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Pinion Wood

Once you have your outdoor fireplace or chiminea all set up, you’ll probably want to know a little bit about the different types of wood you can use to fuel the cozy warmth. One of the types of wood many people prefer for their outdoor fire pits and fireplaces is pinion wood.

Pinion wood is popular for a few reasons. For starters it has a wonderful aroma as it burns in your outside fireplace. It smells like pine, truly giving you the feeling of being in the great outdoors, which isn’t always easy to feel in the middle of suburbia. I’ve heard some people say that it smells like a fresh cut Christmas tree.

Another important benefit of burning pinion wood is that it repels mosquitoes. For many this may be the most important benefit because it allows you to enjoy being outside around your cozy outdoor fireplace without the unpleasant distraction of those pesky bugs and without having to slather on the not-so-pleasant bug spray. Some people even start a pinion wood fire when it’s still hot outside just to keep the bugs away because it’s so effective.

Along with these benefits pinion wood is also easy to light, it puts out a good amount of heat, it burns for a long time and once the fire is no longer burning you’ll find very little ash left to clean so it makes a great chiminea firewood. For the most part it’s a low maintenance fire wood making it even more tempting to enjoy outdoor fireplaces as often as you can.

If you want the pinion wood for your outdoor chiminea it won’t be a problem because many sellers will cut the wood to fit in chimineas or smaller outdoor fire pits. Some places where you buy pinion wood will even custom cut the wood for you.

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Chimineas have become increasingly popular with the rise in popularity of outdoor fireplaces. Many people are starting to pay more attention to their outdoor space by decorating it and landscaping it so it can be a more livable and enjoyable space.

History of Chimineas

While chimineas have evolved over the years to fit our needs, they have an interesting history. It is thought the first chimeneas were developed by Mexican tribesmen hundreds to thousands of years ago. They were developed to provide heat to the family that was protected from rain. They were also meant to function as a tool for cooking and baking without needing as much wood as an open fire.

The outdoor chiminea was originally made out of clay but since they have been exported and used in areas where they weren’t originally intended it is now easy to find a good metal chiminea which will provide greater durability. Clay chimineas aren’t always able to handle the temperature change of a downpour of rain which can cause them to crack and flake. In Mexico the rainfall was typically lower but the air temperature not as low as many areas where they are being used today.

The Design

Because of their design, outdoor chimineas allow you to start a fire pretty easily and keep the fire burning without as much effort as outdoor fire pits. Chimineas are enclosed with an opening or door in front so it’s easy to get a fire started with some kindling like small sticks or newspaper. But what makes them work so well is the way they allow airflow from the flue to keep the fire fueled.

Clay Chiminea
Clay Chiminea

This design allows them to produce a lot of heat without smoke blowing everywhere. Because they have better airflow they don’t generate as much smoke — they burn cleaner and more efficiently. The smoke is also funneled out of the top so it blows up into the air instead of into your guests faces.

The traditional style chiminea is about five feet tall with a slender neck, where the air comes in and the smoke flows out, and a bulbous body, where the fire is contained. While there are some newer models that are shorter and have a different shape they still have the same basic features. Although some offer the benefit of a 360 degree view of the fire.

Types of Chimineas

Outdoor Chiminea
Outdoor Chiminea

There are three main types of chimineas:

Clay chimineas are the traditional style. Many people like them because of the decorative look and feel they provide. They are generally cheaper than metal chimineas but unfortunately a clay chiminea isn’t as durable as a metal chiminea. Clay chimineas will require more care, but they still may not last as long. Some people use them strictly as decoration, in some cases indoors. They are fine as decoration inside as long as they are only used as decoration; NEVER light a fire in a chiminea indoors.

Cast Iron Chimineas are very durable and they give off a lot of heat, but unfortunately they are very heavy as well. You will want to find a permanent spot for a cast iron chiminea because you won’t want to move it once it is set up. Cast iron can rust if the coating chips so you may need to paint it occasionally with a paint that can handle high temperatures. But overall this is a good quality long-lasting choice if you’re looking for a metal chiminea.

