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robphelan 11-14-2006 08:55 PM

using firepit as a fire/water feature [long]
a little background:

we just had a flagstone patio built and also included a firepit.

interior diameter of the pit is approx 32" and it is lined on the inside with firebrick and on the outside with flagstone. It has a small ventilation hole(2" x 3") at the base so air can flow into the bottom of the fire.

what I want to do is to run a propane line through the ventilation hole at the bottom. Fill up the pit with water and have the propane bubble to the top. At the top, I would light the bubbles as they reach the surface. if I have enough gas coming up, the fire would continue to burn the gas as long as the gas is pumping out.

people i've spoken to told me i need to grout the inside totally to make sure it's not porous. then 'paint' it with marine paint/sealer so no water leaks out of the pit.

what kind of grout/paint should I use?

then, I was planning on using a burner from a propane grill laid inside the pit and have it fed gas through a hose. does that have to be a copper line? or can I use the rubber/neoprene hoses that are typically found on grills? what could I use to seal the ventilation hole after I run the propane hose through it?

Also, I imagine I need to place some sort of drain valve so I can drain the water when I'm not using it.

any ideas on how to do this/do it better?


Tscarborough 11-14-2006 10:10 PM

You could just build a fire in the pit and achieve the same effect?

mdshunk 11-14-2006 11:37 PM

You might want to do a proof on concept in an old washtub first, before you go for broke. I'm having my doubts.

majakdragon 11-15-2006 03:54 PM

Just a few things to consider. The propane grill burner has LOTS of holes, which means, LOTS of gas rising to the top of the water to light without getting blown up or burnt up. You would also want a stainless steel burner to prevent rusting. When you turn it off, the burner and supply line will fill with water. Not sure how you would waterproof the area around the line so water doesn't leak out. This whole thing sounds dangerous, even though the effect would be interesting. You HAVE to let us know if it works. Please be careful.

Tscarborough 11-15-2006 07:50 PM

To burn, propane has to mix, I think, 10 to 1 with air. What will happen is that the flame will be above the water pretty high, or it will fill the pit then fire off at once. You will have to inject air into the line and have some type of sparker above the water to maintain flame.

As for waterproofing the structure, that is best done underneath the firebrick, and it is academic to attempt to waterproof the pipe.

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