How to Build a Fire Pit Kit with a Propane Tank
Designing a Propane Fire Pit
Propane gas fire pits are becoming more common in residential settings given their convenient design. However, running new gas lines can be prohibitively expensive and require professional installers to ensure a satisfactory outcome. For this reason, many consumers choose to fuel their fire pits using a standard propane tank.
At Spotix, we’re often asked how long a propane tank will fuel a typical backyard fire pit. This answer will vary based on the size of your tank as well as the BTU rating of the fire pit burner. To calculate approximate burn times for yourself, we’ve put together this helpful guide. Consider grills as a point of reference, as these calculations will work for propane grills as well.
Propane Tank Specifications
|Tank Size||Amount of Gas||Total BTU|
|11 lbs.||2.98 gal.||256,205|
|20 lbs.||5 gal.||430,000|
|30 lbs.||7 gal.||640,000|
|40 lbs.||10 gal.||860,000|
|50 lbs.||25 gal.||2,159,400|
Sample Burn Times
The process for determining an estimated propane burn time is simple.
To determine the gas appliance operating time:
BTUs of Propane Tank / Total BTUs of Gas Appliance = Total Burn Time (Hours)
Below are estimated burn times for several of our popular fire pit kit options. Each of these estimates represents ideal conditions and assumes proper setup.
|Fire Pit Kit||Tank Size||BTU||Approx. Burn Time|
|HPC 12” Penta Burner||20 lbs.||65,000||6.61 hours|
|HPC 18” Penta Burner||20 lbs.||125,000||3.44 Hours|
|Warming Trends 13” x 13” Original Crossfire Burner||20 lbs.||120,000||3.58 Hours|
|Firegear 22” Burning Spur||20 lbs.||100,000||4.3 Hours|
|HPC 36” Penta Burner||500 gal.||43,000,000||143.33 Hours*|
|*Does not factor in additional appliances using fuel|
Although a fire pit kit attached a propane tank generally offers a simpler setup than an in-ground gas line, there are still several factors to consider when creating your fire pit.
For propane fire pit kits, a supply pressure between 8” and 11” water column (a measure of gas pressure) is required for optimal results. On professional installations, a gas technician can measure
this using a tool called a manometer. For propane tank kits, this pressure can be achieved through use of a propane tank regulators . Improper supply pressure can result in a “whistling” noise if pressure is too high or a low blue flame if the pressure is too low.
The maximum output of a traditional 20-pound propane tank is approximately 90,000 to 125,000 BTU. This means you will need to use a burner rated for 125,000 BTU or less if you plan to use a 20-pound propane tank. Do not use a burner rated for greater than 125,000 BTU with a 20-pound propane tank. Using a fire pit burner rated for greater than 125,000 BTU with a standard 20-pound propane tank will result in poor flame performance.
Propane gas is heavier than air, which can result in pooling gas in and around a fire pit. Always ensure your gas supply has been completely shut off after use. Additionally, proper ventilation and a fire pit pan are required when installing a propane fire pit kit. Failure to follow these guidelines can result in an unsafe fire pit. Refer to manufacturers’ specific guidelines for more information regarding proper fire pit installation.
If you’re ready to add the ambiance of a propane fire feature to your home, give our helpful sales team a call at 888-977-6849 or email us via our contact page. Our team is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time to answer any questions you may have regarding these or any other products we carry.