A chiminea is a freestanding outdoor fireplace, typically made of clay or metal. Most chimineas are relatively lightweight and easy to move, so you can set it in the ideal place in your garden or on your patio. You can enjoy your chiminea virtually year round, basking in a warm fire on a cool night or simply enjoying the glow during a meal "al fresco." Learn how to care for your chiminea so that you can take pleasure in it for many seasons to come.
Support the bowl of the chiminea by the bottom of the bowl any time you transport or move it. Cradle the bowl of the chiminea with both arms, allowing the neck of the fireplace to lean against your shoulder. Lifting it by the neck may break the chiminea, or make you more likely to drop it.
Protect your chiminea with a waterproof chiminea cover, especially during inclement weather. If you live in an area with severe rain or snowstorms, take care to store your chiminea in a garage or shed during harsh seasons.
Place sand or gravel in the bottom of the chiminea bowl. Set some small bricks atop the sand or gravel. Build fires by placing kindling or other materials on these bricks. This will prevent the fire from burning directly on and against the chiminea, which could cause it to crack or otherwise incur damage.
Allow fires to burn out on their own, whenever possible. If you are unable to watch over a fire, or if it starts to rain and the chiminea is not in a covered area, try to extinguish the fire by cutting off the oxygen supply to the chiminea. For instance, you might carefully place a few bricks or a metal sheet over the opening at the top of the neck. Never put out the fire in a chiminea with water, as this can cause the bowl to crack.
Clean out the ashes remaining after every fire and replace any sand or gravel removed, if necessary. If the exterior of your chiminea needs to be cleaned, make certain that it is completely cooled off, or clean it on a day when you have not burned a fire in it. Clean the chiminea with a nylon brush and warm, soapy water. Apply sealer to a clay chiminea at least once a year. You can use special chiminea sealer, but floor wax will work as well.