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Fire Pits and Chimineas

There are two types of outdoor fireplaces, chimineas and fire pits. Here's a guide to help you choose which fireplace style and materials are right for you.

What is a chiminea and what are they made of?

A clay chiminea, sometimes also spelled chimenea, is an outdoor fireplace that is front loaded and has a vertical smoke vent or chimney. The fire is contained in the unit rather than in an open pit. Originally, they were made out of fired clay and used for heating and cooking. However, now, they are made of cast-iron and aluminum materials and have mostly replaced the clay versions. The cast-iron and aluminum materials both look the same. They have the same thickness, with the only difference being in the weight.

What is an outdoor fire pit and what styles exist?

Fire pits and 360-degree open fireplaces are often a raised ring of rocks. There are sheet metal, copper, and stainless-steel outdoor fireplaces available.

What are the advantages of a cast aluminum chiminea?

A cast aluminum one will not rust. It also heats the same as a cast iron one and requires relatively little maintenance compared to that required by the cast-iron and clay ones. Cast aluminum is also lighter, so it is easier to move around on a patio.

What are the benefits of a cast-iron chiminea?

Like cast aluminum versions, the cast-iron type is designed for year-round use in any climate. Cast-iron is recommended for those who want to leave their unit in one place on the patio and not move it.

What do outdoor fire pits burn?

They can burn charcoal, wood, propane, and ethanol. If you buy a clay chiminea, though, you should only use wood. However, cast iron versions can handle any type of fuel. There are also some units that run on gas or propane, which can be useful if you live in an area that forbids wood-burning fireplaces.

What should you look for in an outdoor fire pit?
  • Shape and design: Does it provide a good way for the fumes to leave the fire pit? Does the design fit in with your patio decor?
  • Materials: What material do you prefer? Take into consideration whether or not you want to move it.
  • Size:Is there enough space to be able to fit logs in the fire pit? Is it too big to fit on your patio? All these are important considerations.
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