Maintaining a Custom Made Steel Fire Pit

Fire pits are a wonderful addition to any outdoor space, providing warmth, ambiance, and a place to gather with friends and family. If you've invested in a custom-built steel fire pit or wood burner, it's important to know how to properly maintain and care for it. In this guide, we will discuss the best tips and practices for keeping your fire pit clean and burning efficiently. We'll also explore the types of fuel that should be used for optimal performance, which will ensure that your custom fire pit continues to be a centrepiece of enjoyment in your outdoor space.

Cleaning Your Custom Steel Fire Pit 

Proper cleaning is essential to keep your custom steel fire pit looking its best and functioning optimally. Here are some steps to follow when cleaning your fire pit: 


Removing Ashes

After each use, it's important to remove the ashes from your fire pit. This will prevent the buildup of soot and keep your fire pit clean. It's recommended to remove the ashes between each use to avoid any rain getting into the pit and causing a damp layer beneath the fire next time you burn. Simply scoop out the ashes and dispose of them properly.  
Scrubbing Vents

Modern fire pits, including custom steel ones, often feature vents that allow for better airflow and reduced smoke production. It's crucial to regularly clean these vents to ensure optimal performance. Use a bristle brush to scrub out any blockages caused by ash or debris. By keeping the vents clear, you'll promote better airflow and a more enjoyable fire pit experience. 
Cleaning the Interior

Different types of metal materials require different cleaning methods. For a steel fire pit, all you need is some hot, soapy water and a soft cloth to scrub the interior. This will remove soot and other stains. After cleaning, make sure to wipe your fire pit dry to prevent rust formation. If you have a cast iron fire pit, use steel wool instead of a cloth to scrub the inside. 

Protecting Your Custom Steel Fire Pit

Outdoor fire pits are exposed to the elements, which can take a toll on their appearance and performance. To protect your custom steel fire pit, consider the following measures: 
Investing in a Fire Pit Cover

One of the best ways to safeguard your fire pit from the elements is by investing in a high-quality fire pit cover. This will provide protection against wind, rain, and other weather conditions. When not in use, cover your fire pit to extend its lifespan and keep it in good condition.  
Storing Indoors during Inclement Weather

If possible, it's recommended to store your custom steel fire pit indoors or in a garage or shed during storms or the winter season. This extra layer of protection will help prolong the life of your fire pit and prevent any damage caused by harsh weather conditions. However, if indoor storage is not feasible, using a fire pit cover should be considered essential. 

Choosing the Right Fuel for Your Custom Fire Pit

Using the correct fuel is crucial for maintaining optimal performance and safety in your custom steel fire pit. Here are some considerations when selecting the right fuel: 
Hardwoods for a Steady Burn 

When it comes to wood-burning fire pits, hardwoods such as oak, hawthorn, and ash are the best options. These dense woods burn steadily and produce less smoke and residue. They also provide a longer-lasting burn, reducing the need for frequent refuelling. . 
Fast-burning Woods for Easy Ignition 

To get your fire started quickly, consider using fast-burning woods such as birch and hazel. These woods are excellent choices for kindling and will help ignite your fire pit easily.  
Aromatic Woods for a Pleasant Smell

If you want your fire to produce a pleasant aroma, consider using woods such as apple or cherry. These woods can add a delightful scent to your outdoor space while providing warmth and ambiance. However, it's important to ensure that these woods are seasoned and very dry to prevent excessive smoke and residue. 
Avoid Damp Wood 

Using damp wood in your fire pit can lead to excessive smoke and environmental pollution. It's best to avoid burning wet logs, as they produce more particulate matter (PM) and can be detrimental to air quality. Additionally, burning wet logs can cause your fire pit to function less efficiently. 

Enhancing Efficiency and Longevity

In addition to regular maintenance and fuel selection, there are several steps you can take to enhance the efficiency and longevity of your custom steel fire pit: 
Using Seasoned or Kiln-Dried Wood

To ensure a clean burn and minimal smoke production, it's recommended to use seasoned or kiln-dried wood. Seasoned wood is dried until it contains as little moisture as possible, resulting in efficient combustion. You can purchase seasoned wood from home and garden stores or opt to season it yourself. 
Protecting the Bottom with Sand or Lava Rocks 

Over time, the bottom of your suspended fire pit may suffer from heat damage. To prevent this, consider placing a layer of sand or lava rocks at the bottom of your fire pit. These materials act as a barrier, protecting the steel from extreme heat and increasing its longevity.

