Figuring out how to stop a chiminea smoking can make a massive difference to your outdoor cooking experience or fire pit. A chiminea is a popular addition to many gardens and decking areas. It allows homeowners to stay warm and relaxed – even on a chilly evening.
Unfortunately, you can’t completely relax and enjoy a crackling fire if you’re dealing with endless amounts of smoke and fumes. Most people’s trouble is that it’s initially challenging to know how you can reduce the smoke from your chiminea and still use it regularly.
The key to making the most of your wood-burning chiminea is often learning how to maintain your investment and knowing which fuel you should be using. Here’s what you need to know.
What Causes a Large Amount of Smoke?
A little smoke is natural in a chiminea because, just like other fire pits, you’re using natural fuel like wood and charcoal to fuel the flame. Unless you’re using 100% smokeless fuel, then you’re going to get some smoke. However, there is a difference between the delightful, soft smoke that an outdoor chimney should produce and the horrible-smelling smoke that some chimineas produce.
View this post on Instagram
A chiminea producing an excessive amount of smoke is often a result of the fuel being either too wet or unseasoned. You might also struggle more with smoking if the wind is blowing against your natural fires and causing the flames to flicker.
Meaning, the two main ways to stop your chimenea from smoking are to shelter the product and use smokeless fuel. Many fuels will produce more smoke than others. It’s best to check the smoke output on the kind of firewood you buy for your wood-burning stove or chiminea.
If you randomly pick a piece of wood outside that’s been sitting in the rain all day, the moisture on the log will create a lot of smoke before it produces any heat. That’s why you should be careful about the purchases you make. Ensure that you choose fire logs that have the most minimal amount of smoke. There are even smokeless fuel log options for your fire pits that hold very little water. Keep these logs dry before adding them to the flame.
After you’ve chosen the right fuel for your kindling, you should also work on keeping your chiminea sheltered from the drizzle. You can use this product in virtually any season. However, a chiminea will produce more smoke and steam when the wind blows the flame in all directions. Try to avoid having the fire facing the wind when you start your chiminea burning.
Our chiminea is a little out of control tonight! 😬 pic.twitter.com/4IfA2mbQ8y
— Think Globally, Act Locally, Interact Ethically (@RedDirtKelly) March 27, 2021
Can You Burn Charcoal in a Chiminea?
Experts will most often recommend using wood in a chiminea to get the best fires and the cleanest smoke. However, you can consider charcoal if you’re planning to use your chiminea for cooking. It is often a good choice if you’re using a metal pan chiminea.
Keep in mind that charcoal is good for creating high heat, but it does have some downsides. You shouldn’t use charcoal with a clay chiminea, as it can harm the product. You’ll also need to think about how you’re going to be spending your evenings. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the purity of different kinds of charcoal if you’re using it for cooking.
Not all kinds of charcoal are safe for cooking, and sometimes logs will be a better choice, even if you’re cooking foods that you’ve wrapped in a foil.
Top Tips for Reducing Chiminea Smoke
Typically, the best way to reduce chiminea smoke is to choose fuels with the least amount of water in them and protect your fire from wind and the particles of rain that might blow in on a cold day. However, you can also take other steps to improve the safety and performance of the chiminea in your home. If you plan on using your chiminea a lot on the evenings you spend on your patio, remember to:
Burn Seasoned Wood
Aside from making sure that you’re burning dry wood, it’s also worth using seasoned wood with your outdoor fireplaces. This reduces the moisture level of the woods available even more, so your fireplaces produce much less smoke.
Stay Away From Foliage
As tempting as it might be to throw in twigs and leaves around your fire with your logs, don’t add anything but dedicated fire logs to the heat. Leaves and other foliage contain a high level of moisture and natural gas that can contribute to smoking.
If you’re new to using a fire pit, it can be difficult to know when one needs extra tinder to create heat. Too much tinder is going to contribute to the amount of smoke you make. Just in case, start with a little bit of tinder, then consider adding some more after the fire begins.
Clean Your Chiminea Regularly
Like most parts of your home, you should clean your chiminea regularly to keep it working well. A good cleaning will support your chiminea in a range of different ways, including reducing anything that might cause a dirty flame.
Maintain Your Chiminea
If you want your chiminea to burn through the woods you use well; then you need to make sure that you look after it properly. Just like a good patio, your chiminea needs regular sealing and maintenance to work well.
Choose the Right Location
Knowing where to place your chiminea so it’s out of the way of wind, exposure to water, and other elements is important for both safety and performance purposes.
What Do You Seal a Chiminea With?
Aside from learning how to stop a chiminea smoking, it’s also essential to know how to maintain your burner.
Is It Made of Clay or Metal?
Firstly, the outside of a chiminea needs to be sealed. This is an important step when you’re maintaining your chiminea if it’s made out of clay. You won’t need to seal the chiminea if it’s made from metal. Some of these products come with a seal included from the manufacturer, but this will wear off over time as your chiminea is exposed to the air. A seal will often last between three and six months.
One type of sealer you can use is acrylic floor finish or water sealer. You should factor in any insights from the company that made your chiminea before you place any seal options on the clay. The kind of seal you choose can make a huge difference to how much smoke you see and whether your fire pit lasts as long as it should.
When to Double Up
If you use your chiminea a lot, and you notice it smoking regularly, then this could be a sign that you need to reapply your seal to make the fire pit more efficient. If you’re using the right wood, and you’ve positioned the product to stop the chiminea from smoking, consider applying your seal for a second time.
Keep in mind that you should always clean your chimineas before you seal them to ensure that you get the best results. Regular sealing can stop a chiminea from smoking by allowing it to heat the wood or fuel in your pit more effectively. When the log can catch fire and maintain the heat properly, it’s less likely to cause a lot of smoke. That is if you’re using the right fuels.
— Kerry Moyles (@kerrymoyles) March 30, 2021
Making the Most of Your Chiminea
Sitting by an outdoor fire is one of the best ways to spend an evening.
However, excessive smoke can be the main thing that ruins your fire pit or chiminea experience. Fortunately, with one of the tips above, you should be able to find a way of reducing that smoke. Making sure that you use the right wood with the right season is important, as is choosing the right form of fuel for your fire. Don’t use too much tinder, and remember to minimise moisture to protect your eyes from smoke and steam.
If you choose a hand made clay design for your chiminea, remember that this form often requires a sealing coat to improve the way the design manages heat.