FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Fire Glass?
Fire Glass is tempered glass that is used in fireplaces and fire pits to increase vibrancy, reflection, and color. Tempered glass is tumbled and polished to prevent sharp edges and injury. The glass is designed for gas fire pits and gas fireplaces to tolerate high temperatures without melting, burning, or discoloring when used as recommended. The glass does NOT create toxic fumes, smoke, or ash. Our fire glass also has a high heat retention and radiates heat back out.
What is the difference between Fire Glass and Gas Logs or Lava Rocks?
Fire Glass usually produces more heat than gas logs, because the glass heats up and then reflects the heat back, thus improving the overall heat. You get the heat coming off of the fire as well as the soothing heat from the Fire Glass. The same principle goes for lava rock. By changing out lava rock with Fire Glass, not only does the fire burn more efficiently but it also gives off much more heat.
What do I need to use Fire Glass?
Fire Glass must be used with a natural gas or propane burning fireplace or fire pit. Most of the complete units we sell can be used with Fire Glass. We also sell burners and components to put in your own vented fireplace or you can use our parts to build your own gas burning outdoor fire pit. Do you have an existing gas burning fireplace or fire pit and want to know if it can be used with Fire Glass? Give our technical department a call who would be glad to help you determine this.
Can I use Fire Glass with propane?
Fire Glass is compatible with propane so long as your fireplace or fire pit is set up properly. This usually involves the installation of a propane conversion or connection kit or air mixer and one of our burner pans. For more information, make sure you watch our How to Build a Fire Pit Using Propane Gas video below.
How much Fire Glass do I need?
Use one of our three fire glass calculators to determine how much fire glass is recommended for your fireplace or fire pit. To see how to properly use our calculators, please see our instructional video, located here.
Is the quality of all Fire Glass the same?
As with any product, quality is never the same and “you get what you pay for.” As crazy as it sounds, not all broken glass is the same. There is cheaper glass on the market today that may be impure, which can melt, crack, discolor, or pop out of your fireplace or fire pit. It may also have sharp edges which makes handling it very uncomfortable or even dangerous. We offer the best brands of Fire Glass available and only sell stuff that we would put in our own fireplaces and fire pits.
Our Starfire Glass is top-of-the-line, and is heat tempered to withstand extremely high temperatures, has a lifetime warranty, and is guaranteed not to fade, melt, crack, or pop.
What is ‘Reflective’ Fire Glass?
Reflective Fire Glass has a mirrored finish on one side. The mirrored Fire Glass colors reflect light which makes them sparkle and shine more than the standard Fire Glass.
Does the Fire Glass ever burn or discolor?
Our Fire Glass is designed to withstand the high heat put out by a fire pit or fireplace. Our Fire Glass does not melt or give off any harmful fumes or smoke. We take pride in providing our customers with the best possible performing and aesthetically pleasing Fire Glass online.
What is a BTU?
In the fire industry, BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, which is a unit of energy equal to about 1.06 kilojoules. It is approximately the amount of energy needed to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. You can compare fire features by their heat output potential, or BTU rating.
Do gas burning fire pits or fireplaces product more heat than wood burning ones?
Gas burning fireplaces do not produce more heat than burning actual wood, but they can come pretty close. Additionally, there are a lot of advantages to burning natural gas or propane rather than wood. Gas burning fireplaces are better for the environment. Governments are regulating more and more the use of burning real wood. There is no mess, ash, or smell to deal with that is common with burning wood. Gas fireplaces do not produce sparks or embers that can start wildfires. Gas fireplaces are efficient and easy to control. They also allow you to get very creative with your design and decor.
Can I vent my fireplace through a wall?
Not if you are using fire wood as your fuel; they must be vented vertically. However, many vented gas fireplaces do have that functionality. Direct vent and B-vent fireplaces are some examples.
Can I light my wood fire with gas?
Yes, you can do this by having a gas log lighter installed or by using a Looft Lighter. Please browse through our available log lighters by clicking here.
What are gas logs?
