Can Chimineas Get Wet? [Does It Need A Cover?]

If you ask anyone in the southwest, they'll tell you that having a chiminea is a great addition to any home's backyard. These elegant fireplaces are perfect for cooking food and also heating up an area on a chilly night. Chimineas are excellent additions for people who love turning up the heat, but you still need to know how to treat them. For example, is it okay to get a Chiminea wet? For your convenience, we brought you the answer.

Chimineas should not get wet or have water sitting inside the fireplace portion of the bulb. To extend the life of a chiminea, you should use a chiminea cover and seal clay chimineas. If a chiminea gets wet, make sure it's totally dry prior to lighting a fire in it.

The care and keeping of your chiminea are important. Not caring for it right can cause it to crack and even explode in certain cases. Let's talk about how moisture can harm your fireplace. 

Can A Chiminea Get Wet?

fire burns wood scraps patio chiminea

A single splash from a water hose is not going to destroy a chiminea, nor will leaving it out in the rain overnight once in a blue moon. However, that doesn't mean that your chiminea should get wet on purpose.

Water is quite damaging to chimineas long term, so it's best to avoid wetting your chiminea under any circumstances. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in this situation. 

Why Shouldn't You Let A Chiminea Get Wet?

Water poses a risk to the chiminea's exterior and can also weaken the interior. Here's how water can harm your chiminea:

Rust On Iron Chimineas

If you have an iron or metal chiminea, expect long-term exposure to rainwater to eventually cause the finish to strip away, leaving them prone to rust. Once rust sets in, rust can cause the chiminea to crack and break.

Clay Breakage

outdoor fire on the backyard on the afternoon

Water left pooling on the inside of a clay chiminea can get absorbed. When water gets absorbed into the clay, it will begin to expand and contract with temperature fluctuations. If the fluctuations get too big or too much water gets absorbed into the clay center, your clay chiminea will weaken and crack. 

Grit And Grime

If you have an aluminum chiminea, you might not see rust, but it will get very dirty. This may not be a major problem, but it is an inconvenience. 

No matter how you slice it or dice it, moisture and chimineas don't mix.

Having regular exposure to water, snow, or even very humid weather can shorten the lifespan of your chiminea. You should not allow moisture near your chiminea if you can help it.

How To Prevent Chimineas From Getting Exposed To Water

wood burning chiminea hot sunny day outside the house, Can Chimineas Get Wet? [Does It Need A Cover?]

If you want to extend the life of your chiminea, then you're going to need to cut down its exposure to the elements. Water is a liability. There are several ways to reduce water exposure with your chiminea.

Buy A Chiminea Cover

Chimineas need a chiminea cover. These covers prevent rain from falling in the fireplace's belly and also help prevent exterior damage from frequent rainfall.

Ideally, you'll get a waterproof chiminea cover that fits loosely over your unit. A tight fit can also work, but it can be a hassle to put it on and remove it. 

Keep Your Chiminea Under A Porch Roof When Not In Use

If you don't like the idea of having to cover your chiminea, consider keeping it under a deck or porch roof when it's not being used. This shelters your item from most rain and snow, so it's better than nothing. 

The downside to this is that many people do not have a covered deck, patio, or porch where they can store a chiminea. Even if you do, it can be a hassle to bring the unit to an uncovered (and safe) place to roast things up.

Storing A Chiminea In A Garage

Do you live in an area that has a rainy season, or a season where snow becomes a serious issue? If so, you should store your chiminea in a shed or garage during the "off-season."

While a chiminea cover works well in summer and fall, winter can be hard on your equipment—even when it's covered. The safety of a garage can help reduce temperature fluctuations and exposure to the elements. 

It's important to note that chimineas that are used in colder parts of the world need to be stored in garages during cold seasons regardless of use. Ice can easily cause chimineas to crack, even if you aren't currently using it. 

In icy areas, a chiminea cover isn't enough. Ice can still make its way under the cover. You need to cover it and place it indoors until summer comes around once more.

Pro tip: Have a chilly garage? Use this guide to help you prevent paint freezing and also minimize damage to temperature-sensitive items like chimineas.

Seal And Reseal Your Chiminea

Most clay chimineas come pre-sealed, and that helps keep water outside of the clay interior. It's a major protective coat that can extend the life of your chiminea. Most chiminea sealants will last three months, so resealing things once a season should be enough. 

Keep Your Chiminea's Interior Clean

We've all heard about the family that leaves a pile of wet, floating leaves in their chiminea's stomach for months on end. This is an easy way to destroy your chiminea quickly. 

If you notice that rain or moisture got into your chiminea, the best thing you can do is pour out the water, remove the leaves, and wipe down the interior with a cleaning wipe. Then, dry it off!

Do Chimineas Really Need A Cover?

Even if you want to store your chiminea in a garage, you still need to have a cover for it. Covers help prevent leaves from blowing into the fire belly and also help prevent damage from regular rain storms.

In areas where wildlife can get a bit crazy, a chiminea cover can help prevent critters from crawling in the firepit and making it their new home. Moreover, it can also help prevent cracks from temperature fluctuations—even in dry cold.

What Should You Do If Your Chiminea Gets Wet?

chiminea fire flames fire burns wood

Oh no! A wet chiminea is no fun, but thankfully, it's something that you can fix. 

  • If your clay chiminea gets seriously soaked, move it to a dry place, pat it down with a towel, and let it air dry for the next three to five days. Once those days are up, you can light it again.
  • Metal chimineas can be saved by simply wiping them down with a towel until they are dry. They're good to use after that.
  • Another method to fix a soaked chiminea is to light very small fires to help dry it out. We do not suggest this unless it's absolutely necessary.

Do not throw water on a burning chiminea fire to put it out unless it's an emergency. This can make your chiminea break!

How Long Should You Wait To Use A Chiminea After It Gets Wet?

If you use the "fire method," you might be able to use it later on the same day. Most of the time, it's best to wait three to four days before you even think about using a previously-soaked chiminea. 

Is Using A Wet Chiminea Dangerous?

Yes! You should never use a wet chiminea, as this can lead to cracking. If you have a fire in the chiminea when it cracks, you could get seriously injured and even start a housefire. 

Do Chimineas Require A Lot Of Maintenance?

The specific required maintenance depends on the material of the chiminea, but overall, these mini-fireplaces are fairly easy to maintain. They are not that different from any other type of grill. People liken it to owning a Weber BBQ grill or a smoker.

While they are not low maintenance, you still need to care for them the right way. If you were hoping for a no-maintenance option, a firepit dugout might be a better choice. 

How Long Does A Chiminea Last?

This depends on the material. Clay chimineas generally last for at least five to 10 years. Metal chimineas can last for as long as 15 to 20 years with proper care. 

Water exposure can cause your chiminea's lifespan to shrink drastically. Some won't even last more than six months if they're waterlogged!

In Closing

wood burning chiminea hot sunny day outside the house

There are few things that are as bad for a chiminea as water can be. Your chiminea should not be anywhere near water, and investing in a chiminea cover is a must. 

Even if you have a cover, you should exercise caution and store your chiminea in a garage during snowy months. Doing so can extend the lifespan of your unit for quite some time!

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