A fire pit wind guard adds an extra layer of protection to your outdoor fire area by protecting your family and home from the damaging effects of strong wind gusts, flying embers, and sparks that may damage your property and others around you if left unchecked. They are cost-effective and straightforward solutions to the problem of a blown-out flame.
However, do fire pit wind guards work? The answer depends on the type of wind guard you choose, how much it costs, how it’s installed, and how much care and maintenance you provide to it over time.
How do they work?
A fire pit wind guard is a shield that protects your outdoor fireplace from harsh weather. It’s basically a square or circular plastic tarp with holes cut out around it to allow for airflow and flames.
When used properly, a cover helps protect against dust, dirt, pollen, rainwater, and other things you don’t want landing on your precious patio furniture or spilling into your home. It may even help prevent stray embers from blowing out of control.
But before you run off to buy one of these products online or at your local hardware store, you should know how they work. How do they actually keep things away? And how effective are they in doing so? And their limitations and strengths.
Are they worth the cost?
The $6-$8 price tag of a screen makes it seem like they should do the trick, right? In reality, most of these are too small to truly protect you from flying embers.
The bigger and more expensive models might do a better job with heat and sparks, but they still won’t protect you from flying embers. What they do is, to put it bluntly. Don’t buy them unless you live in a very windy area where it can be dangerous to use your fire pit without them.
Even then, we recommend getting a good-quality protective face mask for about $15 and staying close enough to pull your grill away if need be.
What are they made of?
Fire Pit Wind Guards can be made of many different materials. The most popular are vinyl or mesh but also wood and in some cases, even plastic is used.
Whatever material they are made of, they do not burn but only melt, so there is no worry about them catching on fire or anything like that.
They also come in a variety of shapes and sizes for any situation you may have. Some have handles for carrying while others have handles to secure it to your tabletop and others don’t have any handles at all. But most often they are square and rectangular in shape to fit perfectly over your BBQ Grill Fire Pit Safety Netting.
Can you DIY?
Before you start thinking about building your own fire pit wind guard, keep in mind that one wrong move can lead to an explosive situation.
While it’s certainly possible to make your own (or rig something up), we recommend that DIYers first find out what local ordinances require when it comes to outdoor fire pits. For example, some areas may have restrictions on how much clearance is required between a backyard fire and a structure or neighbor’s property line. Be sure you understand all of these requirements before starting construction;
. If you do decide to build your own fire pit wind guard, here are a few tips:
- Make sure any metal used is rated for outdoor use and won’t rust over time.
- If wood is part of your design, make sure it’s treated with a water-resistant finish.
- And finally, don’t forget safety fire pits which should always be supervised by adults who are trained in their use and installation.
You’ll also want to check with local authorities regarding safe distances from structures and other objects.
How much does it cost?
Fire pits are pretty expensive. A lot of them can cost thousands of dollars, but some don’t. Here are a few things to consider when looking at price:
- Do you want something that is made for portability or do you want something that will remain in one place?
- Does it matter if it doesn’t look like other traditional fire pits on the market or does it not matter as long as it works?
- What material would be best for your location and climate (metal or stone)?
- Can you afford to buy a large enough bowl to meet your needs (some only allow for small fires)?
- Lastly, how much do you want to spend?
Different materials and styles come with different price tags. The more money you have to spend, typically, the better quality product you will get. You should also keep in mind that most retailers offer discounts during certain times of the year, especially around holidays. It never hurts to ask, there are plenty of options out there so make sure you do your research before spending any money.
The bottom line; are they worth it or not?
Most modern fire pits come with their own glass or ceramic screens to keep embers in and flying critters out. However, some consumers don’t want to use these screens, or they don’t fit well or are otherwise undesirable.
In that case, a screenless screen (aka a wind guard) is an option. Generally speaking, they do what they are supposed to do by preventing sparks from flying into your neighbor’s yard and keeping animals from coming too close for comfort.
However, you can accomplish those same goals with a portable metal screen. So is it worth spending between $20 and $100 on a portable screened shelter for your fire pit? For most people not really hence fire pit guards are losing popularity.