There has been an uptick in reports of children developing asthma after being exposed to excessive fire pit smoke in recent years.
Many people believe that the cause of this increase is attributable to the increased popularity of outdoor fires, which has resulted in more people using fire pits. However, it is also possible that some type of chemical or compound created by the burning wood is causing the problem.
Wood smoke is a known carcinogen and the by-product of burning wood. Inhaling wood smoke can increase your risk of respiratory problems, heart disease, and even cancer. Additionally, wood smoke can aggravate asthma and other respiratory issues in those who have them.
That’s why it is important to reduce the amount of wood smoke produced when using a fire pit, as it can have harmful effects on your health.
You can’t completely terminate smoke from a wood-burning fire pit. However, there are many ways to reduce the amount of wood smoke produced from a fire pit and keep it as minimal as possible and non-harming.
You will have that all in this write-up. Let’s start with why reducing smoke from a fire pit is so important.
Why Reducing Fire Pit Smoke Is Important?
Fire pits are a popular outdoor activity for families and friends. However, the smoke from these pits can be harmful to people and the environment.
The smoke from a fire pit can pollute the air in a household area and affect children, pets, and animals. The smoke from a fire pit can also cause respiratory problems in people who are sensitive to it.
It can lead you to several physical discomforts like runny nose, burning eyes, allergy, cough, and more. Reducing the amount of smoke from a fire pit can make it safer for everyone involved.
Why Does My Fire Pit Smoke So Much?
Smoke from your backyard fire pit can be an inconvenience, but some simple reasons could also cause it. Here are the most common reasons.
Burning Green Firewood
“Green” means fresh-cut wood without proper drying. As a result, they emit dangerous levels of smoke and carbon monoxide. Greenwood contains lots of moisture, approximately 80-100%.
That makes it difficult to burn. Due to incomplete burning, this sort of wood makes excess fumes, and it continues. And the more alarming thing is that this smoke is also full of harmful chemicals formed as a by-product of moisture.
Even though greenwood is relatively cheap to buy, it’s not worth the risk if it’s not going to be properly dried.
High Sap Content of Wood
High sap content in wood is the same as the moisture content. With moisture, they also contain soluble material like soft pine. Woods with high sap don’t get eligible for a smooth burn.
This type of wood prolongs the burning with unmanageable smoke. So in case you select wood for your fire pit with high sap content, it will cause smoke.
Soot Build-up In Your Fire Pit
If you notice a lot of smoke coming out of your fire pit, it might be because of soot build-up. Soot is a type of smoke that comes from burning materials like wood or paper.
It creates an unpleasant smell and black ash. If your fire pit remains uncleaned between burns, it will hold up the ash particle from the previous burn.
It results in strong soot build-up in your firepit. When soot builds up in your fire pit, it will mix with the new batch of firewood and will cause heavy smoke.
Improper Firewood Stacking in Fire Pit
Many people don’t think about the dangers that improper firewood stacking can cause in a fire pit. When you stack your wood improperly, air pockets can form, and this can cause heavy smoke to come out of the fire.
Also, if the stack of firewood becomes too high, the heat from the fire can escape and generate a smoky environment. A pile of wood that is too high can also create a dangerous situation because it can easily fall over and start a fire.
Inadequate Air Circulation
Inadequate air circulation can be a major contributing factor to the accumulation of smoke in a fire pit. A poor ventilation system can also result in clogged vents and restricted airflow, which can lead to poor air quality.
Additionally, poorly designed or installed vents on the fire pit may block smoke from escaping and cause the fire pit to fill with smoke.
Kindling with Waste Product
Think again if you’re thinking about using waste products to start a fire in your fire pit. Often we do this. Get a chips packet or hard paper for starting the fire.
We sometimes also tend to throw household waste like plumber, wood, and plastic into a fire. As a result, The chemicals used to make these products can create dangerous smoke in the fire pit.
That pollutes the environment with strong odor and huge smoke. Also, these materials can permanently damage your fire pit with stains and smells.
Damaged fire pit
A damaged fire pit can prevent you from burning wood properly, which can lead to smoke. If the parts of your fire pit are broken, it won’t be able to hold the firewood properly. Also, if the venting system is damaged, the fire will lead to an incomplete burn and cause smoke.
Moreover, when a fire pit is broken or damaged, the heat from the fire can no longer reach the wood. This sort of damage can cause the wood to go bad and create a lot of smoke.
8 Easiest Ways to Reduce Fire Pit Smoke
Where there is a problem, there is a solution. Like the many reasons smoke in fire pits, there are many ways to reduce the amount of smoke.
Here are the most effective and easy ways to reduce smoke in your fire pit. Follow these 8 tips to keep your fire pit smoke minimal and keep you and your family safe.
Selection of Firewood
Selecting the best firewood for your fire pit needs is a process that should be done with caution. There are many types of wood available to choose from, and not all of them are appropriate for burning.
