Initially meant for indoors cooking and to provide heat, chimineas are now a common outdoor element. But they are not just decorative. They have practical use as well. People typically place their chimineas on patios or in garden spaces. But is it safe to put a chiminea on a wooden deck?
Putting a chiminea on a wooden deck requires extra care. Chimineas reach high temperatures when in use. Sparks and ashes that fly out from it may start a fire. Before you put your chiminea on a wooden deck, make sure you know how to do so safely.
When choosing a location for your chiminea, you want to do so as safely as possible. This article will tell you all you need to know about putting a chiminea on a wooden deck. We will also share some other general tips for safely using a chiminea.
The Safety of Putting A Chiminea On A Wooden Deck
Let’s begin by looking into some of the principal risks of putting a chiminea on a wooden deck. Then we can discuss some of the best ways to minimize those risks.
Since wood is a flammable material, there is always a level of danger when you have fire nearby. Anything that emits a high heat level, like a chiminea, poses a threat when close to flammable materials.
As you use a chiminea, ashes and sparks could fly out of it. Those sparks and embers could cause your wooden deck to catch fire, not to mention your home. They can also damage your deck by leaving burn marks on the wood and leave it looking sooty.
There are ways to reduce the risk of damaging your wooden deck or starting a fire. Place the chimenea on a base that’s constructed of pavers, bricks, or other fire-resistant material as these won’t act as heat conductors to a flammable surface like wood. That reduces the likelihood that your wooden deck will reach the temperature at which it catches fire.
Specially made fire pit mats are available in the market. You can place them underneath your chiminea to give your deck better protection from the heat.
Keeping water and a fire extinguisher handy at all times to extinguish any flying embers that land on the deck will also help in minimizing the risk.
Another way of minimizing the risk of starting a fire is to hold off burning a chiminea during dry and windy weather, reducing the risk of coals flying onto the deck or on surrounding areas.
What Are the Safest Surfaces for Chimineas
Place your chiminea on a fire-resistant surface such as sand, tiles, or fire pit pads made of metal or stone. Concrete and brick patios are also fire-safe. As stated previously, once the chiminea is lit, it can reach a very high temperature. Do not put it directly on the wooden deck, but mount it on a fire-safe platform instead.
Safest Way to Use a Chiminea
Chimineas look charming, especially if you’ve been eyeing beautifully made ones in terracotta with hand-painted designs, but remember to keep your home and family safe with these tips.
Keep the chiminea away from flammable objects. A suitable distance is about 10 feet away from the house, far from overhanging tree branches and other flammable items. The chiminea’s design is such that the funnel sends a draft up, and on an especially windy day, the embers can carry farther and start a fire.
Place your chiminea on a fire-resistant surface such as sand, tiles, or fire pit pads made of metal or stone. Concrete and brick patios are also fire-safe. As stated previously, once the chiminea is fired up, it can reach a very high temperature. Do not put it directly on the wooden deck, but mount it on a fire-safe platform. Additionally, it’s a good idea to ensure that the base is stable and will keep the chiminea steady and upright.
Use a Spark Stopper
Putting a spark stopper at the top of the funnel, so the sparks don’t fly protects you and your surroundings from embers that may cause a fire. You can either use a fire pit spark protector or make one out of chicken wires.
Keeping an Eye on Pets and Kids
While using the chiminea, always monitor it, especially when you have children and pets. The surface can get extremely hot, and having young kids and pets playing around it can get someone hurt if it’s accidentally touched. Even when the fire dies down, the chiminea will still be hot, especially if it’s made of iron, so it’s always best to keep your eyes on children and pets.
Size of Fire
Don’t build too big a fire in your chiminea. You’ll know the fire is too big if flames are coming out of the front or at the top of the funnel. Extremely high temperatures can also cause damage to your chiminea.
Use The Proper Fuel
Practice patience when lighting your chiminea. If your fire grows too quickly, it risks cracking the walls of the chiminea. Using the proper fuel for your chiminea will keep it in excellent condition. What are some fuels that can light up the chiminea?
- Charcoal briquettes – pick the self-lighting ones that only need a long match.
- Gas – Natural or Propane is only useful for cast iron or aluminum chimineas.
- Wood – cedar, hickory, or mesquite are best, but artificial logs are available and less messy.
How to Care for a Chiminea
It’s always a good idea to read the manufacturer’s instructions and any documentation that comes with your chiminea since you’ll want to enjoy it for a long time.
Before use, it’s best to apply a sealer or an acrylic finish on a clay chiminea to protect it from water and moisture. This helps prevent the clay from cracking. The sealer can be reapplied every six to eight weeks when it’s being used frequently.
Iron chimineas should be treated with heat-resistant paint to prevent the exterior from rusting, especially when it’s left outdoors during winter, and touching up the paint as needed.
Curing Your Chiminea
Breaking in a clay chiminea prepares it to withstand high temperatures and lessen its risk of cracking or breaking. When a cast iron chiminea is cured, it prevents it from rusting. Here is how to complete the process:
- Start by filling the bottom interior of your chiminea with sand.
- Throw in some balls of paper and light them up.
- Once the paper is burning, throw in some small logs of wood.
- Once the logs have burned out completely, allow the chiminea to cool down.
- Repeat this process at least three times.
Chimineas are usually portable, so it’s easy to store them in a shed or in the garage during rainy weather. Clay chimineas are fragile even if they look sturdy, so it’s wise to store them during poor weather. Carry the chiminea by the base and not by the funnel, as this can cause the two pieces to separate.
Sand, gravel, or lava rocks can be placed in the bottom of the fire pit for the ashes to gather in. This makes it easier to clean out the bottom by putting the sand-ash mixture into a bucket, then washing off the mixture, and setting it to dry. Once it’s completely dry, it can be safely returned to the chiminea.
Chimeneas can be used for cooking, for heat, for the ambiance, it creates in your patio, or even as just a decorative item. But remember always to have the safety of your family and home the priority. Using common sense when operating your chiminea will ensure that you’ll enjoy having it to gather the family together or entertaining friends.