The almost popular/ famous "How Not To Do It Page!"
Just when I thought I could not be more disgusted, I get more catastrophes!
"Just when I thought it couldn't get worse, I get more catastrophes!"
Please be careful when inventing and or working with any explosive gasses.
There is one way to do it right, there are probably a few dozen ways on how to blow up propane. Did you see the story on how one young man was killed using a propane rocket? Would you like to know how to blow up your table? There is the correct way and an incorrect way.
Read this story:
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Here is recent CAKE TAKER!:
From: Jennifer Sedlacek <email@example.com>
Date: October 23, 2016 at 8:36:35 AM CDT
To: Dan Claxton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: Don Sedlacek <email@example.com>, Jason Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Matt John <email@example.com>, Cory Dillow <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com
Subject: Fire pit Explosion (Claxton Fireplace Nebraska)
At our Husker Party last night, our fire pit built by your guys literally exploded. If you recall, last time they were out they installed the new star gas burner. Luckily the three guests sitting on that side wear not injured but the patio furniture was. We turned off gas and put fire out with extinguisher. Need you to come out, assess, and fix.
I got a ton of opinions on what was wrong from, no ventilation or drainage on sides for moisture to escape, fire features constructed with standard concrete masonry units contain aggregate that can overheat and explode, to anything propane is that it must have a pilot burner. Otherwise the heavy propane gas will accumulate in the fire pit and then explode when you light the burner.
In any event super scary!
The fire pit was constructed about 5 or 6 years ago. They just never used it enough until lately, it only took once.
Customers more and more send us pictures of failures to share to make you the consumer aware you are working with natural gas and propane, they are EXPLOSIVE!. Luckily no one was hurt.
The image below looks like a great idea aesthetically, unfortunately its the equivalent of welding your car's hood shut. Meaning that if repairs are ever needed, you'll have to do one hell of a work-around to get to the controls.
These next few pictures are of failed attempts of propane fire pits. I will explain as we move forward:
When propane collects and then detonates, this is what you get!
Look at the bottom of the pit, see the valve? This is a typical shut off valve, not to be used for propane.
Propane requires a safety valve, pilot light or thermocouple, air mixer and venting underneath, if you violate these requirements, you too can send us pictures to post.
Below is a typical shut off valve, not a valve to be used for propane (maybe for an emergency shut off). I find companies out there selling these for use with propane with little to no concern for safety (your safety). If the flame goes out, the safety portion of the valve turns the propane off from flowing, hence "SAFETY"!
Looks nice! There he is and predicting which way they will go! NOT!
If you don't know what you are doing, don't do it! We are here to help.
Luckily no one was hurt. The fire pit filled with propane and then the terror exploded!
No valve, no venting, very poor false bottom, no drainage, This project went sideways.
PNC interior designs was trying to install a fireplace propane pan, however like we so often see they were given bad parts and bad advice. So we stepped in and corrected the issue with the propane pilot system and repainted the fireplace with the appropriate paint.
Once completed, we provided them with a vast collection of products, 1/8" Clear
, 1/4" Black Reflective
, 1/4" Starfire
, 1/2 Starfire
, 1/4" Ford Blue Reflective
, 1/4" Clear
, CA Gold
, Ice Ice Ice
, Steel Blue
, Opaline White
, and Black Magic
Michael had a great custom fire table that needed a marble top; which we happily provided.
Along with some 1/2" Clear FireGlass
However, to our surprise when heard from Michael again we discovered that marble table top had been destroyed and that it had been his 3rd one!
The reason being, the existing propane system was not modified to safely and cleanly burn FireGlass. So we proceeded to remove the 3rd broken table top and rectify the system to insulated the fire form table and further prevent cracking.
The issue below first begins with the wrong type of glass. This is simply broken tempered glass, that is not tumbled (you can tell by how wide the pieces are). And since its not tumbled the gas and consequently the fire won't defuse properly. Creating too much concentrated heat; which ultimately damaged the fireballs.
Were referring to this project as "the Arlington Keg Disaster."
The major issue was improper venting which super heated the bricks and glass blocks causing uncontrollable vortex fires to arise.
You can see the soot build-up caused from the uneven fire pattern.
