posts: 4329
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Centennial CO

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by dratkinson » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:33 pm

You could try a temporary one for a while to see if you like it enough to install a permanent one.

My neighbor used a large wheel/rim from a transport truck as a fire pit. It worked well for burning wood and it didn't bother me.

Don't know what became of it when he moved. Assume it was recycled at a scrap metal yard.
d.r.a, not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.

Fisherman2008
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2008 10:23 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by Fisherman2008 » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:57 pm

We have one of those above ground 'pits' and love it -- and we can just drop in one of those wax-based logs you get from the store and it burns pretty smoke-free and produces very little ash (i.e. less cleanup). We had thought about an installed unit, but this was cheaper and just as nice (and we can move it out of the way if we want).

T

scouter
Posts: 659
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:24 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by scouter » Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:24 pm

Wow. I'm amazed at the responses from those in CA. Here (in TN) we (and most of our neighbors) burn our fireplaces with oak and hickory every evening in the winter, and several of our neighbors burn wood in their backyard chimineas most nights in the fall and spring. Many of our neighbors remark that they love to pull into the neighborhood and smell the wood burning. We've never had a complaint, but then again, most everyone has either a fireplace, a chiminea, or both. But even those who don't often tell us that they wish they did.

I guess it depends on how close together the houses are. We have 1 to 5 acre lots, so it's not like we're smoking each other out of our houses.

Fire pits and the $100 portable units can be nice, but if there's any breeze at all, half of the people sitting around it will get "smoked". And if the direction of the breeze keeps changing, then you have to keep moving your chair.

Chimeneas can be very expensive, but like a fireplace, they draw the smoke way up and it disperses at 12-15' above the ground. Much nicer.
Last edited by scouter on Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

surfer1
Posts: 242
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:35 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by surfer1 » Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:47 pm

bru wrote: Fire pits, outdoor fireplaces, etc. are all the rage in my neighborhood. The wind patterns seem to bring the smoke right to my house. I can walk a house or two away and smell nothing. I don't like it especially if I have windows open/fans in the windows to cool the house and the whole house ends up smelling like smoke. Most nights it goes on well past midnight.

But there's really nothing to do since as you said there's no ordinances against it. I certainly wouldn't complain to the person doing it as they have the right. I just wish it wasn't every night from early spring through late fall.
This! I'm smelling it as I type. Neighbors who recently moved into the neighborhood (during the recession) have fire pits - one on each side of me. Our houses have very small lots, less than .20 acres. A house with a lot that small is no place for a fire pit. Why? Because if it starts a fire, all of the neighboring houses are put at risk. However, more commonly, the neighboring houses are smoked out. I leave my windows open as we do not have AC, and the smell of the smoke really annoys me. I've considered calling the fire dept as someone above mentioned, but I realize the neighbors are just enjoying their property, if being slightly inconsiderate. I actually thing they're banned in my town, but who's going to report it. They're probably not even aware.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 14116
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by Watty » Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:32 pm

Be sure to check with your home insurance company, getting one might raise your insurance rates. Different types might be treated differently by the insurance company so that might determine which type is best to use. If you don't notify them then your insurance might not cover any problems.

edge
Posts: 3328
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 7:44 pm
Location: Great Falls VA

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by edge » Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:29 pm

I wouldn't but that's just me. I bought a property with an extremely complicated landscape (most landscaping / garden center folks can only identify about half of the plants I have) and have been simplifying it for years. I wouldn't go the other way.

MattE
Posts: 123
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:44 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by MattE » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:16 pm

Sitting around an open fire in the evening, especially on a cool night, is one of the greatest simple pleasures there is in life.

I'm kind in disbelief at some of the responses in this topic as far as overreacting to the smoke from them and whatnot. How does one not enjoy the smell of a wood fire?

User avatar
Epsilon Delta
Posts: 7430
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:00 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by Epsilon Delta » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:50 pm

MattE wrote:Sitting around an open fire in the evening, especially on a cool night, is one of the greatest simple pleasures there is in life.

I'm kind in disbelief at some of the responses in this topic as far as overreacting to the smoke from them and whatnot. How does one not enjoy the smell of a wood fire?
How can people hate purple houses? How can people hate the smell of cigarettes? How can people hate Led Zeppelin at 3AM?

The how is probably inexplicable and in any case unimportant. It should be enough that some people loath it and therefore compromise is needed.

Now if only my neighbors would burn wood instead of old tires and dog ****.

epilnk
Posts: 2632
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:05 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by epilnk » Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:21 am

MattE wrote:Sitting around an open fire in the evening, especially on a cool night, is one of the greatest simple pleasures there is in life.

