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Old 05-09-2012, 05:45 PM   #21
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This is our propane firepit from Lowe's. Retail online is $399.

You can buy them online this time of year or wait until the end of the winter season and get one at the store on sale. We got ours for $299 as a floor model.
Hey I don't mind that one and I'm sure I could work with it.


I guess it comes down to whether you want it:

In stainless steel or galvanized
Size of burners
Amount of Btu's
Match start, electronic start, remote start etc.
Stainless steel pan or curved edge pan.
Whether you want the gas to automatically turn off if the flame goes off.
Glass, or imitation logs
etc.

We dont' need the remote or anything larger than maybe a 18" wide flame. I also don't need the gas to automatically shut off but I would like the glass stones so I guess I can probably budget maybe $500.00 for the unit and maybe another couple hundred for a top and stone sides.

Now, I'l wait till DW is in a good mood before I present her with the option of having one in our "backyard patio" design.
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:14 PM   #22
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Ah, shucks.... mine is much more sophisticated than a plain ol' steel barrel.
Yea, that truck rim base really adds a de-luxe appearance.
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:25 PM   #23
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We have a propane one. I keep running out of propane in my grill and stealing the tank, so it doesn't get used as much as DH likes. You also have to reach underneath to turn it on, and it seems to be a real magnet for spiders, which freaks me out.
I'd love to upgrade to a natural gas one.
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:27 PM   #24
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"Whether you want the gas to automatically turn off if the flame goes off."

I'd be wanting that feature, in fact, don't the available retail ones have that feature?
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:05 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Lisa99
This is our propane firepit from Lowe's. Retail online is $399.

As you can tell, our outdoor couch is round and eight people can easily sit around the firepit.

Lowe's also has square propane firepits in the same price range.

You can buy them online this time of year or wait until the end of the winter season and get one at the store on sale. We got ours for $299 as a floor model.
It looks like the heat would be too high for the people on the couch. True? Do the sides get warm?
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:26 PM   #26
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Yea, that truck rim base really adds a de-luxe appearance.
True, but I'm secretly saving up for an alloy rim. Don't tell DW.
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:08 AM   #27
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I'd love to upgrade to a natural gas one.
Since we already have a ng bbq we figured it wouldn't take much to extend the line and we'd never have to fill the tank. We could also keep it lower to the ground since there would be no need to raise the unit to allow for tank storage.
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"Whether you want the gas to automatically turn off if the flame goes off."

I'd be wanting that feature, in fact, don't the available retail ones have that feature?
Only on the higher priced ones since it's at an additioinal cost. Sort of like the fireplace feature. If you think about it, a BBQ doesn't have that feature, if the flame goes out the gas would still flow out the burners.
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It looks like the heat would be too high for the people on the couch. True? Do the sides get warm?
I've seen several manufactures in lets say a 70k btu which comes in 10" - 18" flame at different pricing so it's your choice to a certain extent how high you want the flame.
Since the flame is at the top, no the sides don't get warm, plus the sides would be decorated with stone.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:35 AM   #28
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You should be able to easily DIY on the cheap. I noticed our gas fireplace starter is basically a black pipe with holes, and a little air mixing chamber. It puts out a good size flame when turned up. You might want two or more for a larger area?

Like this, 17" pipe with mixing chamber ~ $27:

Copperfield 90 Degree Elbow Gas Starter Pipe with Mixing Chamber for Natural Gas - 47100

google for more like it. They come in SS also.


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Old 05-10-2012, 10:26 AM   #29
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Thanks for doing the research ERD50:

If we were to take that starter kit and change it to SS, increase the size a bit and make a balanced manifold with no fitting only tig welded, it may come out to around $200.00 with the proper fittings to hook up to gas. Then expand on that with a 304 SS pan with sides on it for cosmetic reasons and the ability to hold the rocks, along with a shut off valve, that kit would go to around $400.00. Then expand on that and add an ignitor like you find on a bbq, with a variable control flame, add some basic stones with maybe 2" of glass rock in any colour and you end up with around $800.00 which are what these kits are selling for a 90k btu unit.

I guess it boils down to $27.00 to $1000.00 for the kits depending on size, metal finish and options. Personaly I wouldn't go with anything less then 304 stainless since it's outdoor and rain will always be a factor. Keep in mind I live near Toronto Canada.
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:25 AM   #30
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Thanks for doing the research ERD50:

If we were to take that starter kit and change it to SS, increase the size a bit and make a balanced manifold with no fitting only tig welded, it may come out to around $200.00 with the proper fittings to hook up to gas. Then expand on that with a 304 SS pan with sides on it for cosmetic reasons and the ability to hold the rocks, along with a shut off valve, that kit would go to around $400.00. Then expand on that ...
I guess I'm envisioning something much simpler. If DW is balking at the cost, why not go simple/cheap. A 24" SS pipe is $37, if you want more than one, a SS TEE is a couple bucks. TIG welding - why? For KISS, I'd just dry-stack masonry blocks (easy to re-do the style or take apart later) - what does a SS pan do for you? Add a couple bags of marble chips in the center, manual on/off, and manual lighter, and you are done. For occasional use, why would manual light be a 'burden'?

I just ran NG for the grill we just bought, so I might tap in and do this too. Your choice of course, but I just don't see the advantage/value of all these add-ons, esp if DW is questioning the cost.

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Old 05-11-2012, 06:27 AM   #31
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Thanks again for the reply ERD50.

Sure kiss is a good idea since it keeps the cost low but I do want to make it easy to service also. I read that the pan helps seperate the actual burners from the mechanics of the eliments to check for any future leaks, servicing as well as safety. If it ever came down to it and we did sell, I'd like to think the new owners thought it was a pro install.

As for the tig welding part, I checked online and found the fittings were around $20.00 and since I can tig weld I figured it was a better way to ensure no leaks in the future. I'll search again for the $2.-$5.00 ones.

As you say, the costs can be reduced so I'll run it by DW as I believe the budget for the whole backyard reno is around $8000.00. That would include a outdoor kitchen type area, eating area, possible outdoor firepit, plants, various low voltage led lighting and speakers, with the ground done in interlock for maybe a 1200 sq. ft. area. I would be doing all the work so the budget is for material only.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:09 AM   #32
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I would be doing all the work so the budget is for material only.
Sounds like a lot of w*rk to me.
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