In this post, you will learn:
- Where to locate a backyard wood burning fireplace
- What kind of outdoor fireplace you should buy
- How much heat you need from an outdoor fireplace
- If you can have a wood fire under a roof
- If you can put gas fire pit tables under a roof
- How an outdoor wood fireplace impacts air quality
- About alternatives to burning wood
- The story of MagikFlame
- How MagikFlame is built
- What real customers are saying
- How to afford your new MagikFlame
An outdoor wood burning fireplace is a great gathering spot for friends and family, weather permitting. It expands your outdoor living space while creating a designated place for conversation and enjoying the outdoors.
You’ll find lots of creative ways to make your fire pit and the area around it homey and welcoming, like adding a pizza oven. Get some tips on wood burning fireplace sitting, designing and safety below.
Where Should You Put Your Outdoor Fireplace?
Manufacturers like Sunjoy, Landmann or Villawood make wood burning fireplace models that are the centerpiece of your landscaping. Keep the following safety precautions in mind when choosing the right location, though. It should be:
- At least 10 feet from your house, shed or other structure
- On a non combustible surface
- At least 10 feet from your neighbors’ property
- In an open area free of overhanging branches
- Where the prevailing wind blows smoke away from the house
- In an area large enough to provide plenty of clearance between people and flames
What Kind of Outdoor Wood Burning Fireplace Should You Buy?
Your main options in an outdoor fireplace are built-in or freestanding. Your home builder can include an outdoor fire pit in your original building plan. It could be an integral part of your patio or pool deck.
You might choose a built-in outdoor wood burning fireplace within a natural stone wall that tops out as a chimney. Bricks or slate are a couple of eye-catching materials for that type of fireplace surround. With a spark guard in place, you won’t have to worry about the flames leaving the fire box as you enjoy outdoor living.
Manufacturers make heavy-duty wood burning fireplace inserts for outdoor use that are ideal for built-ins. For example, Harmon makes the Villawood insert that burns wood but has a gas log option too. Majestic markets the Castlewood series of outdoor inserts.
Another site for outdoor heating is a free-standing wall at the end of your patio. It also can be a barrier wall that separates your patio from the garden. You might even have space to add a pizza oven or a fire log niche.
If you are building a new home, your architect can help with ideas for your outdoor living space. If your fire pit is part of a remodel, enlist the services of a hardscape architect to make the most of your available space.
Freestanding fireplaces designed for outdoor use come in an array of formats. A heavy-duty cast iron fire ring, a covered stainless steel fire bowl and a rustic chiminea are just a few. These options are popular because they only require a safe outdoor space, some wood and a match.
You can move a freestanding fireplace or chiminea without remodeling your landscape. Just be sure to follow the safety precautions listed above. Make sure there’s plenty of free space all around the fire bowl so that you have a 360-degree view of the flames.
Cast iron fire bowls are available in plenty of decorative styles that add panache to your backyard patio. Those fireplace kits sold at box stores are affordable and make a great DIY project for a Saturday afternoon. Some styles you’ll see include:
- Black iron
- Painted steel
- Hammered copper
When selecting the material you like, consider how well they will weather the outdoors. For example, a copper fireplace will eventually develop a patina that you may or may not find attractive. A steel wood burning outdoor fireplace may lose its shine after a season or two of use.
For grilling on a fire bowl, you’ll need to have a log grate. If you plan to place outdoor furniture around it, choose a fireplace kit with legs that raise your wood fire to a comfortable gazing level. Be sure it comes with a spark screen too.
Sunjoy manufactures freestanding outdoor fireplace kits. Each one includes a powder-coated stainless-steel firebox and decorative faux stone veneer. Landmann sells a heavy duty cast-iron outdoor wood burning fireplace with a black finish.
In terms of expense, a DIY outdoor fire pit is typically more economical than a built-in fireplace. Chances are that a built-in will last longer, though.
How Much Heat Do You Need?
Another consideration when shopping for an outdoor fireplace is its BTU output, an expression of how much heat it produces. It should have a much higher output than an indoor fireplace to keep you warm and cozy because wind and cool air make the heat dissipate faster.
Indoors, a 5,200 BTU fireplace can heat a 1,000 square-foot room. Outdoors, you would have to sit very close to the fire pit to feel any warmth at all from that much heat.