Gas logs are great for avoiding the tedious cleanup of ash and residue left from a wood burning fireplace, and still offer a lot of the same look as traditional wood. Gas inserts, used with gas logs, are more efficient than traditional wood fuel, but provide a lower heat output. It is important to note that though you can use gas logs in a wood burning fireplace with the correct setup, you cannot use real wood in a gas fireplace setup. See our gas log sets by clicking here.
How much maintenance should I expect from my fireplace?
Wood is the messiest of fireplace or stove fuel types. Propane gas fireplaces with decorative burner media eliminate ash clean up, but you still have some soot or carbon deposited from the gas being burned. Natural gas fireplaces are the cleanest and are virtually zero maintenance.
What does an outside air kit do and do I need one?
For wood burning fireplaces, you should consider the installation of an outside air kit. It provides additional combustion air to the fireplace that feeds the fire with oxygen from outside your home. This will help the performance on any fireplace installed in tightly-constructed or well-insulated homes.
What is a "ventless" gas heating product?
“Ventless”, or vent free gas heaters, fireplaces, fireplace inserts, stoves and log sets are heating appliances designed to be installed and operated without a chimney, flue, or vent. Vent free products can be used with either natural gas or propane, and are intended to provide supplemental heat to a home. Because there is no vent, flue or chimney required, all the heat generated by the product goes directly into the home. That's why vent free products are 99.9 percent energy efficient.
Does max efficiency equal max heat?
No, not necessarily. Vent free appliances utilize the oxygen in the room to function. Therefore, in order to maintain safety, vent free heating appliances are rated at very low BTU/heat amounts. For example, a typical vent free burner system at the 18” size will be rated at 30k BTUs. However, a vented H-burner at the same 18” size, is rated at 155k BTUs. That is a little over 5 times more heat potential! Even if you were to lose half of that heat (in this example), due to the draft of the vent or chimney, you would still be receiving well over double the amount of heat you could expect from a vent free heating appliance.
What is an ODS pilot?
ODS stands for Oxygen Depletion System, and is the essential component of making a vent free fire feature safe. The ODS pilot monitors the oxygen in the room, to maintain safety. If the oxygen levels in the room drop below 18%, the ODS pilot will automatically shut the gas off. The ODS shut-off point is defined by a minimum set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z21.11.2.
How large should my gas line be for my fire pit?
This is not an easy question to answer, due to the numerous variables involved. The first major item is the size of the fire pit to be installed- or BTU input requirements for the appliance. Other factors such as gas pressure, the length of run, elbows, or other hardware that may affect gas flow, and must be figured into the calculation. Also, what is commonly forgotten are other appliances connected to the gas line that will take away gas from the fire pit. We at Starfire Direct strongly recommend working with your contractor or plumber, so they can account for all the factors to ensure proper gas delivery.
Does a larger fire ring mean taller flame height?
Using a larger ring does not mean taller flame height. The height of the flame is dependent on the amount of gas being supplied to the burner itself. If the gas pressure being supplied does not measure up to the BTU requirements of the burner, a larger ring will broaden the flame, but take away from the flame height. Most customers think of a larger flame as equating to the overall flame height, not so much the width. If the delivery of gas cannot be increased, then “reducing” the fire ring size will increase the flame height.
Do I need a burner pan for my gas fire pit?
Yes and No.
For natural gas users, a burner pan is recommended- but not necessary. A burner pan will not only keep your burner supported within your enclosure, but it will also reduce the amount of fire pit media you need to use. A properly mounted fire pit pan can greatly increase the life and performance of your fire pit burner ring, while also making future maintenance of your fire pit easy.
For liquid propane applications, a burner pan is necessary. LP applications require an air mixer to operate, in order to ensure the highest level of performance and safety. You must also provide adequate space around the air mixer underneath the burner pan, to ensure that unburned propane falloff does not settle below the pan.
Can I fill my gas fire pit with pea gravel?
Yes, but only for natural gas applications. We do not recommend using pea gravel; however, if used properly following the same regulations as you would lava rock, pea gravel may be used for natural gas fire pits.
What do I need if I want to use propane for my gas fire pit?
