If you ever wanted to enjoy a cozy fire on your deck or patio without choking on smoke or worrying about embers flying around, the answer is how smokeless fire pits work. Thanks to innovative new designs and technologies, you can now have an open fire that produces hardly any smoke. Forget huddling around a smoldering campfire that makes your eyes water and clothes reek.
With a smokeless fire pit, you’ll be lounging by a roaring fire that looks and sounds like the real thing without the nasty side effects. Keep reading our post to discover how smokeless fire pits can transform your outdoor space and allow you to enjoy the experience of an open fire anytime you want. The secret is in their clever combustion system and use of specialized fuel that burns so cleanly you won’t believe your eyes – or nose!
What Is a Smokeless Fire Pit?
A smokeless fire pit is designed to burn wood or other fuel in a way that produces little to no smoke. Instead of an open fire, smokeless fire pits have a closed combustion chamber and a chimney to vent exhaust.
The Science Behind Smokeless Fire Pits
Smokeless fire pits control the amount of oxygen that reaches the fire. Less oxygen means less smoke. These fire pits often have double-walled construction with air vents and valves that let you control the airflow.
Some smokeless fire pits are wood-burning, while others use propane or natural gas. For wood-
burning models, the key is managing air intake to create the ideal ratio for efficient combustion. Too much air results in excess smoke, while too little air means the fire won’t stay lit. By adjusting air vents or dampers, you can achieve the perfect balance.
Many smokeless fire pits also have features like built-in fans or blowers to improve airflow and exhaust ports to direct smoke away from you and your guests. Some even have catalytic converters, similar to your car’s exhaust system, that help convert smoke and other emissions into less harmful gasses before they’re released into the air.
The result is a warm, cozy fire that gives you the entire ambiance without any smoke, and that means no more smelling like a campfire or having your clothes and hair reek of smoke.
Types of Smokeless Fire Pits
There are a few types of smokeless fire pits to choose from. The most common options are:
Propane Fire Pits
Propane fire pits use propane gas to fuel the flames, so there’s no wood burning or smoke. Propane fire pits are convenient since you turn them on like a gas grill. The fire intensity can also be easily adjusted using a control knob. Propane tanks need to be replaced and refilled, so you need to factor in that ongoing cost.
Gel Fuel Fire Pits
Gel fuel fire pits burn a gel made of ethanol and water. The gel is filled into a canister placed inside the fire pit. Light the gel with a match or lighter, and it will burn clean without any smoke. Gel fuel fire pits are very portable and mess-free. However, gel fuel can be expensive, and the burn time is often only 2-3 hours per canister. You’ll go through many canisters for an evening to keep the fire going.
Wood-Burning Fire Pits
Wood-burning fire pits can be smokeless if they have specific design features like a double-walled construction, a mesh screen covering, and strategically placed vents and airflow valves. The double walls and mesh help re-burn the smoke the fire produces before it can escape. The vents also pull in more oxygen to help the fire burn hotter and more efficiently. Wood-burning smokeless fire pits require dry, seasoned firewood for the best performance and less smoke.
Benefits of Choosing a Smokeless Fire Pit
Smokeless fire pits are much more convenient since you don’t have to constantly attend to the fire by adding more wood or stoking the flames once you’ve started the fire; the fuel source, whether propane, natural gas, or bioethanol, will keep the fire going evenly and consistently.
Smokeless options are safer since there is little to no smoke being emitted. The fumes released by propane, natural gas, and bioethanol are negligible and won’t fill the area around the fire pit or your home. This makes them ideal for patios, decks, and yards where smoke could be a nuisance.
The dancing flames of a smokeless fire pit provide visual interest without obscuring the area in smoke. You’ll be able to see clearly through and around the fire pit while still enjoying the warming glow of the fire. The sleek, streamlined designs of many smokeless fire pits make them attractive accent pieces for your outdoor space.
FAQ: Common Questions About Smokeless Fire Pits
Smokeless fire pits are designed to minimize the smoke produced while providing warmth and ambiance. Here are some of the most common questions about how they work:
How do they reduce smoke?
Smokeless fire pits utilize a double-walled design with holes or vents in the inner wall. This allows oxygen to enter and circulate, creating a “secondary burn” of the smoke and other gasses before they have a chance to escape. The fast, hot secondary burn converts most of the smoke into carbon dioxide and water vapor, drastically reducing emissions.
Do they require special fuel?
Most smokeless fire pits can burn a variety of dry, seasoned hardwoods, but some units require smokeless fire logs or gel fuel canisters to function correctly. Smokeless logs are compressed wood chips treated with chemicals to promote complete secondary combustion. Gel fuels are ethanol-based and produce nearly no smoke at all. Check the specifications of your specific fire pit to determine which powers are compatible.
How hot do the flames get?
Smokeless fire pits typically reach higher temperatures, often over 1000°F, to facilitate secondary combustion. The interior walls of the fire pit absorb and distribute the heat, while the small vent holes allow some warmth to radiate. These higher heat levels and the lack of thick smoke can make smokeless fire pits feel pretty intense, so exercise caution.
Do they produce any smoke at all?
While smokeless fire pits significantly reduce smoke emissions, they are not 100% smoke-free. Some minimal smoke may escape, especially when adding new logs or stoking the fire. However, when properly loaded and burning at peak efficiency, a smokeless fire pit will produce little to no visible smoke.
A smokeless model could be the perfect solution if you want to upgrade your backyard or campsite with a fire pit but want to avoid the smoke. You’ll enjoy many relaxing, social evenings around the fire with friends and family and create lasting memories for years.