Hardwood with the least moisture content is the ideal option for use as firewood. Never use wood for firing those that naturally hold much moisture, other softwoods, and wood with high sap.
Using Only Seasoned Wood
Choosing seasoned wood is a must for a wood-burning fire pit for proper burning with less smoke. Seasoned wood is fully dried wood with moisture content less than 20%.
With the lowest moisture presence, these woods hold fire fast, burn properly and create a long-lasting fire with the least amount of smoke.
Additionally, using seasoned wood can make a wood-burning stove efficient over time. That means you will have more heat output in less fuel or firewood.
Getting the woods properly seasoned, always stock them in dry and clean storage. Give full-time exposure to heat. In between, don’t forget to shuffle your woods for overall seasoning.
Choosing Kiln-Dried Firewood
Kiln-drying is a method of soaking moisture from anything in the quickest time possible. And drying wood in this process has been popular over these years.
Kiln-dried woods are much more efficient in burning. With a well-optimized moisture content of 25 to 20 %, they burn warm, strong, with a negligible amount of smoke.
However, kiln-drying wood is an expensive process. It can bring the result of 6 months of drying in two days. So compared to the period of natural seasoning of the wood, it is worth it.
Stacking Fire Pit Properly
Firewood stacking is another key point to be maintained when it comes to reducing smoke from a fire pit. When stacking firewood in a fire pit, it is important to keep in mind the size of the pit and leave enough space for air circulation.
The stack should not be too high or too low, as this will affect how well the wood burns. Also, make sure that the wood is stacked in such a way that it will not fall over when the wind picks up.
Kindling with Good Starter
A good starter for a fire can be as simple as wood chips, pellets, or tiny wood parts. A fire can be started quickly and without any smoke with the right kindling.
There are many ways to get started with the right kindling. Start with small pieces of dry wood that will easily ignite. That can be small twigs, branches, and leftovers of wood logs.
Use a Ferro rod or lighter to start the tinder on the smallest pieces of wood. Hold the flaming object about 3 inches from the material and allow it to burn down into the amount of wood.
Keep adding fresh woods until you have a good-sized flame going. When using pellets, make sure they are tightly packed so they will not scatter when ignited.
Ensuring Proper Airflow
When you are burning wood, good airflow is key to a good fire. Smokeless wood-burning requires good airflow in order to create a good fire.
The ideal scenario is for there to be plenty of venting so the heat and smoke can escape and proper combustion, so the wood burns properly and creates little or no smoke.
And remember, never burn wood in a fire pit in a secure place. Always burn wood in an open space where plenty of air is available.
Keeping Fire Pit Clean
Keeping your fire pit clean is key to enjoying a smokeless fire. Not only will this help avoid soot accumulation on the pit, but it will also ensure that the fire burns evenly and produces little ash.
You are cleaning the fire pit after every ignition is especially important to prevent soot build-up. Use a bristle brush and water to give your fire pit a good wash.
If you can’t clean your fire pit daily, then wipe off the ash after use. And clean it properly before using it again. Also, don’t forget to store when the weather is warm, and your fire pit is not in use.
Switching Into a Smokeless Fire Pit
While trying to reduce smoke from your fire pit, nothing can be as effective as a smokeless fire pit. Probably it’s the most suitable way to get rid of the smoke. So, consider switching to a smokeless fire pit as soon as possible.
A smokeless fire pit is designed to minimize the smoke. There are two separate combustion chambers in a smokeless fire pit, called inner and outer parts. Both of the parts have multiple holes at small intervals.
The external layer vents pull off air to the internal combustion chamber. Likewise, the inner chamber vent pulls off the smoke and sends it through the hot combustion chamber wall. As a result, the fire burns double efficiently.
And this is how smokeless fire pits produce hot and powerful warmth with the least or no smoke. This efficient design and roasting process of a smokeless fire pit makes them a great choice for those who are looking for a smoke-free, apt, and eco-friendly option.
Additionally, smokeless fire pits are often more affordable than traditional ones, making them a viable option for those on a budget.
Wood burning fire pits are the sweetest part of our backyard life. They give us warmth, joy, and precious memories with our beloved. So don’t let it happen to spoil by tacky wood smoke.
There are many ways to reduce the amount of smoke produced by a fire pit. We have brought the easiest ways for you to reduce smoke from the fire pit effectively. Apply those, place the fire pit in an open space, use less wood, dry wood, and keep your fire pit clean.
Ultimately converted into a smokeless fire pit for a long-term settlement of this ‘smoke’ issue. We hope this write-up will help you with great tips to produce clean and smoke-free fire, warmth, and comfort.
Kathy Koch is an author at Fireplace Fact and a sustainable interior designer who is always looking for ways to create something new, exciting, and refreshing.