How Much Clearance Do You Need Above A Gas Fire Pit?

Ensuring there’s enough clearance for your gas fire pit is crucial – you don’t want anything around the flames to catch fire. We know you are looking to install your gas fire pit safely and correctly, so how much clearance do you need above a gas-powered fire pit?

You need at least 6-10 feet of clearance above your gas fire pit to use it safely. For pits with BTUs up to 200k, at least 7 feet of clearance is ideal. For fire pits above 201K BTU’s, complete clearance is typically required. 

Figuring out how much clearance you’ll need to account for when researching or installing your next gas-powered fire pit doesn’t have to be a painstaking process. Once you know the basic minimum clearance requirements, you’re in the clear – though you will need to consult the owner’s manual if you decide to buy your fire pit from a manufacturer. We’ll explain in more detail how much clearance you’ll need for your fire pit, plus remind you why it’s so important to plan for the correct clearance requirements.

How Much Clearance Do You Need Above A Gas Fire Pit?

At a minimum, you need 6-10 feet of clearance above a gas fire pit to ensure the pit’s flames don’t reach anything flammable. If you purchase a manufactured fire pit, you’ll want to look over the manufacturer requirements for the proper clearance from your combustibles too. These requirements differ depending on the type and size of burner you choose. It’s also a good idea to check your city’s ordinances and code requirements if you’re constructing your pit. 

Before installing a fireplace or fire pit, it’s crucial to determine the clearance requirements so that you don’t accidentally light on fire your other nearby belongings and outdoor beauty – like hanging light fixtures, wall-mounted decorations, trees, and shrubbery.

What Is Clearance?

Clearance requirements specify how close you can put your fire pit to a flammable object or surface. This prevents your objects from catching fire, avoiding possibly dangerous situations.

Does BTU Matter For A Fire Pit?

The range of BTU’s a fire pit puts out influences how much clearance you need to burn and enjoy your gas-powered pit safely! The more BTUs, the hotter the space surrounding the fire pit will be, the more clearance you’ll need.

BTUs, or British Thermal Units, are a heating-and-air-industry standard for measuring heat. In more technical terms, BTUs are the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. 

The 6-10 foot clearance requirement is necessary to burn and enjoy your fire pit safely, but there is no industry-standard clearance specification for clearance. This means that 6-7 feet are a minimum clearance requirement for gas fire pits, but it’s not a hard and fast rule. Look at your fire pit’s BTU range to better understand how much clearance you need.

To determine the best clearance distance from your fire pit to your flammables (remember, though, with a minimum clearance of 6 feet!), you’ll need to look at the BTU range of your fire pit.

It’s also best practice not to tempt fate and decorate your fire pit with combustible items. Especially if you go with the minimum needed clearance, be careful with combustible items. Even if they look great near your fire pit, you don’t want it to be the cause of a big fire.

Find The User Manual To Find BTU Range

With that being said, if you purchased a manufactured gas-powered fire pit from the store, you’ll have to consult the owner’s manual to see what specific clearance requirements are necessary per your pit’s BTU range before installing it at home. 

For example, popular brand HPC Fire requires an overhead clearance of 84 inches (7 feet) above a gas fire pit with a BTU range of up to 200k.  

Other gas-powered pits with standard burners in the range of 201K to 400K BTUs require that no overhead structures be present. These gas fire pits need full clearance up top because gas pits with a higher BTU range emit more thermal energy than pits with a lower BTU range. 

So, fire pits with a higher BTU range will require more clearance from combustibles. 

Why Do I Need Enough Clearance For A Gas Fire Pit?

Choosing a safe location to install your gas-powered fire pit is very important because you want to put it in a place that minimizes the risk of property damage, serious injury, or city fines.

Regarding damage to property, if there isn’t enough clearance above a gas fire pit, there’s a high risk of something combustible catching flame. It only takes a few seconds for one lick of flame to barely touch a hanging hammock, curtain, or light fixture – or any other example of a flammable object you can think of – to catch fire and cause destruction. After installing your fire pit, it’d be a real shame to have to clean up and fix everything else!  

Moreover, someone could get injured if there isn’t enough proper space above a gas fire pit. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported in 2018 that the number of injuries related to fire pits in the States tripled from 1,900 injuries in 2008 to over 5,300 injuries in 2017. 

Children under the age of 5 made up one-quarter of that data, and many were burned via coals that were still hot from a burn session the previous day. That’s not a clearance issue for that particular example, but on-fire objects can still injure children and people once they’ve caught flame from the pit. Commercial wallpaper is highly flammable and a fire super spreader, for example. 

There are also your city’s regulations that you have to think about to avoid being fined for improperly using your gas fire pit. Most of these laws are put into place to prevent individuals from burning things they shouldn’t – like homes or painted wood (when burned, painted wood gives off toxic fumes).

While most towns follow similar rules, your best option is to locate the guidelines for your area before building, installing, and burning your fire pit.  

Dan Westfield

Hi everyone! My name is Dan and I currently have two fireplaces, a wood-burning and a gas one. I cannot live without them and love to share my passion with you all!

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