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Are Ethanol Fireplaces Safe?

By Brittany Rycroft February 28, 2019

Ignis wall mount ethanol fireplace in living room

Ethanol Fireplace Safety Guide 

Ethanol fireplaces, otherwise known as bio fireplaces make use of biofuels (ethanol) for combustion to serve the purpose of heating or other processes. Because of this reason, these fireplaces differ from traditional wood-burning fireplaces. As a result of using alcohol as a fuel instead of other high carbon fuels, the flame produced carries many benefits over the traditional option.

We will discuss some of these advantages in this article. A typical ethanol fireplace insert consists of a burner, the major component of the setup. This burner houses the fuel used and possesses a small aperture or opening which enables the vapors of the fuel to combine with just enough oxygen to create a sustainable controlled flame. Normally, the idea of combining high octane fuels like ethanol with a flame would seem like a recipe for disaster, wouldn't it?

But in this contraption, many calculations and designs have gone into producing a device that allows you to harness the heating and clean combustion potential of alcohol as fuel while retaining the safety that should characterize a typical fireplace. Let's consider some of these adaptations that make it safe to make use of as a reliable choice even for heating your home.

Why ethanol fireplaces are considered safe?

As said above, a well-designed fireplace comprises a burner compartment that houses the fuel safely while allowing vapors to escape the opening at the top and combine with oxygen to burn and produce heat. These fireplaces usually come with a regulator rod to adjust the size of the fire and a lid to put out the fire as oxygen is required to burn and produce heat.

Therefore, by adjusting the flow of oxygen to the fire, you adjust the size of the flame. Automatic ethanol fireplaces, an adaptation to the basic manual ethanol fireplaces, also have a microprocessor that regulates the size of the fire. They possess sensors that monitor internal and external parameters to ensure that the fire operates within the confines of safety. It measures external temperature for example and turns off the burner in the case of extremely high temperatures.

Other parameters measured are oxygen level and even factors like earthquakes. The user can turn off and regulate this type of fireplace remotely by the use of a remote control, a dedicated mobile app or even a home system. All these adaptations help to ensure that this fireplace is safe to operate.

At Modern Ethanol, we carefully select every fireplace, each has been carefully selected and undergone rigorous testing and they all meet the highest safety standards. Here is a great video to illustrate our point from one of our preferred brands Planika

Benefits of an ethanol fireplace

Many people have chosen to add a fireplace to their living place because nothing beats the aesthetic appeal of a fireplace, and let's face it, nothing feels cozier than a warm fire on a cold day. Unfortunately, most fireplaces that have been built into most homes make use of wood as a fuel. This results in fires that aren't exactly eco-friendly and are in the long run (and in some cases immediately) bad for your health. This is not the case with ethanol fireplace inserts. Apart from the operational adaptations that make it safer and easier to make use of, there are also other benefits picking one of these over conventional wood or coal-burning fireplace.

  • First, they make use of ethanol or alcohol as fuel. This creates a huge difference in the quality of the flame and its effects on the immediate and even extended environment. This liquid fuel burns more easily and is more eco-friendly. This fuel can even be produced by fermenting plant by-products like sugarcane or grain with yeast.
  • Because they make use of bioethanol a fuel, which has a very low carbon content compared to wood, they emit far fewer particles and smoke during combustion. These particles which would normally have significant adverse effects on your respiratory health are absent as ethanol produces none of these pollutants. 

Precautions to be taken while using ethanol fireplaces

Even as these fireplaces are designed to be easy and safe to operate as well as be better for your health than other fireplace options to heat your home, the benefits of these fireplaces will only be achieved if they are made use of properly. Like any contraption that involves the use of a naked flame, extra precautions are to be taken to avoid the danger of damage to life and property. Here are some of the measures you need to take. The following are some precautions which should be taken when using ethanol fireplaces;

  • For obvious reasons, ensure to store the biofuel away from the fireplace and out of the reach of children.
  • For small spaces, we recommend using a carbon monoxide detector 
  • It may be difficult to see the flame from the burner when you attempt to put it off, so make sure to close the lid or use a snuffer to ensure the fire is put out when you want it off.
  • When you wish to refuel the burner; after ensuring that the fire is put out completely by closing the lid properly, you should leave the fireplace to cool down for about 15 minutes to avoid any accidental ignition of the fuel due to heat.
  • Only make use of fuel specially made for ethanol fireplaces.
  • Portable ethanol fireplaces including the fuel should only be handled by adults.
  • Clean up any spills and allow time for the spills to evaporate before igniting the fireplace.
  • Only light the fireplace with a long candle lighter or a long match.
  • An adult must be present while a portable fireplace is lit.
  • Never attempt to move a fireplace that is still burning or still hot.
  • Ensure to put off the burner when you leave your room or home and before you go to sleep.

Like all types of fireplaces, damage and injury can occur when they are used and operated improperly. However, if you follow the guidelines for using an ethanol fireplace stated above, you will be sure to benefit the most from its modern design, aesthetic appeal, functionality and other benefits that make it safer for you and your environment than a wood-burning fireplace and a good addition to your home.

 


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