So always make sure you hire someone who knows what they are doing, as this is so often the case when you don't prototype.
These fire table pictures come to us from Ivan Grace in New Zealand. We supplied the parts and imagination and he constructed one very nice wine barrel / fire table for his outdoor bar.
The media used was Starfire. And Ivan thought ahead and also made a nice protective cover for his pit.
And from the looks of it, it was plenty warm for his wife. I guess they drink a bit differently in New Zealand?
There is nothing wrong with this project, but......... More clothes are required? What do you think?
We've been seeing this prefabricated units lately. And though easy to work with, there fatal design flaw is they get too hot! Also if you ever have to service the unit, you'd have to excavate the whole unit out in order to services it!?
This fireplace may not seem so bad from this vantage point, but the problem is revealed once we look inside, just look below...
Here we can see the inane electronic ignition set-up. It doesn't take an expert to determine something isn't quiet right here...
But apparently the first installer managed to convince the clients that this was OK!?*#
Suffice it to say we had to start from scratch and help them re install the entire system - so that the system wouldn't be in the fire!!!
Here is one more Ugly Glass picture! This is actually displayed in a fireplace shop in Temecula, California! You be the judge. This is why we take soooo many pictures to show what we actually supply!
The next valve location is just ridiculous! Not only did they put one valve in the fireplace, they installed two for some unknown reason! There is a Teflon guide/ seat inside of the valve which will MELT when near fire!!!!!! If you know this plumber, his father is looking for him (son of satin!)
The next pan burner is almost beyond belief! They actually tell you this is how it has to be. Don't be fooled by lies. It has to be what you want it to be and look like you want it to look like! This is their "Sand Pan", it looks like a bad cat box to me. But what do I know?
Not only do they have no class or taste, they don't even know how to paint.
A bad paint job is just that.
The manufacture didn't even try to conceal the controls whatsoever!
The fireplace below has several issues including some weird type of broken bottles/ jars I don't know what.
I enjoy a good competitive field but don't compete with scrap/ trash glass! Don't even go there. If you think this is fine, then go for it!
So let's not even clean the outside of the fireplace. Notice the bottom of the fireplace, someone has been throwing in some sort of liquid???? Probably alcohol? Who knows.
If you dress up a pig, it's still a pig!
This is a 40 40 fireplace. If you are traveling 40 MPH and you are 40 feet away it will look good!
The reason we received these pictures was the customer was upset with what he was sold from????
They asked what to do to fix this mess.
Customer support is just as important as price but if price is all you have, then you have nothing. Don't forget about quality, customer support and product appearance.
Below is just one very ugly fire pit sent to us by a handy man in Las Vegas,of all places!
Below is what we consider one "crappy" wood burning fire pit! believe it or not, we were asked on how to convert this to burn glass. They were shocked when we told them the glass does not burn, it fueled by gas. Then they asked "Gasoline?" this is when I hung the phone up.
Below if you see this being installed in your fireplace, through the installer out of your house. Use a stick, broom or what ever you have close to you. He does not know what the heck he is doing! The valves are never to be inside of the fireplace! Ever!
AGAIN! Remember never to put a valve in the fireplace. How will you turn it off????
This is a good one, the customer asked what the best way is to turn it off when it's been on for a while???????????? The plumber left it this way. A fairly nice fire until you try to turn it off! There is a plastic valve seat located inside of these valves and when it melts you will have an eternal flame (on forever)!
This is a simple solution:
Key valve in a metal protective box. I know, too simple.
This is a do it yourself product. So let's see how these folks did?
The fireplace below is a wood burning and it can also be used for propane. At first glance do you notice anything wrong?
How about the abundance of soot forming on the front of the fireplace? Remember you also breath this crap. There are a lot of "Wannabe Purists" thinking wood burning is the answer, NOT! It's actually called pollution, no really. Now isn't this a charming look! Black soot and smoke all over the front of your fireplace and walls.
The fireplace below is in Newport Beach California. Beautiful Home, View, Grounds, Beach/ Ocean View. and they saw nothing wrong with the self installation. This is a typical installation which you would use a sand base under the glass and bring it up to the bottom of the gas stub out. Then you cover it with glass.