Cast Aluminum Chimineas are durable and easier to maintain. They are also much lighter than their cast iron counterparts. A cast aluminum chiminea shouldn’t rust or warp so it should last a long time too.

Burning Wood In A Chiminea

Because of their shape regular firewood may not fit in your chiminea. You may need to cut the firewood into smaller pieces or order wood that is cut specifically to fit in this type of outdoor fireplace.

Many people burn pinion wood in them because of the nice pine scent and because burning this specific wood helps keep the mosquitoes away.

Protecting Your Investment

In order to protect this type of outdoor fireplace and to keep it clean you’ll want to look at outdoor fireplace covers, specifically a chiminea cover. A good cover made specifically for this will have a drawstring at the bottom to help securely cover the full body. You can find covers that will repel water so the rain doesn’t seep in, but that allow airflow to prevent the possibility of mildew. Chiminea covers come in different sizes so be sure you get the right size to make sure it fits and protects your outdoor chiminea the way it’s meant to.

Before shopping for any outdoor fireplace make sure they are allowed in your area; localities have different regulations about open fires and wood burning. But if you find out they are allowed have fun shopping. There are so many fun designs available you may have a hard time choosing just one. All in all chimineas make great free standing outdoor fireplaces. They are functional, aesthetic and they make the evenings a lot more fun.

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Outdoor Fireplace Covers & Fire Pit Covers

Outdoor fireplace covers are probably one of the most important outdoor fireplace accessories. Once you’ve spent the time, energy and money to install your patio fireplace or fire pit you want to protect it to make sure it lasts for a long time. Not only do you want to protect the fireplace, but you may also want to protect kids or pets who may be playing around the fireplace.

Outdoor Fireplace Covers

While you can buy fireplace covers for both indoor and outdoor fireplaces they are more important for outdoor fireplace because it is constantly exposed to the elements, from the sun, wind and rain to constantly changing high and low temperatures. This can easily damage your outdoor fireplace, and shorten it’s life dramatically. But with a little care and an outdoor fireplace cover you can extend the life and keep it looking nice.

Remember the fireplace cover will be exposed to the elements as well so you want something durable. Most outdoor fireplace covers are made from nylon, polyester, or vinyl. They are generally soft covers with a drawstring that allows you to easily slip it over and cinch it tight at the bottom.

As with many other products some fireplace covers are much nicer than others. Instead of getting cheapest one you can find it may pay to spend an extra ten dollars or so to get one that is more durable and has a few other features. Things you may want to look for in an outdoor fireplace cover include one that can be washed, can withstand sub zero temperatures, one that is waterproof, mildew resistant or offers a sun protective coating. Of course what you need will depend a little bit on your geographical location, weather patterns, humidity and sun levels.

Outdoor Fire Pit Covers

If you have an above ground outdoor fire pit, like the common patio fire pits, you can use the same type of fireplace cover as mentioned above. But if you have an in ground fire pit you may want to look at hard fire pit covers, since you obviously can’t cinch the bottom with a drawstring with an in ground fire pit.

Fire pit covers are important for a few additional reasons. Since fire pits are designed to be more open, if becomes windy the ashes can blow all over making a mess of your fire pit, patio and yard. Outdoor fire pits that are in the ground can also turn into a muddy mess with a few inches of rain. So outdoor fire pit covers can be important for these reasons as well.

Chiminea Cover

A chiminea cover will be much like outdoor fireplace covers, with the same material and style. Many chimineas are made of metal and many times this metal is painted to protect it from the elements. If you get a bad storm flying debris can chip the paint leaving metal chimineas vulnerable to rust. So it is important to have a chiminea cover if you want your chiminea to last.

Outdoor fireplaces are a big investment, one you want to protect. Fireplace covers are perfect because they provide an easy, economical way to protect your investment so you can continue to enjoy it for years to come.

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