Chiminea Smoke Nuisance And How to Avoid It

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As much as I love chimineas, we do have to admit that the smoke they emit can cause problems with neighbours if we’re not careful.

And that’s ok – not everyone loves the crackling of a real fire and the beautiful smokey allure of sitting around an outdoor wood-burning fireplace. But what does that mean for your lovely chiminea? No more burns? 😭


Well, there are some ways you can tackle the issue of chiminea smoke nuisance without losing friends and alienating everyone.

Are Chimineas Environmentally Friendly?

Yes, if used sensibly, chimineas are efficient wood burners that if used with the correct fuel can produce little smoke. You can even get 100% recycled fuel for your chiminea.

Be Considerate of Your Neighbours Before Lighting a Chiminea

Before charging outside to light your chiminea, there are a few things you can do to minimise the risk of any complaints. This is particularly vital if you live in a built-up urban area.

Firstly and MOST importantly you need to talk to your neighbours. Things that are good to say are that you understand the smoke can’t be controlled but that you want them to immediately inform you if there are any problems.

The last thing you want is to annoy those who are living next to you. If you’ve ever seen that TV show ‘Nightmare Neighbour Next Door’ you’ll know what I’m talking about.

You explain that the last thing you want is to annoy anyone but would love to have the occasional fire and have researched all the ways to make the smoke as minimal as possible – check my article on how to stop a chiminea smoking for all the details on how to best keep smoke to a minimum.

Other things you can do when scouting outside before lighting up is:

  • Check for washing hanging out.
  • Open windows that are in the direction the smoke will blow.
  • Children playing in gardens.
  • Anything that you think could be disturbed by excess smoke.
  • Avoid fires close to boundaries.
  • Don’t place your chiminea near neighbour’s buildings.

If after having a check outside, there’s just too much going on then either talk to people again or put it off for another time.

TIP – 99% of issues with neighbours can be resolved by building communication and trust. Always talk to them first.

My Neighbour is Causing a Nuisance with Smoke from a Chiminea

Now, let’s look at the other side of the coin. It may be that you’ve come to this article searching for a solution to a neighbour who is making a nuisance of themselves with their chiminea smoke.

Dealing with this situation can be awkward, particularly if you’re not a fan of confrontation. However, it’s always best to air your grievances and talk to your neighbours first.

Some tips for doing this:

  • Always put safety first especially if you have never dealt with the neighbour previously. This article on ‘How to Deal with Difficult Neighbours‘ from Home Guide Expert is a great place to start. It talks about all the precautions you should take if approaching an unknown neighbour.
  • Be as open and friendly as possible. Explain carefully how their chiminea smoke is negatively affecting you and your family.
  • Think of possible solutions to offer without expecting them to NEVER EVER use their chiminea again. Eg. To let you know in advance so you can shut windows, take washing in etc.
  • Other suggestions would be to talk to them about how to make their chiminea smoke less – or simply send them to this website!

Check the Legality of Chiminea Use in Gardens

I have a full article on the laws on Chimineas but to quickly summarise it for you here – essentially chimineas are legal to use in gardens in the UK even in smoke control areas.

As long as the chiminea is independent of any other structure it’s perfectly legal.

However, if you are being constantly affected by a neighbour’s use of their chiminea and it is preventing you from enjoying your home or garden and/ or having a negative impact on your health then it is classed as a nuisance.

The key difference is that the nuisance is happening over and over and over again. If this is the case and talking to them has not helped, then you need to start recording every time you are affected by the smoke from your neighbour’s chiminea.

Write everything down. Including details of trying to talk to them. The frequency of the smoke will be a determining factor if you have a case for Smoke Nuisance. Get in touch with your local council Environmental Health Department and report the problem.

They must investigate and if they find the smoke to be a nuisance, they will issue an abatement order. If it continues after this they could be fined.

In Summary

By following a few simple steps you can minimise the effect that your chiminea smoke has on surrounding neighbours. Have a chat, invite them over to enjoy the fire and go from there.

Hopefully, this will help you avoid causing chiminea smoke nuisance while enjoying your lovely fire.

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