Maintaining a chiminea is really not that hard to do but it's extremely important if you want it to last.
Proper maintenance will not only protect your investment, but it will keep your chiminea looking nice too!
So where do you start? The good news is the process is pretty standard.
Even though a chiminea can be constructed of several different materials like clay, cast iron or cast aluminum, they all need the same basic care.....for the most part.
For starters, lets look at some basic protection that every chiminea should receive.
Weather can be a chimineas worst enemy.
Rain, snow, ice and extreme temperatures all have an effect on how long your chiminea will last. So what's the easiest way to protect it from the elements? Use a cover.
Covering your chiminea will help repel moisture and UV rays which can both deteriorate your chiminea over time.
There's a wide selection of covers available. You can buy a cover designed specifically to fit over your chiminea which are available in different colors and thicknesses.
Custom covers are actually pretty affordable. They usually cost around $30-$50 and they look really nice.
Don't feel like spending the money on a custom cover? Try using a standard tarp which is available at many local hardware stores. These covers are usually cheeper, but you will sacrifice the neat and professional look of the custom cover.
Depending on the model you purchase, your chiminea may come with a rain lid or you will have to purchase one separately. The rain lid should be placed over the top of the chimney to prevent water from reaching the inside of the chiminea.
If you don't have a rain lid and your looking for a low cost option, try using a 5 gallon bucket turned upside down to set on top of the chimney. It won't look as nice, but it will help protect your chiminea and they're pretty cheep to buy.
If you don't plan on using your chiminea throughout the winter, consider bringing it inside to protect it from extreme temperatures.
If you attempt to move your chiminea consider this first. Clay chimineas are very fragile. Moving them could cause irreversible damage. Cast iron chimineas are heavy, bulky and difficult to move.
Our suggestion.....aluminum chimineas are probably the easiest type to bring inside during the off season. It's usually easier to just cover up a clay or cast iron chiminea until next year.
The outside of a clay chiminea will need to be sealed. If it came sealed from the factory, the sealer will wear off over time. Generally speaking, a sealer will last 3-6 months depending on how much you use it and if it's covered.
Two recommended types of sealers to use are an acrylic floor finish or Thompsons Water Sealer (or other similar type).
To begin, make sure the exterior of the chiminea is clean and dry. Next, you can brush on the sealer or spry it on with a sprayer. A cheep trigger type bottle sprayer can be used and they work pretty well.
Cast iron and aluminum chimineas are painted. Over time, the paint will wear off exposing the metal underneath.
Again, the amount of use and whether or not you cover it will dictate how often you need to paint it.
Choose a heat resistant paint to touch up the chiminea. If you use a paint that is not heat resistant, it will just burn off the first time you light a fire inside of it. Heat resistant paint will come in a variety of different colors but black seems to last the longest and be the most durable.
To paint the chiminea, start off by sanding any rust or loose paint. Next, clean up any dust or debris left over from the sanding. Once the area is clean you're ready to paint.
If possible, paint your chiminea on a calm day with little to no wind. This will make applying the spray paint much easier and keep overspray off any nearby structures.
Maintaining a chiminea does not have to be difficult. Taking a few extra minutes to protect your chiminea now will allow it to last for many years.