Question for DIYers. Can you help me diagram the best way to plumb this fire table?

Corleone

Well-known member
Aug 8, 2014
194
Menifee/CA
#1
I'm currently doing an owner build, and wanted to build a fire table. It's been something I've planned to take on as a DIY project. Let me explain:



On the upper portion of the deck(behind the pool, 1' from the edge), I want to build a 12" high table that spans across the top of the deck 20 feet, almost all the way to the spa.

On this table, I want 4 fire pits directly above the water spillway scuppers. The pits will be 12x6 inches (same width as the scuppers). Something like this



Do any of you have a good recommendation of what to use for a pan to hold the burner and glass?

Here's my diagram:




On the east side of the deck there is a 1.5" gas stubbed out for this.

Few questions. What kind of pipe can be used for this outdoor setup? Is Stainless steel a must?

Another question: Where should I reduce the 1.5" down for best results?

I planned to plumb this myself, can anyone help me with a diagram how I should best run this?

I appreciate any help or advice you might have, or suggestions on what you would do differently.

Thanks, Nick in Socal
 

Patrick_B

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
14,999
Midland TX
#2
You will have local codes that dictate material types, so it's best to consult a local qualified person to make sure you don't have to rip out and re-do.
 

Beadedbiker

Well-known member
May 7, 2013
276
New Iberia, LA
#3
Honestly I'd check with your local building inspection office. Down here in Louisiana, where the building codes are way less strict than in California, you cannot do any installation of gas fixtures unless you are a licensed plumber.

If you find out you can do it yourself - you use galvanized gas pipe from the stub out to the fixtures. It can be buried or remain open to the elements. Our local ordinance wouldn't allow the stainless steel flex to be used in a location where it would be emerging from the ground. It had to be galvanized pipe where it emerged and the next 10 feet underground had to be galvanized, (so at the meter and then where it emerged to supply the water heater) they ran flex in between these to places. But ordinances vary, often with the interpretation of the inspector that does your area. Which is why the number one advice is to check with your inspection department and ask them what they want.

As far as reducing I'd say for best results reduce as close to the fittings as possible. If you are running 4 fixtures simultaneously, if you ran a 1.5" line out to the fixtures and then parallel to all of them, with a tee off for each separate fixture, then you can reduce where you tee off for each fitting at the tee. If you reduce earlier, you end up with 4 fixtures trying to suck gas out of a line designed to supply only one of them.
 

Killer95Stang

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2012
756
Sunny SoCal
#4
With that said, you need to aquire a stainless steel pan. Either have a 20ft pan built or four individual pans, one under each burner. All the gas plumbing can be done in black steel pipe, since it will be under the pan out of the heat zone.

I would start by researching fire pit construction, you are basically building a huge fire pit. Your idea is a pretty big undertaking and will be very costly.
 

Corleone

Well-known member
Aug 8, 2014
194
Menifee/CA
#5
With that said, you need to aquire a stainless steel pan. Either have a 20ft pan built or four individual pans, one under each burner. All the gas plumbing can be done in black steel pipe, since it will be under the pan out of the heat zone.

I would start by researching fire pit construction, you are basically building a huge fire pit. Your idea is a pretty big undertaking and will be very costly.
Not too bad, I'd say total price of entire thing (blocks, mortar, cement, stone veneer, pipe, fire glass etc), around 500.00 is my budget for this project.

Here's my thought. Right at the 1.5" nipple, I'm going to reduce it to 1/2" and put a valve there. Then run half inch copper to complete the setup and make final connections to burners using stainless flex hoses.




As for the actual plumbing work itself, I really don't want to hire a professional to charge me 800 bucks for something I can do in a couple hours. I was a plumber for 4 years when I was younger, I know enough of the basics to stick a few pieces of pipe and fittings together.

I was thinking about using drop in cooking stainless steel cooking pan's to hold the burners and glass. If I drilled a hole in the bottom, would this be suitable?

