Will My Outdoor Propane Fire Pit Keep Me Warm?
Let me set the scene for you guys a little bit. I am enjoying the warmth and beauty of a 120,000 BTU propane burner on my outdoor gas fire pit. The 120,000 BTU is actually one of our smallest sized burners. Our best selling outdoor propane fire pit burner is the 180,000 BTU but they range all the way up to 250,000 BTUs. Regardless, this little 120,000 burner is still cranking out a flame that is almost 2 feet high!
Despite it being the middle of the night in a Montana winter, I’m still able to be outside enjoying a beautiful setting. It’s about 34 degrees F which is not a warm night but not super super cold either.
I am running my outdoor propane fire pit with a 20-pound tank and it is producing a pretty nice fire. The radiant heat from the ceramic cannonballs is an added plus. The temperature on the cannonball is 200 degrees. The fire is 550 degrees. Around the perimeter here is 85.
How hot does it get underneath that plate?
Other common questions are:
- “Do I need fire brick?”
- “Do I need non combustible?”
- “How heavy do I need to build up around this?”
You can see that it’s only 100 degrees just 6 inches away from that flame. It doesn’t get super, super hot with a smaller burner. It also does not get hot underneath the plate.
Burn Media Makes a Difference in Fire Pit Heat
In order to get the most out of the residual heat from your fire pit, you should choose a fire media that amplifies the warmth. I’ve got ceramic cannonballs in mine because they’re my favorite. I also have a steel cut out trout there. My trout is at 476 degrees. You can see the difference that the media makes in residual heat. My cannonball is warming up right now and what that does is it retains heat. It doesn’t create any heat but it retains it.
In order to make the most out of a smaller burner, you should choose a burn media that absorbs and reflects heat. You will be huddled around the flame to stay warm on extra cold nights but you’ll still have a nice toasty fire. The larger the burner, of course, the more warmth you’ll be able to put out. That’s why the 180,000 BTU burner is such a popular, affordable choice for a propane fire pit.