The Blue Rooster Company Chiminea, "A Better Outdoor Fireplace".
Original heavy duty chiminea outdoor fireplace designs of solid cast aluminum alloy construction that are built to last.
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#1 All outdoor fireplaces are not the same.
Before purchasing a chiminea or outdoor fireplace, there are many factors to consider. Keep in mind that you are buying a "fire place" and the safety for your family, your property, and possibly your neighbors will depend on it.
#2 The size and style does matter.
When comparing chimineas and other outdoor fireplaces, look closely at the fire area size before height. A smaller firebox will make wood buying or cutting more complicated. For a small fireplace wood will have to be cut special or ordered from a wood supplier in smaller pieces at a higher price.
Look for a large firebox and stay away from tall thin outdoor fireplaces. Anything over 54" is excessive and a small burning firebox area will cost more in the long run. Just because a chiminea is large doesn't mean the fire has to be. If you want a smaller fire use less wood.
Fire pit designs without smoke stacks do not burn as clean or efficient as a good chiminea design. The drafting action of a traditional chimenea draws fresh air into the fire and out the neck making them very efficient burners. Fire pits will smolder and smoke more then traditional chiminea designs since the fire pit design does not provide efficient airflow.
Excess smoke from a fire pit can also linger at head level making a fire uncomfortable for you and annoying to your neighbors. An efficient burning chiminea design will only have a bit of smoke at the beginning and end of your fire, much like a well designed "in house" fireplace.
#3 The amount of maintenance needs to be considered.
Chain store and mass marketed fireplaces made out of copper, sheet steel, or clay, don't provide the safety or longevity of cast iron or cast aluminum. Below is a material list of currently manufactured outdoor fireplaces. If we missed one your considering for purchase, give us a call. The Blue Rooster Company has owned, burned, and studied about every type of outdoor fireplace, so if you find a new one let us know.
Clay chimineas can be babied, "Feed slowly, keep warm and dry.". But if you want a fireplace that is going to be safer and last longer, any other material on the market is a better investment. See Tip #6 for "Safety concerns with clay chimineas.".
Many home and garden outlets carry Sheet Metal outdoor fireplaces at a bargain cost. Cheap sheet metal fire pits are pretty much disposable items. Once they rust through their usefulness is gone. Be sure to check the gauge or thickness of the metal. Thin, mass marketed fireplaces may also melt if not thick enough. Enamel finishes disappear and exposed sheet metal will rust out quickly.
In some instances the body is cast iron but the neck or chimney is sheet steel. Eventually, you will be left with a cast iron fireplace body without a neck. Make sure the company carries replacement parts and find out the costs. If you will need to buy a new neck or other replacement parts frequently it's probably better to look elsewhere.
Cast Iron will rust if not maintained properly. The more cast iron you have to work with the longer it will last. Cast iron chimineas may also stain any surface the on which it is standing on if not maintained, so proper placement should be considered. If you decide to buy a cast iron chiminea make sure it is heavy and be prepared to maintain it.
Cast Iron may need a bit of maintenance but will last for years if looked after. Occasional painting with high temperature stove paint will halt rusting. Also, cast iron is extremely heavy and will withstand a lot of abuse. The Blue Rooster recommends cast iron chimineas for campground owners and homeowners that intend to have their chiminea in a permanent location, that will be constantly used or used without supervision. 200 pound chimineas tend not to "walk away".
Copper looks great out of the box and is a very safe material used for years in cooking utensils. Watch out for cast iron supports or bases that can rust shortly and stain your patio. Also, don't expect that shiny new copper fireplace to look like that after a fire or two. Green and rusty is usually the norm after its been used. If you don't mind the look of it, make sure it has a cover or rain lid and prepare to maintain the cast iron parts.
Some companies will drill holes in the bottom of the copper fire pits to let water (and ash) out when it rains so placement is important. Fire pits without drains can fill with water and make a mess. If you do choose a copper fire pit or any fire pit for that matter, be sure it has a cover. Water and wind can make a mess of your ashes and/or embers.
