how to winterize a chiminea

How to Winterize a Chiminea

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Chimineas will last significantly longer if you take some steps to protect them over the winter months.

How and when to winterize your chiminea will depend on the winter weather in your location and the type of chiminea you have.

Will a Chiminea Keep you Warm in Winter?

Before you go hastily packing up your chiminea, remember that you may well need the extra help heating an outdoor area this winter.

Most of us have been through several lockdowns now and meeting outside has been the only way to meet our elderly parents in person. Postponing the winterization of your chiminea could potentially work well as you utilize it for a patio heater in the colder months.

How to Stay Warm Around Your Chiminea in Winter

There are a few things you can do to make it possible to stay warm around your chiminea when the weather is more challenging.

  • Dress appropriately – woolly hats, gloves scarves
  • Bring the seating area closer to your chiminea
  • Keep sessions around the fire shorter
  • Fewer people means they are easier to keep warm
  • Heated blankets are are geat addition to your outdoor setup – if you don’t have access to power outside, try a heated travel blanket that is rechargeable.

TIP – Remember that you should still keep a safe distance from your fire no matter how cold it gets!

How to Use Your Chiminea WHen it’s Cold

It’s more important than ever to light small fires and build them up gradually. Chimineas are prone to heat shock the greater the difference in outside air temperature to that of the fire.

Don’t be tempted to throw lots of logs on to get it going quickly as it’s freezing. Plan ahead and get a small kindling fire going early on and build up gradually. This will reduce the risk of your chiminea cracking.

What do you do with a Chiminea in the Winter?

If you live somewhere that snow and frost are expected at some point over the winter it’s essential you get your chim prepared.

The steps of winterizing a chiminea are:

  • Thoroughly clean your chiminea and make sure it is completely dry
  • Consider sealing your chiminea with paint (metal chimineas) or sealant (clay chimineas)
  • If possible, move it indoors – a garden shed is perfect
  • If you can’t move it, wrap it up

Cleaning Your Chiminea For Winter

winterise chimineas

Getting your chiminea dirt and ash-free before tucking it away for the winter will give it the best chance of keeping its current condition.

Sweep out any leftover ash and use a brush to loosen any debris on the inside. I don’t recommend using water as it will take forever to dry and with the weather closing in, rain is inevitable in many climates in autumn.

For clay chimineas, remove any sand or lava stones from the bottom of the chiminea, and if reusable, store it separately or dispose of it accordingly.

How to Move your Chiminea Safely

Some chimineas are just too heavy and delicate to move. If you are going to move your chiminea indoors for winter, keep the following in mind:

  • Never lift your chiminea by the stack (or chimney part) – always lift from the firebowl
  • Use at least 2 people
  • Use a cart or trolley and keep hands on when in motion
  • Never attempt to move a lit chiminea

Can you Leave a Chiminea out in the Winter?

Leaving your chiminea outside for the winter is inevitable for some simply due to the size and weight of your chiminea.

With a bit of preparation, you can leave your chiminea outside and give it the best possible chance of survival through the winter.

After thoroughly cleaning your chiminea, if possible move it to the most protected area in your garden. Even if it’s not undercover, close to a house or other building will give it some added protection from the wind and rain.

At a minimum, you’ll be using a waterproof chiminea cover that has a drawstring on the bottom. This will let you tighten it and tuck in the feet.

Check out my full article on chiminea covers.

Adding extra insulation will really help prevent the elements from getting into your chiminea and you can wrap it up before putting the waterproof cover on.

Some ideas for insulation:

  • Bubble wrap
  • Tarp
  • Hessian
  • Old duvet
  • Old sleeping bag – tried this before and it worked a treat

How do you Weatherproof a Clay Chiminea?

Clay chimineas hate water. To improve their chances of surviving the winter, it’s best to seal your chim before putting it away for the colder months.

Simple and straightforward to do and doesn’t take long – if you have invested some money into your lovely garden fireplace, sealing your chiminea regularly (at least once a season) will extend its life significantly.

You might also like: How to Repair a Clay Chiminea.

How do I Stop my Metal Chiminea from Rusting?

For metal chimineas, a new coat of paint before putting them away for winter will really help fend off the elements over winter.

TIP – Try and plan ahead and check the weather is good for a few days to allow you to work and dry the chiminea before storing.

Spray painting with a heat-resistant stove and BBQ paint is the perfect way to help prevent rust over the winter…and indeed next year.

  • Brush thoroughly inside and out to clean off any dust and dirt
  • Protect yourself with mask, google and gloves – remember it’s better to use spray paint outdoors
  • Protect the ground with dust sheets or similar
  • Remove the lid and the door (if possible)
  • Spread evenly all over and leave to dry.
  • Repeat for 2nd coat

TIP – Never paint the inside of your chiminea – it’s not necessary and will likely only cause you problems later. Also, extremely awkward and messy to do.

In Summary

Looking after your chiminea in the winter months will reap the rewards of keeping your chim in tip-top condition and extending its lifespan.

If you have any questions about winterizing your chiminea, don’t hesitate to get in touch – contact@chiminea.uk.

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