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What is a Chiminea?

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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2014
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A chiminea is a type of outdoor fireplace typically made of clay and often used as a decorative accent to gardens and patios. A chiminea is typically molded with a round base and a tall top, shaped similarly to a flower vase or flask, and has an opening at the top and a mouth in the center of the round base. Chimineas come in various sizes and some are very plain while others have decorative features and designs carved into them. A chiminea sets upon a stand rather than directly on the ground.

There are several advantages to a chiminea when compared to other types of outdoor fireplaces, but they are not without their disadvantages. A chiminea typically makes a smaller footprint in a garden or on a patio, taking up less space than traditional outdoor fireplaces. Since chimineas are made of clay, they do not rust after exposure to the elements like cast iron and metal fireplaces. Another advantage to chimineas is their ability to quickly burn through wood, making them ideal for easily disposing of yard waste and debris such as broken limbs and twigs.

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Some of the disadvantages to a chiminea result from the same qualities that make them advantageous. The size and shape of a chiminea make it difficult for multiple people to sit around it and enjoy the fire. Unlike an open-top outdoor fireplace, the opening at the mouth of a chiminea can be seen from only one side, making it difficult for multiple people to view the fire and also to feel its warmth. Similarly, while the chiminea’s clay construction avoids rust, it does tend to crack after a few years of use, especially in areas where outdoor temperatures fall below freezing for part of the year.

For smaller gardens and patios where space is a premium, a chiminea is a nice addition. It can serve dual purposes as both a decorative accent and a fireplace. The retail price of chimineas is also an advantage as several styles can be purchased for under $100.00 US Dollars, including the stand. They are available at wide variety of home and garden retail stores and are sold year round in many.

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