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Why Does My Chiminea Keep Going Out?

Running into trouble while using your chiminea can feel like a nuisance over time. For example, are you trying to start a fire and keep it going with family or friends only to have your chiminea go out? What causes this to happen, and how can you stop it?

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Luckily, we've researched why a chiminea keeps going out and are here to help.

One of the main reasons a chiminea keeps going out is that it doesn't have proper ventilation. Most times, your chiminea will need to let out the extra smoke inside its fire bowl, so you should open the lid during use.

Without your chiminea's flue removing the excess gas and smoke, it's more likely for the fire to become weak and die down in a shorter period.

As we begin this article, we will uncover why a chiminea keeps going out and discuss how to keep it burning longer. Whether you just bought a chiminea and need help getting a fire going, have a problematic one, or need additional assistance, we're here for you. With that said, let's dive right in!

Chiminea on fire in a garden.- Why Does My Chiminea Keep Going Out

Why Does My Chiminea Keep Going Out?

a fire burns wood scraps in a patio chiminea.

If you've ever tried using a chiminea only to have the fire keep going out: this can be super annoying. In general, a lack of proper ventilation will cause this, so let's focus on that first.

As we mentioned above, your chiminea may have trouble burning fire if the flue isn't releasing the excess gas and smoke from your structure.

When a fire is overpowered by smoke, ash, and gas, it will die and eventually go out. According to experts, fresh oxygen is drawn into the chiminea via the door if your flue/lid isn't expelling gas and smoke properly.

As this happens, your chiminea will lose strength and often need to be restarted. The key is having your chiminea remove the smoke and gas as the fire burns.

The longest-lasting fires tend to be ones with good ventilation.

How Do You Keep The Fire Going In A Chiminea?

A Chimenea in the backyard. A backyard fire place surrounded by plants.

One of the best ways to keep a fire going in your chiminea is to create a modest pyramid out of kindling around the fire. Generally, making a wood pyramid inside your chiminea can help maintain the flames.

As we said, the inside of your chiminea can become somewhat smokey, so a pyramid can help promote ventilation. Additionally, you can use natural firelighters for your chiminea to create a powerful fire.

These typically have tons of flammable resin to burn your fire more quickly. Again, none of these steps will matter if you don't ventilate your chiminea: so remember to focus on that.

Sometimes, people forget to open the lid to their chiminea and waste all their wood/products. To avoid this, check your chiminea before using it, ensuring it has the correct setup.

You might also want to get in your chiminea with a brush to remove excess ash between burns, so there are a few ways to accomplish a longer-lasting fire.

Should I Clean Out My Chiminea Between Uses?

Yes! A great way to maintain your chiminea's quality and fire-burning ability is by cleaning it. Many experts recommend cleaning the inside of a chiminea between uses or every few burns.

Doing this can ensure the excess ash and debris from previous fires don't affect future ones. On top of that, your chiminea may become over-filled with ashes which can hinder its ability to make fire.

Generally, too much debris in a chiminea or traditional fireplace can become an issue. Regardless of your structure's material, using a sweeper brush and the appropriate product can ensure a better, longer-lasting flame.

However, according to Compact Appliance, your cleaning process will be different depending on whether a chiminea is clay or metal.

For example, if you have a clay chiminea, you want to:

  1. Remove all the sand, pea gravel, or rocks lining the bottom of your clay chiminea
  2. Clean all the leftover ash thoroughly
  3. Wipe down and clean the grill and interior
  4. Rinse off the stone with water before placing it back inside

Now, if you have a metal chiminea, you need to clean, you'll have to:

  1. Put on a pair of safety goggles/glasses
  2. Grab a wire brush and use it to scrub down the interior of your metal chiminea
  3. Once most of the rust and debris is gone, use a wire-wool cleaning pad and soap
  4. Wipe down the inside of your structure and allow it to dry before using

Here, you can see how with a metal chiminea, you have to be more concerned with the actual structure rusting versus the materials inside.

