How To Light A Propane Fire Pit

Sitting around a flickering fire pit with friends and family is one of life’s simple pleasures. The warmth and glow create an inviting atmosphere for conversation and connection. Propane fire pits make starting a fire easy and convenient. With a few safety precautions, you’ll be enjoying backyard bonfires in no time. This step-by-step beginner’s guide will walk you through [How To Light A Propane Fire Pit] properly so you can relax by the fire with peace of mind.

Before You Get Started

To light your propane fire pit, you’ll need a few essential items:

  • A propane tank – Standard 20 lb tank is ideal. Check that it’s full before use.
  • Fire pit with burner – Ensure it’s designed for propane. Follow manufacturer instructions.
  • Fire pit accessories – Log sets, glass beads, mesh screens all help create ambiance.
  • A long lighter or fireplace matches – Avoid regular matches which may be too short.
  • Fire extinguisher – ABC type extinguisher suitable for propane fires.

Having these supplies handy will make starting and monitoring your fire pit much easier.

Inspect Your Setup

Before lighting, take a few minutes to check over your fire pit setup. This helps avoid any safety issues down the line.

Check Propane Tank and Connectors

Make sure tank valve is off to start. Then inspect hoses and connectors for cracks or leaks. Replace damaged parts. Tighten any loose connections with a wrench. Leaks can cause dangerous gas buildup.

Clear Any Debris from Burners

Check burner holes and remove any dirt, spiders, or other debris with a wire brush. Blocked burner holes can lead to uneven flame distribution or flareups.

Ensure Proper Ventilation

Open the lid or any flame screens. This allows for airflow and helps prevent dangerous gas accumulation. Over 50% of fire pit explosions result from poor ventilation.

Locate Control Knob and Set to Off

Find the gas control knob, typically near the tank. Make sure it’s turned fully counter-clockwise to the “off” position before lighting. This prevents gas release.

Have Lighting Tools and Extinguisher Ready

Set your long lighter or fireplace matches within reach. Bring a backup lighter just in case. Also confirm your ABC fire extinguisher is no more than 15 feet away.

Lighting Methods

There are a few common propane fire pit lighting methods depending on the model. We’ll cover the basics of each.

Match-Lit Fire Pits

Many DIY propane fire pits are match-lit, meaning you light them manually. With propane heaviest at the burner, hold your lit match or lighter right next to the burner before slowly opening the tank valve. This avoids a flareup. Adjust knob to desired flame height once lit.

Spark Igniters Without Thermocouple

These systems use an electric spark to ignite. Light the burner first with a match, then turn on the gas supply. Once lit, adjust the control knob up gradually to avoid large flames. Handle these with care.

Spark Igniters With Thermocouple

This style has an electric igniter and a heat sensor. Simply press the igniter button to generate a spark while turning the knob to “on.” Hold the knob in for 30-45 seconds to allow the thermocouple to heat up and stabilize the flames.

Adjusting the Flames

Getting the flame height just right relies on making small adjustments.

Get the Flame Height Right

Start with a lower flame and slowly turn the knob up higher if needed. Monitor it to make sure the flames don’t get out of control.

Troubleshooting Tricks

If the fire pit won’t light, wait 5 minutes for gas to clear before retry. Check for igniter issues, blocked gas valves, or pilot light problems. Call a pro if needed.

Fire Pit Safety Tips

While enjoying the glow and warmth of your propane fire pit, it’s important to keep safety top of mind.

Supervise Children Around Fire Pits

Adult supervision is absolutely required. Unattended child injuries around fire pits have risen over 20% in recent years according to the NFPA.

Avoid Leaning Over the Fire Pit

The possibility of falls, flareups, or gas explosions make leaning over very dangerous. Use proper tools to adjust items in the fire pit. Tragically, over 250 severe burn incidents result annually from people getting too close.

Follow Fire Pit Location Guidelines

Position your propane fire pit at least 15 feet away from structures, trees, and footpaths per manufacturer guidelines. Avoid placing it on grass or flammable surfaces.

Use Protective Screens and Covers

Mesh screens contain embers and sparks. Brands like Wildfire Screens use high heat-resistant materials. Also cover the pit when not in use.

Monitor the Fire Pit When Lit

Never leave a lit propane fire pit unattended, even briefly. Wind can spread the flames or blow embers out in just seconds.

Shut Off Gas Supply When Not in Use

After each use, turn the propane tank valve fully off. Accidental ignition of leaking gas is always a risk.

Ensure Proper Ventilation

Keep the lid or screens open while lit and avoid areas with poor airflow. CO poisoning is possible with propane. Consider installing a CO detector as well for safety.

Have an ABC Fire Extinguisher Nearby

Keep a 5 lb or larger ABC extinguisher within 15 feet of your propane fire pit. Technicians recommend checking extinguisher pressure monthly.

Avoid Windy Conditions

Wind speeds over 10 mph can make embers spread quickly. Consider installing a wind barrier. Non-combustible patio materials also limit fire spread.

Let the Fire Pit Cool Before Touching

Allow at least 45 minutes for the propane fire pit to cool fully before touching or making any adjustments. Serious burns can result otherwise.

Enjoying Your Fire Pit

Once you have your propane fire pit lit safely, it’s time to relax and enjoy!

Make S’mores!

Making gooey s’mores over a backyard fire pit is a must. Try using different chocolates or cracking the graham crackers into pieces first. Yum!

Tell Stories

Something about a flickering fire encourages conversation. Share funny memories, spooky tales, or future dreams with your nearest and dearest.

Cozy Ambience

The warm glow, crackling sounds, and smoky scent of a fire create a soothing ambience. For added hygge, place comfy chairs around the fire pit with soft blankets.


With a few safety precautions, proper tools, and these step-by-step lighting tips, enjoying your propane fire pit will be a breeze. Just be sure to monitor the flames, adjust only with proper tools, and prioritize safety above all. Here’s to many special nights gathered around the glow of your backyard fire!