Everything else looks nice except the gas connection. I wonder what they tell everyone who asks "why is that there"? 2" of sand would of fixed this situation.
The pan burner below is a typical problem we see almost on a daily basis now. There are several companies selling you pan burners with glass in them. What they don't know is why or what happens or how does that happen. The flame burns on only one side, why is that? Because there is more to just pouring glass into a pan and hoping it works! The most common answer to customers is "That is just the way it burns" that's as good as "Stupid is as Stupid does". We will explain as we go forward:
Here is your average pan with glass.
Self Installation GONE WRONG!
So why does it draft to one side? I'm sure you will get many answers but the right one, it's made wrong! Every failure is a success, and their failures are our success. Our pans don't side draft! What is sad they can't fix what is wrong because they don't know how.
The fire pit below has a Azurlite base glass
with Aquamarine Blue Topper
, Hyacinth Topper
, Citrine Topper
and Copper Ruby Red Topper
. This is a propane fire pit in Texas. Our dealer installed this glass and explained to the customer to eliminate the soot from the propane we had to lean the mixture with air. The customer asked the burner manufacture to come out and inspect the fire pit. The manufacture told the customer the glass was defective and this was causing the soot. The manufacture didn't even know how to get a clean burn on their own product! Needless to say the fire pit is still producing clouds of soot and the customer now knows the manufacture didn't even have a clue. The smell in propane is an added oil to the liquid propane so it can be identified. The oil will still burn off as the fuel is used but we lean the fuel by introducing 6 parts of air to the fuel to virtually eliminate the soot from the fire. Below are before and after pictures of the propane fire pit.
As you can see below the fire pit was creating soot long before we even started. The glass had nothing to do with burner as the burner was in the middle of the glass. The manufactures of most of these propane fire pit and fireplace burners don't even have a clue on what they are doing so please be careful. In this case the manufacture didn't know how to get a clean burn so there fore he said it can't be done! You be the judge, what looks better?
The propane fire pit below is in San Diego California. They had several issues which we resolved but they didn't listen and they don't even use the fire pit because of:
Black soot from the propane, they refused to listen about our venturis/ air mixers.
No safety valves installed for the use of propane. (thermo couplers) (heat switches)
Steel burners tend to rust outdoors especially at the beach area and when it rains the rust runs out on to the concrete deck area. You should use stainless steel or use a cover when not in use.
We recommended a series of burners to equalize the flame but again they knew much better and had little to no flame, boo hoo!
The valve used is a good safety valve when using propane and typically used with natural gas. But this is the wrong valve to use with
a propane fire pit.
Above you can see the rust forming and below you can see the soot on the lava rock. This is not recommended to breath unless you are on death row.
Aside from the soot, small flames and carbon-monoxide he's got a nice fire pit, NOT!
The fire pit below had a few issues:
Never use a screen of any kind!
A cover is recommended for long term non use.
A drain is mandatory under your filler/ glass!
Good idea, bad follow through!
With a screen under the glass which creates an empty cavity for gasses to collect you will be sure to have a fire ball every few minutes, while you may consider this fun it is also unsafe! When you don't cover your fire pit every thing that can fall will fall into your fire pit. Fire pits are magnets for falling debris. If you don't install a drain the water will sit inside and turn a funny color of green and start to smell like yuk. When you finally turn the fire pit on the fire will draw all of the molded stinky water in your fire pit out for you to enjoy, no really! Don't install a drain and you will see what I mean. If you don't have a drain at least make sure you have your cover on at all times as this will keep moisture out as well.
The fireplace below was finished with Starfire
and Topped with Red
, Aqua Blue
and a darker Blue Topping
. The 2 problems were the gas pipe was visible and soot had fallen from above. This was an easy fix. We sent them a few pounds of glass, they buried the pipe deeper and called a chimney sweep to clean the flue. Now the fireplace looks and works great.
The fire pit below is Azurlite
and Azurlite Reflective
and the result of not using enough filler to allow the glass to cover the ring. As you will see here Maria had to empty and sort here glass because it was mixed up with her filler. All is well now but one heck of a lesson.
