If it’s been raining more or less non-stop since autumn where you live, you’re not alone. It has been a spectacularly wet and windy winter, and gardens all over the nation are looking well and truly ragged.
How to maintain a chiminea
You can use your chiminea all year round, of course. That’s the idea – it keeps you warm outside when the weather can’t, whether it’s a family BBQ or late-night teen party, a birthday cook-out or simply a regular alfresco eating treat. But at this time of year your chiminea is probably looking a bit tatty after a winter’s battering. Here’s how to spruce things up and freshen up for spring.
Maintaining a clay chiminea
- Stand your chiminea on a hard, flat, firm surface, not the lawn or on soil, so it can’t fall over, get damaged or set fire to the undergrowth in dry conditions. If it’ll be standing on a wooden deck, use a fireproof base.
- The inside of a new chiminea is highly absorbent and needs sealing. All you need to do is burn some wood in it to naturally seal the inside with the sticky soot, ashes and creosote that burning wood produces. It even seals hairline cracks. Your first fires should be small, and the chiminea will be properly sealed over the course of four to eight small fires.
- Always season – or seal – the outside of a new terracotta chiminea. If water gets in, freezes and expands, the chiminea can crack. Manufacturers recommend an acrylic floor finishing product or wood sealer, and also rate floor wax, all of which prevent water from seeping into the clay.
- If the chiminea is painted rather than actually glazed, the paint won’t protect against water. Seal the paintwork to protect the painted finish, and if you use a varnish reseal it once a month through the alfresco season. If you’ve waxed it, once should do the trick. We sell an excellent clay chiminea sealant called chim-protect, and special floor protectors.
- If you live in a place where temperatures go below freezing, store your chiminea indoors, in the shed or garage. In an ideal world you’ll protect a clay chiminea through winter with a special chiminea cover, whether it’s outside or in.
- Regularly clean off dust and debris, mould and leaf matter with a sponge and water. A build-up of dirt can trap water.
- A clay chiminea is made from iron-rich clay, the same as plant pots, and it can smash. Never lift it by the neck. Chimineas are made in two parts and the weakest point is the place where the chimney and base meet. The best way to lift one is with one hand in the firebox and the other around the stack, as low down as possible.
Maintaining a cast iron chiminea
- If your chimenea will sit on a wooden deck, use a fireproof base. Never put it directly onto the wood.
- Keep it free from dirt and dust, to help prevent rust.
- Stash it safely over the winter somewhere dry, and use a special chimiea cover.
- Repaint any spots that have peeled off because of the heat, using a suitable metal paint.
- Sand off any rust and repaint sanded areas with heat-resistant paint. We sell stove paint for metal chimineas in bronze and black
Stock up on essential chiminea accessories
Now your chiminea is in tip top condition for a spring, summer and – hopefully – an entire autumn of outdoor fun, alfresco eating and late night revels in warmth and comfort. Let’s hope the weather gods treat us kindly this year. In the meantime here are some of the essential chiminea accessories we recommend for an even better experience.
- A cool multi-purpose tool to make chiminea fun easier – ideal for handling hot cooking equipment and parcels of food with ease
- A fab steel popcorm popper for tasty outdoor treats, and a steel toasting fork designed for outdoor toast-making perfection
- Sturdy, safe, heat resistant leather gloves to prevent burns
- A long-nosed firelighter for safe, confident firestarting
- A handy removable BBQ grill, and a frying pan that’s perfect for chiminea fry-ups
- A chestnut knife, perfect for roasting delicious, nutty autumn treats
- A fire-raking tool to help you keep that fire burning!
Come back soon for more news, views, hints and tips from Chiminea Shop.