If you’re lucky enough to have a garden or outdoor area in your home, it’s only natural to want to make the most of it. While the idea of bundling up under warm, fuzzy blankets may seem appealing, there’s a bit more to staying warm outside during the colder winter months.
So how can you keep yourself warm in your outside space during the winter? Fire pits are a great option, but one of the more aesthetically pleasing options is a chiminea.
These gadgets can help add a sophisticated atmosphere to your garden. They can also add an interesting focal point. But most importantly, do chimineas keep you warm in winter?
Do chimineas keep you warm in winter?
Yes, chimineas do keep you warm in winter! These clever contraptions can chuck out a deceptive amount of heat to keep you nice and toasty while you enjoy the fresh winter air.
A chiminea can be a much nicer addition to your garden than a firepit, too. That’s because the fire is encased in the belly of the chiminea, with the chimney spout actively keeping the smoke from going everywhere.
Instead of pouring from the fire pit to stink up your clothes, the smoke will billow up the chimney and into the open air. You can add fuel into the bottom section, and the chiminea will draw in extra air to keep the fire burning. This gives you a cleaner fire to enjoy, too!
It’s important to try and have the back of the chiminea facing the breeze if you can, as this can keep the fire from going out. This can be tricky as it’s not always easy to predict which direction the wind is coming from.
You should also be aware that not all chimineas are able to be left outside during the winter months. This is particularly true of clay chimineas. If you want to use your chiminea during the winter months, or indeed throughout the year, you should opt for a metal chiminea.
This will be less likely to encounter weather related damage.
Can you leave a chiminea outside during winter?
You shouldn’t leave a chiminea outside during the winter, no. Especially if you’ve got a clay chiminea! This is because the clay is porous, and will absorb any moisture that’s in the air.
If you live in a part of the world that suffers from a lot of snow, you will need to take steps to protect your clay chiminea from the elements.
Another thing to bear in mind is that clay chimineas can go into shock if exposed to sudden changes in temperature, such as lighting a fire in it during the cold winter months. This can cause the clay to crack, making the chiminea unusable.
This means that you can’t really use clay chimineas during the winter, as they need to be stored away in your garage or a similar dry area.
If you can’t store your chiminea away during the winter months, you should ensure that you keep it covered. This should help to protect it from any unwanted moisture. Metal chimineas will need to be covered when not in use, too, as they are likely to rust otherwise.
The good news is that metal chimineas aren’t likely to break if you want to use them during the winter months. Some models are even designed to be frost proof so you won’t have to move them indoors.
If you’re worried about inducing thermal shock in your chiminea during the winter months, you can gradually build up the fire over a period of time so that it won’t be exposed to sudden heat all at once.
Is a chiminea safer than a fire pit?
Both chimineas and fire pits have benefits and downsides. On the whole, chimineas are much safer than fire pits. Fire pits are basically a bowl with exposed flames. Chimineas encase the flames, and instead encourage any smoke or wayward flames to go up the chimney spout.
However, the flames can only be viewed from the front of the chiminea. So if you didn’t know the chiminea was lit, this could be a hazard if, for example, a child approached it from behind and put their hand on it. The chiminea will of course be hot to the touch when it’s lit, too. But so will a fire pit!
A chiminea is also pretty much protected from the wind, so you won’t have to worry about the flames being suddenly blown towards you while you sit near it.
If you’re concerned about animals or children getting hurt because of open flames, then a chiminea will be the better option when it comes to choosing between a chiminea and a fire pit.
Are chimineas warmer than fire pits?
This will entirely depend on where you sit in relation to the chiminea. Because you can only see the fire through the opening, this is where most of the heat can be felt. A fire pit is one large exposed fire, so will be better for those who want to hold a larger gathering.
However, if you’re looking for a way of keeping your garden warm for just you and one or two loved ones, a chiminea should be the perfect fit. This will still be able to chuck out a decent amount of heat to keep you warm throughout the year.
What is the point of a chiminea?
Chimineas were originally invented in Spain and Mexico during the 1600s to help cook classic dishes. They were used for baking bread and other classic Mexican and Spanish dishes, but in recent years have been more widely used in outdoor settings for ambiance and to keep people warm.
This is because of their excellent heating properties. Clay chimineas are the more traditional design, however, aluminum and cast iron chimineas have been rising in popularity during recent years because they are less likely to suffer weather damage.
What do you burn in a chiminea?
What’s really great about chimineas is that they are very versatile in terms of the fuel you can use in them. You can use charcoal, coal, wood, or fire briquettes. So you can easily choose the fuel that best suits your preferences.
However, you should try and avoid using chemical firelighters, gasoline, or flammable oils to try and get your fire started. This is because it can cause an unruly inferno which can damage your chiminea. It could also harm anyone who’s sat nearby your chiminea.
Your best bet will be to opt for wood or charcoal. Remember to add a layer of sand to the base of your chiminea before you light a fire.
Use newspaper to get your fire going, then add kindling to get the fire properly lit. Once the kindling has started to flame, you can then add a little fuel like wood to get your fire going properly. You can then gradually add more fuel as needed to keep your chiminea going.
Once you’ve finished using your chiminea, you should let the fire die down to ash. It’s important to remember to clean this out once it has been left to go cold so that your chiminea will be ready to use the next time you need it.
Do you need to put sand in a chiminea?
If you have a traditional clay chiminea, there are a few extra steps you will need to take before you can safely light your fire.
You will need to add a layer of sand to the bottom of your chiminea so that the flames don’t come into direct contact with the clay there. If you don’t take this precaution before you first light a fire in your cast iron chiminea, it could cause the clay to crack.
You can also add a light layer of sand to your cast aluminum or cast iron chiminea too if you want to err on the side of caution.
You will also need to properly maintain your chiminea over time. This will mean giving it the occasional lick of paint where applicable if there are areas which have peeled off because of heat. You will also need to remove the sand and ash from its belly, give it a clean, then add a fresh layer of sand.
If you don’t have any sand to hand, you can also use gravel or pumice stone in its place. This should help to protect the base of your chiminea from the heat. Your protective layer of sand or gravel will need to be at least 5cm thick so that the base is protected from the hottest part of the fire.
How do I stop my clay chiminea from cracking?
One of the best ways to prevent your clay chiminea from cracking is to cure or season it before you use it properly. You can do this by lighting a small fire in the chiminea. This helps the chiminea to endure the changes in heat that can occur each time you use it.
Remember to fill the base of your chiminea with a layer of sand before you do so much as strike a match. Next, you can light a small fire using just newspaper and kindling.
You should ensure that this fire is in the middle of the chiminea so that the flames won’t come into too much contact with the clay. Allow this fire to go out on its own. This should take around 5 minutes or so.
Now you will need to allow the chiminea to cool. This might take a while, as the clay retains heat well and exudes heat for long periods of time. Remove the ash from the chiminea, then repeat this process again, lighting gradually larger fires.
The best seasoning results will be achieved after completing this process between 5 and 6 times. You should never build a large bonfire in your chiminea as this could damage it.
You should always allow fires to extinguish naturally. Never douse them with water or any other coolant, as this can damage the clay of your chiminea.
Clay absorbs moisture, which can undo all the good work of your seasoning and make it more likely to crack over time. You should also keep your chiminea covered when it’s not in use.
So there you have it! You now know that chimineas can keep you warm during winter. However, if you want a chiminea that can be used throughout the year, you’re better off opting for a metal chiminea.
This is because clay chimineas can go into thermal shock if exposed to a sudden change in temperature, such as lighting a fire during the cold winter months. You will also need to properly maintain your chiminea to ensure that it lasts you for many years to come.