A Full Guide On How To Choose A ChimineaPublished: 05/12/2022 | Updated: 10/04/2023
Nothing is better than gathering around a fireplace on chilly evenings.
The warmth from the fire meeting the cold breeze and conversations with loved ones is an event we look forward to.
You're probably familiar with regular fire pits and fireplaces.
In this article, we cover chimineas, a very interesting variation of fireplaces.
Let's start by learning more about them.
What is a Chiminea?
Chimineas are an alternative to outdoor fireplaces.
They're originally pottery products with a potbelly base and a chimney top design.
Chimineas are of Mexican origin and served as indoor ovens in the past.
They now continue to have an authentic look that adds a beautiful aesthetic to any garden, and they're available in a wide range of materials and design styles that suit all sorts of outdoor spaces.
Chimineas' uses and benefits
Chimineas are more than just decorative elements.
They're primarily used for heating but can be used as cooking surfaces. You can even snap on a grill top to use them for BBQ.
We highly recommend using charcoal instead of burning wood while using a chiminea for cooking to avoid unwanted smells.
Chimineas are much more effective at heating the air in a short amount of time than the traditional fire pit.
The funnel top design helps expel heated air and smoke at the top which gives the air an aroma that smells like nostalgia and repels mosquitos.
Chimineas now come in a handful of different materials and types of burning fuels.
Types of Chimineas (Materials)
The classic clay chiminea
Clay chimineas are chimineas in default settings.
Many homeowners with an interest in chimineas go for the traditional clay ones due to their decorative nature and their affordability.
Though a clay chiminea typically requires consideration and care being quite fragile.
Tip: If you settle for a clay chiminea, make sure to lay a sand layer in the fire bowl base and start with a small kindling or paper fire before placing your logs or other fire starters to avoid cracking.
Cast iron Chimineas
The second most popular material for chimineas is heavy-duty cast iron, its thick-walled design makes it more durable than any other material and less prone to rust than other metal chimineas.
Cast iron is considered a more expensive type of chiminea though it saves you a lot of maintenance in the long run.
Cast aluminum chimineas are made in different molds which gives them diversity in styles and shapes to suit all different yards.
Aluminum heats up faster than other types and retains the heat for longer periods.
Cast aluminum chimineas are also a more expensive option though they're a lot more durable and require less maintenance than their clay counterparts and they're lighter than cast iron chimineas.
A steel chiminea is probably the best chiminea for beginners.
They're the most affordable out of the other options and their lightweight nature makes them easy to move and store.
Steel chimineas also come in different sizes, shapes, and styles and they're available in contemporary designs making them easy to style into any yard.
Chimineas Vs Firepits
Chimineas and fire pits each have their good and bad sides as well as individual styles that make each of them suitable for the spaces the others may not be suitable for.
We won't be a judge in a battle between the two, but we will mention some significant differences that may help decide on the best fit for you.
Both portable fire pits and chimineas are relatively affordable.
While chimineas can be a bit pricier than a portable fire pit, they are a lot cheaper than a built-in one and have some modern options.
Both features require some maintenance like ash cleaning, though a fire pit can be easier to clean due to the open nature.
When it comes to safety, chimineas are a lot safer since the smoke comes out at the top so you won't worry about flying sparks.
Chiminea fuel options
Wood burning chimineas:
Wood is the primary chiminea fuel, most chimineas burn wood to ashes and that's when the fires would go out.
There are a few other options like a gas-burning chiminea that functions on natural gas. You'll most likely be able to convert your regular chiminea into a gas one with a few steps.
If you're using a chiminea to cook, you will be able to use charcoal as a base fuel.
Choosing a chiminea per style
Chimineas are seemingly traditional elements that look like they fit into an English garden or a Mediterranean yard design.
Though the recent diversity in style and materials makes them available to be suitable for almost any garden design.
Chimineas are now available in more linear and thinner contemporary designs that won't feel out of place and will fit right into your modern yard.
Chimineas require some considerations for longer product life and the safety of your family and loved ones.
1. Starting fires:
Chimineas have a design that makes them very efficient in heating the air in a short time. Make sure to always burn small fires to avoid wasting fuel and fire danger.
2. Don't leave children or pets near a chiminea unattended:
The bodies of chimineas stay hot for hours after the fire has been put out, make sure to teach your children not to get too close to chimineas whether they're in use or not to avoid accidents.
3. Don't use water to put out the fire:
Direct water contact with chimineas after heat can cause them to rust or crack. It will also leave a messy leftover product to clean.
Let your wood burn down to ashes and the fire will go down without assistance.
Always choose a stable surface to place your chiminea to avoid tipping over.
Make sure to let your chiminea cool completely before covering and storing it.
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