Are you looking to install an ethanol fireplace in your home? As is the case with any appliance that involves flames and flammable materials, safety is a crucial consideration and one that should have a profound impact on your buying behavior.
We know that safety is always first when it comes to your family and your home. But if you don’t follow the guidelines and safety codes that are formulated by regulatory authorities and safety certification companies, you run several risks. Sub-par products and improper installations have a record of causing property damages, personal injuries, and fatalities.
To prevent this from happening to you and your family, acquaint yourself with the relevant building regulations and safety guidelines. Then, select only products that are tested by reliable certification companies to minimize your risk of defects and safety hazards.
In this post, we will take an in-depth look at ethanol fireplaces, associated building codes and regulations, and safety recommendations from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). We will also look at UL-certified brands that are certified to meet the appropriate quality and safety standards.
Why Should You Consider an Ethanol Fireplace?
Conventional fireplaces that use wood or anthracite for fuel have heated homes for hundreds of years.
There are several problems with these fireplaces, though. Wood fires result in smoke, soot, and ash that pollutes the environment. And both wood anthracite units are expensive and challenging to install, requiring chimneys and venting systems.
Burning ethanol, on the other hand, doesn’t cause smoke, unpleasant smells, ashes, or soot. Ethanol fireplaces are ventless so they don’t need flues or chimneys, so it’s a breeze to install one anywhere in your home.
Ethanol fireplaces also come in various designs. You can choose from tabletop, wall-mounted, or hanging fireplaces. Modern designs can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home significantly, and the flames from burning ethanol create a tranquil atmosphere.
Ethanol fireplaces are generally safe for indoor use. But because we are talking about open flames here, there are safety considerations for you to keep in mind. Read on.
Building Codes and Regulations
Ethanol fireplaces are classified as decorative fireplace appliances that are intended for occasional use and not for heating. Currently, ethanol fires are not subject to building codes or regulations from the government or regulatory bodies.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), ethanol fireplaces are safe for home use. The safety guidelines for ethanol fireplaces are generally the same as those for other fireplace types.
Before installing an ethanol fireplace, contact a local architect or fire department with installation details to ensure that you are not violating any local building codes. You should also consult with your home insurance company to ensure that there are no restrictions on installing an ethanol fireplace. Your insurance company may require a UL certification from the manufacturer to ensure that the appliance underwent safety testing.
To ensure your safety, follow the manufacturer's installation and safety instructions carefully. Don't leave a flame unattended, and make sure that it is in a room that has adequate ventilation.
NFPA Safety Recommendations
The NFPA has several safety recommendations to ensure optimal safety around ethanol fireplaces.
- Keep ethanol away from children and the fireplace; store the fuel in a closed container.
- Ethanol burns clean, and the flame is not always visible. Before moving or refueling your fireplace, make sure the fire is out.
- Use only fuel approved for your specific ethanol fireplace. Failure to do so can result in personal injury or damage to your property.
- Ethanol fireplaces and fuel should be used only by adults.
- Before igniting your fireplace, clean any fuel spillage.
- Don’t leave a flame unattended, especially in the presence of children.
- Place portable fireplaces on a steady surface and away from table edges.
- Don’t move or refuel an ethanol fireplace while it is burning or still hot.
- Wait 15 minutes for an ethanol fireplace to cool down before refueling.
- When you leave your home or go to sleep, extinguish the flame.
- Keep your ethanol fireplace at least three feet from curtains, furniture, and electric appliances.
Recommended UL-Certified Brands
Underwriter Laboratories (UL) is a safety-certification company in the United States that issues certifications based on industrywide standards. A UL certificate demonstrates a manufacturer’s competence and commitment to safety.
Manufacturers that obtain a UL certification undergo a series of tests and evaluations to ensure that they meet all local and federal safety and environmental regulations. When purchasing an ethanol fireplace, stick to UL-certified brands, and you can rest assured that your fireplace meets the highest safety standards.
The UL-certified brands we recommend are:
Planika is a global brand founded in 2002. This reputable brand incorporates its Burning Ethanol Vapor (BEV) technology into its designs, so there is no direct contact between the flame and the fuel.
Eco-Fue is another prominent brand and supplier of ethanol fireplaces. Like Planika, Eco-Fue’s products are UL-certified, and they incorporate a wide range of safety features.
Regulatory organizations don’t have specific regulations in place for ethanol fireplaces, but they regard these appliances in the same light as traditional fireplaces. If you are planning to install a bioethanol fireplace, stick to brands that provide UL-certified units. Consult with your local fire department to ensure that you meet all the relevant building requirements – just as you would when adding any type of fireplace to your home.
Ethanol fireplace safety requires common sense and discipline. Consult your owner's manual to ensure that you install the unit safely and correctly, and follow the safety guidelines set by the National Fire Protection Association.
Fireplaces that are fueled by ethanol are generally safe and easy to control. This type of fireplace also has several advantages over those fueled by gas or wood. If you prioritize safety measures and stick to brands like Planika and Eco-Fue, an ethanol fireplace can be a valuable and long-term investment that you’ll enjoy for years to come!