Fall is full of it. It’s full of gorgeous hues of fiery red and burnt orange. It’s full of festivities like apple picking and sitting around the backyard fire pit with hot cider in hand and a chunky sweater to keep you cozy. To prepare for this time of year, you’re going to want to get all your ducks in a row: plan out the trips to the orchard, swap out summer garb for warmer layers, and get your fire pit ready.
If you have a gas fire pit, you’ll want to dig right in by cleaning it. Remove leaves, dirt, rocks or any other debris that’s leftover from summer. You can use a vacuum, broom or brush to clean out large amounts of debris in the base.
You should also identify any parts that need of replacement and take care of any damage, leaks or rust.
You should also remove the media (lava rock, glass, etc.) if possible to inspect the burner surface for any deterioration. Look for any damage to the gas supply line, such as dents, cuts or, abrasions that could cause a failure in your fire pit. Take a look at the main control valve and the gas lines connecting it to the burner orifice, and check the orifice, air shutter and burner manifold for any rust damage as well. Check for spiders by inserting a pipe cleaner into the port holes and any other openings in which debris could collect.
When the season’s over, you’ll want to remove any fall debris, shut off and remove the tank from its base and store the tank outside, away from the house, and not in a shed or the garage. Remove any accessories like a wind guard, fire gems or other fire media from the burner and store them indoors. Cover the fire burner with the burner cover, wipe down the fire pit top and burner and cover the fire pit table with a vinyl cover.
As for your wood-burning fire pit, there are some simple steps you can take to get it ready for bonfire season. If you have a stone or masonry pit, be sure it is free of any ash or debris, then scrub the interior using a solution of 1 part muriatic acid to 9 parts water. Once it’s clean, rinse with water and let it dry for 48-72 hours. For a steel or metal fire pit, spray it with a hose, and lightly wipe with a soap and water solution, then turn the bowl upside-down and allow it to air dry. For cast iron, gently scrub the bowl with steel wool, then rinse, and dry with a soft rag. And for a copper pit, use a garden hose to spray it down and then clean with soap and water.
Make sure you have an ash scoop and a metal can on-hand, as well as a long poker, a spark screen and a vinyl protective cover near your pit. These tools will make cleaning out your pit after each use and covering it up a cinch. It’s also helpful to make sure you have a fire extinguisher in good working order near your fire pit and a bucket of sand and a garden hose nearby in case a spark jumps out of the pit. Last but not least, never ever use gasoline as a fire starter.