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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 requires 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 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

Additional Considerations

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.

Supply Pressure

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

Propane tank regulator with hose
Propane tank regulator with hose

this using a tool called a manometer. For propane tank kits, this pressure can be achieved through use of a propane tank regulator. 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.

Burner Size

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.

Safety

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.

Summary

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.

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