Chimineas – 9 Decisions to Make Before you Buy
Chimineas are becoming increasingly popular in the UK as we all search for ways to extend our outdoor spaces.
The days are finally getting warmer, and the idea of sitting outside next to a cosy fire in your garden feels like the ideal way to get out ….but not ‘out out’!
Chimineas are perfect for even the beginner in the art of fires and barbeques. The contained fire bowl makes lighting and keeping a fire going super easy. Chimineas are the ideal outdoor wood-burning stove with a hungry little fire sucking in air through the front, pushing heat and smoke up the chimney.
With a few common-sense safety precautions and a wee read at a few more pages of my lovely website, you’ll be an expert in no time! ?
What to Consider Before Buying a Chiminea
Before you decide to buy a chiminea, take some time and consider what you want from it. Although chimineas are not hugely expensive (and there are some terrific bargains to be found), they are still a significant purchase and it makes sense to take more than a cursory glance at what you’re dealing with before making a purchase.
I’ve put together a list of 9 things to consider before buying your first chiminea.
1. What material should I choose?
Clay or metal chiminea? Clay offers an undeniable rustic charm, but cast iron can be super long-lasting. For a bargain option, check out steel chimineas. They are perfect for a starter chiminea to get you going for under £100.
My first chiminea was this one for £40 on Argos – Blooma Diogo Steel Chiminea
2. Do you want to cook on your chiminea?
You can cook on a chiminea many different ways, but if this is something you’re interested in, check out chimineas with built-in BBQ grills. They usually swing in and out, allowing you to keep track easily of what you’re grilling.
Remember, cooking on a chiminea is quite different from a BBQ as the fire is much more enclosed, so it’s sometimes tricky to see exactly what’s going on with that t-bone.
Check out our article on Chiminea Cooking to get some advice there.
3. Where in my garden should I put my new chiminea?
Always keep in mind that a chiminea is a wood-burning stove. It gets scorching hot, so it needs space around it, and in particular, do not place up against a building.
In researching some of the worst-case scenarios that result in fire and property damage, chiminea being put against a building were by far the most dangerous.
There was one instance where a chiminea was positioned up against a garage. The more-than-slightly-inebriated chaps got carried away, adding too many logs resulting in a massive heat surge that caught alight some dried leaves on top of the garage. The garage is up in flames next thing you know, and the fire is even spreading to the house. Nightmare.
A quick checklist for where in your garden to put your chiminea:
- A flat surface is essential. Most chimineas have just three legs which give good stability, but this is useless if not set on flat ground. You have to minimise the risk of your chiminea toppling over, and flat, level ground is essential.
- Make sure the area above your chiminea is NOT covered. Smoke and carbon monoxide can build up very quickly in an area not adequately ventilated. Also, watch out for overhanging foliage that could catch light if too close.
- Keep away from houses and other buildings.
- You can place it on a wooden deck or grass, but you’ll have to protect the area under the chiminea as the heat will damage these for sure.
- Place it somewhere in your garden where you can still see it from your house. You should never leave a flame unattended, so at the end of the night, when you want to go inside, if you can see your chiminea from your house, you don’t have to stand around outside freezing, watching the fire die.
- Choose somewhere permanent to put your chiminea. The less chimineas are moved around, the less chance of damaging them or hurting yourself – some chimineas are extremely heavy.
- Keep your chiminea away from wooden fences and any other flammable materials. It may sound obvious, but it’s worth saying anyway.
4. What can I burn in my chiminea and where can I buy it?
All chimineas are primarily wood-burning fireplaces – many metal varieties can handle charcoal which is excellent for cooking. You can purchase wood locally from Petrol Stations, Garden Centres, and even supermarkets.
Home Bargains currently does some fantastic deals on wood, kindling and firestarters, and you can get a big bag of wood for just £3.
5. Where do they have chimineas in stock?
Chimineas are popular right now, and so stock often disappears fast. Check out our article chiminea near me for tips on buying a chiminea locally if you’re struggling to find one online. Beware of resellers on eBay and Amazon who often sell on chimineas at over double the price you can buy from B&Q or Argos.
6. Will my chiminea be purely decorative?
Many people use chimineas as clay pots for their potting plants, and you can make beautiful arrangements and even focal point in a room using candles or plants to fill your indoor chim.
7. Are there any local rules or regulations for chiminea use?
Yes, but chimineas are OK to use even in smoke-controlled areas as long as they are not part of a building.
Avoid problems with neighbours with good communication, and be aware of your smoke bothering anyone. If you and your chiminea fire become a nuisance to neighbours, they have every right to complain to environmental health, and your days of enjoying your lovely fire in peace will be a distant memory.
Check out our article on laws that pertain to chiminea use for more detail.
8. Do I need a chiminea cover?
Chimineas hate water regardless of its material. Get a chiminea cover (being careful to get the right size) and cover your chim whenever it’s not in use.
If you can bring your chiminea inside for the winter, you will add many years to its life. Keeping it tucked up out of the rain and frost will help tremendously to keep water out and prevent it from being exposed to frost. Both of which quickly start to affect the structure of your chim.
9. What safety precautions should I take?
Chimineas may only have small fires, but fire it is nonetheless. Use your common sense and treat a chiminea fire with the respect you would any fire, remembering that the outside surface of your chiminea will heat up dramatically after burning for an hour or so.
Quickly teach children and pets about the dangers and, if necessary, cordon off the area. Kids and pets should never be left alone with a chiminea.
Always have some fire tools on hand to help you control the fire, and a heatproof glove is always good to have. Try and have a means of dousing the fire handy in case of emergencies – a bucket of sand is perfect. Avoid using water unless absolutely necessary, as heat shock can damage your chiminea with potentially explosive results.
I hope this information helps you to make a decision about a chiminea – if you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch. Check out our FAQ section with stacks of questions answered.