You should burn wood in a chiminea. Chimineas are essentially wood-burning stoves and they do this extremely efficiently.
Clay chimineas are limited to only burning wood but if you own a metal variety of chiminea you can add charcoal and coal to the possibilities available to bring warmth, light, and charm to your outdoor space.
Use Seasoned (Dry) Wood in a Chiminea
Chimineas are really well designed. They have the bulbous-shaped fire bowl that containS the fire and a chimney stack to take smoke up and away from the area.
Like any wood-burning stove, chimineas are really easy to use and even a beginner can get to grips with them quickly. The shape of chimineas allows for a constant flow of air when lit and many metal varieties even have air vents in the front that you can use to have more control of your fire.
You can Burn Charcoal or Coal in a Metal Chiminea
Make sure to read and follow manufacturers’ recommendations and be aware that if you do make a larger fire or use coal or charcoal, the paint will likely burn off your chiminea making it susceptible to rust.
That being said, the easy fix for preventing rust is to get a cover for your chiminea and keep it protected from the UK weather.
You can use regular charcoal briquettes that you would use on a BBQ. Getting charcoal lit can be more of a challenge but you can simply burn some wood first and wait 20 mins or so till you have glowing embers – this will light your charcoal.
Using charcoal makes cooking more practical as the glowing embers are perfect to cook with, unlike the constant flame from wood that will burn your food.
However, you can cook with a wood-burning chiminea, just make sure to wrap it up first before putting in the fire.
How to Choose Your Chiminea Fuel
There are a few other things to think about when choosing your chiminea fuel:
- If you have a clay chiminea use ONLY wood.
- Different varieties of wood have different aromas and you can experiment with this by trying various types of wood to burn – let us know what’s your favourite!
- Smokeless fuels are available and you can read more about them here.
- Don’t use accelerants on your chiminea – you risk heat shock and damage.
- If you experience excess smoke it’s likely that your wood is damp.
- Do you have tools to manage your chiminea once it’s lit? Eg Fire tool and heat resistant gloves.
How Do You Keep a Chiminea Burning?
Chimineas should not be difficult to keep lit because of the expert way they are designed. Add fuel when the fire starts to get low. Be careful not to make too big a fire as this is likely to damage your chiminea.
If it’s windy you can still light your chiminea – this is one of the biggest advantages over having a firepit. In a chiminea, your fire is protected on all but one side and you can easily angle your chiminea mouth away from the wind and you should be fine.
Always keep the lid off your chiminea when it is lit. The lid on a chiminea is primarily there to stop water and debris from falling into it when not in use. When you remove the lid, you open up the ventilation of the chiminea and smoke should be carried up and away through the stack.
For all the info you need on chiminea lids check this article.
Can You Burn Fire Logs In a Chiminea?
Yes of course. A log is a log after all – just make sure it’ll fit. As with any wood, it should be completely dry and if you have cut it yourself it will need to be seasoned for at least 6 months.
Can I Burn Heat Logs In a Chiminea?
Yes, you can burn heat logs in your chiminea. Heat logs are just wood pulp and sawdust made into the shape of logs. They are convenient, easy to burn but just be aware that some types will have shorter or longer burning times than wood logs.
Heat logs are often marketed as having low smoke output but unfortunately, this is rarely the case – you are burning wood after all! They can also change shape and expand when lit so be aware of this and don’t overload your fire or you are likely to have it spewing out the front.
Another aspect to consider when buying heat logs is they often work out more expensive than wood and just don’t look the same as burning wood on a fire. Also, be careful if you have a clay chiminea as some types of heat log will put out a lot more heat than wood and potentially damage your chiminea.
Chiminea Burning Tips
- Burn only seasoned hardwood in your chiminea for the best results.
- Avoid soft woods like pine, as they will create a great deal of smoke and leave soot behind.
- You can also use heat logs but be careful wth clay chimineas.
- Heat logs are expensive to use long term.
- Only use charcoal in metal chimineas.
- Keep fires small using only 1 or 2 logs at a time.
- Do not burn fire accelerants on your chiminea.
Now that you know how to start a fire in your chiminea and what types of wood to burn, it’s time to enjoy those long summer evenings outdoors with friends and family. Have fun experimenting with different types of woods but try and stick to hardwoods as they burn better and release far less smoke. Don’t forget to stock up on marshmallows!
Check out my chiminea smores!
Regardless of which fuel you choose for your chiminea, we hope that this article has helped you understand what to burn in a chiminea and that you go on to have many happy times.