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Learning how to install more features to complete an outdoor living space for your customers will help you provide them with many options in their design while also helping to improve your business’ revenue. An outdoor fire feature is one product that you should be considering in your business if you wish to grow your current business.
Not only are outdoor fire features the perfect addition to any outdoor living space, but they are also much simpler to install than you may think. They add a major attraction point to any outdoor living space. There is some planning that you will need to consider beginning with choosing the right parts to assemble the gas fire pit, then to excavating and installing the gas lines to the fire pit, and finally to installing the fire pit itself.
In this article, we are going to walk you through the steps you need to know when installing a gas fire pit, as well as how you can sell your customers on adding a fire feature to their outdoor living space.
You can also catch more information on our podcast episode with Warming Trends. This is not a sponsored post. All photos are provided by Warming Trends.
Selling a Gas Fire Pit
Thinking of why your customer would want to incorporate an outdoor fire feature into your outdoor living space is the first step in selling them on the concept.
First things first, a fire feature is like the toppings on a sundae. It is not the main part, but it is a welcomed addition to any sundae. The main part is the outdoor living space itself. This could be the patio, decking, or other main parts of the outdoor living space. The other features of the outdoor living space are the additional toppings on the sundae that add value and create more revenue for your business. These are the features that your business can make a good profit margin on because they not only add value to the project, but they do not require much more planning and installation time than you have already committed when creating an outdoor living space for your customer.
This is why your business should be considering to incorporate selling fire features in your future installs if you are not already. Plain and simple, it is going to improve your business’ bottom line with little effort while also adding value to your installs and projects for your customers.
So, how can you sell your customers on the idea of adding a fire feature? Well, we can be practical and emotional with our selling points depending on the customer that you are dealing with. Selling is all about knowing your customer. Here are a few aspects of a fire feature that you can present your customer with:
- Adding a fire feature will help add another area in an outdoor living space that can be used to entertain. If a customer is already investing the amount of money in an outdoor living space, a fire feature should not go overlooked in their budget.
- There is nothing quite like a fire to enjoy the company of friends and family. Being able to turn on a fire with ease at any point and to sit back and have company over to enjoy your space is essential in any outdoor living space and a fire feature provides just that.
- A fire feature adds value to any space, can be completely customized to suit any style, and they are truly a feature that will stand out especially in the evening times.
- Customers can enjoy their outdoor living space well into colder seasons and temperatures with a fire feature properly placed within a design.
Of course we never try to push something that our customers are not interested in. The last thing you want is to push your customer into adding a feature they were never interested in only for them to not like the final product. However, it never hurts to throw in a fire feature in a design especially if you are creating a 3D design for a customer. Sometimes a customer just needs a visual to be able to see the potential of what you are talking about. The same can be done with any other feature you want to incorporate in an outdoor living space.
Choosing a Gas Fire Pit vs Wood Burning Fire Pit
Customers may be considering a wood burning fire pit to save some money when planning their outdoor living space. However, this is not always the best option for them or an option at all. It is important that you know your municipality’s laws regarding fire pits in order to provide your customers with the best option for them. For some municipalities, it is illegal to have a wood burning fire pit but installing a gas fire pit is permitted.
Also, wood burning fire pits can pose a safety concern in terms of tending to it so that it does not get out of control especially during dry seasons. The smoke that the wood burning fire pit emits will leave you smelling like a campfire, which is not always a bad thing in cottage country. You will also need to keep stocked with wood for these fire pits.
A gas fire pit on the other hand is safe and does not get out of control, it does not emit smoke, and it is easy to use and maintain.
Best Outdoor Gas Fire Pit System
Since my experience working for a stone supplier and later to the contractor end of things, Warming Trends has always been the product I recommend. The Warming Trends technology produces more flame while using less fuel with their patented jet technology and their system is modular and can be completely customized. They are U.S. manufactured, based out of Denver, Colorado. Their burners are made of brass, being that it is non-corrosive material perfect for the outdoor environment, and have a lifetime warranty on them.
Not only does their product produce a flame with less fuel, but it also produces a larger flame and a more realistic fire. They are able to do this by drilling down to a smaller diameter hole in the jets and by doing so producing a higher velocity on the gas entering it similar to that of holding your thumb over a garden hose. In the chamber of each of jets are holes drilled in the sides to get the optimal oxygen to fuel mixture to get the perfect color of flame. These holes are drilled to a specific size depending on whether the burner is for a natural gas or propane fuel system.
The flame provided by the Warming Trends burner is going to be taller than that of competitors on the market. If your customer is not particularly interested in a tall flame, the output can be adjusted and the system can become more efficient with the use of fuel with the same size flame as competitors.