If low maintenance and lifespan are priorities, Cast Aluminum is the best investment for your money. Aluminum chimineas are cast from the same molds as cast iron and look identical to cast iron. A heavy duty Cast Aluminum outdoor fireplace will not warp and has a melting temp only a few hundred degrees lower then cast iron.
Cast aluminum alloy will not rust and is much lighter so it can be easily moved. Like a gas grill, cast aluminum has very little maintenance. See tip #5 for more information on cast aluminum.
#4 Compare the weight of a fireplace to others of the same material.
To compare chimineas and other outdoor fireplaces be sure to check the weight. Many outdoor fireplaces are manufactured by weight, so you should buy by weight. When comparing chimineas compare a copper model to a copper model, cast iron to cast iron model, cast aluminum to cast aluminum and so on.
The Blue Rooster's Grape style Cast Iron Chiminea weighs 178 pounds and is similarly priced to chimineas on the market weighing 120 pounds. The Blue Rooster's Cast Iron Venetian Style chiminea is a whopping 197 lbs. If your planning to buy a Cast Iron chiminea, go big or don't go at all. All of our models are also available in Cast Aluminum.
#5 The benefits of a Cast Aluminum chiminea.
Cast aluminum is the best product for the typical outdoor enthusiast . Compared to a cast iron chiminea, a cast aluminum chiminea will not rust, is very low maintenance, can be easily moved during a wind change or patio re-arrangement. A cast aluminum chiminea will not stain your deck or patio. The Blue Rooster Company aluminum chimineas are cast from the same molds as our cast iron Chimineas, side by side they look and radiate heat identically.
Cast Aluminum makes a great portable outdoor fireplace that is light weight and designed with safety in mind. See our Cast Aluminum Grape Style for a good example. Cast Aluminum chimineas are easily transported to a lake home or a neighbors and can be easily stored in the winter time in Northern areas. Storage is only recommended to prevent damage or theft. Both Cast Iron and Cast Aluminum chimineas are designed for year around use in any climate.
Cast Aluminum is the most dependable and longest lasting material used in outdoor fireplace design. The Blue Rooster Company has owned, burned, and studied about every type of chiminea manufacturing material available and cast aluminum has consistently been the best product.
#6 Safety concerns with clay chimineas.
There are websites that claim there is increased danger in using a metal chiminea versus a clay chiminea. From our experience you can get burned by a hot clay chiminea just as fast as a hot metal chiminea. If there was an inherent danger to using a metal outdoor fireplace, then all gas grills would be made of clay. If you are the type of person prone to sticking your fingers on hot items, maybe a garden fountain would be better for you then an outdoor fireplace.
The main problem with clay is that when it does fail, (fall apart) it can happen without warning. If the bottom falls out while you're having a fire, it can be a real mess. If you are using a clay fireplace on a wood deck or other surface that can be damaged, have it sitting on a cement, tile, or other type of protective base.
If you do decide to buy a clay outdoor fireplace, make sure to take extra safety precautions. A close fitting mouth screen and spark arrestor insert may be extra, but are well worth the investment. Clay chimineas are usually fairly cheap, but the money saved usually is spent on add-ons or a new chiminea when the old clay one fails. A good cast iron or cast aluminum fireplace will always last longer then clay.
No matter how good a clay fireplace is built, if you put a piece of a clay chiminea in a bucket of water, in a few days you will have mud. The bottom line is that clay chimineas are just large clay pots made of burnt dirt and clay pots should be used for flowers, not fire.
#7 360° Surround View Fireplaces and Raised Fire pits.
Surround 360° view fireplaces and fire pits are not chimineas. Most surround view outdoor fireplaces are built of very light materials that if tipped over will send fire, embers and ash everywhere. For safety reasons traditional chimineas are built with only one opening. Even if a traditional chiminea gets knocked over, the ash and embers will be contained. Since the majority of weight is in the bottom of a traditional chiminea, it is very hard to tip one over. If you are concerned that the people behind a chiminea will not see the fire, visualize a campfire with a small breeze, no one wants to sit in the smoke anyway.
