Standing/sitting by an outdoor fire is one of the best options for safely socializing here in Minnesota, even if it is a bit chilly outside. The firepits at a local brewery were a great outing for New Years Eve, but the fires were smoky and were not producing much heat. My eyes were burning and my clothes smelled strongly of smoke, but the good news is - my beer stayed cold the entire time! Of course, I came home and started researching firepits, fires, and the science behind a great outdoor fire.
Smoky fires leave that lingering smell on clothes and hair and the smoke can also be unhealthy. Wood smoke contains ultrafine particles that irritate eyes and lungs, which is certainly concerning for people with asthma and other breathing problems.
Wood fires burn cleaner (less smoke) and hotter with dry, seasoned wood, and good ventilation. Dry oak, maple, ash, and cedar are all great fuel sources, and will burn well if air flow is maximized under and through the fire.
If the firepit has a solid ring around it, cutting a 2" hole every two feet or so around the base will allow some extra airflow to the fire. More holes for bigger pits of course. You could also raise the ring by putting bricks underneath it. Keep those air holes or areas free of ash or debris for maximum airflow is important.
The use of backyard fire pits has exploded in the last 15-20 years, and fire pits have recently gone high-tech with claims of smokeless fire pits – wow! Solo and Breeo both claim to produce a smokeless fire pit, and both have great reviews. These firepits utilize double wall construction with air circulation designed to increase air flow to the fire and burn excess smoke before it escapes.
I love a good fire, but I hate the smoke, so I couldn’t resist - I ordered a Solo fire pit. Demand is high for everything “outdoors,” so expected delivery is not until early February, but I can’t wait to try it!
Stay tuned – I will let you know if “smokeless” is a reality when I fire up the Solo.
Looking for a new backyard for your smokeless pit? Thinking about selling your existing home and moving your pit with you? Let me know how I can help!