Can I Burn Wood in a Gas Fire Pit?


Fire pits are great to heat up outdoor spaces during the cooler seasons.

There are basically two types of these pits: ones that use firewood and ones that use gas. But a lot of new owners of gas fire pits wonder if they can burn anything in their firepit.

Can I burn wood in my gas fire pit? No, a wood burning fire generates too much heat and can damage your fire pit or cause a fire accident in your home.

Even though it may seem harmless considering how the fire pit is already used to a flame, a wood-burning fire produces much more heat compared to the typical gas flame.

It could, therefore, cause the fire pit to crack, thus damaging it.

In this article, we will explore this subject further. We will also cover wood-burning fire pits and how you can actually use wood to light up a fire pit.

Backyard gas firepit with snacks and win on edge and a circle of chairs surrounding the fire and garden in the background.

Why You Shouldn’t Burn Wood in a Gas Fire Pit

One of the best things about firewood is that the heat it generates is much higher compared to that generated by your typical gas.

While your average gas, such as propane, consists of around 24,000 BTUs per litre, a single cord (128 cubic feet) of firewood consists of a whopping 25 million BTUs.

While this is great if you’re looking to heat up space efficiently, it isn’t so great if you’re looking to burn wood on a gas fire pit.

And if exposed, you could risk cracking it.

Not only will the crack damage the appearance of the fire pit, but it could also lead to a safety hazard.

How to Use a Gas Fire Pit

As suggested by the name, gas fire pits are meant to work with gas. With fixed fire pits, this is usually the natural gas that is directly connected to through the gas lines to your home.

With portable fire pits, it is usually propane. Propane is a great choice as well for a backyard or patio fire pit table.

So, how do you actually use a fire pit? It is pretty simple, which is one of the reasons why they are so popular these days. There is just one thing you need to remember: Always light the fire before turning on the gas.

What this means is you should place the flame of a long candle lighter over the pit and then turn on the gas. If you turn the gas on before you light the flame, some of the gas that gets trapped in the pockets in between the pit will explode, causing a scare or, in more severe cases, even injuries.

And that’s it for the gas fire pit. But what if you absolutely want to burn wood on a fire pit? Well, read on.

Wood-Burning Fire Pits

There are fire pits designed specifically to burn firewood.

They are known as wood-burning fire pits. So, if for whatever reason you feel like burning wood on a fire pit, you should consider getting one.

There is one difference, though. If despite our advice, you decided to burn wood on a gas fire pit, you would most likely place the firewood on an already burning fire pit.

If you are using a wood-burning fire pit, you will have to follow the typical procedure of starting a fire. Let us look into that briefly.

How to Use a Wood-Burning Fire Pit

Unfortunately, using a wood-burning fire pit isn’t as simple as placing wood and lighting it on fire.

In order to use one, you will have to follow four different steps:

Gather the Tinder, Kindling, and Firewood

You will first have to gather three different types of materials:

  • Tinder: These are the quick-burning elements that serve to light up the kindling when you’re starting a fire. They include things like paper, dry wood chips, sawdust, dry leaves, dry pine cones, etc.
  • Kindling: The kindling consists of sticks and twigs that you place around the tinder. When you ligh0t the tinder, these sticks and twigs will catch fire and then burn long enough for the firewood to light up.
  • Firewood: This is the actual wood that will keep the flame going and keep you warm. But for best performance, you should only use seasoned firewood (meaning, ones that have been dried down to less than 25% moisture content).

All keep in mind the surface you’re using, like a wood deck. Different surfaces require different additional fire safety precautions.

Positioning the Tinder and the Kindling

Now that you have gathered all three necessary materials, place a small baseball size lump of tinder at the center of the pit.

Now place the kindling around it in a teepee-like shape.

Make sure to leave enough space between the sticks to allow sufficient airflow.

Also, leave an extra space at one point in the teepee from where you can light the tinder.

Ancient brick firepit with wooden logs smouldering

Different firepits will have different bases, and there are pros and cons to each type. Additionally, firepit rings can help further contain a firepit fire.

Get the Fire Going

Now comes the fun part. Use a long candle lighter to light up the tinder from the space between the kindling teepee. Wait till the kindling catches fire.

Once the kindling is burning, place the main firewood around it. You can place the firewood in a number of positions.

You can form a new layer of teepee around the kindling, or you can stack them up horizontally (log cabin stack).

How to start a fire in your fire pit, the quick and easy way.

Either case, pretty soon, your fire should get going. This is how you properly burn wood on a fire pit.

Once firewood is about to burn out, you can add a new log to the fire. You can keep doing this for as long as you want the fire to keep burning. A small bundle of firewood should easily last you a whole night.

Putting Out the Fire

This is a step a lot of people ignore. But safety-wise, it is absolutely crucial that you follow it. Once you’re done using a fire pit, put out the embers using either sand or water.

You should always use sand if you have some handy. But since most people don’t, water will do the trick too.

Just make sure you mix and saturate the amber well with the water, or it might ignite again later, causing the risk of a fire.

Tips on how to safely put out a campfire

Outdoor Gas Logs

If by placing wood on your gas fire, all you’re looking to do is give it a more natural look, then there is something that could interest you.

Gas logs are artificial logs usually made up of ceramic.

While these gas logs don’t improve the overall heating of the space, they do add to the aesthetics by giving your gas fire pit a more natural look.

It is normal for carbon to accumulate after use. You can simply remove it and wipe the carbon off.

Most of these gas logs are designed to withstand the high temperatures of a gas fire pit and offer long term durability.

If you’ve already got a gas fire pit and you would like to give it a more natural look, a gas log could be just the thing that will keep you from burning wood on your gas fire pit.

Close-up of lit electric fireplace

Conclusion

Fire pits do a great job of keeping the vicinity warm and also adding to the overall aesthetics of the space. And gas fire pits are incredibly easy to operate.

But if you’ve ever thought about burning wood on a gas fire pit, DON’T DO IT!

Burning wood will generate a much more intense fire compared to burning gas.

This is the reason why burning firewood is still such a popular heating option. But this intense heat could end up damaging your gas fire pit or surrounding surfaces like your patio.

If you are adamant about burning wood on a fire pit, you can get a wood-burning fire pit instead.

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Stuart

Stuart loves blogging about his hobbies and passions. Living the Outdoor Life is a place for him to share what he learns while creating his perfect outdoor space.

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