Clay Fireplaces (Chimineas): Everything You Need To Know

  • A clay fireplace, basically known as a chiminea (though they also come in iron, not just clay), is a stylish outdoor fireplace with a slender chimney
  • You can buy them off of Amazon- they a have a ton of fun designs
  • You’ll see these charmingly hand-decorated terracotta outdoor clay fireplaces at tourist sites in the Western States
  • A lot of people love them for their rustic appearance, but they are fully functional fire features for outdoor areas- used for hundreds of years
  • They’re generally constructed from clay with a a wide-bottomed vase form, employing a slim, vertical chimney
  • Its design enables it to be used in the rain without it extinguishing the flame
  • It’s got a similar design to an old-fashioned potbelly stove- that’s essentially a cast-iron wood-burning stove.
  • Over in the far east of Europe, there’s a similar type of stove, which is named the  kotao
  • The clay chiminea is contained- if you’re looking for what seasoned wood to burn, look for some  aromatic woods like, hickory, cedar, mesquite, or pinon wood- the smoke will blow up and out.
  • Once you light them up, chimineas can generally achieve full burn within 15 minutes, delivering a ton of heat

What are clay fireplaces?

Clay fireplaces are made from 100% natural clay bricks that offer a more eco-friendly solution to traditional heating methods.

This type of fireplace is known for its easy installation and use of far less energy than other heating methods, but they are also famous for the exquisite design and rich colors that surround them.

There is no shortage of variety when it comes to clay fireplaces, so you will not be disappointed with your choice if you decide to invest in one.

Clay fireplaces come in a range of different shapes and sizes, as well as with many different features. While you may choose to have a large clay fireplace in your home, you are also free to have a small one if that is where you need it most.

How does it work?

Clay fireplaces function much like any other fireplace. They are designed to burn wood or other natural fuels, and they are designed to be used indoors.

The fire is contained in a small cavity with a door that can be opened and closed as desired. The door has air holes that let air in and out of the unit, as well as allow smoke to exit from the home.

Clay fireplaces are very easy to operate and much easier than many traditional heating sources are. A small knob can be turned to open the door and let in oxygen. The fire is then lit, and it burns until it is extinguished by closing the door again. These units are fantastic for heating your home because they do not require a great amount of energy to operate.

Will they keep you warm?

Clay fireplaces, also known as chimineas, are a popular type of outdoor fireplace. They’re usually made from terracotta or clay, and they’re known for their attractive, rustic appearance.

But what many people don’t realize is that clay fireplaces can actually be quite efficient at keeping you warm. That’s because the clay material retains heat very well, so it can radiate warmth even after the fire has died down.

So if you’re looking for an outdoor fireplace that will actually keep you warm, a clay fireplace is a great option. Just make sure to get one that’s big enough for your needs – a small fireplace won’t do much to heat up a large space.

Do chimineas make you smell?

No, chimineas shouldn’t make you smell. The smoke from the fire should go up the chimney and away from you. However, if you have a poorly-ventilated chiminea, the smoke could start to build up and become bothersome.

To avoid this, make sure your chiminea has plenty of ventilation. You can do this by opening up the doors or vents while you’re using it, or by placing it in an open area.

As long as your chiminea is well-ventilated, you shouldn’t have any problems with smoke or smells.

Do clay chimineas break easily?

Clay chimineas are actually quite durable, but they can break if they’re mishandled. So it’s important to be careful with them.

One of the most common ways that clay chimineas break is by being dropped or knocked over. So be careful when moving them around, and make sure they’re on a level surface before lighting a fire.

Another way that clay chimineas can break is by getting too hot. So if you’re using one to cook food, be sure not to let the coals get too hot. And if you’re just using it for warmth, be careful not to build the fire too big.

As long as you’re careful with your clay chiminea, it should last you for many years.

How do you clean a chiminea?

Cleaning a clay chiminea is pretty easy. Just let it cool down completely, then use a brush to sweep out any ashes or debris.

For tougher stains, you can mix up a solution of water and vinegar. Just pour it into the fireplace and scrub away at the stains with a brush.

Once you’re finished cleaning, just let the chiminea dry out completely before using it again.

How long do clay chimineas last?

Clay chimineas can last for many years if they’re properly cared for. But if they’re not maintained, they can start to deteriorate pretty quickly.

So it’s important to keep an eye on your chiminea and make sure it’s in good condition. If you see any cracks or damage, be sure to repair them right away.

With proper care, your clay chiminea should last you for many years of enjoyment.

Can you cook with one?

Yes, you can cook with a clay chiminea. Just build your fire as you normally would, then place your food on the grill over the flames.

Cooking in a clay chiminea is a great way to add some flavor to your food. The smoke from the fire will give it a nice smoky taste. And since the clay material retains heat very well, your food will stay nice and warm.

Just be sure not to overdo it – a small fire is usually plenty to cook your food. And be careful not to let the coals get too hot, or you could damage the chiminea.

There are many advantages to having a clay fireplace

1) Durability

The longevity of these units is unmatched by other heating products. Their construction is extremely strong and sturdy, and they are capable of lasting for many, many years to come. They are capable of withstanding high temperatures and tall flames, thanks to their fire-resistant brick.

2) Energy Efficient

There is no shortage of energy-efficient products available for the home today, but the fact that clay fireplaces use a fraction of the energy used to heat your home makes it an even more attractive option. The lack of ash production also helps make these units great when it comes to energy efficiency.

3) Versatility

The versatility of these units is thanks to the fact that they fit into any size home, whether that be a small apartment or a large mansion (or even a cabin in the woods!). Since they have no glass components, you have the freedom to place them where you see fit. They are also very easy to move should you need to. Their portability means they can be moved without any hassle or damage done to them.

4) Easy upkeep

The fact that they do not produce any ash means there is less to clean up! This also means that regular cleaning is required, but the time it takes to clean these units is far less than other options out there.


1) Height restrictions

If you are in an apartment or condominium, you will want to make sure that you do not exceed the height of your apartment or building. Also, ventilation is required for these units. They are a larger option so you need to make sure you have the proper amount of room for them, as well as having a unit that makes sense for your needs.

2) Smoke exit

Since these units are not completely sealed, smoke from the fire may end up somewhere else in your home. You will want to make sure that this is considered when looking into making this type of purchase. The good news is that some models can be fitted with removable covers to help control the smoke.

3) Air Quality

A prominent clay fireplace manufacturer has received complaints about air quality and their use of them in their homes. It is important to conduct your research and decide whether or not you want to spend money on a product that is not fully tested.

The future of clay fireplaces

The future of clay fireplaces is bright. Innovations and new materials for the clay fireplaces are being developed that will make them even more useful and enjoyable for all. As the years pass, we will see innovations in the use of clay for indoor heating.

Clay fireplaces are great for heating your home because they do not require a large amount of energy to operate. In addition, the longevity of these units means they will be around for many, many years. They offer a very elegant and beautiful way to enjoy a fire in the comfort of your home.


Eugene Duke Pic

Hi, my name’s Eugene Duke and I love sitting by my fireplace reading a book and sipping on an adult beverage. Do you have a fireplace in your house? I’ll help you figure out the best type and style of fireplace for your home.


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