The filler is in and under the ring
When you don't have enough filler, you can't cover the ring.
It almost looked good, not!
Here's Maria finishing removing the glass which later she sorted about 300,000 plus pieces apart!
Here we are finished and happy once again. Simple mistakes are difficult to repair.
The fireplace below is in Palm Desert California and was a self install with a crushed lava
over the lava, Starfire
on top of the Clear
and Topped with Amber Diamonds
and a splash of our Gold
. It looked great until they found the burner was too close to the back which burned the back wall. I don't know if this was repaired as we did send paint and instructions on how to prevent this in the future. The fireplace looked great except for the "skid mark" on the back wall.
Above it still looked good here!
About our Diamonds
, they are made of crystal and when you see them in the fireplace you actually see the fire reflection reflecting the flame backward as if the Diamonds
were melting from the inside.
The fire pit below had twin stainless steel burners installed and again we here the age old problem. "My flames are too small". What happened here is the plumber recommended a 1/2" line to be run to the pit from 80 feet from the meter, oops. With no volume you will have no pressure. The line should of been 1" to 1 1/2" to give proper flame height.
Since this was a wood deck with the plumbing underneath which was easily replaced, and yes the plumber took no blame because he said he didn't know better! So if you're not sure, ask!
The fireplace below has a Ford Blue base
with Ford Blue Reflective
Topped with Ice Ice Ice
. The only issue we had with this fireplace is that they thought it didn't need to be cleaned and or painted, WRONG! Everything whet fine except they got lazy and didn't clean and paint!
You be the judge!
A single burner is fine if you don't want a larger flame pattern or if you're on a budget.
I guess if you wanted the burned look, then you got it!
The fireplace below is a failed attempt to copy our burner design. We even post pictures on how to do it and when you can't even follow instructions, well this is the result. It was not out processed and or tumbled glass which you can see it looks like someone threw trash glass in the fireplace and left the pipes exposed. I don't know what happened but I can tell you this looks terrible!
The burner was way too small, it was a single burner and the hole pattern was wrong, the pipes were exposed, it was a spotty paint job on the walls, the glass looked like a broken window and except for those few items, the fireplace was a nice fireplace, NOT! These mistakes are here to help you prevent these silly mistakes, and a few chuckles.
The fire pit below was another failed attempt in Nevada. They helped these customers design a propane fire pit with an electronic ignition (fair at best) and with the lack of knowledge about propane here is the failed attempt. The ring was to placed above the glass according to the manufacture (wrong!). There was no air mixer/ venturi let alone calibrating for proper air mixture to insure a clean burn. The company would not even return any calls to the customer and we repaired the system and made it work properly. This home was on the beach in South Florida.
Several thing went wrong here, wrong filler (lava was too large), Bad cage design over the pilot light/ ignition, they buried the ignition system under the ring and glass, the ring was left on the surface, no air mixer, no customer support, the ring that was supplied was a steel ring for outdoors, wrong! This should of been a stainless steel ring and a strong recommendation for a cover because it was at the beach! We would of also given the option of a #304 stainless steel marine grade ring. We also manufacture our our rings as well.
The valve below was an easy install according to the plumber but after he leaves and you turn the fireplace on and only when its time to go to bed, you have the eternal flame because you can't reach in to turn it off. We see this all to often, so please send us your pictures and we will gladly help you from letting this happen to you,
The fireplace below is a ventless propane
and a failed attempt of making an air mixer. First if you put rocks in or on your fireplace they will pop out or explode because of their ability to collect moisture. It may be a fun party favor but not recommended in your own home. Second we want to help you convert your burners properly and safely. So if you don't take our advice or follow instructions someone can or will get hurt. The proper air mixers were not installed and they need to be away from the fire/ heat. Drilling holes in the pipe end is not considered adequate or even close to being right.
I don't know what happened as this person never contacted us again. If the house is even still there.
The fireplace below is the fireplace of "Bill" and he wasn't sure where the burners went. So he put them on top and as you can see he should of put them under the glass.
Bill ordered a rectangular pan and it would of looked better if we would of built a trapezoid shape pan to contour the fireplace. Bill did drop his burners under the glass. This was a propane ventless
conversion. Looks much better than those log thingies! Hopefully Bill will send us pictures of it finished and burning, maybe. We used Starfire glass
in the pan.