If you plan to use propane for your gas fire pit you will need an air mixer and a burner pan, while also making sure your propane line uses a regulator. An air mixer is necessary because propane needs to mix with air to create a clean, efficient fuel. The burner pan is necessary to ensure the proper amount of spacing for your air mixer to gather air to mix with the propane, allowing proper burning. Also, the burner pan is designed to prevent fuel from settling below the pan and burner; failure to utilize a burner pan when on LP gas, could result in personal injury or explosion. Please see our instructional video for more details.
What do I need to connect my gas fire pit to a standard 20 lb. propane tank?
With a standard 20 lb. propane tank you are limiting the amount of BTU usage to between 90,000 and 100,000. For this reason, the largest ring recommended you use would be 18”, you will also need a regulator and an air mixer along with the other standard supplies necessary (e.g. fittings, valve, key, and piping).
What can I do to protect my furniture and make it last longer?
Your outdoor furniture will require different care instructions/guidelines based upon the materials your outdoor furniture is comprised of. Certain materials require more maintenance than others. Below you'll find care details on different materials your furniture may be made of.
Clean your frames regularly using mild soap and clean, warm water. Do not use abrasive materials or cleansers. Maintain your frames by covering with commercially available furniture covers or storing out of the elements when not in use. Always clean and dry thoroughly before storing.
All Weather Wicker
All Wicker products are a synthetic material we call All-Weather Wicker. It is made of either PVC, Polyvinyl Chloride, or PE-Polyethylene. Clean by washing frequently with mild soap and warm water. Do not use abrasive materials or cleansers. Commercial vinyl protectors may stain the cushions.
Clean your straps by washing frequently with mild soap and warm water. In areas with heavy pollution or smog, use commercially available cleaners. Do not use abrasive materials or cleansers. Maintain your strap with an application of commercially available vinyl protectors. This will also enhance the look, strengthen, and prolong the life of the straps.
Cushion and Slings
Clean your cushions and slings by wiping up minor spills with a mild soap and a damp cloth. Although the fabric has been treated to resist stains, over time it may be necessary to use commercially available cleaners. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Maintain your cushions and slings by storing them in a dry area out of the elements, or cover them with furniture covers when not in use.
Protective Furniture Covers
Routine cleaning is great for removing stains and general furniture upkeep. However, one of the biggest steps you can take to maximize the longevity of your outdoor furniture is to cover it from the harmful effects of the sun and inclement weather.
How do I maintain the integrity of my table top over time?
Your table top will require different care instructions/guidelines based upon the materials your top is comprised of. Certain materials require more maintenance than others. Below you'll find care details on different materials your table top may be made of.
Porcelain is a hard, fine-grained material that consists essentially of kaolin, quartz, and feldspar. It is compacted and generally fired in kilns at high temperatures greater than 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Porcelain is relatively non-porous and is a very durable material. If properly maintained, it will last forever. Most porcelain table tops on our fire tables have already been sealed. Maintaining the sealer on the table is very important and requires regular cleaning. Clean tops with a soft, clean cloth (one that won’t bleed color) or sponge. Use warm clean water and mild dish soap. Remember, you are not cleaning the porcelain; you are cleaning the sealer layer on the porcelain. Do not use petroleum-based or abrasive cleaners. Rinse with plenty of clean water to remove any soap residue. Dry thoroughly after cleaning to prevent water spots. Even if your tabletop has been sealed, spills need to be cleaned immediately to prevent staining or damage to the tabletop. Always blot spills with a clean, soft cloth. Wiping could spread the spill. Repeat blotting with the dry area of cloth until the spill is totally absorbed. Rinse with clean, warm water and wipe dry.
