Getting your chiminea ready for hibernation

Summer, the traditional season of the chiminea, is over, and we’re heading into the chillier months of autumn and winter. Most people abandon their chiminea when the mercury starts falling, and their faithful friend is chucked into a garage or shed, to begin its winter hibernation. Have you ever thought about not giving up on the chiminea during the cold months though? There are plenty of things you can do with it.

Safety first – remember that chimineas are for outdoor use, and should never be lit indoors. If you’re looking for a log burner to heat your house, purchase one designed for that purpose.

Chiminea as a garden waste incinerator?

As the cold nights begin, your chiminea can transform from a heating system into a garden waste incinerator. Trees shed their leaves in autumn, and without attention from you, your garden will soon be covered in a carpet of yellow and brown, which eventually turns into slippery mulch. This can be really dangerous. If you can’t add them to a compost heap, pop them into a chiminea with a few hot coals to incinerate them. Enjoy the heat and the fact that you’ve saved yourself money.

Why not get your chiminea out for Bonfire Night? Safer and better contained than a large bonfire, with a wonderful ambience, they’re idea for getting everyone to stand around as the fireworks go off at a safe distance, and they’re great fun for the kids who can toast their marshmallows over the chiminea heat. You could even get hold of some kiln dried wood for cooking, and do a pizza.

Want to make your chiminea a talking point? Put some sand in the base of it, and fill it with large pillar candles. You could even use it as a winter planter.

Once you’re ready to put your chiminea away, there are some key points to remember to keep it in top condition for next year. Because the majority of chimineas are manufactured in two parts (a neck and a bowl) before being joined together later on, don’t carry it by the neck, as putting all the weight on the seam could cause the two pieces to come apart. The best way to carry your chiminea is to hold on to the opening and let the rest of it fall into the crook of your other arm.

Get a chimenea cover

A chiminea cover is a good investment, and can be picked up from most DIY superstores or online shops. Starting at under £20, you can keep your chiminea safe from damp or rain.

With British weather quite likely to go below zero, keep your chiminea somewhere it won’t be exposed to the elements. Ideally, inside your house, shed or garage. Clay does not cope well with freezing temperatures, and can crack.

Now it’s in position for its hibernation, remove any sand you may have placed inside it. This will make it much lighter and easier to move. If it’s going to stay in a location without heating, take the chiminea off its stand, and place it onto a couple of pieces of wood or some logs from your log store which will allow air to circulate.

Just because you’re not heading outside for the winter, doesn’t mean your chiminea needs to be packed away and forgotten. Look after it well, and get planning some great times for next summer when you can welcome your chiminea back into your life.