How to Start a Propane Fire Pit?

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Last Updated on July 27, 2021
Jim Bob

Jim Bob

A long-time contributor to Seriously Smoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.

how to light a propane fire pit

The propane fire pit is a great way to incorporate some added ambiance to your backyard, camping spot or picnic area. With a contained flame, they are a safer option than wood burning fire pits, and in most cases, they are also easier for most people to light and control than a wood burning fire pit.

While propane fire pits are in general fairly easy to use, if you’ve not used one before, you may have questions about how to properly operate a propane fire pit. 

In this article, we’ll take some time to give you some helpful hints about using a propane fire pit. We’ll also give you step by step instructions on how to start your fire pit, using an automatic starter and manually with a match or stick lighter.

1. How Your Propane Fire Pit Operates?

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Before you run out and start firing up that new propane fire pit, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of how they work. Understanding the basics of your fire pit will allow you to operate it safely and with the most efficiency possible.

In general most propane fire pits operate the same way. Gas from the tank is moved from the tank to the burner via the supply line. The control valve is basically your “on/off” switch. It allows you to start the gas for lighting, to adjust the flame height, and then to turn off the gas when you’re done using the fire pit. To start the fame you expose the gas to a spark or flame from a match or stick lighter.

2. How to Start Your Fire Pit?

Understanding that there are likely some variations on how to start your propane fire pit, given the model and specific features, we have put together this “how to” based on the simplest operation options. We’ll walk you through models with electric starters and models that have manual staring. Do keep in mind that there may be some variation to this process depending on your specific fire pit, so do make sure that you read the owner’s manual and operating instructions before you operate your propane fire pit.

Propane Fire Pits with Electric Starter

Check that all control valves are closed and that all parts are in good condition.
Connect your propane tank to the gas supply line. Make sure that you tighten the connector as tight as you can. This will help ensure that leaks do not occur.
Turn on the gas using the valve located on the propane tank.
Push down and turn the control knob located on the fire pit, to the location indicated for “starting” or lighting your fire pit. In most cases, this will be indicated with a “lightning bolt” type icon.
As you are turning the control knob, depress and hold the starter button. You will hear a clicking sound. This indicates that sparks are being created.
When there is adequate gas moving through the burner the sparks from the piezoelectric starter will ignite the gas and your fire pit will now have a flame.
Use the control knob to adjust the flame height for the desired amount of heat and ambiance.

Propane Fire Pits with Manual Lighting

Check that all control valves are closed and that all parts are in good condition.
Connect your propane tank to the gas supply line. Make sure that you tighten the connector as tight as you can. This will help ensure that leaks do not occur.
Turn on the gas using the valve located on the propane tank.
Make sure that you have your lighter started or a long match lit, before you turn on the gas.
Place the flame from your lighter or match near the burner or in the designated location for lighting your fire pit.
Turn the control knob on the fire pit, slowly, allowing a gentle flow of gas through the burner.
When the flame from your lighter or match ignites the gas, you can put out the match or lighter.
Adjust the flame height using the control knob on the fire pit, for the perfect amount of heat and ambiance.

3. Helpful Hints

Here are a few helpful hints to make starting and enjoying your new fire pit a pleasant experience.

Have your flame or starter prepared before you turn on the gas. If you aren’t prepared with your starter or lighter, the build-up of gas at the burner can cause an “explosion” of sorts. This can be dangerous and cause burns.
If you have a manually lighting propane fire pit, use a lighter or match that has a long reach. This will keep your fingers clear of the flame, and allow for a safer and more controlled experience.
Check your fire pit for leaks, frequently. This is a matter of safety, and will also keep you from wasting propane.
Always shut off both the control valve on the fire pit and the valve on the propane tank.
If your fire pit’s electric starter fails, remember you can still light your fire pit with a match or stick lighter.

Propane fire pits are a convenient, safe, and affordable way to enjoy a fire in your backyard or while camping or going out to a good picnic spot to enjoy your favorite outdoor activities. Knowing how to start your new fire pit safely is an important part of getting the most from this accessory.

While we’ve given you some basic instructions on how to start your propane fire pit, do remember that you should always consult your owner’s manual before you use your new fire pit. Finding enjoyable experiences with your family and friends is great. Just make sure that when you want to bond before a camping fire pit, it’s always good that you observe fire pit safety procedures to keep your family safe and lengthen the life of your fire pit.