Clay is a material that consists of fine-grained, phyllosilicate minerals from the earth. The clay is pressed into molds, allowed to air dry, and then fired in kilns. After the tile is fired, a glaze is hand applied and the tiles are re-fired at temperatures exceeding 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. The top of the glazed tile is relatively non-porous and clay tile is a very durable material. If properly maintained, it will last forever. The clay top on your table has been sealed, and maintaining the sealer on the table is very important and requires regular cleaning. Clean tops with a soft, clean cloth (one that won’t bleed color) or sponge. Use warm clean water and mild dish soap. Remember, you are not cleaning the clay; you are cleaning the sealer layer on the clay. Do not use petroleum-based or abrasive cleaners. Rinse with plenty of clean water to remove any soap residue. Dry thoroughly after cleaning to prevent water spots. Even if your tabletop has been sealed, spills need to be cleaned immediately to prevent staining or damaged to the tabletop. Always blot spills with a clean, soft cloth. Wiping could spread the spill. Repeat blotting with the dry area of the cloth until the spill is totally absorbed. Rinse with clean, warm water and wipe dry.
Stone is a durable yet porous material that will last forever if properly maintained. Your stone tabletop has been sealed using a special treatment to resist moisture penetration and staining. The sealer has a very long life, but does require proper cleaning and maintenance to maintain the integrity of the tabletop. Acidic compounds found in many foods such as tomato products, mustard, fruit juices, wines, colas, vinegar, and coffee can leave permanent stains in the stone material. The porous nature of stone also leaves it susceptible to heat retention. Care should be exercised when handling stone that has been subjected to lengthy exposure to the sun, to prevent bodily harm.
Use mild soap and water or commercially available glass cleaners. Do not use cleansers or abrasive materials.
How do the Remote Electronic Fire Pit Inserts work?
Once power is applied to the unit (120vac or 24vac), the system will allow gas to flow to the pilot assembly- the hot wire igniter will glow igniting the gas. The thermocouple on the pilot assembly will sense this pilot flame and safely open the valve to the main burner- the pilot flame then ignites the main burner. If at any time the pilot flame is lost, the unit will turn off the gas for safety, and then automatically restart.
Can my Electronic Fire Pit Insert be linked to a whole house system or automated pool controller?
Yes. Ignition boxes are typically 120v powered which is connected to an outdoor GFI outlet. Also, 24v models are built upon request for use in some systems.
What are the benefits of the FPPK inserts?
The FPPK inserts are perfect if flame sensing safety is desired, and there is no power available to the fire pit site. The FPPK system also uses a spark generator, so no match lighting is required, and your flame height is adjustable with the use of a manual knob.
How are the FPPK Inserts powered?
They use an AA battery for spark- this is a good option if A/C power cannot be obtained at the fire pit site.
Why choose an electric heater, rather than a gas heater?
Electric heaters are over 90% efficient and are perfectly safe for use indoors or outdoors. They are also economical to operate and require little maintenance beyond periodic cleaning. Unlike gas heaters, there are no valves, ignition components, moving parts or burners to maintain or repair. In addition, electric heaters produce no sound, odors, or toxic emissions. An electric heater is also easier to use. Enjoying electric heat is as easy as flipping a switch. You can adjust the intensity of an electric heater infinitely from zero to 100% of power. By contrast, gas heaters only produce infrared energy on their highest possible settings.
Can I run my heaters on only 120 volts of power?
Using an 110/120-volt heater (1,500 watts maximum) is fine for enclosed areas like garages, indoor work areas, or outdoor spaces no larger than 5' x 5'. When heating larger areas, running a dedicated 110/120-volt circuit is not practical or economical. A 240-volt circuit will require the same amount of wiring, will heat substantially larger areas with greater comfort, and will simply require two spaces in the breaker panel, rather than one.
Does an electric heater cost more than a gas unit to operate?
Operating costs vary by region. Nationwide, electric heaters are less expensive than propane and are competitive with natural gas. Depending upon the total hours of usage, electric heaters normally have a much lower cost of ownership when factoring in purchase price and maintenance needs. Basically, this means that while it can cost more per hour to operate an electric unit in some areas, it typically takes 7-10 years to save enough money operating on gas, to recover the substantially higher purchase price and cost of regular maintenance for a gas heater.
What is infrared heat?