Choosing a gas or propane fire feature is the next question. A gas installation allows for the permanent installation of a fire feature and a never-ending supply of fuel where you will not need to worry about running out. It does require for a gas-fitter to be hired and make the connection. A propane fire feature is easier to install, similar to that of a BBQ, and is movable if the customer ever decides they want to have it moved.
How to Build a Gas Fire Pit
Installing a gas fire feature is much easier than you would think. A lot of the work in running a gas line to the fire pit is completed by hiring out a licensed plumber to be able to size the line properly and fit it to the existing system. In this sense, preparation is definitely key to any project that you are installing a fire feature in.
If you are installing a gas fire pit within an outdoor patio, making sure that you have the design finalized and the excavation completed in time for your plumber to come out and install the gas line is the most important step in this process. Choosing the right size gas line can be a discussion that you have with your plumber while providing them with the BTUs that your burner can output along with the size of the run that the line will be on before reaching your fire feature. You should also understand that splicing off of another line that is being run to another feature will reduce the output of that flame. You can also refer to your supplier or manufacturer’s suggested size based on the information that you can provide.
In addition to burying a gas line, you may also need to consider burying an electrical line if your customer decides that they are interested in an electronic ignition system. This will be discussed later in this post.
Extremely Important: Make sure that you understand your local codes to ensure that your fire feature is placed far enough from any structures and that the gas line is being buried deep enough.
Besides this initial planning and gas line preparation process, you will need to design and install the fire feature itself. In this article, we are going to focus on installing a fire pit, though this can be applied to most other fire features that may have different enclosures built for the fire feature.
The first thing that you need to decide when designing a fire pit is what size your fire pit is going to be. Whether it is round or square, you will need to know the dimensions in order to purchase the proper plate and burner sizes to fit within the inside dimensions of the pit itself (remember that you will need to know the inside measurements of the fire pit to order the properly sized plate).
It may be useful to look at the popular plate sizes that Warming Trends offers so that you do not need to pay for the custom manufacturing of a plate (and having to pay for the extra cost even if the plate is smaller than others they offer). Looking at what is offered by Warming Trends and what your hardscape manufacturer offers in terms of inside sizing on fire pits will help you decide which options you can provide your customer. It is recommended that your plate is approximately 1″ (0.5″ on either side) smaller than the inside of your fire pit to allow for some room if needed.
When installing the enclosure, you should make sure that the plate has a minimum of 13″ of clearance from your base preparation in order to ensure that there is enough ventilation. In addition to this, you will need to have space for the key hole in your enclosure where you will be able to turn on and off the fuel source, as well as two 18″ square minimum spaces for vents on opposing sides to allow for ventilation.
Once you have the right combinations of enclosures that you can present your customer with based on what plates are readily available, you can select the right fire pit design for your customer and proceed to choosing the right burner for your customer. This is based on the style of burner, as well as if this is a natural gas or propane burner. There are several different styles of burners available to choose from to match whatever size or shape that your customer wants.
Once the burner has been selected, the ignition system is next. There are a few different systems available:
- Match Lit comes standard and involves simply turning on the fuel source and lighting one of the burners allowing them all to catch.
- 3 Volt Spark Ignition is battery operated and provides a spark to ignite the burners. It also has a safety feature that shuts off the fuel source should there be no flame present.
- 24 Volt Spark Ignition is also provides a spark to ignite the burners and is recommended for systems with larger BTU outputs.
- 24 Volt Hot Surface Ignition heats up which ignites the fire and generally lasts longer than other ignition systems in the outdoor environments.
There are a few different add-ons to choose from including dial timers, remotes, and emergency shut off buttons should your customer be interested in any of these. A cover should also be purchased and used whenever the fire pit is not in use.
Finally, the last thing that needs to be chosen is the media that is to cover the plate of the fire pit. Warming Trends offers many different options including lava rock, rolled lava rock, and ceramic and steel log sets.
Moving On to Selling More Fire Features
There is a lot of choices for your customer to make, but we have found it easier when starting out on deciding which products that my hardscape manufacturer offers that creates a fire pit that fits perfectly to one of the popular plates. I can then present these styles to my customer to choose from rather than presenting every option available to them.
Most of the time my customers will choose one of the few options that I present them with. If a customer is not interested in any of these options or wants to have some custom work completed for them, we make it clear to them that the cost will increase and let them know why.
Limiting the amount of options for customers makes our job easier to sell these fire features, as well as the job for the customer easier on deciding which fire feature would look best in their outdoor living space. If this is your first fire feature, this will also help you get into a groove of how to install these products. From here, you can branch out into different designs if you so please.
Installing fire features is another step in the direction of expanding your business and offering more value to your customers while improving your business’ bottom line.