Again, both clay and metal chiminea models need regular maintenance, so keep that in mind. We recommend creating a schedule for your cleaning, whether every three or so burns or once/twice per month.

How Often Do I Need To Clean My Chiminea?

Usually, you don't need to clean a chiminea too often. However, many experts recommend cleaning out the excess ash and debris from your structure between uses, so that's a good idea regardless.

Remember, the more stuff leftover inside a chiminea; the less powerful your next fire will be. In addition, if you have a metal chiminea model, you will need to scrub it more frequently than a clay version.

That's because metal/cast iron chimineas tend to rust if you keep them outdoors. Therefore, if your chiminea is exposed to the elements, you want to try and give it a deep clean once a month.

On top of that, many pros suggest cleaning a chiminea once monthly during periods of heavy use. So, on top of your regular ash removal, you will also need to scrub the interior of your chiminea.

Doing this may seem redundant, but your chiminea will thank you long-term. Furthermore, the cleaner a chiminea, the better fires you can burn: so this is a win-win.

Think of this like a normal fireplace; you will need to perform specific maintenance tasks.

Should Flames Come Out The Top Of A Chiminea?

Sparks fire out of the top of a chiminea on a summers evening.

Since chimineas are mainly used for small fires, creating a mega-flame can be dangerous. In general, you should not notice flames coming out the top of a chiminea.

If this happens, you likely put too much lighter fluid or fire-starting products into your structure. To settle things down, you want to put the lid onto your chiminea until the flame subsides.

One common misconception about chimineas is that they're supposed to have large fires/flames. This is untrue. According to Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, it's time to settle the fire down as soon as you see flames coming from the mouth or top of your chiminea.

Having the fire inside your chiminea be too out of control can put you and others at risk. For example, if you add too much lighter fluid to a chiminea fire and the flames shoot from the top or front, you could look at extensive burning.

Not only can this harm or kill you, but it can also set off a wildfire in your backyard. That can spread to your home and those nearby, so this is nothing to take lightly.

Therefore, you want to be mindful of what you put in to get your fire started and always be cautious.

Can Too Big Of A Fire Inside My Chiminea Damage It?

Yes. If you create a mega-fire inside your chiminea, this could damage it. According to experts, using gasoline or other fire-inducing fluids inside a chiminea can cause it to explode.

Hearth.com warns that as soon as you see flames coming from the neck of your chiminea structure, this is when damage is more likely to happen.

Again, your chiminea is meant for a fire. So if things get too crazy every once in a while, you shouldn't worry about explosions or structural damage.

That said, if you are reckless with your chiminea and don't follow proper safety protocols: bad things can happen to it and those nearby. It's never wise to mess with fire, especially to the point you lose control.

On top of that, as long as your chiminea is clean and has good ventilation, you shouldn't need to try using additives to strengthen the flames. As we said, build a wood pyramid and use natural firelighters if all else fails.

Should I Use Gasoline To Make A Chiminea Fire Stronger?

Chiminea on fire in a garden.

No! Even though this may be viable for a bonfire, using gasoline or liquid fire-starting products can become deadly in a chiminea. As we said before, gas/fuel in a chiminea will usually cause it to explode.

If you have a clay structure and use gasoline, you could be looking at shards of clay shooting at you from all directions. That can be incredibly dangerous and cause severe injury.

According to professionals, you want to consider a chiminea as a wood-burning stove. Therefore, you should never add any liquid starter to its flames unless you want to see your chiminea destroyed.

To Finish Things Up

Whether you recently purchased a chiminea or want one, it's always good to understand how it works. From what we found, a chiminea will continue to go out if it doesn't have good ventilation.

For example, if your chiminea doesn't have a way to expel the excess smoke, ash, and gas from its inside fire chamber, this can lead to issues with keeping a fire going.

Therefore, we recommend ensuring the flue of your chiminea is open and releasing the excess materials during the fire, as well as creating a pyramid of wood inside your chiminea.

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