Chiminea Outdoor Fireplaces
A chiminea style outdoor fireplace has a large, slightly raised firebox and a short smoke stack or chimney that is used to draw the smoke away by creating a draft. The firebox itself is usually ball-shaped, and the chimney is about one to one and a half times the height of the firebox.
A chiminea outdoor fireplace has several advantages. The smoke stack makes the chiminea fireplace more efficient than fire pits and other outdoor fireplaces. It draws air in at the firebox level and drafts it up the chimney into the open air. This creates excellent air flow, feeding the fire so it burns hot and clean. That means a chiminea outdoor fireplace will produce less smoke.
What smoke this fireplace does produce is also dispersed more effectively. A fire pit or other outdoor fireplace can create smoke that hovers at head level. You end up breathing it in while your eyes start to water. The chiminea's smoke stack helps send its smoke-which as mentioned is less smoke than a fire pit-safely into the atmosphere without disturbing you or your guests.
The ball-shaped firebox gives the chiminea two more advantages-size and safety. The firebox of most chimineas is plenty large to accommodate a lot of wood and to get a good fire going just as hot as you want it to be. But if you're going to have a large, hot fire in the backyard, you want to make sure that it is safe. It's very easy to knock some outdoor fire pits over. But the chiminea sits low to the ground and is heavy with a low center of gravity. That makes it harder to knock over in the first place. If you do knock it over, the firebox has only one opening in the front. It won't be spilling ash and flaming wood in all directions. It likely won't spill anything out at all.
Chiminea outdoor fireplaces can be made from one of the following four materials-clay, cast iron, copper, and cast aluminum.
The clay chiminea looks nice, but it does present a potential safety problem. It will weaken with extended use and can eventually fall apart without warning. The bottom can literally drop out. So you don't want to keep your clay chiminea on a wooden deck or anywhere else that can be damage. A close fitting mouth screen and a spark arrestor can also help improve safety.
Cast iron chimineas are solid and can stand a lot of abuse. Since they are so heavy, you should only get one if you're sure you won't want to move it often. You also need to be aware that they can stain whatever surface they're sitting on. But these fireplaces can last for years without rusting if you occasionally paint them with high temperature stove paint.
Copper chimineas look great and are very safe. But don't expect them to keep that sheen. They'll look great later by developing a nice green patina. The cast iron parts will require a bit of maintenance. Check the copper chiminea to see what kind of supports it has. Cast iron supports can stain the area they rest on.
Cast aluminum may be the best bet. It won't rust and it's very low maintenance. It doesn't stain and can be easily move. A cast aluminum chiminea makes a great portable outdoor fireplace that's safe to use and easy to store.
Outdoor chimineas are still kind of a niche product. Moreover, they take up a lot of space in a showroom or retail location. Consequently, most retailers will not feature an extensive selection of these items. The best way to find a good selection for these items seems to be online. Here are a few stores that carry a wide variety of chimineas.
Blue Rooster: Maker of unique metal and clay chimineas. This company offers good selection and has several stylistic designs and online ordering.
Chimineas Inc: online retailer offers a decent selection of metal and clay chimineas, fire pits, and fire rings.