We spoke with Isabelle Harris, the MD of Gardeco, to find out what inspired them, and why the Helios chiminea range offers something new to the cast iron chiminea market.
What inspired the design of the Helios?
We wanted to develop a cast iron chiminea with the pure design properties of a traditional Mexican chiminea because they are such effective burners. Mexican chimineas have been developed over the centuries and create such a pure flame due to their design, with a strong draw through the mouth, and that’s something that conventional cast iron chimineas do not do as well.
Also they require no assembly, you just place the funnel into the belly and you are done – again much closer to clay than cast iron models.
What is the heat output like?
Well as I said they are designed to function like Mexican chimineas and the cast iron is extra thick so they not only burn very well, but they also hold and radiate heat for much longer that conventional cast iron chimineas and traditional clay chimineas. You get the best of both worlds.
You also don’t need to burn more fuel to achieve more heat – just add the same amount as you would to a regular chiminea and the Helios will do the rest. We’ve used them in the evening and they’ve still been warm in the morning!
How have they been received by customers?
We sold out of the first batch so that’s a good sign! We realised that customers are happy to pay a little more for a superior products and the Helios certainly fit that bill.
How are they finished and how should they be maintained?
Like all cast iron chimineas, well most anyway, they are finished with a heat resistant paint. Now this paint is resistant up to 650c so it’s not immune to heat and fire and will start to peel once the heat exceeds that temperature.
The best way to reduce rust is to keep them out of rain/water. You can also add some oil – vegetable oil from the kitchen will do – and just add a generous amount to the chiminea. Repeat this after each use.
What accessories can you use with them?
The same as you would with a regular chiminea. Again the Helios mimic their traditional Mexican cousins more than cast iron models s they don’t come with a swing out grill, but you can use a removable BBQ grill and other outdoor cooking accessories as well.
Of course we recommend a cover to help protect against the elements too.
Do they come with a guarantee?
Yes – a 5 year guarantee, but this does not include rust as we cannot prevent that as it is up to customer to ensure it is properly maintained.
Do you have a particular favourite? Why?
Oh, the XL one because it gives off a lot of heat and I like that!
Our thanks to Isabelle Harris for Gardeco for taking time to answer these questions.
You can find out more about the Helios range of chimineas on the Chiminea Shop website.