The 4 pictures below are of a self install almost gone bad. This is a ventless propane fireplace
and if you look at the elbows in the first picture, they drilled holes to get air into the burner. It's a good idea but it could cause more issues than you can imagine. The air mixer/ venturi needs to be below the burn area where it can always receive fresh air and not in the burn area. Second the rocks it left uncovered will pop out into your room and burn what ever it comes in contact with. It's always a good idea to send us your project picture developments so we can monitor your mistakes and fix the issues before you move forward.
We don't know how it turned out as the customer never e mailed us back after we advised them.
This one is a simple fix. The ring of soot had fallen from above onto the glass below. Just remove the soiled glass, wash it and replace it. The soot build up is a direct result of burning Presto Logs in your fireplace. Also if you notice the back wall was slightly burned because the burners were too close to the back wall. The burners have been moved forward now and everything is just fine.
The fireplace below has some very bad plumbing! WOW. If you hire a plumber and you think there is way too may pipes, send us a picture and we will help you out of your mess. You take a look and be the judge.
The pictures above are of a remote control system we built with a safety pilot light system. We built the system for right hand connection and I guess the plumber didn't know his left from his right and tried to connect the unit from the left with a few extra pipes. That plumber was fired and a new plumber who understood what we wanted fixed the pipe nightmare for the customer and all is fine now
The fire pit below will show you how not to do it (bad plumbing) and how easy it is to install a battery operated remote control. The glass used was Ford Blue
and we installed 2 = 44" stainless steel "H" burners.
In the pictures on the top right, do you see the plumbing sticking out of the pit? Well this was fixed, but not by the plumber that tried to install it. We cut a little bit of concrete and placed the valve in properly.
Above you will see a very poor attempt of a gas burner and valve.
The picture above has our twin remotes inside the box protected from the weather.
We covered the larger lava rock with our crushed lava rock to pour a 1 1/2" Ford Blue base
to cover the lava and burners. Unless you plan to cover your outdoor fire pit we recommend to use all stainless steel burners and parts to avoid rusting.
Once the glass covers the box, it just looks nice. To replace the batteries, move the glass on the top and the rest is simple.
The fire pit above is at the Torrance Marriott in California.
This fire pit was sent to us to convert to a propane burner and we found broken bottle glass in the fire pit. You be the judge. Please look at out Toppers and Toppings page and you will see we don't use trash glass, really! We are updating most if not all of our pictures of our products to show you what you are getting. There will be no surprises when you purchase our glass. Remember you get what you pay for and Imitation is the highest form of flattery! These companies must be in love with us!
This is not our glass! This is what we call recycled glass, trash! If thsi is the look you want, go for it!
The fire pit below has had a few problems with soot but we were able to fix it's issues. Propane can be a problem if you don't pay attention. You don't need money as it cost nothing to pay attention!
It doesn't start too bad. In a few hours it goes from bad to worst!
We can fix any problem or issue provided you are willing. This was a fireplace that was not properly prepared and the customer didn't want to take the time to paint. You be the judge. The base that was used was Starfire and Toppings of Red and Red Orange were uses. The fireplace looks good except for the lack of paint.
The actual fire looks good but it was the lack of cleaning and painting. So if your fireplace needs cleaning and painting, do it or send us a picture for this web page. This is what happens when you use too much sand on the fire
pit! The side of your fire pit will now burn, oops and don't tell your wife.
The cool kitchen fireplace below has Starfire and looks really nice in the kitchen. The burner was too close to the back wall and soot was formed on the wall up. Be sure to not let the flames hit the walls as this will cause soot.
The mistake made here (below) was the burner was placed on top of the glass with the holes pointing down. When the flames hit a surface they will cause carbon monoxide (bad stuff) the same soot (carbon monoxide) you get on your logs in your fireplace and or on your large lava rock in your fire pits. The burner should of been below the surface and is now! It burns perfect after a minor touch up and we replaced the glass that had soot on it at no charge.So ask your fireplace dealer what is soot, and see what they say. They like to call it carbon (poison). Maybe this is why we are so busy and we do offer a clean burn.
