Feed the Flames: Outdoor Fireplace Quiz

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About This Quiz

Want to add an outdoor fireplace to your landscape? Take our quiz to find out if you're ready.

What materials should you burn in an outdoor fireplace?

Leaves are fine but wood that's fully dried is your best bet. Choose aromatic woods, like mesquite or cherry, for a pleasant aroma.

What materials should you not burn in an outdoor fireplace?

Green leaves are difficult to burn and produce thick, white smoke, while newspaper produces a lot of airborne ash and cinder that can cause a fire outside of the fireplace. Stick to the dried organic matter.

True or false: You need a permit to build an outdoor fireplace.

Not all cities and towns require permits to build outdoor fireplaces, but you should always check about building permits and fire codes before starting construction.

What is a pad in an outdoor fireplace?

The base of a fireplace shouldn't sit directly on concrete or dirt, so it's best to build a pad made of fire-safe bricks.

True or false: You shouldn't use mortar in the bricks of the pad.

The bricks should be placed closely together, but eliminating mortar will allow cracks for rainwater to drain through.

Where is the best place to build a fireplace?

A ground level surface is the best place to build an outdoor fireplace, because the weight of the finished fireplace may cause a supporting structure to collapse or create a fire hazard.

What kind of woods are best to minimize smoke in your outdoor fireplace?

Well-seasoned woods like oak and hickory create a lot less smoke than softwoods or unseasoned hardwoods.

Which of these starters are best to start an outdoor fire?

Using chemicals to start your outdoor fire increases the chance of the fire getting out of your control, so always use a fatwood stick.

What is a fatwood stick?

A fatwood stick is made from highly combustible pine tree resin. It lights with a single match, even when it's wet, which makes it a trusty tool in your outdoor fireplace kit.

What should you do with hot ashes when you're done enjoying your fire?

Outdoor fires should always be extinguished and the ashes transferred to an ash bucket before retiring for the evening.

What material should an ash bucket be made from?

Ash buckets are for hot ashes, so you should always use a metal ash bucket to reduce the possibility of melting or fire.

What material should outdoor fireplace accessories be made from?

Outdoor fireplace accessories not only need to be able to handle fire, but also rain and other elements, so stainless steel is your best bet.

What fire extinguishing methods should you have standing by in case of emergency?

A fire extinguisher is ideal to have standing by if your fire gets out of hand, but sand and a water hose are good backups.

Which way should smoke vents be directed?

Vents should pointing upward to direct hot embers and smoke away from those in front of the fire.

How far away from the fireplace should extra fuel be stored?

Extra logs should be stacked at least 20 feet away from the fireplace in case the fire were to get out of hand. You wouldn't want to fuel the fire, so to speak.

What is the standard size of a fire log?

Standard logs are 18 inches, so if you get a firebox that is at least that long, you'll save time on cutting wood.

What is the main consideration when choosing the size of your fireplace?

While you may have a limitless budget and 20 people who plan to be firmly planted in front of it all winter, the size of your space will largely dictate the size of your fireplace.

Which of these types of fireplaces don't require a chimney?

If you burn wood, you have to have a chimney, which increases the size of your fireplace by at least 2 feet. Gas fireplaces don't need chimneys, so they may be a better fit for smaller spaces.

True or false: Pre-cast concrete is an ideal material for both gas and wood-burning fireplaces.

Even with a spark arrestor, manufacturers advise against burning wood in a concrete fireplace. These are best for gas logs.

What material were the first chimeneas made of?

Chimeneas originated in Mexico and were made of clay. They were used for heat as well as cooking and baking.

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