Is your chiminea smoking too much, stinging your eyes, and generally causing a nuisance? How exactly do you stop a chiminea smoking?
- Use dry, seasoned wood
- Face your chiminea away from the wind
- Keep your chiminea clean
- Use hardwood for burning
- Use tinder sparingly
- Don’t burn leaves or other garden rubbish
Chimineas are small, super-efficient, outdoor fireplaces that don’t produce much smoke if used correctly. If your chiminea is belting out lots of smoke, check you are following all these tips to reduce the amount of smoke your chiminea produces.
TIP – before we venture into the ‘less obvious’ I want to make sure that you remove the lid to your chiminea when it’s lit. Leaving it on when your chim is lit will guarantee lots of smoke billowing out the front instead of the chimney stack.
Use Dry Wood
Burning dry wood is essential for keeping smoke to a minimum. By ‘dry wood’ I mean wood that is properly seasoned (left naturally to air dry) or kiln-dried wood. Kiln-dried wood is likely what you’ll see for sale at petrol stations and garden centres,
Kiln-dried wood is great because the moisture content is extremely low and you’ll get a great burn from it.
Wet wood can hold a LOT of water and when you throw this on your fire, the water turns to steam and evaporates causing a lot of excess smoke.
Make sure to always store your wood indoors – a garden shed or garage is perfect.
You may be tempted by ‘compressed logs’ that claim to be smoke-free, but in my experience they usually spit out much more smoke than well seasoned, dry logs.
Yes, when you fire them up there will inevitably be some smoke but once the fire is going, if your chiminea is still smoking, there’s something wrong.
Exceptions to this rule may be chimineas that have a 360-degree opening (pictured). These can be a bit of a nightmare when it comes to managing smoke and they are essentially more like a fire pit with a chimney over it.
Face your Chiminea Away from the Wind
Speaking of wind, if you’re finding your chiminea is more smokey than you’d like, check which direction the wind is coming from.
If the mouth of your chiminea is facing into the wind this could be why you’re experiencing more smoke. Wind blowing into the mouth of your chiminea is essentially like feeding the fire full of lovely 02 but this can cause it to burn much less efficiently.
The huge advantage that chimineas have over fire pits is they have built-in wind protection. Simply angle your chiminea so the back of it faces into the wind.
This alone should really help, but, if you’re still noticing an issue, you could try using a windbreaker or something similar.
Keep Your Chiminea Clean
Just like indoor chimneys, chimineas can get clogged with all sorts of fire residue over time.
For clay chimineas, empty out your sand or rocks from the fire bowl and give them a good rinse. Allow to dry while cleaning out the fire bowl and inside with a strong brush.
For metal chimineas, give the inside of your chim a going-over with a wire brush. Don’t forget to protect your eyes when doing this as the last thing you need is bits of chiminea flying into them! Use a brush and pan to get everything out of the fire bowl.
Some sites recommend you rinse with soap and water, but to be honest, I’d rather keep to a dry clean as that way, not only can you use it straight after, but it could take some time to dry out properly (where I live in Scotland is not known for things quickly air drying – of course, this is up to you).
I will also say this out loud – make sure nothing is obstructing your chimney.
Doing this regularly will ensure that your chiminea stays in tip-top shape and continues to work super efficiently as a wood-burning stove that produces minimal smoke.
What’s the Best Type of Wood to Burn in a Chiminea?
I’m so glad you asked!
Hardwoods are best for use in a chiminea. They burn extremely well and some even have the added bonus of smelling AMAZING.
Most importantly to you reading this article, they burn with very little smoke.
Some examples of hardwoods that are great for burning and available in the UK are:
- Birch – this is my current go-to as it’s readily available and inexpensive.
- Cherry – this is my personal favourite as it burns extremely well and has a wonderful smell. It is quite pricey but if you are interested, here’s a site that offers free UK delivery on cherry firewood- http://www.druidswood.co.uk/buy.cherry.html
Currently, I’m using bags of kiln-dried Birch logs that are available cheap as chips – £3.99 from Home Bargains. It does burn pretty fast, but very little smoke and no-hassle keeping it lit. Highly recommended!
If you’re interested to know more about the different types of wood, check out Charnwood where they have a lot of useful info on different types of firewood and what’s best to use in your chiminea fire.
How to Stop Chiminea Smoking So Much?
Keep your kindling to a minimum. Kindling is usually a softwood like pine. It burns quickly and easily so is perfect to get a fire going. Adding kindling or newspaper to fire once it’s lit, is a sure-fire way to have more smoke than you’d like.
Although it may be tempting, don’t burn twigs or any garden waste on your chiminea…unless you’re ready for a lot of smoke. General garden waste contains a lot of moisture so again, will produce a LOT of unwanted smoke.
What to Do if My Chiminea is STILL Smoking?
In the unlikely event that your chiminea is STILL being a smokey swine after following all of this advice, there is likely something wrong with the structure of your chiminea.
Sometimes cracks appear unnoticed or perhaps the rust has gotten the better of your trusted chim. When your chiminea is unlit and cold, check it is structurally sound.
Unwanted gaps between the fire bowl and stack can result in smoke escaping and cause a nuisance.
Enjoy Your Smoke Free Chiminea
Taa dahhh! Now your chiminea is smoke-free and ready to rumble, I hope you get to enjoy some terrific smoke-free times with your family and friends. If you made it this far, thank you for reading 🙂