How to drain a fire pit

21,548 Views | 17 Replies | Last: 3 yr ago by reddog90
reddog90
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AG
I am wondering how we should have a wood burning masonry fire pit drained. The contractor suggested weep holes, but I'm afraid they'll clog with ash and/or I'll constantly be cleaning dried ashy water off the patio. Would a drain in the bottom of the pit, piped through the patio and emptying into the yard be ok? Or would that drain just clog as well? I'm honestly not sure if the grading will allow that or not. Pic below is a similar style fire pit, but gas instead of wood burning.

SoulSlaveAG2005
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AG
I've been considering building a new pit, and was thinking about drainage for our as well. Our will sit on soil with a rock base, so most water will soak back into ground, but in order to expedite flow I'm thinking of putting some steel drainage pipe near the bottom and angled to exit the pit into a dry creek we are building. I figure using 1 1/2-2" pipe should be good enough to keep glow going and allow me to ram a pole in it to break up and ash/charcoal clog.
Hhilton82
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Put drain in bottom and pipe to daylight.
Cover drain with filter fabric. Cover with coarse gravel and sand.
Make sure drain is deep enough to not melt pipe, fabric etc.
2DollarYo
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AG
Could you do some type of plug on the side with a screw on pipe fitting? Thinking like an ice chest style. Could grade the pit towards that drain and unscrew the metal pipe fitting when trying to clean out.

Edit: after thinking about how messy this would be, I'd just build over a french drain if that's possible. That's probably best, maybe
reddog90
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AG
Hhilton82 said:

Put drain in bottom and pipe to daylight.
Cover drain with filter fabric. Cover with coarse gravel and sand.
Make sure drain is deep enough to not melt pipe, fabric etc.
How can I do this in the concrete under the pit? My understanding is the whole patio is done in one pour, then the masons come back and do the knee walls and pit on top of the patio.
SoulSlaveAG2005
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AG
reddog90 said:

Hhilton82 said:

Put drain in bottom and pipe to daylight.
Cover drain with filter fabric. Cover with coarse gravel and sand.
Make sure drain is deep enough to not melt pipe, fabric etc.
How can I do this in the concrete under the pit? My understanding is the whole patio is done in one pour, then the masons come back and do the knee walls and pit on top of the patio.


In this circumstance I would talk to your contractor about plumbing the drain before the pad pour and having it ready. Then they pour the concrete and similar to your home you have a fitting sticking up just over the level line of the pad. Hardest part would be making sure drain is center of where the pit is going to go and masons can come in and build out around the drain.

Cover like mentioned above.
2008
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AG
Had one exactly like in your picture built at my old house. Had a few weep holes in the bottom and filled with a couple inches of sand. Never had any issues with drainage.
TexAg1987
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You may also build a lid for the pit while not in use to minimize the amount of water that ends up in the pit
Kenneth_2003
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AG
Why not just don't pour any concrete under the pit? The heat is going to crack that concrete anyway and in my thoughts would increase the likelihood of the crack propagating outside the pit. There's a whole other thread on here about concrete and cracks and steel, but I digress...Any drain you install will likely need iron or clay pipe and cast iron grates. Any plastic product, unless VERY deep will melt.

Side note... The Bastrop wildfires, though in this regard not typical of wildfires, melted underground infrastructure that was as much as 18 in deep. Your static fire pit will almost certainly elevate soil temperatures to some depth.

I'm assuming you've got clay rich soils. Dig out the pit, then dig a few inches of clay out from under the patio. Backfill all with fine sand to the necessary grade. The water will just drain through the sand under the patio and daylight in the yard.
zaab
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AG
I dug my firepit deeper than it need to go and put in some 3x5 landscaping blocks in the bottom of the pit to raise it back up about a foot. I have two holes (with PVC) in the bottom to drain any water and have not had a problem with heat getting there. There is some minor ash washout in the yard, but nothing that cant be kicked away.
reddog90
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I confirmed with a buddy that the fire pit at his ranch is just a concrete slab with a 4" metal drain pipe in the center of the pit that feeds to a 5 gallon bucket sized drain basin/sump under the pit, all of that filled with 1' septic rock. They don't have any problems with the concrete cracking and we have pretty big fires out there. The contractor for my project was going to put fire bricks in the bottom and obviously the sides of the pit.
CrawfordAg
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I bought the 30" special pit from Diamondback pits out of Uvalde, it came with a lifetime warranty and I love it so far.

http://www.diamondbackfirepits.com/#shallow-firepit


reddog90
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Going with weep holes in the masonry wall. A sump basin under the patio just isn't a good idea in Houston soils and I don't have enough fall in the yard to pipe to daylight somewhere else. I'll just have to clean ash off the patio after it rains until I can figure out a cover solution.
nonameag99
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My patio is built up on sand fill of at least 1' from leveling the yard. There is a not any concrete inside the actual pit. It does hold water for a couple of days after a big rain but we don't use it enough for that to be a problem.
Gigemags05
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I'd block out the footprint of the pit and not have concrete under it.
elpaso
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This is exactly what I did. I have never had a problem.

My only regret was not putting a drain in the seating area around it. I have a half circle seating area with a brick base and a flagstone top. Rain puddles there.

So use the same drain pipe and put two drains. One inside the pit and another outside the pit.
Rufnek
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Is suppose I've been wrong all these years. I always assumed that fire pits had no bottom in them and that they were just filled with sand or whatever soil is present.
reddog90
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That's one way to do it. I've seen many with a concrete bottom so you can shovel out ash easily and you are never trying to burn on wet ground.
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