Having an outdoor fire on a cool night can allow you to enjoy the outdoors and provide for a cozy area to gather and relax. A Chiminea makes a wonderful outside fireplace that is both heat giving and attractive. They are also portable, making it possible to use them just about anywhere in your garden or patio. If you are thinking of purchasing a Chiminea and are wondering what you can burn in it, the answer is pretty simple and I will outline the main types of fuel available in this article.
If you are using a Chiminea for the first time and wish to use it for cooking then it’s probably best to start with charcoal. You can purchase charcoal briquettes which are self lighting and require little or no effort to get going. Simply light with a match or lighter and away you go. It’s best to leave the fire burning for about 20 minutes if you are planning to cook anything.
Since Chimineas were made to burn wood, then wood is an obvious choice. It also produces the least number of sparks which makes it a safe option. Generally, hardwoods are the best to use, and if you like aromatic wood there are several different kinds to choose from.
Pinon wood gives off a wonderful pine scent and also chases misquotes away, making enjoying your fire even more pleasant. Cedar, especially red cedar, also gives off a wonderful aroma as does apple wood. In addition, if you want a bit more aroma in your fire you can dry orange or apple slices and add them in with your logs. You can also try mature pine cones. The Mayan people of Central America used ‘Ocote’ in their clay Chiminea which serves two purposes: it is a natural firelighter and also gives off a pleasant aroma when lit due to its high resin content.
Eco logs are a cheap, simple alternative and are made from compressing saw dust to form a log shape. They usually come in a wax paper bag which you can light directly and let burn in your Chiminea without the need for any other firelighter. They can burn for up to 2 hours so are worth having around to get a fire started, you can then add other fuel later on.
Other Sources of Heat You Can Use in Your Chiminea
You can purchase other kinds of fuel for your Chiminea as well. Propane and gas inserts are designed so that you can burn gas in your cast iron or steel outdoor fireplace. You can then remove the insert when you want to use wood. Another alternative to wood is alcohol gel. This burns cleanly and only produces water as a byproduct, making it safe for use indoors. However, if you are going to use a Chiminea indoors please use common sense when choosing where to position it and do not attempt to cook or add any other fuel as this could lead to a house full of smoke and possible asphyxiation.
What not to burn in your Chiminea
You should never burn treated wood or wood pellets. Treated wood gives off toxic fumes which can affect your health and wood pellets, such as those used in a wood pellet indoor stove, leave a long ash which can quickly build up causing you to spend more time cleaning out ash than enjoying your fire. Also avoid green wood, as it will not produce much fire but will cause a lot of smoke. Dry wood is always best to burn when using any type of wood fire. Never use gasoline or petroleum based accelerants to start your fire. These can be extremely dangerous and could even cause an explosion when used in an enclosed fireplace.
Most manufacturers will supply instructions and basic maintenance information with your Chiminea so please refer to the booklet provided. If in any doubt contact the supplier or the manufacturer direct and ask them for advice. And on a final note, if using a clay Chiminea always make sure that you place sand or stones in the bottom of it before adding the fuel as clay is prone to cracking with sudden changes in temperature.