Fire pits are increasingly popular with American homeowners. These features, which can differ significantly in size, can create an attractive outdoor space for entertaining and dining throughout the year. Nonetheless, fire pits can present practical, safety and legal challenges, all of which you need to carefully consider before you install this feature. If you're thinking of adding a fire pit to your property, learn from the following mistakes other American homeowners sometimes make.
Choosing the wrong type or style of fire pit
The type and style of fire pit you can install depends on your available budget, the sort of property you own and several other factors. Some homeowners mistakenly install a specific type of fire pit because they've seen it on television or in a magazine without adequately considering the options available to them.
For example, you don't need to install a permanent fire pit. A lightweight, portable fire pit will suit smaller budgets and is also a good idea for homeowners who only aim to use the installation once or twice a year. Conversely, luxury homeowners often hire a trained landscape designer to install a large, ornate fire pit that becomes an integral part of the garden's design.
Carefully consider the options available to you, and talk to a local supplier before you make a final decision. With new concepts and designs arriving on the market all the time, it's important to fully research the market before you commit to a fire pit that may not really suit your needs.
Failing to apply for a permit or license
You may own your home (and all the land it sits on), but you don't necessarily have free rein to erect or install whatever features take your fancy. According to where you live, a fire pit could present a hazard or a nuisance to your neighbors. As such, you may need to apply for a permit or license to install and use a fire pit where you live.
All homeowners must check the regulations with the local authorities. For example, in the City of Iowa, regulations allow open burning in portable, outdoor fireplaces, but only according to certain rules. You can have a fire pit, but you can't use it between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am. In some states, permits are only possible for certain types of property. For example, some fire authorities won't allow fire pits in the gardens of apartment complexes.
What's more, as fire pits become more popular, local regulations can change. For example, the San Francisco Fire Department proposed new, tighter regulations for fire pits in 2010. As such, it's important to get the latest information and advice from your local fire department.
Installing a fire pit to use all the time
As conditions change, open fires can become more or less hazardous to their surroundings. For example, when the risk of a bush fire increases in parts of the United States, fire regulations can place a temporary ban on open fires. Like everyone else, homeowners must observe these changing rules. For example, the Californian authorities only allow burn permits when fire danger is low. As such, homeowners in some parts of the U.S. may decide that it's not worth installing a fire pit for limited use throughout the year
Not informing your home insurance provider
Your home insurance provider calculates your premium based on a variety of risk factors. When you take out the policy, you commit to tell the insurer about any changes to your home that could increase the fire risk.
A fire pit increases the risk of fire to your home, so you need to tell your insurance company when you install one. The insurance company may impose certain restrictions. Some insurers may even refuse to insure you, so it's better to check this out before you pay out for your new fire pit.
Failing to properly consider safety
Effective fire safety is imperative. You must always protect your family members and your property, and some precautions are possible with any fire pit. For example, you can always have a fire extinguisher on hand. However, some hazards mean that it's simply not safe enough to install a fire pit.
For example, you need to install your fire pit a certain distance from any other combustible objects, like overhanging trees. Similarly, a fire pit could sit dangerously close to your gas or electricity cables. If your garden is relatively small, you may find that you simply cannot safely install a fire pit, according to these principles. As such, you need to check out all safety considerations before you pay for any installation work.
A fire pit from a company like Alpine Fireplaces can make a stylish and attractive feature in your garden, but you need to remember that these features aren't possible for every homeowner. Talk to a specialist fire pit supplier in your area for more expert advice.
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