The 4 pictures below are of a failed attempt to poorly convert a ventless burner.
You can't just break up any glass and pour it on your ventless burner,
a few steps have to be taken as to insure you don't fill the room with carbon monoxide. This person came to us after they almost poisoned every one. What we do works and what was done here kills. Forest Gump said "Stupid is as Stupid does!
The fire table below has a propane burner and is not configured correctly. That is why you will see soot (carbon monoxide) the black stuff on the glass. If you purchased a table from one of these clowns that have you connect a propane tank to a burner ring, you will have problems. We use all the proper safety valves and air mixers to insure a clean and safe burn. See our propane page
. We are the only company manufacturing a propane burner that is safe and built correctly for these fire tables when you are using our glass. The glass used was Starfire
and Pale Steel Blue Topper
. Since and after the install we did supply the correct burner and it is burning clean as it should be.
As you can see after burning for about 10 minutes the soot is and will be an issue. Carbon monoxide IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU!
The fireplace below has traces of soot on the surface which has fallen from above in the vent. Be sure your vent is free of soot and dirt as it may fall on your glass below. In the event it does fall from above, you can just wash the soot of in warn soapy water. The fireplace below has Starfire
This one below is almost a cake taker, the one who takes the cake!
The pictures above are of the gas valve in the fireplace. Not a good idea because when you have had the fireplace on for a while, how do you turn it off? Some plumbers, no brains. Don't let this one happen to you.
The fire pit below was a propane burning and as you can see there is the black soot again. They though if they drill holes in the bottom of the fire pit this will fix the problem, noooooooooooooo! We installed a propane burning system and it works just fine now.
The fire pit below is a typical mistake we fix on a daily basis. We have customers coming to us asking why there burner is rusting? Simple, because they were told to use a steel burner outside. We build stainless steel burners on a daily basis to replace rusting burners. This burner rusted through in about 1 year and the rust went all over the patio, yuck!
This is what we try to hide. You have a new and beautiful element in your fireplace and the controls show. What's up with that?
This is the reason we ask for pictures when your project starts and finishes. We try to catch these nasty details before they happen. We also fix issues caused by other companies. We try to do what is best for the customer, you!
The fire table below was purchased from an uneducated builder of fire tables. The problem is the glass was turning black, why? There was no safety system in place and no air mixed was ever installed to mix the propane. This will always turn your glass black with soot (carbon monoxide) (poison) We are fixing these type of problems every week and thanks to those table builders. No you can not burn straight propane with out soot!
This one is sad, funny but true. We have pictures to prove it!
A customer came in and asked how to convert her direct vent fireplace and we asked her to remove the logs, take a picture of the burner on and off with out the flash. We need to see the burn pattern and the type of burner we would be dealing with. She went home and asked her son to remote the logs so she could do this. Here we go!
All her son heard was:
Logs, Fireplace, Out!
The fireplace below is in San Diego, California and the colors used were:
The end pictures show that the burner was too close the wall which was an easy fix by moving the burner forward.
This is where is went a little bit wrong, oops. We just had them move the burner forward and now its fine and the back wall was repainted.
These fire pits below are in Mexico at the 4 Seasons Resort which we supplied the product. But they didn't listen when we told them about propane and how to install it correctly! This is a result of male ego and I can do it myself better! NOT! The second mistake was a SCREEN under the glass as this can and will trap gases which will cause woofing. A small fire ball every few minutes which can scare the crap out of you and every one around the fire feature. If you don't like your neighbor, well anyway.
This has been fixed and now works and looks fine. We will post pictures as soon as they send us the new pictures. We can fix any issues created by d___ies, so please be careful on who is selling and or telling you what.
The pictures above show the burner too far to the right and too close to the back. Simple fix.
Move it to the left and forward.
You can see that pipe dope was used in all of the joints. This does not have to be there as you have 40 to 80 leaks in the burners, why would it try to leak from the joint? You can use a tape or pipe sealant at the wall connection but not on the burners themselves.
We recommend removing the screens as there will be nothing popping out ever again. Even with fake logs they had you install the screens so you would think something is going to pop or crackle, silly!