Outdoor wood fireplaces and gas logs alike have to generate lots of heat to be effective. The typical range for outdoor appliance heat output is between 40,000 and 150,000. How does the fireplace generate such huge amounts of heat? It burns through a lot of fuel, which you end up paying for.
Rain and Snow Protection for Your Outdoor Wood Burning Fireplace
One drawback of an outdoor fireplace is that precipitation, whether liquid or frozen, makes it considerably less appealing. However, it is not completely safe to put an outdoor fireplace beneath a roof or overhang.
No matter the fuel type, sparks from the flames could ignite the roof. In addition, the heat from your fire pit could discolor the underside of the roof.
Also, wood fires emit toxic fumes. Indoors, a chimney provides an escape route for these types of combustion byproducts. Outdoors, they could build up beneath a roof, making the air unsafe to breathe.
A pagoda is one safer alternative to a roof or patio overhang. The slats let toxic fumes escape above the fire area, eliminating dangers like carbon monoxide poisoning. However, a pagoda will not protect you from the rain or snow, and there’s nothing cozy about that.
What About a Covered Natural Gas Fireplace?
A natural gas fire pit releases fewer toxins than a wood burning outdoor fireplace. In fact, the emissions from burning wood contain about 75 percent more carbon dioxide than gas emissions. A wood fireplace also emits carcinogens like formaldehyde and benzene in far greater quantities.
Therefore, depending upon the efficiency of outdoor gas-fueled fire pit tables, the emissions are not as toxic as wood burning emissions. Even so, if you place an unvented gas fireplace beneath a patio roof, you still have concerns about heat damage.
Local building codes specify the amount of overhead clearance an outdoor fire pit must have for safety’s sake. Be sure to check your local ordinances before installing an outdoor fireplace.
Air Quality Impact of an Outdoor Wood Burning Fireplace
As the popularity of outdoor fire pits increases, so do the emissions and particulates that affect the air quality in your outdoor environment. The air around a partially enclosed fire pit can quickly become unhealthy for those most at risk, such as the very young, the elderly and family or friends with respiratory conditions.
If you have close neighbors, pollution from your fire is frequently unhealthy for them too. This is particularly true when the wind blows smoke into their yards. Try not to use the fireplace during windy or low air-quality conditions.
How a Backyard Fire Pit Relates to the Danger of Wildfire
Humans cause about 90 percent of wildfires in the U.S., according to the Department of the Interior. People leave campfires unattended. They are careless about burning debris. They threw lit cigarettes on the ground. In 2020 alone, 6.9 million acres of land, both forested and residential, were decimated by wildfires.
With the escalation of wildfires in the western U.S., you may wonder whether outdoor heating is worth the risk. All it takes is a stray spark to ignite dry grass, a carpet of pine needles or drought-weakened trees.
Not only are wildfires destructive, but they are also expensive. From highly labor-intensive containment to vast losses of resources, these fires cost Americans billions of dollars each year.
For example, the financial cost of the 2018 Camp Fire in Northern California was more than $10 billion. The fire consumed nearly 90,000 structures https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/2018/11/8/camp-fire/. Even more devastating, the death toll was 85 people.
Even if you take all the right safety precautions, burning wood outdoors is not 100 percent safe. This fact alone is reason to think twice about backyard fires.
Alternatives to a Wood Burning Fire Pit
If you want to create a cozy outdoor space but don’t want to deal with a messy wood fire, consider a patio heater. Choose from electric or propane-powered models. They are widely available at home improvement stores as well as online sites like Wayfair.
They add a designer touch to your outdoor spaces while providing powerful heating. Several models have BTU ratings of around 40,000. Gas-burning models come with automatic ignition, so you don’t have to deal with manually lighting them.
Patio heaters that use liquid propane are the most popular in terms of sales, but electric heaters are also available. You do need to take precautions to protect outdoor electric heaters from weather damage.
Indoor Electric Fireplace Option
Many homeowners are concerned by the red flags an outdoor wood fireplace raises:
- Fuel expenses
- Toxic emissions
- Unhealthy particulates
- Fire danger
- Unhappy neighbors
You can easily bypass such worries. Instead, enjoy the ambiance of a crackling fire year-round no matter the weather. Create that cozy family gathering place right in your own living room.
The MagikFlame electric fireplace does not emit harmful fumes. It doesn’t smoke or spark. It does, however, look and sound like a real fire, providing all the ambiance and none of the risks.
