The best way to enjoy your backyard patio during the fall and winter seasons is to add a firepit! Maybe you’ve dabbled in creating your own fire pit before or have been on the hunt for an electrical fire pit to place in the middle of your patio seating setup. A DIY smokeless fire pit is your solution.
The problem with regular fire pits is the heavy smoke they produce. If you’ve ever been camping or tried sitting around a fire pit in someone’s backyard, you know the feeling of smoke watering your eyes and the strong stench it comes with. You want to relax and catch up with friends, but the smoke just gets too much to handle.
Electrical fire pits will cost you big bucks and won’t provide the best warmth during cold months. So, what do you do? Consider building your own DIY smokeless fire pits! It’s not too challenging to build, and it can be done in one weekend.
You can enjoy nights out with family and friends in the comfort of your backyard. No more smoke tearing up your eyes, no more smoke smell sticking to your clothing, and no more moving your chairs away from the pit!
In this article, we will discuss how a smokeless fire pit works, the three most popular methods to build one, and a step-by-step guide to one of the methods! Gear up for a new DIY project that you and your family will cherish this winter season!
How do Smokeless Fire Pits Work?
Wood fuels regular fire pits, which emit a lot of smoke. A smokeless fire pit captures the burning wood’s smoke in a double-walled structure. In that structure, it re-burns to prevent less smoke from emitting into the air.
Airflow from air holes at the bottom of the fire pit keeps the fire going. Warm air – which is oxygen – moves up from the bottom of the fire pit to the top through small holes. Warm oxygen mixes with the smoke, causing it to re-burn. This re-burning is considered clean and eliminates any smoke!
Three Popular Methods to Build a Smokeless Fire Pit
The three most popular methods to build your very own smokeless firepit are:
- The Charcoal Method
- The Dakota Fire Hole Method
- The Upside-down Campfire Method
The Charcoal Method
This method uses bricks, charcoal, a Firestarter, newspaper, and tinder!
Quick How-To Guide:
- Place your bricks in a way that will trap as much heat.
- Lodge a piece of newspaper inside the bricks and place three pieces of tinder inside the pit.
- Add three more pieces of tinder in a separate triangle figure on top of the first triangle.
- Pour some fire starter in the fire pit.
- Slowly add charcoal once the fire starts to get bright.
The Dakota Fire Hole Method
For this method, all you need are charcoal, kindling, and a shovel!
Quick How-to Guide:
- Use your shovel to dig a hole around one foot deep into the ground.
- Add a ventilation shaft that leads to the surface. Dig a hole a foot away from the tunnel, downwind from the fire hole.
- Connect the ventilation shaft to the fire hole.
- Build a fire with charcoal, kindling, and wood in the fire hole.
- Use a grid of new saplings to hold any cooking equipment that you are using above the hole.
The Upside-down Campfire Method
The materials needed for this method are logs of different sizes, kindling, and paper.
Quick How-to Guide:
- Stack the smaller logs on top of the larger ones.
- Top your pile with a good amount of kindling.
- Take your piece of paper, crumple it, and place it on top of the stack.
- Light the paper on fire. The paper’s fire will begin to run downward.
Step-by-step Guide to Build Your Own DIY Smokeless Fire Pit
1. No matter where you live, check the rules on open fires within your region
You want to confirm from the fire department any rules about backyard fires. This is important, especially with highly populated cities and countryside that are prone to wildfires. You may need to notify officials or obtain a permit every time you plan on having an outdoor fire. Just check to be sure!
2. Collect all the materials and equipment needed to start building your DIY fire pit
The equipment needed includes:
- Concrete blocks, bricks, or paving stones
- A stake
- Fire bricks
- Measuring tape
- A shovel
- A tamp
Try to keep your fire pit’s construction within a 42-inch diameter. This way, it won’t be too big, and sufficient heat will be passed to people sitting around.
3. Make your markings
Decide where to build your fire pit. Make sure to position it away from any buildings and trees. Try to position it 20-25 inches away from structures like your patio and wooden deck.
Jam your stake into the ground to mark the center of where you will build the fire pit.
Now, attach a string half the size of the diameter you want to have. Tie chalk to the other end of the string. Drag the string as you outline the area you want for your firepit.
4. Start digging the hole for the DIY smokeless fire pit
For a standard fire pit, dig 6”; for a deeper one, dig down 12”. Remove the stake once you’ve finished the marking. Using a shovel, dig out the topsoil and grass. Measure to make sure you’ve dug enough before proceeding to the next step.
5. Level the dirt
Use your tamp to stamp down on the dirt to level it. Keep this up for the entire pit. Use your level to make sure that the surface of your pit is even.
6. Pour gravel into the hole
Pour gravel into the hole up to the hole’s surface. Use your stamp to press down on the gravel and level its surface evenly. Pack it entirely so that it doesn’t move or get displaced.
Displacement will result in low-quality block construction. So, make sure the gravel is packed together and tight before moving on to the next time.
7. Lay down your blocks, bricks, or paving stones
You can now begin laying down the first layer of bricks, blocks, or paving stones. Use your level simultaneously to ensure even placement. If you have leftover gravel, you can insert chunks underneath some blocks for precise placing. Stones are a great foundation for a DIY smokeless fire pit.
8. Stack layers
Add a second and third layer to finish up the structure of your fire pit. While laying down the blocks, offset them so that your smokeless hole will be sturdy and durable. If you want to seal your blocks with fire-resistant mortar (more on that in the next step), leave a few spaces open to act as vents for your fire pit. This will allow air to move in and minimize the amount of smoke your fire pit will give off. And there will always be enough oxygen to keep your fire going strong.
9. Install fire ring and fire bricks
If you are using paving stones or blocks, you don’t need to use fire-resistant mortar or adhesive. But it may not be long-lasting. A fire ring or fire bricks will increase your fire pit’s durability to last a very long time.
Place your fire bricks after the construction of the outer wall of your fire pit. Use fire-resistant mortar to attach the fire bricks to the outer wall. Leave a few spaces to allow for enough airflow and oxygen so that smoke is minimized and gives room for sufficient combustion. Wait for the fire-resistant mortar to dry fully before you begin using your fire pit.
10. Use the best method to build a DIY smokeless fire pit
With this fire pit, you can now use the charcoal or upside-down campfire method to build your fire! These methods will allow you and your family to sit comfy close to the campfire, feel the heat, and not have to worry about any smoke inhalation! You can refer to the steps in the previous section of this article or search for detailed videos on how to start your preferred method step-by-step.
A smokeless fire pit would be the perfect addition to your backyard patio or patio kitchen this winter season! The problem with most fire pits is that it emits smoke that tears up your eyes, stink up your clothes, and is very irritating to sit through. This smoke pushes people away from the fire pit and is a straight-up mood killer!
If you are a DIY lover and want to create the perfect ambiance in your backyard patio seating area, you should look into building your own DIY smokeless fire pit! It is fairly simple to build with the right materials, and even easier to start up a smokeless fire in it!
In this article, we covered the top-three methods to start a DIY smokeless fire pit.
Hope this DIY project keeps your family warm and comfy, allowing you to cherish the memories you make together this winter season and laid out a step-by-step guide to building your smokeless fire pit to enjoy with your family and guests!