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How To Guides

How to Determine the Right Size Burner Pan for Your Outdoor Fire Pit

So, it’s time to pick your firepower? That means it’s time to take inventory of the space available for your fire feature, how you like to entertain, and your budget.

When you first start planning—or more like, dreaming—about a fire pit, imaginations often run a bit wild. We envision all of our family and friends gathered around a roaring fire laughing and hanging out when in reality, we never combine our family with our friends in one sitting. And maybe our extended family rarely visits all at the same time. So that crowd we were envisioning, just dropped like a stone.

Others of us might like the idea of a fire pit, but in an effort to save money, we undersize our burner. Opting for something too small means you can’t comfortably fit everyone around the fire pit. That doesn’t work out too well for the people that get pushed out of the circle and soon, the fire pit loses its appeal.

An important part of the equation is to think about how you actually entertain. Use your past to help inform your future. Maybe you don’t typically invite big groups of people over to visit–and maybe it has nothing to do with the lack of a huge fire pit. Think about it.

Decide on the Purpose of Gas Your Fire Pit

Another important consideration—what is the purpose of your fire pit or fire table? A gas fire feature can be a gathering place, a focal point, or an accent to your outdoor area.  How do you plan to incorporate it into your space?

Do you have a large patio where friends and family tend to congregate? Then a large fire feature with a large burner may be just the ticket to push that living space to a whole new level. 

THINK OUTSIDE the pit. Fire features don’t have to be a spot people sit around; they can be a dramatic focal point such as a fire bowl placed in a water feature.

Are you imagining a fire table where you can host intimate dinner parties? If you never cook for more than two couples at a time, why invest in a long table of fire?  

Maybe you want to create a fire bowl that puts an exclamation point on your pool area and need not accommodate anyone sitting around it. Still, does it need to be big and bold to accomplish the goal? Or, will small and mighty sitting on a pedestal get the job done?

Decide on the Shape of the Burner Pan

Linear burner pans are a good choice for fire tables that people sit around. They have only one burner strip, so the unit is narrow leaving plenty of space on a tabletop for glasses and dinnerware. They provide a whole lot of ambiance without a lot of heat, which is perfect for a tabletop centerpiece. 

Linear burners can also provide a dramatic backdrop to an area when heat is not a priority. Their slim profile allows them to be used as a divider between spaces or as a “wall of fire” to denote the end of space.

Rectangular burners have two burner strips side by side. Not only does this push out more heat, but two burners also create more depth and volume of flames when it comes to appearance. It often looks better in large coffee table designs.

Square and round burner pans are best suited for square or round tables.  The smaller versions of these shapes are popular for items like end tables, accents pieces, and other areas where you want to add a bit of flame.  

Large square and round burner pans are popular for gas fire pits and large coffee tables.

You can choose many shapes when purchasing a fire pit burner kit. By deciding on the shape first you’ll be able to design a fire pit table that will fit your decor.

Proper Size Burner Pan for Fire Table

When designing your fire table, you want it to look balanced and symmetrical.  There are a couple of design rules to keep in mind when planning your fire table.

Ideally, a fire pit pan should always be centered in the middle of the feature—with equal distance on all sides, from the pan’s edge to the edge of the table.  

For instance, to evenly place a 6” x 18” burner pan, you would need a table that measures 18” by 30” in order to have 6” between the edge of the pan and all sides of the table.

You can still achieve a harmonious look if you have a rectangular burner pan that isn’t long enough to maintain the same distance on the shorter (wide) ends of the table—meaning there is more distance between the pan and the edge of the table on the short sides than on the longer sides.

But, you don’t want to use a rectangular burner pan that exceeds the equidistant rule when it comes to length—closer to the edge on the shorter sides of the table than on the longer sides. This configuration throws off the proportional balance in a way that is not aesthetically pleasing. Now, instead of the flames being an accent, they become the dominant force overwhelming the coffee table.

Heat Output

Keep in mind, that heat output is less important than how your burner will look in your design scheme.  Everything in your outdoor space should be balanced and work well together.  

Many people get obsessed with the BTU/hr. rate, and don’t put enough thought into how their final design will look. You can always bring out a few blankets if you get chilled, but you can’t resize your outdoor furnishings.

Bigger is Not Always Better

If you’ve ever watched the TV show, “Home Improvement,” starring Tim Allen, you know what happens when you insist on overbuilding or adding too much power to a project – it never ends well. 

It’s the same thing with a fire pit or fire table. Bigger is not always better. So, take a little time to figure out what you really need—or how you will actually use it—and choose your fire pit burner size accordingly.

Overbuilding means you are overspending on the equipment and for the fuel to power it.    

Expert Advice

The Celestial Fire Glass Technical Team can help you determine the best options for your available space and goals. So, if you still aren’t sure what size might be best for you, contact us. We talk to people about their projects every day, so we can give you expert guidance—not only based on our experience—but also from the experience of our customers.

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