How do chimineas compare to fire pits?
A fire pit is an open burning bowl, whereas a chiminea is built with a chimney. The outdoor fireplace products on the market that have mesh wrap around, multi openings or bowl designed burn barrels should be considered fire pits. There are many fire pits incorrectly advertised as chimineas, but they are not chimineas. A chiminea will have a flue or chimney that drafts properly much like an indoor fireplace. The drafting on a chiminea naturally brings fresh air into the fire and directs smoke up, away from guests.
Fire pits have a tendency to be hard to light and smoke and smolder due to not having a neck or flue for proper drafting. Fire pits also have safety concerns regarding the possibility of a sudden gust of wind blowing embers into dry grass, deck, or a neighbors property. The Blue Rooster chimineas are designed similar to the traditional Spanish fireplaces that have been made for over 400 years. Traditional design chimineas will get used more often than fire pits due to easy lighting and ability to be lit in windy conditions. Anyone who has experienced burning in a chiminea and compared it to a fire pit will choose a chiminea as the superior design.
|Drafting||Chimney provides natural drafting.||No drafting.|
|Burning||Burns clean and hot.||Excess smoke and soot.|
|Rain||Cap keeps rain out.||Fills with water, ash soup.|
|Wind||Protects fire from wind gusts.||Ash and sparks fly.|
|Smoke||Chimney directs above head level.||Guests exposed to smoke.|
|Safety||Enclosed fire with mouth screen and spark arrestor.||Open burning.|
|Legal||Cooking and burning device, Class 1 Enclosed.||Class 2 Open Burning|
|Maintenance||Occasional painting.||Buy a new one.|
|Weight||Sturdy solid design.||A small child can flip one.|
|Firing||Drafting feeds fresh air, easy fire building.||See Boy Scout Manual.|
|Ash Cleanout||Small amount of ash from proper drafting, burns efficient and clean.||Ash and charcoal continuous buildup.|
Do you recommend clay or metal chimineas?
A cast iron or cast aluminum chiminea is always going to be a better investment that will last many years after a clay one falls apart. The majority of clay fireplaces have a life span of less than a year before needing to be replaced. We recommend metal chimineas to anyone considering purchasing a chiminea.
Clay chiminea quality is based on a combination of many factors; using the right mixtures of clay, proper mixing of clay, firing techniques, using fresh molds, assembly of molded clay and paint applications – all of which play a part in providing a high quality, consistent clay product. When buying a clay chiminea there is no way to know if all these factors have been achieved.
Clay chimineas are inexpensive because they are made of burnt dirt. Here is a good test: Put a piece of fired clay in a bucket of water and in a day or two you have mud. Enough said.
Do your chimineas last?
With proper use and maintenance our cast iron and cast aluminum chimineas will last for many years. We believe there are too many products on the market today that are designed for a throw-away society. Mass marketed chiminea designs and fire pits do not have the durability or longevity of a Blue Rooster chiminea.Many times outdoor fireplaces look similar but are not the same material, weight or size. With over 25 years of experience The Blue Rooster Company provides what we believe to be the best outdoor fireplaces on the market today.
Should I place something under my chiminea?
We recommend using a Deck Protector hearth pad to protect the surface of your deck or patio when using a chiminea. A chiminea does not direct much heat downward, but the occasional ember or ash will happen with any fire. A flexible Deck Protector is easily moved with your chiminea for patio arrangements and allows for easy clean up after a fire.
Patio block is a good material for a more permanent pad. It comes in 18x18x1 cement blocks and is available at any local outdoor garden store. Patio block is available in different shapes colors and sizes so you can find something to fit your needs. Four 18x18x1 patio blocks make a three foot hearth pad that works great to protect your surface from an ember or stray ash. It also provides an area for extra firewood and hotdog/marshmallow sticks.
If you plan on moving your chiminea frequently, flexible deck protectors, hearth pads or grill mats are lightweight and easily movable. If you want a permanent hearth pad then use cement patio blocks, sometimes called pavers, available at any local home store.
Are metal outdoor fireplaces dangerous?
There are some companies that claim that because of the heating qualities of metal, cast iron and aluminum chimineas could be dangerous. A material will heat to the temperature applied no matter if it is clay or metal. If there was an inherent danger then we would all have outdoor gas grills made of clay. As far as safety concerns, ask the guy in Jacksonville, Florida, who had the bottom fall out of his clay chiminea and burn down his house, which chiminea he would buy. We strongly recommend Cast Iron or Cast Aluminum chimineas to anyone.
What color chiminea is the best?
Most wood burning chiminea buyers stick with the charcoal color since the soot and ash buildup turns a colored chiminea charcoal. The effects of sun and weather will also wear down the factory paint over time and high temperature firings eventually darken colored chimineas. BBQ spray paint is a quick fix for regular maintenance of cast iron, steel and cast aluminum parts.
The Blue Rooster chimineas all start with 3 layers of high temp charcoal (black) fireplace paint. The color finishes are then applied to create a patina finish. High temp spray paint is available at your local home store or hardware store in a variety of colors. High temp spray paint can be applied in just a few minutes and will keep your chiminea looking brand new.
Cast Aluminum chimineas require much less maintenance than Cast Iron. Cast Iron Chimineas need to be painted regularly to keep rust from forming. The inside will build up a protective coating from the natural products in the wood and does not need to be coated. Anyone purchasing a Cast Iron chiminea will need to paint it regularly to keep it in good condition.
Cast aluminum chiminea bodies do not rust but they will occasionally need paint. The mouth screens on Cast Iron chimineas are made of steel and will require paint first, use a charcoal barbecue paint on the mouth screen since it will be blackened by the fire soot already. When rust starts to form on the mouth screen of a colored chiminea, we find it is best to remove the entire mouth screen and paint with a high temp black BBQ paint.
Charcoal chimineas match the high temp black BBQ paint and can be painted in place. A well maintained cast aluminum or cast iron chiminea will last for many years.
Here is a short video on chiminea maintenance.
Do you make 360° open or multi opening chimineas?
No. The reason is that 90% of the time there is some sort of wind movement outside and nobody likes to sit in the smoke. Also, a large gust of wind can blow ashes and sparks through a multi opening chiminea and cause a lot of problems. 360° openings do not burn as efficiently causing a lot of smoke and smoldering. For safety concerns and efficient burning, single opening chimineas are preferred in any residential or recreational setting.
How do I spot a cheap chiminea?
Cheap or inferior products are normally listed without weights. There are a lot of sheet steel chimineas on the market. They won’t last much longer than a clay chiminea, but the mass market loves them because of the huge markups, and you have to replace them every year or two. Also, look for tin rain caps that extend past the neck. They rust out right away and inflate the actual height. If you have any questions about an outdoor fireplace, fire pit, or chiminea, please give us a call.