Every now and again we like to gather together a bunch of common chiminea questions, regularly asked by our customers, and answer them for you. It’s that time again. Here are answers to some of the chiminea questions we’ve been asked more than once in the past couple of months.
It’s really hot and dry – Can I use my chiminea safely?
Yes, but just like all fires, when it’s this hot and dry there’s always a risk of a spark or ember starting a fire. If your garden, or the surroundings, are tinder-dry, you could run a hosepipe or sprinkler on your lawn for a while to add moisture and stop any sparks turning into fires. Or place your chim on a deck or patio, well away from dry plants and grass.
If you’re very close to or surrounded by dry vegetation, you might want to wait until the heatwave stops to fire up your chiminea. It’s a common sense thing. If you decide to go ahead make sure you put it out properly when you’ve finished, and never leave it unattended until it’s properly 100% out.
How close can I put my chiminea to the house?
Again it’s a matter of common sense. Most homes are stone or brick, which won’t catch fire or be damaged by the heat from a chiminea. But it’s wise to keep it at least a couple of metres away from wooden sheds, outbuildings and any other flammable structures, especially in a heatwave like this.
Which chiminea is best?
What chiminea is best? It’s entirely a taste thing. There are masses of different models and styles. To help make up your mind, maybe think about what fuel you’d prefer to use, and pick a chim that uses that fuel. You can also make your decision based on whether barbecuing and cooking is going to be your focus, or keeping the space around you warm is more important. Size-wise we always provide the dimensions, and it makes sense to buy a chiminea that’ll do the best job of heating your space. If you have a tiny, weeny space go for a smaller chim, and so on. It’s nice and logical.
How to stop a chiminea smoking?
A chiminea is a container for a fire. Like any fire it isn’t inherently smokey. But if you use damp fuel, any fire will generate smoke. Sometimes a fire will smoke a bit until it gets going, then it’ll stop. If there isn’t enough ventilation, smoke will fill the space, and because it contains carbon monoxide, it’s lethally dangerous to put a chim indoors. It’s just as unwise to stand it under something like a car port with open sides, really not worth the risk.
If you want to send any smoke safely away from your garden or your neighbours’ garden, we sell a special chimney extension designed to do exactly that. Oh, and our special chimlog fuel is designed to give off very little smoke at all. If you leave the lid on the chiminea it’ll smoke like mad, and it’s also dangerous, so don’t do it!
What wood for a chiminea?
Because the mouth of a chiminea tends to be quite small, you can’t use great big logs. And you never need to set a massive fire – a small one works perfectly to heat up the chim body so it radiates heat like an actual radiator. But small chunks of wood are great and we sell a variety of them, including heat logs, fire logs and specialist chim logs made from recycled wood. Charcoal is an excellent fuel that delivers a fast, hot flame and is ideal for steel and cast iron chims. It’s also perfect for cooking. Here’s a link to our chiminea fuels page.
When to use a chiminea lid?
The lid on a chiminea seals the neck of the chimney to stop water and dirt getting in. Leave it on when you’re not using your chiminea and you’ll have to spend less time cleaning it out before using it. Do you leave the lid on a chiminea when you light it? No, you should never cover the chimney when there’s a fire going. The mouth of the chim draws in fresh air to feed the fire, and the hot gases created need to safely escape through the chimney. Leave the lid on and your fire will smoke like mad. The extra retained heat could even damage the chiminea itself.
Can a chiminea be used indoors?
Definitely not! It’s far too dangerous and you risk being poisoned or killed by carbon monoxide. But on the other hand the gas only comes from burned wood and charcoal-based fuels. We also sell bioethanol, and some of our chims run beautifully on it, specially designed for use outdoors and indoors. All it gives off are water and CO2.
How about this, the Ellipse? What a stunning indoor heater! Just bear in mind it’s still a fire, and fires always deserve treating with the greatest respect and care, especially indoors.
We’ll answer more of your questions in a few months, once we’ve got a decent sized, fresh batch to work with. In the meantime, here’s to another few good months of glorious alfresco entertainment!