The chimenea is primarily a wood-burning stove. The vast majority of companies that offer chimeneas to their retail customers are conscientious; however there is that occasional instance where a Chimenea is misused due to lack of knowledge. You can find chimeneas made of clay, aluminum and cast iron. Each has its own unique characteristics. A cast iron or cast aluminum chimenea is always going to be a better investment that will last many years beyond the clay types.
Iron is an excellent retainer of heat and touching it will cause serious burns. However, before you go running to the iron chimenea dealers, realize that there have been reports that the bottoms have fallen out of those too. Cast Iron Chimeneas need to be painted regularly to keep rust from forming. Lots of companies are pushing the cast iron and aluminum chimeneas over their clay cousins because of the problem with breakage. Great for commercial locations, heavy cast iron construction deters it from “walking off”. Cast Iron and Cast Aluminum patio heaters are very effective for outdoors heating, however they get very hot to touch.
Aluminum chimeneas are becoming increasingly popular for heating patios, decks, terraces and back gardens, and it is easy to see why. Aluminum chimeneas are cast from the same molds as cast iron and look identical to cast iron. The excellent quality of Cast Aluminum Alloy construction requires very little maintenance and will last for years of use. A cast iron or cast aluminum chimenea is always going to be a better investment that will last many years after a clay one falls apart. There are some companies that claim that because of the heating qualities of metal, cast iron and aluminum chimeneas could be dangerous. Cast Aluminum chimeneas require much less maintenance than Cast Iron. They are also much lighter and easier to relocate from time to time.
Clay chimeneas are inexpensive because they are made of burnt dirt. They are constructed in two pieces, by attaching the bottom bowl to the smokestack. Clay chimeneas will get hot as well but not nearly as hot as a cast iron chimenea. Clay chimeneas are not designed to house excessive fires for prolonged periods of time. Clay chimenea quality is based on a combination of many factors, using the right mixtures of clay, proper mixing of clay, firing techniques, using fresh molds, assembly of molded clay, and paint applications, all of which play a part in providing a high quality, consistent clay product. They must also be seasoned to seal them properly for safe use. Once the Chimenea is seasoned you are ready to burn larger fires.
Unlike a fire pit, which is an open burning bowl, a chimenea is built with a chimney. If there are any local restrictions on outdoor burning, be sure your chimenea is not putting yourself or others at risk. A chimenea is actually a modern version of the traditional Mexican outdoor fireplace. In general, a cast iron or aluminum chimenea is more durable and sturdy than a clay version. The best type for a typical backyard is aluminum.