A clay fire pit, or a clay chiminea, provides an outdoor spot where you can safely build a fire. People commonly use fire pits or chimineas on decks and patios as a sort of outdoor fireplace. Though clay fire pits and chimineas are created to hold fire, proper care of the unit ensures that you can safely build fires in the fire pit or chiminea for years. If you have a clay outdoor fire pit or chiminea, you can keep it in good condition with just a few of the right tools.
Set your clay fire pit or chiminea up in the location where you intend to use it. Due to the fragility of the material, you shouldn’t move the fire pit or chiminea any more than necessary.
Place a layer of lava rock in the bowl at the bottom of the clay fire pit or chiminea, and only burn the coals on top of the rock. According to Dancing Fire, this keeps the coals from burning directly on the clay, which can cause the clay to get too hot and crack.
Clean the ashes out of the fire pit or chiminea bowl when it starts to interfere with your ability to start new fires. To clean the ash, shovel out the entire pit or bowl, including the rock and the ash, and spray the contents off with a hose to remove the ash from the rock. Leave the rock laying out to dry and then return the dried rocks to the bowl or pit.
Cover the fire pit or chiminea when you aren’t using it. Keeping the clay covered prevents rain, sun and other weather from damaging the clay and any painted designs on the outside of the pit or chiminea.
Seal a chiminea at least twice a year to keep moisture from leaking into the clay, which may cause the clay to break. You can also use sealer on the outside of a clay fire pit to prevent water damage that may come from ground moisture. If you use the fire pit or chiminea several times every week, or if you live in a particularly humid region, you should seal the fire pit or chiminea every three months.