Infrared heat is an energy form like the sun's rays warming the earth. Infrared rays are part of the visible light spectrum and travel at 186,000 miles per second in a straight line without loss of heat traveling through the air. The infrared rays can be focused by materials that have a reflective surface such as aluminum reflectors. When the infrared rays strike an object like human skin, glass, concrete, wood, or paint, the infrared rays are converted into heat and these surfaces, in turn, heat up and radiate heat and warmth.
What type of grill should I buy?
This is the most popular type of backyard grill. They can run either on bottled propane or natural gas from your utility provider. Most gas grills are designed for propane, but can be converted to natural gas fairly easily. Some people argue the merits of propane or methane, but there is very little difference between the two. If you have access to a natural gas line, utilizing it is certainly more convenient and less expensive than refilling propane tanks.
Best for: The chef who wants to quickly fire up the grill and cook a meal without having to worry about the preparation and cleanup of charcoal.
Disadvantages: Flavor and price. Although some gas grills have small smoker boxes, you will only get a hint of smoke flavor compared to a genuine charcoal grill or smoker; you really can’t smoke meats without a charcoal grill. While inexpensive gas grills do exist, the mechanisms involved ensure that they will always be more expensive than a comparable charcoal model.
These grills use charcoal briquettes as the fuel and fire power for cooking. Cooking with charcoal is more time-consuming and expensive than a gas grill, but some people prefer the taste of cooking with charcoal, especially when it is made of natural wood.
Best for: The purist. If you long for that smoky, grilled flavor or you enjoy smoking meats, the only way to achieve both is with a charcoal grill. Charcoal burns at a higher temperature than gas, allowing a skilled grill master to easily sear meat. Cooking with charcoal also has a distinct romance that is clearly lacking with a modern gas grill.
Disadvantages: Time involved and the expense of charcoal. With a charcoal grill, you can’t just fire it up and throw something on it. Getting the grill ready to go takes at least 45 minutes of starting the coals and pre-heating the grill. You will also need to spend some time cleaning up your grill and disposing of the ashes when you’re done. Purchasing charcoal is also quite expensive when compared to gas.
Electric grills are not hybrids, but are powered 100% by electricity and cook meat using heated grill plates – no fire required. There are indoor and outdoor varieties available.
Best for: City dwellers who are prohibited by fire regulations from using gas or charcoal grills. Check your local laws and building regulations to make sure that the grill you buy doesn’t violate any codes.
Disadvantages: Taste. Electric grills can produce results that look like their fire-powered cousins (grill marks are easy to come by), but they are not a replacement for the traditional grill. The smoky flavor is all but lost when using electricity.
These grills can run on propane or charcoal, but have one thing in common – they are easily transported from one location to another.
Best for: The tailgater. If you love a good outdoor picnic or a perfectly cooked brat in the parking lot before the big game, this is the grill for you. You can buy portable grills of all different styles for picnics or for tailgating.
Disadvantages: Size. You can’t cook hamburgers for all 50 of your closest friends and fans at the same time. And if you’re cooking for a large crowd, you might just be on grill duty all day.
What is the warranty on Fire Magic grills?
Cast Stainless Steel Burners, Stainless Steel Cooking Grids, and Stainless Steel Housings are warranted for as long as the original owner owns them.
FIFTEEN (15) YEAR WARRANTY
Cast Brass Burners, Brass Valves, Backburner Assemblies (except Ignition parts) and Manifold Assemblies are warranted for fifteen (15) years.
TEN (10) YEAR WARRANTY
Electric grill's stainless steel cooking grids and stainless steel housings are warranted for ten (10) years.
FIVE (5) YEAR WARRANTY
Charcoal Stainless Steel Grills, excluding the Charcoal Pan, Ash Tray, and Infrared Burners are warranted for (5) years.
THREE (3) YEAR WARRANTY
Side burners and all other Fire Magic Grill components (except Ignition and Electronic parts) are warranted for (3) years.
*Ignition systems (except batteries), Electronic components (including lights & thermometers), Grill Accessories and the Charcoal Pan and Ash Tray are warranted for one (1) year.
Which size Fire Magic grill do I need?
