Chimeneas – A Hot Trend

Safety & Care Tips

In the southwestern parts of the United States and in Southern California, there is a pleasant addition to outdoor living. It’s the chimenea, a potbellied hand-made clay mini-fireplace. The chimenea allows you to entertain on the patio even when it’s a bit chilly outside. Even when not needed for warmth, the chimenea adds an interesting touch to the ambiance.

Here are some common-sense safety rules to let you enjoy your chimenea:
1. Use it only outdoors.
2. Never place it under eaves or under a tree.
3. Always use the iron stand and place it on a non-combustible surface. Do not use it on a wooden deck.
4. Keep a three-foot clearance from anything flammable around the unit.
5. Do not touch or move the unit while the fire is burning.
6. Do not use fire logs, charcoal briquettes or any kind of fire starter liquid.
7. Keep the kids away. Remember that the entire unit gets hot, not just the fire box.
8. Never leave the burning unit unattended.

Here are some care tips to keep your chimenea from cracking and give you many added season of enjoyment!

1. Before using, put in about a three inch deep layer of small rocks or gravel in the bottom of the fire box. This insulates the fire from the clay. Do not use sand or earth.
2. Never fire up the unit when it is wet or even damp. This is a common cause of cracking.
3. Use only twigs to start with, allowing the unit to heat slowly to avoid cracking. Once warm, gradually add more small branches.
4. Never build a fire big enough for flames to come out the top or front.
5. Never douse the fire with water. Just let it burn out naturally.
6. Avoid getting the unit wet during freezing weather. This can cause cracking.

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