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Gas Fire Pit Ignition Systems​ Explained

Building A Fire Pit
Table of contents

Speaking to clients on a regular basis it is clear that the subject of gas fire pit ignition systems understandably causes some confusion. In this blog, we will attempt to lay things out a little more clearly.

There are basically 3 types of fire pit ignition or 3 ways to light your fire pit.

1. Match Light

A match-lit fire pit is, as the name suggests, just a case of turning on the gas and holding up a match or preferably a taper to the fire pit surface until the gas ignites. No special equipment is required.

2. Push Button Spark Ignition

These are generally battery-powered, the battery is neatly hidden in the Push Button Unit itself. When the button is depressed this sends a small electric current to an Ignition Probe that is mounted close to the fire pit burner. This is fundamentally the same as lighting a gas ring on a gas hob.

SparkIgnition Probe

The most asked question about installing the Push Button System is regarding the height of the Spark ignition Probe.

There is a common misconception about how a gas fire pit operates. Understandably, people think the gas should ignite as it emerges from the burner, just like a gas ring on the gas stove. but that is not the case. The gas should percolate up through the lava rock or fire glass and only ignite close to or as it escapes from your fire glass/lava rock.

As a consequence, people are often surprised when installing the Ignition Probe by how high it sits above the burner ring. The Ignitor needs to ignite the gas on top of the fire glass/lava rock not adjacent to the burner. Therefore ensure that the tip of the probe where the spark occurs is not buried under any fire glass/lava rock.

Spark Ignition probe

Apart from that, these systems are easy to install and maintain, especially if using a fire pit pan or tray with a prepared cut-out into which the Ignition Probe is installed.

3. Electronic Ignition Systems

All the Electronic Ignition Systems have a common theme.  They monitor fire pit flame and cut off the gas flow if that flame is accidentally extinguished. Some of the more sophisticated systems will even make several attempts to re-light the flame before shutting off the gas.

The more commonly seen Electronic Ignition Systems are the S.I.T. which stands for Smart Ignition Technology, AWEIS which stands for All Weather Electronic Ignition System, and the SWEIS  which stands for Smart Weather Electronic Ignition System.

Electronic Ignition System

All of this is accomplished via a ‘box of tricks’ that is connected beneath the fire pit burner and a very sophisticated Ignition Probe.

Most of these systems require a mains electrical feed to the fire pit structure, however, some systems on the market do the same job by utilizing a battery-powered system.

The advantage of these Electronic Ignition Systems is that they provide the very highest level of safety. This is especially important for commercial or public installations such as Hotels, Bars, Restaurants, etc. in fact anywhere the public may be in close proximity to a fire pit.

Some States, Cities, or Town Codes/Ordinances make flame-sensing technology on your fire pit obligatory.

Another attraction of the Electronic Ignition especially when using mains powered systems is to allow the installation of an on/off switch in your lounge for example, so you can control your fire feature without having to go outside. Options for a Remote Control version or even one that allows for the control via a Blue Tooth App or Smart Home System are also available

The main disadvantage of these systems is the price level. These are very sophisticated pieces of equipment and are reflected in the price!

I hope that this helps a little in clarifying the differences between Gas Fire Pit Ignition Systems