Can You Put A Fire Table In A Screened Porch? (Find Out Now!)
Everyone enjoys a fire on a cool fall evening. If you have a screened porch that is a focal point in your home, you may have considered putting a fire table or fire pit in your screened space. The question of safety always comes to mind when you consider putting a fire table on your screened porch.
You may safely put a fire table in your screened porch area with a few provisions. The first table should carry a CSA certification. In addition, the specifications of your fire table should clearly point out the minimum safe distances for ceilings, walls, and decorations. Only if you meet these requirements is a fire table safe on a screened porch.
For the most part, CSA-certified fire tables are very safe. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations for distances and square footage is the best way to ensure safe operation. There are some precautions you should take if you intend to use a fire table on your screened porch.
What is a CSA Certification?
CSA is a testing and evaluation group that is recognized widely as an expert in gas appliances. Most authorities in the United States accept a CSA certification that the gas appliance meets all accepted safety and operational requirements. In addition, many jurisdictions require a CSA certification on gas appliances installed in residential and commercial buildings.
A fire table that carries a CSA certification label is safe to operate within the manufacturer’s recommendations. Many manufacturers will make this known in the documentation if your fire table is safe to use on a screened porch.
What Are Some of the Considerations When Putting A Fire Table on a Screened Porch?
In general, the most important things to consider when putting a fire table on a screened porch are the minimum standards outlined in the user’s manual. The manufacturer of the fire table tests to ensure that the minimum distances keep your home safe. In general, the minimum distances and sizes cover these types of situations.
The user’s manual should state the minimum porch size in square feet. This size provides enough space for safe operation away from walls. However, this specification can be misleading. Unusually shaped rooms may put parts of the room too close to the fire table for safe operation even if the square footage minimum is met.
Minimum Off Set Distances
Walls and ceilings should be kept at a minimum distance from your fire table. The manufacturer will make these distances clear in the installation instructions. The most important distance is the ceiling height above the fire table.
Since heat rises, the ceiling above the fire table will be affected the most. Maintaining the minimum distance between the surface of your fire table and the ceiling ensures that the ceiling won’t be adversely affected and become a hazard. In general, you should maintain at least a 3-foot minimum from all doors, walls, and windows.
Most manufacturers recommend that a fire table placed in a screen porch be set on a non-flammable hearth pad or flameproof rug. This is especially important if the floor of your screen porch is a wood deck. You must protect the wood deck at all costs.
Avoid regular carpets or indoor/outdoor plastic carpets. These melt easily and are often highly flammable.
Any fire requires adequate ventilation and oxygen to burn properly and completely. Your fire table is no exception. The generally accepted specification is that your screen porch must have at least two screen walls to be safe.
A screen porch with three solid walls and one screen wall is not appropriate for a fire table. The manufacturer of your fire table may provide more guidance on the minimum square footage of screen openings. Follow these guidelines closely for safe operations.
Maintenance and Upkeep
Maintenance and upkeep on your fire table are paramount for safe operation. More accidents with fire tables occur because of poor maintenance and upkeep than any other cause. Generally, you should check for these issues with your fire table before lighting it.
- Check the burner area for any debris, trash or soot build-up. Keep this area clean at all times to ensure clean burning and safe operation.
- Check the hose that connects your fire table to the propane bottle. Make sure there are no holes or cracks in the propane line.
- Check the regulator for leaks or damage. Check all the connections to make sure they are tight and not leaking.
- Never leave your fire table propane tank turned on when you don’t have a fire.
Never throw things into the fire. Fire tables are not meant to burn trash. The ash and debris can cause problems with the airflow to the burner and with the gas flow through the burner.
No matter how safe your fire table is, there are other things you need to keep in mind. You should keep an appropriate fire extinguisher on hand when you have a fire table. Overall, a fire extinguisher rated as A-B-C is the best choice for a home.
Never burn anything in your fire table other than the fuel for which it was designed. Using the wrong fuel can cause many problems and become a safety issue.
Another Word About Safety
Fire tables that are safe to use in a screen porch are fired with propane or natural gas. Natural gas and propane are clean-burning fuels. Under no circumstance should you attempt to use a charcoal or wood-burning fire table in a screened porch.
Charcoal and wood produce inconsistent heat that can flare and cause major problems. In addition, wood can pop and throw sparks and embers into the screened-in area. These can ignite furnishings or the room with devastating effects.
Wood and charcoal also produce many more toxic gases than propane or natural gas. The smoke from wood or charcoal often contains contaminants that can affect your room furnishings or wall coverings.
Putting a Fire Table in a Screened Porch
In many cases, it is safe to put a fire table on a screened porch. If your screened porch meets the minimum specifications set out by the manufacturer, you can be enjoying a cozy fire in no time. However, just because you meet the minimum requirements and your fire table is certified doesn’t mean you can forget proper safety procedures.
Dennis is a retired firefighter with an extensive background in construction, home improvement, and remodeling. He worked in the trades part-time while serving as an active firefighter. On his retirement, he started a remodeling and home repair business, which he ran for several years.
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