A Chiminea is an outdoor fireplace for use on the deck or patio.
As you would expect from its name, it has a chimney rising from the fire bowl.
This chimney keeps smoke from getting in your eyes (yes, the song is lovely but the experience isn’t!)
The design of a chiminea creates a draft that not only makes the smoke go out the chimney but makes the chiminea easier to light a fire in, and produces a fire that burns hotter.
(You’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever tried to light an indoor fireplace with the damper closed. Fire needs that oxygen.)
Before you purchase a chiminea fireplace, check with the local authorities to see if they are permitted in your area. To my dismay I discovered they are not allowed here when we moved last year.
Clay chimineas were the first ones imported here from Mexico. They are perfect for the weather and use there, but not recommended farther north where they tend to crack from the extreme temperature changes and more rainwater. You also shouldn’t have a fire in a clay chiminea for more than 30 minutes. They make nice garden decorations.
Copper chimineas look fantastic, but check the feet and the base of the firebowl. If they are steel, they can rust quickly. Also be aware that after the copper chiminea is used a couple of times it will turn green with verdigris. They make nice garden decorations.
Metal chiminea fireplaces can be a cheap alternative, but check how they are made. Sheet metal doesn’t take the heat very well and can warp and lose its finish. If it is riveted together (rather than welded) they rust quickly. These products are cheaper because they are considered “disposible” – they don’t last long and you can’t get replacement parts for them.
The most highly recommended chiminea fireplaces for safety and longevity are the cast iron chiminea and the cast aluminum chiminea.
Cast iron chimineas are recommended for use where there is a chance of theft, due to their weight. No one is going to pick up a 200 lb cast iron chiminea and walk off with it! The drawback to iron is that it rusts and stains the surface under it. You have to maintain it by painting it with stove paint that can withstand the high temperatures.
Cast aluminum chimineas will not warp like sheet metal, crack like clay, or rust like iron. It is significantly lighter so you can move it where you want to use it. It is a better choice for a low maintenance chiminea fireplace.
Here are some examples of chiminea fireplaces
Do you use and outdoor fireplace, patio heater, chiminea or fire pit to extend your patio season?