Fire Magic Gas Grills are measured differently than most other gas grills. They measure the size of the grill by the cooking surface of the grill, and not end to end grill. Other brands that may be considered a 36" grill will be smaller than a Fire Magic 36" Grill. Listed below are the cooking area sizes for each style. Each "style" listed below is a code. "E" stands for Echelon and the "A" stands for Aurora, and the number following is the square inches of cooking area of the grill.
Which burner configuration should I choose?
When it comes to Fire Magic and American Outdoor Grills, you may be presented with up to three options on your burner configuration. The first variation of burners is all cast stainless steel burners, the second is one infrared burner with the remaining cast stainless steel burners, and the third is all infrared burners. Each variation has its own benefits, as explained below.
All Cast Stainless Steel (Most Popular): The advantage of all cast stainless steel burners is that the burners themselves will never rust, and can't be damaged by grease or cooking utensils. You will be able to enjoy a classic flavor, as well.
One Infrared with Remaining Cast Stainless Steel: The advantage of having one infrared burner with your cast stainless steel burners is that you enjoy the benefits of all cast stainless steel burners, but you also get a little of the quicker cook time, better searing, and improved flavor locking that infrared burners provide.
All Infrared Burners: The advantage of having all infrared burners is that you can experience quicker cook time, better searing, improved flavor locking, uniform heat, and fewer flare-ups. Infrared burners are unique because they are designed to heat up evenly over a flat surface, rather than standard burners which heat up the grates directly, which can create uneven heat.
Are there any weather conditions that would prevent me from using my tiki torches?
Tiki torches can generally maintain a flame by withstanding winds up to around 10 mph. Torches can even endure moisture from rain or snow. Torches should not be left unattended; so if you need to go inside to escape rain or wind, you should extinguish the torch.
How long will the fuel last in my tiki torch?
The length of burn time expected before you are out of fuel depends on the fuel type and on the source of that particular fuel. For instance, paraffin or citronella oil will last anywhere from 6 to 16 hours depending on the capacity of the fuel chamber (larger torches usually burn longer). Keep in mind that you should not switch oil types for the same wick. Gas torches using propane vary per the size of your tank. If your natural gas torch is hooked to a natural gas line, it can burn almost indefinitely, though all torches require periodic cleaning to remove debris and maintain safety.
What are the unique benefits of portable and permanent torches?
The obvious benefit of a portable tiki torch is the ability to move them quickly and easily to different desired locations. Permanently installed gas torches (mostly natural gas torches) are always prepared to use. Once installed, they are ready for use immediately, requiring no set-up.
What size patio umbrella should I buy?
The size of your umbrella depends on several factors. How much space do you need? What’s your budget? How much space do you have available? These are all things that must be taken into consideration before purchasing an outdoor umbrella. Choosing an oversized umbrella will be overwhelming, and can throw off the balance of your outdoor arrangement. Your umbrella should typically extend over your dining table by 2 feet on each side. If you have a 4-foot rounded table, this means you need an umbrella that measures 8 feet in diameter.
Here is an example:
Table = 30 to 36 inches — Umbrella = 6 to 8 feet
Table = 38 to 48 inches — Umbrella = 9 to 11 feet
Table = 54 to 60 inches — Umbrella = 11 feet or larger
Do I need to be a gourmet chef to use a Fontana oven?
Not at all. Simple foods and classic techniques yield intensely flavored, immensely satisfying results when you use a Fontana wood-fired oven, without needing “Top Chef” qualifications. Can you squeeze a lemon over a whole chicken, grind a little salt and pepper onto it, and drizzle it with a little olive oil? Then you’re ready to use your Fontana oven to make the best roast chicken you’ve ever had.
How much experience do I need to use a Fontana oven?
If you know how to build a fire and put food in the oven, then you already know how to use a Fontana oven.
How much assembly and setup are required before I can use the Fontana oven?
The ovens arrive in one piece, with no assembly required. For our Forno Toscano ovens, the oven carts require about fifteen minutes of assembly, and we’ve got videos on our website to help you through it. For our double chamber ovens, the cart arrives fully assembled; you simply place the oven on the cart and attach the roof with the screws that we provide.