Now is a Great Time to Shop For an Outdoor Fireplace

If you've always thought it would be pleasant to sit out on your back patio snuggled up to an outdoor fireplace, fire pit, or chiminea on a summer evening, we're moving into the time of year where you can find great specials. As I write this, July is coming to an end, and in August the merchants will be pushing aside their summer inventory to make room for fall and winter items. This can mean great deals on brand new outdoor fireplaces.

Before you go shopping, decide which kind of fireplace is right for you. You may imagine yourself with a portable or built in fire pit (of course, if you go "built in" you'll have to make your own in-ground fire pit, or hire someone to do it for you, since you can ' t just buy those off the shelves of stores), but there are a lot of reasons to consider fireplaces or – my personal favorite – chimineas.

Chimineas are Mexican fireplaces, and they offer a lot of advantages over fire pits.

Perhaps the biggest advantage is that chimineas have smoke stacks, which draws the air in and up through the chimney, creating a nice draft so wood will burn efficiently. With fire pits, on the other hand, there's much more smoldering and smoking, because there is no draft system built in.

The smoke stack in a chiminea also draws smoke away from the fire, so if you and your family are all gathered around it in the evening, you will not be jockeying for a position where smoke is not blowing in your eyes. The smoke exits the chiminea higher, and there's less of it, since the design creates a cleaner burning fire.

So if you are a proponent of burning fuel efficiency and do not want your backyard to smell like a campground in a valley with no ventilation, then consider a chiminea.

An outdoor fireplace also offers many of the same benefits. These too come with chimneys that help create clean-burning fires. Traditionally outdoor fireplaces were built into a wall or half wall at the edge of the patio (you can even get two way outdoor fireplaces that are installed in the wall of your home so the firebox can be viewed from inside and outside), but today you You can find freestanding units too.

The advantage of freestanding outdoor fireplaces is that the units, though heavy, can be moved, and you can even take them with you if you sell your home and move into a new house.

On the downside, both built in and freestanding outdoor fireplaces are relatively expensive. Chimineas cost less, are often easier to maintain (consider cast aluminum for the easiest maintenance), and are much easier to move if you decide to rearrange the patio setup.

When it comes to cost, you can find portable fire pits for less than $ 100, chimineas for $ 200, and decent outdoor fireplaces starting around $ 500. The end of summer means some great deals though so if you've been thinking but have not bought yet, this could be the time.