Maintaining a Clean and Dry Fire Pit

Regularly cleaning your fire pit and keeping it dry will help prevent rusting and corrosion. After each use, remove any debris and ashes, and wipe down the interior with a soft cloth. Avoid leaving water residue, as it can contribute to rust formation. A clean and dry fire pit will not only last longer but also provide a safer and more enjoyable experience. 
Lighting from the Middle 

When lighting your fire pit, it's best to start from the middle. Heat rises, so lighting the fire from the top may result in uneven ignition. Use a match or firelighter in the bottom-middle of your fire pit to ensure that the flames and heat disperse evenly. 
Avoiding Flammable Liquids

Using flammable liquids such as lighter fluid or gasoline to ignite your fire pit is dangerous and can cause damage to the pit and surrounding area. It's important to avoid the use of accelerants and rely on safer methods of ignition, such as kindling and firelighters. 
Allowing Sufficient Oxygen Flow 

A steady flow of oxygen is essential for a sustained fire. Ensure that your fire pit has plenty of space to breathe and receive adequate oxygen. Proper airflow will help maintain a vibrant and long-lasting fire. 

Fire Pit Maintenance Tips 

In addition to regular cleaning and fuel selection, here are some additional maintenance tips to keep your custom steel fire pit in top shape: 
Avoiding Water to Extinguish the Fire

When it's time to extinguish the fire in your fire pit, avoid dousing it with water. The rapid temperature change can cause the steel to crack. Instead, allow the fire to burn out naturally and ensure that it is completely cool before leaving it unattended. 
Regular Ash Removal and Deep Cleaning

After each use, remove the ashes from your fire pit, ensuring that they are completely cool. Use a scoop or shovel to clear out the ash and dispose of it properly. Additionally, perform a deep clean of your fire pit every three to six months to remove any built-up residue or debris. 
Avoiding Burning Plastic

Burning plastic in your fire pit is not only harmful to the environment but can also damage the pit itself. The melting plastic can stick to the steel, causing unsightly marks and potentially compromising the integrity of the fire pit. It's important to avoid burning any materials other than the recommended fuel sources. 

Fire Pit Safety Tips

While enjoying your custom steel fire pit, it's essential to prioritise safety. Here are some key safety tips to follow: 
Choosing a Safe Location

Ensure that your fire pit is placed in a safe location, away from any flammable materials such as sheds, fences, trees, or shrubs. It should be positioned on a stable surface to prevent tipping over. 
Supervising Vulnerable Users 

Keep children and pets at a safe distance from the fire pit. Supervision is crucial to prevent accidents and ensure everyone's safety. Educate children about fire safety and establish clear boundaries around the fire pit area. 
Using Approved Lighters

Only use approved lighters or fire starters to ignite your fire pit. Avoid using matches or lighters that are not designed for outdoor use. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for safe and proper use. 
Being Prepared for Emergencies

Have a bucket of water, sand, or a garden hose nearby in case of emergencies. These can be used to extinguish the fire or control any accidental sparks or flames. It's important to be prepared and have the necessary tools readily available. 
Never Leaving a Lit Fire Pit Unattended

It's crucial to never leave a lit fire pit unattended. Fires can quickly escalate, and accidents can happen in a matter of seconds. Always ensure that someone is present to monitor and tend to the fire pit until it is completely extinguished. 
The custom steel fire pit you buy from Burned by Design will be a spectacular addition to your outdoor space. With proper care and maintenance, it will continue to provide warmth, ambiance, and countless memorable moments. By following the tips and advice outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your fire pit remains in excellent condition for years to come.  
If you don’t yet have a wood burner or fire pit and in the exploration phase of your journey, then we invite you to explore the wide range of weird and wonderful custom fire pits and wood burners available from Burned by Design, including unique designs inspired by Star Wars, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, and many more iconic characters and themes. All products we supply have been handcrafted by Alex and his small team here in Yorkshire, and can be shipped worldwide. Get in touch if you have a unique idea for a personalised burner that reflects you and your tastes, we love to take on fresh challenges when we manufacture our burners and fire pits! 


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