Mon-Fri 8-5 CST877-374-6777

Search Site

How to Convert a Wood Fire Pit to Gas

Many of us are familiar with wood burning fire pits, whether you’ve got a permanent masonry fire pit stoned into a patio or a mobile metal fire pit - building a fire to gather your friends and family is something we all enjoy.

However, many urban developments are restricting the use of wood fire pits for safety reasons. Beyond that, wood fire pits require a lot of extra hassle - having wood available to burn can be an issue, if you do keep wood on hand and store it outdoors I often find it’s wet and hard to get a fire started. Once you’ve your fire burning you also have to deal with smoke - it's always frustrating when the smoke burns directly into you or your guests’ faces, and once you’re finished you’ll smell like a campfire for the rest of the day.

For these and other reasons, gas fire pits have become the new go-to for restaurants, hotels, and backyards alike. Gas fire pits are easy to ignite, safe to burn in nearly any residential area, and honestly are not that hard to install with the right know-how and the help of a qualified installer - especially if you’ve already got a wood fire pit installed.

Step 1: Gas Type

Many of us with wood fire pits bought a pre-configured paver stone kit from a big box store - these make terrific starting points for a gas fire pit. If you’ve got something like the kit pictured to the right, the first question you need to answer is what type of gas do you want to fuel your fire pit: propane or natural gas.

While many of the steps below also apply to natural gas, we’ll move forward with propane kits in mind.

If you plan on using this fire pit for decades to come, it may be worth running a natural gas line to save on long-term fuel costs, but most people who convert from wood to gas end up using a 20 lb. propane tank like you would use for a gas grill.

Step 2: Burner Kit

After deciding on your fuel type, you’ll need to consider two things: ignition type and shape/size.

Ignition type refers to how you light the fire each time you want to use your fire pit. While the convenience of a push button kit can be very nice, our simplest and most popular kits are the match light kits. These require you to use a lighter in order to ignite the flame, but they are more cost effective and the lack of electronic components ensures long lasting durability.

The shape can be up to your choosing, but our penta burners are most popular. The size, however, should be chosen based off the size of the inside dimension of your enclosure. Some of our manufacturers have different regulations for burner size, but a good rule of thumb is to have 3-inches between the edge of the burner and the inside edge of your pan - on ALL sides, so typically a difference of 6-inches in dimension. In addition, a 20 lb. propane tank is limited to about 125,000 BTU output, so you should select a burner kit that’s rated for fewer than 125,000 BTU. Also, make sure to get a regulator for your propane tank that’s rated for a similar BTU in order to get a good flame height.

In addition, if you’re using propane you’ll need to include a fire pit pan with your kit. A pan is an essential component with propane burner kits in order for proper flame performance and safety.

Top Burner Kits:
  • Spotix Penta HPC Match Lit Fire Pit Burner Kits

    List: $193.00 Starting At: $142.95
  • Firegear FPB-RBSTMS Match Light Gas Fire Pit Burner Kit with Flame Sensing, Round Bowl Pan

    List: $950.00 Starting At: $759.99
  • Warming Trends Crossfire 24V Electronic Spark Ignition Original Brass Gas Fire Pit Burner Kits

    List: $2,072.00 Starting At: $1,657.00

Step 3: Installation Considerations

After you’ve selected your burner kit, there are a few considerations you should make in order to ensure installing your kit will be a breeze.

1) Mounting the Pan

If you’re using a fire pit pan, we recommend using a flat pan in combination with our installation collars. The collars are easy to install using a Tap-Con drill bit and screws to anchor the weight of the pan and burner. If your paver kit came with a metal insulating ring, you can remove and discard it for use with gas - gas will not burn as hot as wood does, so there’s less of a concern to crack to bricks from heat.

2) Locating the Gas Valve

Most of our burner kits will feature a 1/4-turn ball valve that controls the flow of gas to the burner - you'll want to mount that somewhere that’s easily accessible, like the side of your enclosure. If your stone or pavers are thicker than 3-inches, a flange extension will be necessary so it can reach through the entirety of your bricks - plus a longer key will be needed. We core out a 1-3/8-inch whole to allow the flange extension to feed through.

In addition, if you’re using propane you’ll need to include a fire pit pan with your kit. A pan is an essential component with propane burner kits in order for proper flame performance and safety.

We recognize that not many people will have access to an expensive core drill, so our paver kits are great options to mount the valve and flange for easy access.

3) Ventilation

For both propane and natural gas, 36in² of ventilation is required to create proper air flow for the gas to combust properly. Two of our vent covers will provide the correct amount of airflow and keep pests from getting into your fire pit.

Installation Accessories:
  • Universal Flexible Installation Collars

    Spotix Universal Flexible Installation Collars

    List: $55.00 Starting At: $24.95
  • Spotix 6-Inch Adjustable Flange Extension

    List: $19.00 Starting At: $13.95
  • Louvered 12x6 In. Stainless Steel Enclosure Vents, Set of 2

    HPC Louvered 14x4 Inch Stainless Steel Enclosure Vents, Set of 2

    List: $70.00 Starting At: $52.95

Step 4: Media

The last piece of your fire pit puzzle is the media you’ll need to choose to cover the burner. The classic choice is lava rock, but fire glass is a more contemporary option for modern backyards. Both options are perfectly acceptable for gas fire pits, and they provide similar amounts of heat.

Popular Fire Media Options:
  • Hearth Products Controls Black Lava Rock, 1 Cubic Foot

    Hearth Products Controls Black Lava Rock, 1 Cubic Foot

    List: $99.00 Starting At: $79.00
  • HPC Western Pine Style Outdoor Ceramic Gas Log Set, 6 Piece (For use with 30 Inch Burner)

    HPC Western Pine Style Outdoor Ceramic Gas Log Set, 6 Piece (For use with 30" Burner)

    List: $433.00 Starting At: $332.95
  • American Fireglass 10-Pound Classic Fire Glass, 1/2 Inch, Copper

    List: $70.00 Starting At: $49.95

Final Considerations

It’s important to note, all gas connections should be made by a qualified installer to ensure safety. Gas fire pits, if installed properly, are safer to operate than wood fire pits - but that’s what makes a safe installation so important.

If you have any questions about converting, designing, or installing your gas fire pit - feel free to ask questions in the comments below, or give us a call! 888-977-6849

If you use this guide we'd love to see your finished product - contact us to send us pictures of your finished product.

Leave a Reply

Back to top