With a realistic ceramic log set and 30 distinct flame styles at your fingertips, your MagikFlame always has a few wonderful surprises in store. The sounds of crackling flames and the look of glowing embers instantly become the focal point of any room in your home.
Unlike an outdoor fire, MagikFlame does not consume any fuel, either wood or gas. It simply plugs into a standard outlet. Because no actual combustion takes place in the firebox, it does not produce any harmful chemical byproducts. It is vent-free. You don’t need a chimney or flue because there’s no smoke or particulates.
You might wonder about the expense of an electric fireplace. The truth is that MagikFlame freestanding fireplaces are 100 percent efficient. That means they convert every watt of electricity they draw into heat, so there is no waste.
Find out how the cost of an vent-free electric heater like MagikFlame compares to the expense of natural gas fireplaces with this electric fireplace cost calculator. Keep in mind that an outdoor wood-burning fireplace is even less efficient, and therefore more costly in terms of fuel, because much of the heat dissipates into the open air.
MagikFlame Electric Fireplace Buying Guide
MagikFlame fireplace kits are self-contained and vent-free. They come with a sealed firebox plus a furniture-grade wood surround with classic design elements. For example, the Artemis surround is pure bright white with geometric details. Crown molding frames the mantel piece with a luxurious touch that adds elegance to your home decor.
Find out about all the MagikFlame models plus the fireplace insert by browsing the MagikFlame Electric Fireplace Buying Guide. Proprietary features like the patented HoloFlame technology, smartphone remote control and dozens of flame styles make MagikFlame an industry leader.
The MagikFlame Story
In 2015, MagikFlame founder and visionary Howard Birnbaum was shopping for an electric fireplace for his home. The more he looked, the more dissatisfied he became with what was available.
Howard, a Hollywood special effects veteran, decided that since he couldn’t find an acceptable electric fireplace, he would develop one himself. Moving from the drawing board to the production line took time, but ultimately, the MagikFlame prototypes were ready for the market.
Although the original MagikFlame fireplace was well-received by consumers and sales were brisk, Howard still worked to perfect his concept. He experienced an epiphany during a trip to Disneyland, which inspired him to apply holographic technology to MagikFlame fireplaces.
In 2020, the company began marketing MagikFlame 2.0, which features patented HoloFlame visuals. With this proprietary innovation, MagikFlame fireplaces continue to lead the industry with the most realistic-looking electric fireplace available.
How MagikFlame is Built
The precision of computer-assisted technology plus attention to detail makes every MagikFlame a marvel. Every fireplace progresses through a hand-guided production process with the highest quality result in mind.
The design blueprints are the product of CAD engineering software. This is the same software the U.S. Navy relies upon in designing its submarines.
CNC laser cutting machines fabricate each fire box component from stainless steel. This system is accurate within a 1,000th of an inch, ensuring that everything fits together precisely.
After getting a tough powder coating for strength, beauty and durability, the components undergo assembly. Skilled technicians construct each box by hand for a premium result.
They add a custom-printed circuit board that is the brains of the MagikFlame. Then, each unit moves into the inspection area where quality control experts run an extensive 12-point test to ensure fit, form and function.
Those units passing muster continue on to the framing room where workers add the company’s signature quality wood surrounds. These elegant frames and mantels make MagikFlame a favorite of interior designer firms and home builders everywhere.
Shipping specialists painstakingly pack every unit in preparation for shipment to purchasers’ homes. Your MagikFlame will arrive in pristine condition.
It’s always helpful to find out what real owners of Magikflame fireplaces think about their purchases and the company that built them. In the case of MagikFlame, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive.
High praise for quality, precision and realistic appearance are just the beginning. Reviewers say they love how the products instantly upgrade their interior design. Many of them did their homework before making their purchase, and found that other manufacturers simply can’t compare.
Reviewers also remark about the quality and helpfulness of the customer service at MagikFlame. Representatives provide answers to customer questions and solutions to any issues they might encounter during installation and use.
Payment Plans and Financing
You can find out whether you qualify in just a few moments. Simply select the financing option through the website shopping cart. Once you’re approved, you can enjoy your MagikFlame electric fireplace for as little as $136.12 per month.
Easy to afford, easy on the environment and easy to operate, your new MagikFlame offers an excellent alternative to a weather-sensitive outdoor fireplace. Not only will you avoid the mess and inconvenience of wood fuel, but you’ll also enjoy the cozy ambiance of a real fire throughout the year with your MagikFlame.