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I currently have a gas (run from our house gas line) fire pit in my backyard. It is approximately 18" off the ground and the fire ring (relatively new) is 36" in diameter, filled with gravel at the bottom and lava rock on the top. (We are not able to lower the pit).

During the fall, we are able to sit around it and feel quite warm. However, in colder temperatures, we have noticed that the heat does not get dispersed horizontally very well, because the heat is obviously straight going up. So, as one might expect, it gets a bit colder and people are less inclined to sit out in front.

Overall, we are hoping to get more heat to the people sitting around the fire.

Any suggestions on how we might get better heat? Would any of these help?

  • Artificial Gas Logs?
  • Use a different type of rock?
  • Get a bigger flame somehow? (Bigger pipe?)
  • Use a different fire ring? Different size?
  • Any type of device we can use to circulate the heat?

Thanks very much!

Here's a pic

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We had a similar issue. The solution is to stack up larger chunks of lava rock into something that is vaguely pyramid shaped. As you note, the heat rises and if you have a large stack of rock over the flames, the rock will redirect this convective heat through the rock and heat up the rock itself. Once the stack of rock is heated (ours gets quite glowing red in the middle), it radiates the heat out to the sides (where people are sitting) quite effectively... much better than the flat layer of rock in the bottom of the fire pit. Since most of the heat is in the middle of the ring, that is where you want your stack tallest since it will extract more useful heat that way.

The only thing you need to be careful of is the stack of rock tumbling down. Fortunately, lava rock is quite porous and there is a lot of friction between two pieces. You can easily stack the rock in an interlocking manner and test it but pulling or pushing to ensure that the stack is stable, and that red hot rock won't come tumbling out on you while the fire is going. With heating and cooling, the rock will shift over time so it is best to inspect the stack periodically to make sure it stays stable.

Note, I'm talking about large size lava rock, not the stuff I see in your fire pit. Something like what you see here: enter image description here

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Do not stack large gapped rocks too high because they can trap gas down in them and they will blow out when lighting it. If you want more heat then buy a patio heater , sink your gas pit in the ground and or use real wood. Nothing like real wood for heat.

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That fire pit (if it is the one pictured) is not designed to put out a lot of heat—less than 15,000 Btu/hr. Even if you somehow managed to double that, it would not be all effective at heating people near it unless an enclosure were built. The output of these pits is little infrared (which is what is needed) but a fair amount of hot air, which just rises directly up and away.

Effective measures to make it more accessible are likely to be unacceptably dangerous: like building a deck around it so the fire pit is at floor level. Even this would be unsatisfactorily chilly.

Consider the fire pit a pretty light and center of focus. If you want effective warmth, get some patio heaters:

enter image description here

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Soap stone is the best for radiating heat back to the sides. It is used in pizza ovens. Vermont Marble, Granite, and Soapstone sells what they call Hot Rocks, chunks of soapstone in different sizes. This is what I use in my gas fire pit.

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Fire glass will not add anymore heat to a gas fire pit. Gas fire pits are not for heat unless in enclosed areas. There is nothing you can do to gain more heat for gas fire pits.

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Yes there is a way to get more fire and heat from a fire pit. Drill the valve out and the burner holes. I would do these in small increments because you don't need much more and dont want to drill it out too much and have a huge flame.

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    That sounds somewhat risky if you don't know what you're doing. – Chenmunka Dec 23 '16 at 16:46
  • This is a safety issue and absolutely is asking for .... death. DO NOT DO IT. By the way, the manufacturer designed the device to operate at a certain BTU, not to have someone modify it to burn hotter than the material or controls can suffice. Now the material breaks down, and worse case, you have a full pressure open ended flame/explosion. The only chance of safety would be a safety regulator if it is still functioning shutting off gas flow. – noybman Sep 26 '17 at 0:50

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