Most Chimneas don’t come with decent instructions - our thanks to John Ansart of Chimineas.com for the following guidelines.
Chimeneas and cast iron chimeneas are definitely a great addition to your patio or deck. As chimeneas are becoming more common in yards around the US and the world it is becoming more and more important for us to reiterate the need to use caution and common sense when using your chimenea. Cast iron chimeneas are a safe and fun way to enjoy a cool evening outdoors however it is very important that you take a minute to read our safety instructions before using your chiminea.
Cast Iron Chiminea Use:
Before you purchase your Chiminea be sure and consult your local fire Marshall. Cast iron chimeneas require a little less care than their brother the clay chimenea however they require more caution. When your new chimenea arrives at your door please follow these steps to insure a safe and fun cast iron chimenea experience. Chimeneas are for OUTDOOR USE ONLY and should NEVER be burned indoors!
When assembling your new chimenea be sure to read all of the assembly instructions. It’s a good idea to assemble your new chimenea in or around the area you will be using it. Cast iron chimeneas are very heavy and the less you have to move it the better. Assemble your chimenea making sure to fasten all bolts and screws securely.
Selecting the area:
Select a firm, level, immovable surface for your chimenea. If your chimenea will be on your deck be sure to place your cast iron chimenea on a fireproof base. Never place your cast iron chimenea right on the deck.
Remember. ALL chimeneas are for OUTDOOR USE ONLY! Never have a fire in your chimenea indoors or anywhere there is an overhang! Be sure to keep you’re cast iron chimenea away from your house, railing or anything else that could potentially catch fire. Be sure the area above your cast iron chimenea is free of tree limbs, overhangs or anything else that could potentially catch fire Now that your chimenea is positioned it’s time to fire it up!
If you plan on cooking in your chimenea it is a good idea to have a few fires first. Just like a grill the food won’t taste as good if the chiminea hasn’t been “cured” with a few fires. Never use gasoline or other petroleum based accelerants to get the fire going! Fat wood or our fire starter works best! Never touch your chimenea while it is burning or even immediately after the fire is out. The iron will hold the heat and definitely cause serious burns if you’re not cautious. Keep children and pets a safe distance away from the chimenea.
What should I burn?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions. There are several types of woods that work great in a Chiminea and a few that are absolutely detrimental to your Chiminea and/or your health. A good size range for Chiminea wood is from 9-14 inches in length and 4 inches in diameter. This size may vary depending on the size of the Chiminea mouth.
Do Not Burn:
Pressure treated wood emits toxic gasses when burned. A good rule of thumb is that if it has a greenish tint it may be pressure treated. If you are not sure DON’T burn it!
Types of wood to burn:
There are several types of wood that many people love to burn however extra caution is needed.
Eco Logs is hands down the BEST wood to use. This product is manufactured from the dust of hardwood floor manufacturing companies and is compressed into logs at 80,000 PSI. These logs come in packs of 8 and are very inexpensive but burn much longer and with much larger flames than some of the fake logs you see in the supermarket or local home center. There is no paraffin used to hold the logs together so they burn slower and better!
Red Cedar has a nice aroma and keeps the mosquitos away however it has a tendency to “pop” therefore be sure and have a spark arrestor in or on the neck and a screen over the mouth.
Mesquite is an excellent cooking wood for those with grill chimineas but it burns very hot. Be sure and use only a few pieces at a time. Although mesquite is noted for its ability to thrive in near drought conditions, this culinary wood is best known for its qualities in smoking meat. Chefs, regardless of culture or location, hail mesquite as the only option for smoking brisket. For Chiminea grill users mesquite gives steaks an incredible flavor. *Remember Mesquite burns hot so limit the number of pieces.
Scrap lumber is a popular fuel for chimineas however dry pieces of pine and spruce 2"x4"s, 2"x6"s etc burn fast and hot. This type of wood can be easily split into small kindling.
Green or wet wood causes a lot of smoke, which may annoy neighbors.
Pinion Pine both smells great and wards off mosquitoes. This makes it probably the most widely used Chiminea wood.
Apple is harder to come by but it is an excellent Chiminea wood. Apple has a wonderful aroma.
Alligator Juniper - New Mexico Alligator Juniper - This traditional firewood will provide a unique aroma in your fireplace, chiminea, or stove.
Hickory - Who doesn’t love the traditional taste of a tender ham smoked with some good old-fashioned Hickory? Try using Hickory in a Chiminea grill for some great tasting burgers.
Just about any fireplace wood can also be used in a Chiminea. Be sure it is seasoned for a more pleasurable experience.
The great thing about cast iron chimeneas is that you will not have much maintenance. If you have a spark arrestor at the top it is a good idea to clean it before or after each fire. Covering your chimenea is not mandatory however some people like to keep the rain water out to help prevent rusting.
Storing your Chiminea:
Cast iron chimeneas are durable enough to handle just about any weather however cast iron can and does rust if the paint begins to ware off. It is a good idea to cover your chimenea when you are finished with it for the season.
General safety tips:
Although most people are conscientious we always provide a few “common sense” tips just to be on the safe side.
-Always have a fire extinguisher handy when burning in your Chiminea.
-Be aware of children and pets.
-Never leave your fire unattended.
-Do not touch the outside of your Chiminea while it is in use.
-Do not extinguish your Chiminea fire with water.
We hope that the preceding information will help you to enjoy your cast iron chimenea to its fullest!
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