How to light a Chiminea safely?
Having recently read an article about a man who suffered severe burns when he tried and light his chiminea with petrol, we decided to write this article. We hope having read this you will have a better idea of how to light a chiminea safely each and every time.
How to light a chiminea for the first time?
It should go without saying that using any accelerant like petrol to light your chiminea is and always will be a bad idea. Chimeneas to start with aren’t designed to hold towering fires, all this will do is generate far less heat as it sucks in cold air to keep the flames fed. What you want is to create a bed of glowing embers as this will generate more heat.
You should also set your Chiminea up away from any other combustible materials; it’s also advisable to place them in a permanent location as they occasionally crack when you move them after first being used. They should also face them away from their prevailing winds to prevent them from smoking too much, but also in an area where you can fully supervise them.
How to light a Chiminea easily?
If you’re wondering how to light a chiminea easily then read on. Lighting a chiminea safely is both simple and straightforward as long as you follow certain steps. To help you light your chiminea the right way for the first time and every time we’ve put together the main steps below.
- 1) Create a bed of four to five inches of gravel or sand inside your chiminea.
- 2) Choose two pieces of seasoned, dry and split firewood and place them inside the chiminea
- 3) Get some old dry newspaper and create either a ball or screwed up section and place it between your two pieces of wood. Never use liquid fuel or any other type of accelerant to help start your fire.
- 4) Add kindling on top of the firelighter and newspaper (small pieces of wood, even dried grass twigs or sticks) this should be dry
- 5) Using either a butane grill lighter or a long fireplace match to light the firelighter or newspaper. Once your kindling and newspaper have caught fire and the fire is burning more intensely, add another handful of kindling. In a few minutes, see your fire logs ignite and heat will generate from the chiminea.
- 6) Once all the kindling has burned off add some more fire logs until you have enough fire burning in the chiminea
Remember your goal is not to create a roaring fire rather you want some burning embers as these will generate the most heat. You will occasionally have to add more fire logs to help keep the fire burning. But if you follow the instructions above, you should be able to safely and happily light a chiminea every time.
Here are some tips to help you safely use your chiminea
Safety should always be the first thing you think about when using your chiminea.
#1 Always keep it away from flammable materials
As tempting as it might be to put your chiminea underneath an awning or a different shade, this is not a great idea. By design, your chiminea would create a draft and this sends smoke and sparks up the stack this draft could easily send sparks into any flammable material and create a fire.
#2 Chimeneas should only be placed on fire-resistant or fireproof surfaces
As your chiminea is lighting, it will generate a lot of heat. You should never place the base on grass, cloth, or wood. Some people have made a mistake of placing chiminea on wooden decking without adequate protection and coming back to see their deck on fire. The best advice is to either purchase a specific chiminea stand or just create one use terracotta, slate, tiles, or sand.
#3 Try not to move your chiminea
Once you have chosen a suitable location for your chiminea, please try not to move it too much. Not only will you probably injure your back (they are heavy) but chimineas are also prone to cracking. Moving the chiminea constantly will inevitably end up with it becoming damaged which can, of course, lead to embers falling from it. If you wish to move it to protect it from the weather, we would instead suggest you get a suitable cover.
#4 Season your chiminea when lit for the first time
When you light your chiminea for the first time you must make sure you cure it properly. Your first burns must be both controlled and small to ensure no damage is caused to it. Use no more than a small amount of kindling and one or two very small logs. Allow the fire to burn out and then let your chiminea cool down completely before using it again. This should be repeated several times to ensure that your chiminea does not crack when heated up fully. Find out more about how to cure a chiminea properly.
#5 Control the sparks
As we stated previously your chimney is going to create a draft that will send sparks and smoke upwards through its stack. You can purchase a spark arrestor and place it at the top of the stack will help protect your family, vegetation or any flammable objects in the area. If you can get your hands on a piece of chicken wire, it’s the perfect homemade spark arrestor.
#6 Never touch a chiminea while it is in use
This may seem obvious but you’d be surprised as to how many people get burnt by chimineas each year. Remember to use fireside tools to add additional wood to your chiminea. Please also remember to use the tools to remove any spit guard you have as they will get incredibly hot. If you’re going to make your chiminea a permanent feature it might be a good idea to build a low wall around this just to remind people to stay a safe distance away. If you have small children, always keep them away from your chiminea.
#7 Resist the temptation to set large fires
Most Chimeneas are simply not designed to tolerate larger fires. Unfortunately, people have cracked or even caused their Chimeneas to explode by setting fires that are far too big. Some of these accidents have resulted in injury.
#8 Use the correct tinder
It is amazing to us the number of accidents that happen every year from people using accelerants to light fires. Just don’t do it, all you’re going to do is put you everyone close to you at risk of severe harm. There is a large amount of safe kindling available that are more than capable of safely lighting a chiminea. These can include firelighters, self-lighting charcoal, small shredded wood, and even dry paper, in fact, anything that will avoid an explosion is better than an accelerant.
#9 Don’t light your chiminea during a drought
While rare some people have unintentionally started fires by lighting their chimney and during periods of extreme drought. In warm windy conditions, sparks can travel and can easily start a fire in bushes or grasses in your surrounding area. If you have any doubts, then don’t light it.
#10 Exercise common sense at all times
Chimeneas are usually a fun and safe device to have in your garden. Sitting around one of these on a cool evening is something every family should experience. Once you exercise common sense, there’s no reason you and your family can’t safely use one. Ask your family to follow one very simple rule of thumb, if it feels like a bad idea, then it most likely is!
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