I'm kind in disbelief at some of the responses in this topic as far as overreacting to the smoke from them and whatnot. How does one not enjoy the smell of a wood fire?
I certainly hope you aren't dismissing serious health issues as an overreaction - it's a little hard to enjoy something that's causing your airways to seize up. PM 2.5 (the particle size our no-burn advisories are based on) wreaks havoc on asthmatic lungs. The smaller particles also aggravate cardiovascular disease, both acutely and long term. I love a good campfire myself, and I can indulge this because my asthma is normally mild enough that the occasional direct lungful of woodsmoke isn't a major issue for me. Not everyone is equally fortunate.

User avatar
Judsen
Posts: 862
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2007 8:29 am
Location: Birmingham, Al.

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by Judsen » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:00 am

How can they not enjoy the simple pleasure of doing this....
How could they be so inconsiderate of others to do this....

"In all things moderation" like in investing, reality is somewhere between excessive fees and "free lunch" . There is lots of gray between black and white.
To answer the question ¿ How can people hate??? We have issues of dissatisfaction that conger a focus of negative energy.

Enjoy your fire pit. Minimize your smoke.
Jud
Be the change you want to see in the world

User avatar
bru
Posts: 1001
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:32 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by bru » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:49 am

surfer1 wrote:I've considered calling the fire dept as someone above mentioned, but I realize the neighbors are just enjoying their property, if being slightly inconsiderate. I actually thing they're banned in my town, but who's going to report it. They're probably not even aware.
If there is an ordinance against fire pits or similar I would not hesitate to call. Or I suppose depending on how "friendly" I was with the neighbor I might casually mention that since they are new to the town they might not know fire pits are against ordinance.

I have called my city many times to report ordinance violations. Laws are enacted for a reason and since they can't go around and see every violation if there is something that effects me I have no issue with calling to report it. In my town you can leave an anonymous message or even do it on line.

I wish my town had an ordinance against fire pits. It's an urban area that like I mentioned and you said really isn't appropriate for backyard fires.

Kika_In_DC
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:57 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by Kika_In_DC » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:08 am

I love my firepit. At first I bought a portable one from Home Depot - didn't last long. Then, I hired a contractor to build a round concrete firepit covered with stones. That was 3 years ago. This year we had to repair some cracks - but that's the only maintanance we had to do so far. I entertain a lot and my friends are drawn to the firepit. Both my firepits were woodburing so I have no experience with gas.

sscritic
Posts: 21858
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:36 am

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by sscritic » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:19 am

You made me look at the Los Angeles County Fire Code and the South Coast Air Quality Management District rules. You can't build a house with a wood burning fireplace or permanent fire pit:
(d)(1) No person shall install a permanently installed wood burning device into any new development.
(2) Notwithstanding the requirements of paragraph (d)(1), effective September 8, 2008, no person shall sell, offer for sale, supply, or install, a new or used permanently installed indoor or outdoor wood burning device or gaseous-fueled device unless it is one of the following:
  • A U.S. EPA Phase II-Certified wood burning heater; or
  • A pellet-fueled wood burning heater; or
  • A masonry heater; or
  • A wood burning device or fireplace determined to meet the U.S. EPA particulate matter emission standard established by Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 60, Subpart AAA, February 28, 1988 or subsequent revisions; or
  • A dedicated gaseous-fueled fireplace.
You can't burn on no-burn days:
(e) Wood Burning Curtailment Program (effective during the months of November, December, January, and February)
Effective beginning November 1, 2011, no person shall operate an indoor or outdoor wood burning device or portable outdoor wood burning device when a mandatory wood burning curtailment day is forecast for their specific region within the South Coast Air Basin.

The provisions of subdivision (e) shall not apply under the following
circumstances:
...
A low income household; or
...
Ceremonial fires exempted under Rule 444 - Open Burning.
...
Any person that violates the provisions of subdivision (e) is subject to the following:
(1) For first time violators during each wood burning season, attendance at a wood smoke awareness course that has been approved by the Executive Officer or payment of a penalty of $50;
(2) For second time violators during each wood burning season, payment of a penalty of $150 or submission of proof of installation of a dedicated gaseous fueled fireplace within 90 days after receiving the notice of violation; and
(3) For third time violators during each wood burning season, payment of a penalty of $500 or implementation of an environmentally beneficial project as derived through the mutual settlement process.
I guess I need to follow one of livesoft's threads on getting rid of income, but I would have to get rid of a lot.
LOW INCOME HOUSEHOLD means any household that receives financial assistance through reduced electric or gas bills from an electric or natural gas utility based on household income levels.
P.S. Burning an old US flag is permitted.

