Outdoor Fireplaces Burn Safe and Clean

by Marc Dickinson

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Everybody loves a good fire. We love them so much we'll go camping just to sit around one. We'll even build one in our own home so we can see the flames dance. But what if you don't want to leave the house but still would like to sit outside and enjoy the natural atmosphere of a nice fire? This is why many people invest in an outdoor fireplace. More often than not, outdoor fireplaces come in unique styles and designs: they aren't just an indoor hearth installed outside. Sometimes referred to as chimineas, they are often freestanding, portable stoves designed with a chimney that helps to draw fresh air in for a clean, hot burn and then draft the smoke back out through its top. This makes them more efficient and convenient, not only because you can place them wherever you want (decks, patios, lawn), but unlike firepits, they are self-contained.

Keep It Together
Unlike fire rings or firepits, outside fireplaces are safer because they are enclosed within a structure. You no longer have to worry about smoldering ashes, wind gusts, and flying sparks putting your property at risk. Plus, one of the worst things about uncontained fires is that they smoke. You can't control the draft of the fire, and somehow, that smoke always seems to get directed right back in your face, which can irritate the eyes and make your hair and clothes smell. Since outside fireplaces are able to draft themselves, you no longer have to worry about the smoke attacking you and your guests.

Be cozy even outdoors! Use this link to install an

Outdoor Fireplace

So Many Choices
Outdoor fireplaces come in many shapes and sizes, so it's always a good idea to shop around before buying. Here are a few different varieties to help you get started, each coming with their own pros and cons:
Built-In: Of course, many people don't like the idea of a portable stove and invest in a more permanent structure with mortar and bricks. It's definitely more expensive since it involves actual construction by a professional, but it creates a very modern look on any patio or deck.
Steel: These outdoor fireplaces are often less expensive, lighter (very portable), and come with a 360-degree see-through screen for easy viewing. Plus, they are often supplied with grills and charcoal options so they can be cooked over. However, they may not be very durable and can rust easily, so always store them away in a garage while not in use.
Clay: This material creates a unique rustic look and is often very affordable, but it is much heavier and more prone to damage: they can fail on you (the bottom literally drops out) and sometimes can't stand up to the elements over a long period of time.
Cast Iron: These are very study units that can withstand anything for a long time, but they are also very heavy. So make sure when you get it home that you find a permanent place for it because you definitely won't be moving it for a long time either.
Cast Aluminum: This has the exact same look at a cast iron, but it is lighter and less expensive. But it can withstand the elements and be easily stored during rougher weather.

Outdoor Gas Fireplace
An outdoor gas fireplace can also be built-in or portable, but you no longer have to deal with any hassle. By using natural gas or propane, you'll be able to start a fire immediately with a flip of a switch or twist of a valve. Plus, you no longer have to worry about ashes, sparks, smoke, drafts, or other maintenance. And since you don't have to buy additional wood, outdoor gas fireplaces can save you money and time. However, natural gas is not cheap since it's not a renewable resource, and though it burns cleaner than wood it may lack a certain authenticity, even if you use faux-wood inserts.

Marc Dickinson has worked in both the general contracting and landscaping trades and is currently a home improvement freelance writer with over 300 articles published.