Fire pits and fire tables make gorgeous centerpieces to a room while adding delicious warmth. This allows the area to be used more often, including chilly nights and cooler days. In addition, fire pits bring a cozy atmosphere that melts away stress and woe, allowing people to relax. But it is not always clear if fire pits are appropriate to use in a screened porch.
You cannot use a wood-burning fire pit in a screened porch. Some screened porches may be suitable for a gas fire pit depending on ceiling height, positioning, and ventilation. You can consider an alternative, such as an electric fireplace, in your screened porch if you can’t use a fire pit.
Screened porches are a fantastic way to enjoy fresh air without being devoured by bugs. They also expand decoration possibilities as you don’t have to worry about rain soaking your furnishings. Thus, it is understandable to want to add a fire pit or fire table to the room. But local laws and regulations might not be agreeable to your desires.
Can You Use A Wood or Propane Fire Pit In A Screened Porch?
Natural gas fire pits and tables, such as those that use propane, can sometimes be used in a screen porch. However, the situation is complicated by the ceiling and not having at least one wall completely open. Thus, not all screen porches can safely have a fire pit, even if it is natural gas. You’ll have to consider an alternative, such as an electric fireplace or electric radiant heat, in these instances.
Alternatives for heating your screened in porch:
- Here is our favorite infared heater to mount on the ceiling of your screened porch.
- If you want a portable option, this one will work great.
- Infared Heaters do not heat the air, but will heat the objects. These options should work on existing circuits within your house. If you want a larger commercial type heater to heat a larger area, consider this model.
Unfortunately, wood-burning fire pits are not possible in a screen porch. These will cover your furnishings and ceiling in soot and toss our embers that burn things, such as the screen.
To determine if your screen porch can have a propane fire pit or table, you will need to go through the following steps:
- Look up local and national regulations
- Look up your home owner’s insurance policy
- Measure your ceiling height
- Assess the ventilation
- Assess the floor
- Consider the positioning
Research Laws For A Fire Pit In A Screened Porch
Your first step to putting in a fire pit in a screened porch is looking up the laws and regulations. You will need to find both your national and local requirements. If you live in North America, your first port of call is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in the United States or the CSA in Canada.
These rules will let you know if a fire pit in a screen porch is even possible in your area. For example, some places demand that you have two walls entirely open and unobstructed. If these restrictions apply to your area, you will have to consider an alternative.
Check Home Insurance For A Fire Pit In A Screened Porch
If your area’s laws and regulations are open to the possibility of a fire pit in a screened porch, your next port of call is checking your home insurance policy. Unfortunately, some home insurance policies, regardless of what is legal, will not allow it. If they won’t, you will have to consider an alternative such as a fireplace, electric heater, or under-floor heating.
However, even if your home insurance policy does allow a fire pit in a screened porch, it may have additional requirements or specifications. For example, they might insist that your fire pit be CSA or ANSI approved. In addition, they might insist on an inspection after installation to confirm it is installed properly per regulations.
You will need to follow the most conservative and strict laws if there is a discrepancy between them. So if your home owner’s insurance demands a 12-foot ceiling height and your local area only demands 10, you still will have to go with the 12-foot limit.
Check Ceiling Height For A Fire Pit In A Screened Porch
While propane and other gas-burning fire pits burn cleaner than a wood-burning pit, they can still damage your ceiling if it isn’t high enough. Sometimes this damage is gradual and won’t be apparent for over a year. This is because the heat exposure from a fire pit can still weaken a structure without burning it.
Thus, you need to measure your ceiling. The height of it will be used for two purposes:
- First, to check if your ceiling is at legal height for laws and insurance
- Second, to check when buying a fire pit
In regards to the latter, fire pits have different manufacturing requirements. Due to their size, materials, and design, some need higher ceilings than others.
Check Ventilation For Using A Fire Pit In A Screened Porch
The ventilation of your screened porch is essential to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Unfortunately, the obvious ventilation from the screens will not necessarily be enough to satisfy the laws, regulations, and home insurance.
As mentioned above, some rules demand 1-3 walls be completely unobstructed. Others might consider a screened wall unobstructed but won’t if the bottom half of the wall is solid. Thus, if your screen sections are more like open windows and not open walls, a fire pit might not be a good option for your porch.
Check Flooring For Using A Fire Pit In A Screened Porch
The floor material of your screened porch will have to be assessed. Sometimes even if your flooring isn’t suitable material, you can use a fire pad or build a “hearth” for it. However, sometimes these modifications are still not enough to fix the problem.
This also applies to which fire pit or table models you can purchase. Some fire pits can only be used on certain surfaces. Others can be used on a combustible surface provided you are using a fire pad or cover that section with stone tiles.
Examples of combustible flooring:
- Vinyl Flooring
- Wooden composite
Examples of non-combustible flooring:
Check Position For A Fire Pit In A Screened Porch
The positioning of a fire pit will have to be assessed before installing it in a screened porch. Just as propane fire pits and tables can gradually cause damage to a ceiling, they can do so to a wall or even the screen. Thus, you will need to measure the distance from any walls to see if you can safely fit a fire pit.
Manufacturers will also have guidelines for how far away from walls, screens, and any combustible materials to use their model safely. Thus, the fire pit you originally wanted might not be a good option, and you’ll have to consider alternative designs.
Putting a fire pit in a screened porch is more complicated than just buying one and fitting it. There are local and national laws you’ll have to consider as well as your home insurance policy. You will have to assess your space, including the ceiling height, before determining if you can have a fire pit or need an alternative, such as an electric fireplace.