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As far as reducing I'd say for best results reduce as close to the fittings as possible. If you are running 4 fixtures simultaneously, if you ran a 1.5" line out to the fixtures and then parallel to all of them, with a tee off for each separate fixture, then you can reduce where you tee off for each fitting at the tee. If you reduce earlier, you end up with 4 fixtures trying to suck gas out of a line designed to supply only one of them.
That was my initial thought, the holes in the burners are so small, looking at it, I can easily reduce down to 1/2" and feed 4 of these burners, I just have to make all the runs even length.
 

Killer95Stang

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2012
756
Sunny SoCal
#6
Here's a few things to think about.

1.) Do you know the BTU requirement of each of those burners? Fire pit burners can easily be in the range of 50K - 90K BTU's each in the size you are planning on installing. So times that by 4 and you are now looking at 200K - 350K BTU's.

2.) What size is you pool heater? 400K sized heaters are pretty common.

3.) What other gas appliances do you have in your house? Personally, I have a 200K BTU tankless water heater, Central Heat in the 50K range, a stove, gas dryer etc.

You may have plenty of gas to run you pool heater, or to take a shower, but would you have a big enough meter to run your pool heater, fire features and to cook something in the oven. Not to mention, are you planning on an outdoor kitchen? Add everything up and fire them at the same time and you could be at 1 million BTU's. Unless Riverside allows you to be on a 2 PSI service, that 1 million BTU's isn't happening at 14 inches WC.

Also, you should really use stainless steel pans for your fire feature burners.

Look up some gas flow capacity charts online and then make your gas supply branches to each burner based off of those.
 

Corleone

Well-known member
Aug 8, 2014
194
Menifee/CA
#7
Thank you for the reply, I'll be talking to my inspector today so I"m going to pick his brain a little.

I was planning on using stainless steel for the pans. My thought is that I could use a stainless pan meant for a different application which would be much less costly. I've found that specialty luxury items get inflated greatly because normally people who can afford to build fire tables in their backyard, can typically pay to do it.

I was wondering what the difference was between a pan specifically manufactured for a fire pit, as opposed to a drop in stainless pan made for food service, military/medical industry? Once it's covered in glass, it would never be noticed, and I plan to cut travertine to put over the opening, so that you wouldn't see any stainless.

As for the BTU's, that would be a concern, but in all honesty. . .this fire table will hardly ever be used. We have two little kids, and probably will only use it for late night adult type parties/bbq's. It's really just the icing on the cake type of feature. I'm planning on spending nearly 70k on the backyard, and needed a few budget items to fit everything in for what the plan is. Plus I enjoy DIY challenges, and even though this involves gas, I feel ok about doing it, I've done miles of black gas pipe in my apprentice days, I'll probably have my buddy stop by who's a union pipefitter, just to be on the safe side to make sure everything looks good to him.
 

Killer95Stang

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2012
756
Sunny SoCal
#8
Just re-read your last post.

1.) When you say you want to use copper, are you talking about flexible copper tubing with flared ends? Any type of soldered joint would not work in this application.

2.) You need to reduce down from the 1-1/2" in a larger sized pipe. I took a look at a similar burner to the one you posted in a 12" x 6" configuration and they are claiming a max of 90K BTU's. Your 1/2" "T" idea would not work. Why not branch off from your 1-1/2" main pipe with iron pipe all the way to each burner. Then use the flexible hose from the pipe to the burner. Why complicate things by going from steel pipe, to copper, then to a flexible hose.
 

Corleone

Well-known member
Aug 8, 2014
194
Menifee/CA
#9
Just re-read your last post.

1.) When you say you want to use copper, are you talking about flexible copper tubing with flared ends? Any type of soldered joint would not work in this application.

2.) You need to reduce down from the 1-1/2" in a larger sized pipe. I took a look at a similar burner to the one you posted in a 12" x 6" configuration and they are claiming a max of 90K BTU's. Your 1/2" "T" idea would not work. Why not branch off from your 1-1/2" main pipe with iron pipe all the way to each burner. Then use the flexible hose from the pipe to the burner. Why complicate things by going from steel pipe, to copper, then to a flexible hose.
My thought was to braze the copper like is done for medical gas purposes.

You're right on btu's 1/2" won't work. I need to upsize for sure though the one I think I will be using is 46k btu each. According to my math, looks like 1" should be more than enough.

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I do think your idea is a good one though. I'm revising my plan.