Why should I hire a professional installer?
I love DIY projects, and know that it can be both cost effective and enjoyable to get your hands dirty doing an installation yourself. However, there are some things to consider when installing a fire feature that may have you seeking out a professional installer.
A lot of small and large parts go into a fire pit.
What do I need to install a fire feature?
Before starting at Starfire Direct, I wasn't aware of all the parts that went into a firepit. I couldn't tell you the difference between an air mixer and a flex line, or what either of them was for. There are a lot of very specific fittings and parts that go into an install, and if it's not something you regularly do it can be darn near impossible to do yourself. I like to think of it along the lines of a horseshoe- a Blacksmith is going to have a much easier time getting a horseshoe made than I would. Installations like these aren't as easy as you might think.
Propane is a popular fuel choice for outdoor fire features.
How safe is a DIY fire feature?
Natural Gas and Propane are both combustible fuels and can be explosive when not handled properly. When installing an outdoor fire feature, it's imperative that everything be hooked up so that there aren't any fuel leaks. If ￼the hose or￼ fittings aren't fastened securely, you may be unaware that a gas leak is occurring. And when you go to start your fire pit, that escaped gas may ignite and cause harm to you and those around you. In addition to outdoor features, indoor fuel leaks from fireplaces can lead to additional problems. Not only is there a possibility for an explosion, anyone inside of your home or business will be inhaling toxic fumes harmful to humans and excess exposure can lead to loss of consciousness, carbon monoxide poisoning, and even death (1). I value safety over all else. I want to make sure everything is hooked up correctly, so that I can totally relax around my fire feature without worries of explosions lingering over my head.
There are many steps required in building a fire pit, and it can be easy to get lost.
How much time and money am I saving by doing it myself?
Here's the thing with fire feature installations: they're kind of like IKEA furniture. You purchase the product from a giant warehouse or have it delivered thinking that you'll get it set up right away. Once you get home or it's finally delivered you might decide to reward yourself with a TV episode of your favorite show and when you finally do start building you end up with ramshackle instructions at 1am because it just won't assemble properly. You may have saved some money by buying a furniture piece that you were able to build yourself, but how much energy and stress did it cost you before it was finished? A professional installation, depending on how big the project is, is likely to take a few days. During that time you can work on other projects or relax, instead of stressing over it.
Professional installers have lots of experience with different problematic situations.
Can I fix problems as they arise?
I sure can't. I'm a lot more familiar with firepits and fireplaces now, so I have a pretty solid knowledge of the parts that go into them and how they need to be set up (don't worry- this article has been proofed by our National Fireplace Institute Certified staff as well, so everything I've said has been fact checked for accuracy). But I don't have the experience of dozens or hundreds of installations to go off of if I were to encounter a problem. Things as seemingly simple as the flame height can go awry, and I promise you that a professional installer will know exactly how to fix that. When it comes down to it the expertise of a specialist, especially an NFI Certified one, makes a big difference during an installation.
So what do you think? Having considered all of the above, are you going to rise to the challenge and DIY that installation? Or are you, like me, going to bring in a professional to install your firepit or fireplace to be absolutely confident that everything is as it should be? If you're planning on doing it yourself, feel free to utilize our customer service staff. That NFI Certified staff I mentioned before is happy to help you out.
And if you've decided that hiring a professional is the best choice for you, check out our Find a Pro page where we have curated a list of local installers who are eager to work with you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Starfire Direct's Ecommerce Manager, Emily manages the team responsible for all of the products on the website, and works closely with the development team on improving the site. When not working, she enjoys tending to her many indoor plants, spending time curled up with a good book, and going on adventures with her dog, Sophie. She is an NFI certified Hearth Design Specialist.