The Wizard
Posts: 12276
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:45 pm
Location: Reading, MA

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by The Wizard » Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:56 am

sscritic wrote:You made me look at the Los Angeles County Fire Code and the South Coast Air Quality Management District rules...
OK, but LA is warm all year round; one never needs to burn wood there for its heat value.
Where I am, I have two wood stoves in my house and burn oak & maple logs from October through May (!) to heat the place.
So I'm REALLY GLAD I don't have to kindle any fires indoors or out for the next several months...
Attempted new signature...

astrohip
Posts: 441
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:29 pm
Location: Houston TX

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by astrohip » Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:14 pm

I built a simple firepit, using about $10 of concrete blocks, a shovel and a hole in the ground. No gas, no nothing. Just wood to burn and fun to have. No worries, no complaints. We love to sit around it and enjoy life.

Y'all are overthinking this. Quit worrying about cancer and smoke and just have fun.

Image
Last edited by astrohip on Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Happiness is not about doing, it’s about being." - R Branson

User avatar
wbond
Posts: 1073
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:55 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by wbond » Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:24 pm

A fire theory:

There is, evidently, an interesting hypothesis with some archaeologic support that Homo erectus was already cooking food, and that the high-calorie dependent Homo sapiens brain could only emerge in the setting of cooked food. (Anecdotal-type evidence suggests that raw food faddists have difficulty maintaining weight even with refrigeration and a grocer on every corner).

If so, then sitting around fire is plausibly a primeval pleasure, like sunlight on the skin, a beautiful vista, or salt on the tongue - and like those aspects of our nature, one that is coeval with our very existence.

Be safe, and never play with matches,

wbond

hicabob
Posts: 2704
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 5:35 pm
Location: cruz

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by hicabob » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:42 pm

IMO, If you have a few acres and lots of firewood it seems like a nice idea - if you live in a 1/4 acre subdivision burning wood in the summer is about as obnoxious as you could be to the neighbors - natural gas/propane doesn't stink but is not the most frugal/ecological use of energy. Burning wax+sawdust logs? - well let's not go there.

User avatar
bru
Posts: 1001
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:32 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by bru » Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:35 pm

hicabob wrote:IMO, If you have a few acres and lots of firewood it seems like a nice idea - if you live in a 1/4 acre subdivision burning wood in the summer is about as obnoxious as you could be to the neighbors
From your mouth to my neighbors' ears :wink: .

Breezy
Posts: 133
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:38 am

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by Breezy » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:07 am

I got a $100 fire pit from Ace Hardware at the start of our remodel to see if we'd use it - I was sure we would, as we love campfires when we camp.

We've used it three times maybe, and none of us like the smoky-clothes smell when we're not camping. Having said that, I expect we will use it a few times a year.

Check out the fire pit tables from Frontgate. They're gorgeous and use propane.

User avatar
JupiterJones
Posts: 2693
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:25 pm
Location: Nashville, TN

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by JupiterJones » Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:11 am

I'll second (third?) the notion of getting a standalone (temporary/portable) firepit from Lowe's or Home Depot or somewhere first. Try it for a season. See if you like it. See if you actually use it.

If so, you can always install a more permanent, built-in firepit later. If not, well, you just saved a lot of time and money.

For the record, we have a Lowe's firepit--a simple metal job. We only use it a few times a year, but it's quite nice when we do. And when we're not using it, it goes in the shed, out of sight.

JJ
Stay on target...

shawcroft
Posts: 891
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 4:18 pm
Location: Connecticut

Outdoor fire pit?

Post by shawcroft » Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:50 pm

This thread is about two years old and I am curious if any of my colleagues have gotten ( or built) a fire pit since these comments were posted. One of our neighbors gave me a Frontgate catalog and the copper fire pit they offer really looks nice...just pricey.
Shawcroft

lululu
Posts: 1378
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:23 pm

Re: Outdoor fire pit? Yea or Nay

Post by lululu » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:21 pm

6miths wrote:Agree with the above. Wood smoke is nasty stuff as far as asthma and other respiratory problems go. Especially when burned in the open as opposed to a high efficiency wood stove. I wood go with natural gas or propane even for a much cleaner burn though these options lack the aesthetics of a wood fire.
I have a form of asthma, and it's dreadful and miserable when my neighbors use their firepit. Of course I have all the windows closed, but the smoke gets into the house anyway. There is no air purifier that filters out smoke, regardless of advertising claims. Not only do I have to use an inhaler, but my house stinks of smoke via the upholstery, etc. that picks it up.

Post Reply