Chimineas were originally designed as cooking devices and are used legally throughout the United States and other countries as such. Using a fire pit or surround fireplace is like building a ring of rocks on your deck or patio and is not legal in many areas.
Anyone who has experienced an outdoor fire knows that a gust of wind will blow embers and sparks around. An open fireplace may allow these sparks and embers to damage your deck or other property and possibly that of your neighbors. A good chiminea will protect the fire and draft smoke out the top for a safer and more pleasurable experience.
If you do buy a raised fire pit be sure it comes with a lid. Some manufactures drill small holes in the bottoms to let rain water drain out. If you don't want fireplace ash all over your patio, be sure to have it covered. A well designed traditional chiminea will come with a lid to place over the stack when not in use to keep the rain out.
#8 What to burn in an outdoor fireplace.
Hard woods are the primary fuel for outdoor fireplace enthusiasts. Other sources are manufactured fire logs, propane, natural gas and gel inserts. Pinon wood, pronounced "pin-yon", is commonly recommended by chiminea owners for it's pleasant "pine aroma". It also helps to repel mosquitoes and other flying insects. In the Southwest, piñon is a common fireplace and stove wood. It keeps an active flame, produces good heat, and burns well with other woods.
You can also add pine cones, apple wood, or other exotics if you would like a more aromatic experience. Manufactured fire logs are a quick way to get a fire going but make terrible marshmallows (toxic s'mores anyone?). The Blue Rooster Company chimineas are all rated for manufactured fire logs.
Some outdoor fireplaces come with propane or natural gas inserts and provide a trouble free fire source. The Blue Rooster can convert any of our chimineas for natural gas or propane. If you are ordering a chiminea for natural gas or propane conversion we will make any modifications needed and supply a gas fire log kit with natural looking ceramic logs to go along with your new outdoor fireplace.
Gel inserts are also available in insert kits. They are operate by lighting a canned burning insert like the ones under serving trays, but much larger. Some are even marketed for indoor use, check with the manufacture before using any indoor fire source.
Although wood may be a bit more work then lighting a propane insert, the aroma of a campfire and the cooking benefits make wood the number one fuel source. If you to use firewood in your fireplace, a fatwood stick is a quick way to get a fire going. Once the neck is heated the draft will start a fire quickly. A good hardwood such as oak creates the best fire. You can ask your local lumber yard or look in the yellow pages for a good wood supplier in your area.
#9 Safety First
When using any outdoor fireplace make sure safety is your #1 priority. Have a fire extinguisher, a bucket of water or other water source available. Never leave a fire unattended and know how to use your fire safety equipment.
Don't sacrifice safety in order to save a few dollars on a bargain rate fire extinguisher or a cheap outdoor fireplace. Remember you are dealing with fire. Anytime a fire is lit there is a potential to cause damage to your self, friends, family, your property or your neighbors. When starting any controlled fire, safety is the number one concern.
An outdoor fireplace will enhance your life. At the end of the day a nice toasty fire and a good glass of wine will do wonders for your state of mind. Sharing stories around the fire has brought families and friends together for millennia. A Blue Rooster Chiminea may not replace your TV, but it's a good start.
If you would like to find out more about chimineas, please see the frequently asked questions page or give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you.
Call Toll Free 1-800-303-4312 or Direct 1-320-564-3597.
Our chiminea outdoor fireplace products may be duplicated, but our quality and service can't. If you see our chiminea designs elsewhere they are not Blue Rooster Originals unless stated. When you call us, you can talk to someone that knows our products and can answer your questions. You can also check our FAQS area in our online catalog.
For reference, "chiminea" is an american word derived from the spanish word "chimenea" meaning fireplace. "Chiminea" refers to a single opening moveable outdoor fireplace design with a stack or chimney to draft air into a fire and smoke to be drawn out the top of the stack.
The Blue Rooster Company
Toll Free: 1-800-303-4312 Direct: 1-320-564-3597