Chiminea Use & Care
(CLAY AND METAL)
USE AND CARE INSTRUCTIONS
Chimineas are for OUTDOOR USE ONLY and should NEVER be burned indoors!
Treat your chiminea with respect – do everything humanly possible to keep your chiminea from cracking! Improper burning and lack of maintenance can cause cracking and breakage. Because of the chiminea’s two-piece construction, the attachment between the stack and base is the main structural weak point. NEVER-EVER lift a chiminea by the stack! To lift, place one hand in the firebox and the other around the stack as low as possible is probably the best method. It is absolutely mandatory to apply a sealer to the OUTSIDE of your chiminea. The manufacturer recommended finishes are Future acrylic floor finish or a wood sealer, such as Thompson’s Water Seal. The sealer keeps moisture from seeping into the clay. Reseal the chiminea at least once a month during periods of use. Always place your chiminea on the metal stand that came with it, and never place it on an unprotected deck or other flammable surface. Don’t place your chiminea under low hanging branches or under a flammable structure. Sparks can escape the top of the stack.
PURCHASE A PROTECTIVE COVER
Sealing is not enough in very wet weather so using a waterproof cover is a must. Always cover your COOL chiminea if you expect rain. This is because any moisture it absorbs may turn to steam and cause cracking in the clay when heated. If the chiminea accidentally gets soaked, you can either move it to a covered location and let it dry naturally for a few days or light a few VERY SMALL fires to drive the moisture out. If it unexpectedly rains (cold rain could cause a very hot chiminea to crack) one suggestion is to put a large piece of sheet metal over the top of the chiminea and hold it in place with a heavy stone. Another suggestion is use a thin piece of slate for the same purpose…slate is heavier than sheet metal and will not blow off of wind comes up. Either will keep water out of the stack and may also keep water out of the firebox opening.
BEFORE STARTING A FIRE
Hot wood coals can cause the clay to crack. Protect the bottom of the chiminea by covering it with at least three inches of sand. You can also use a small metal wood rack (or two bricks on their sides about 6 inches apart) to raise the wood if your chiminea is large enough, but it is unnecessary.
SEASON YOUR CHIMINEA
This inside of a chiminea is virgin clay—highly absorbent and unprotected. Since virtually any sealer would burn off quickly (or even catch fire), the inside of the chiminea can be seal “naturally by the soot, ashes and creosote produced by wood burning. This both protects the clay but also seals hairline cracks. So your first burns must be small and controlled. Four to eight small fires should be completed before the clay is adequately sealed.
STARTING A FIRE
You will be amazed at the powerful draft your chiminea will generate. Once the first piece of newspaper begins to burn, the airflow through the firebox opening up the stack is very strong. So use this to your advantage when starting your fires. Ball up a few sheets of newspaper and place them near the font of the chiminea. Lean kindling against the paper. When you light the newspaper, it will in torn light the kindling quickly as the draft up the stack intensifies.
WHAT CAN BE BURNED?
The chiminea is primarily a wood-burning stove. Hard woods burn best and produce the least amount of sparks. DON ’T EVER USE ANY LIGHTING FLUID, ALCOHOL OR GASOLINE. There is a possible explosive danger in using any sort of accelerant in a closed stove.
A good size range for wood is from 9-14 inches in length and 4 inches in diameter.
DO NOT BURN painted or pressure treated wood. Pellets, which are a type of manufactured wood stove fuel, are not recommended for use. They tend to burn hot and if the quality is poor that will leave a lot of ash.
PINION PINE is probably the most widely used wood. It smells great and wards off mosquitoes.
DON ’T EVER USE WATER TO KILL A FIRE—THE TEMPERATURE SHOCK AND STEAM COULD BREAK THE CLAY . If it’s absolutely necessary to stop the fire quickly, use sand or a dry chemical fire extinguisher.
During the season, you need to remove the ashes periodically or as needed. This is important because ash builds and will shorten the life of the bottom grate. Have a little space between the ashes and grate will help the fire to be perkier as it can draw more air that way.
STORING YOUR CHIMINEA
The combination of freezing temperatures and moisture could potentially cause your chiminea to crack. First remove the sand. Remove the chiminea from its stand and place it inside. If you are storing it in a non-heated environment set your chiminea on a pallet or on a couple of pieces of wood so that air can circulate underneath. DO NOT STORE YOUR CHIMINEA ON ITS STAND.
If you live near the coast, keep in mind that the salt from beached driftwood will eat away at the cast iron and severely reduce your product’s durability.
Do not fully load the firebox with fuel, as it will produce a roaring fire that will be uncontrollable. If the fireplace is glowing red you are over firing it.
Always burn wood on top of the wood grate—never burn a fire without the grate in place. Leave a thin layer of ash on the base to protect the bottom.
OFF SEASON PREPARATION
When the season is over for you, it’s truly best to remove all ash before storing. Next, wire brush the interior walls of the firebox and chimney and vacuum the debris. Spray the interior walls with a high temperature paint to protect against off-season moisture. Quick tip: You can also place a foil pan filled with kitty litter (a moisture absorbing dry agent) inside the firebox to absorb any moisture while your fireplace is stored.