What is an Ethanol Fireplace? - A Complete Guide
Did you know that heating and cooling account for anywhere between 20 and 50 per cent of the energy used by Australian households? The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources reports.
The reason for these shocking statistics is easy to understand – many home owners don’t take the time to seek the most comfortable, practical, versatile and energy-efficient solution.
A little bit of research will instantly show which heating options are superior.
An ethanol fireplace ranks among these choices.
A bio ethanol fireplace offers mess-free & simple heating that is cost-efficient and also environmentally-friendly. If you’ve never considered a freestanding ethanol fireplace in the past, this guide will give you the essential details. It will acquaint you with the product specifics, its key characteristics and the ways in which to make optimal use of your ethanol fireplace. Let’s get started.
What is an Ethanol Fireplace?
An ethanol fireplace also known as an alcohol fireplace, is essentially a fireplace that use ethanol as its fuel source! They’re still relatively new, which is why there's many questions to be asked..
Just like a regular fireplace, burning fuel is how they generate heat; but burning ethanol comes with many advantages.
What is Ethanol or Bio-Ethanol?
Bioethanol is a liquid bio fuel thatis be produced through the fermentation of several different kinds of plants like corn or soybeans. The most distinctive characteristic of bioethanol is that it is a renewable fuel (unlike gasoline and other kinds of fossil fuels).
Apart from being great for heating, bioethanol can also be used to power cars. It behaves in a very similar manner to all conventional fuels, giving users a high levels of efficiency and an excellent output.
Bioethanol is clean burning and doesn’t produce hazardous gases and toxic waste. As a result, ethanol fireplaces do not require chimneys or vents. They can be positioned in asmall apartmentwith whatsoever no risk for the occupants.
Because of these characteristics, a free standing ethanol fireplace is incredibly versatile. It can be moved around indoor and outdoors.Freestanding or wall-mounted ethanol fireplaces and typically have aesthetically pleasing modern designs.
Difference Between Ethanol and Traditional Fireplaces.
Ethanol vs Wood vs Electric vs Gas
How Does An Ethanol Fireplace Work?
Bio-ethanol fireplaces aren't as complicated as you think, they’re actually quite simple. They don't require an electrical connections or a hard gas lines, they just use ethanol as there fuel source.
Ethanol fireplaces usually have two sections; a frame and a burner. The frame is commonly constructed from stainless steel and tempered glass; it essentially holds the burner in position and largely determines the design and aesthetics of the fireplace. The ethanol burner is a stainless steel vessel that houses the fireplaces’ fuel.
The ethanol fireplaces works by:
Simply pouring ethanol into the stainless steel burner.
Igniting the fuel with the appropriate lighting device.
The ethanol combusts inside its stainless steel burner producing heat, small amounts of steam and carbon dioxide. These fires are clean burning, they do not produce harmful toxins too. The flame will beautifully dance inside the tempered glass frame walls while also being safely contained in the burner.
Benefits of Using Ethanol Fireplaces
You already have some ideas about the biggest advantages that ethanol fireplaces deliver. Let’s take a deeper look at these features to help you understand the benefits of these amazing products.
1. Quick & Easy Installation – No Gas, No Flue, No Electricity
As far as installation goes for ethanol fireplaces, it is very simple. You will not need any construction or renovations. Freestanding ethanol fireplaces do not require a chimney or a flue, gas lines or electrical cables, which makes them very quick to install. You’ll simply need to unpack your brand newfireplaces, put it in position and enjoy.
Freestanding ethanol fireplaces give you the luxury of design, simplicity and flexibility. They are the best choice of a fireplace for home indoor and/or outdoor use. The fireplace’s simple installation gives you the versatility of easily relocating it like a piece of furniture. Move it from room to room, light it up indoor or take it outside for a garden party – it’s really up to you.
Not only is an ethanol fireplace a stress-free addition to your home, you will also have a designer item that’s very flexible and capable of matching all of your lifestyle needs.
Let’s quickly contrast this with the installation of a traditional wood fireplace. A required chimney or a flue will have to be installed or serviced if they’re not a part of your home. A “firebox” will also have to be built to house the fireplace. These processes require the use of expensive materials and you’ll also need to hire an experienced contractor for the purpose. Obviously, the installation is more time-consuming and it will also be costlier in comparison to using a brand new free standing ethanol fireplace.
Keeping you warm is just one feature of your freestanding ethanol fireplace. It also has the ability to transform your space and warm your heart with its glow of beauty. Bio ethanol fireplaces are simply beautiful, enhancing your space and even boosting the value of your property.
Your freestanding fireplace may have different finishes – transparent glass, shiny steel or matte black are some examples. On top of that, you have the choice of various elements and design specifics that enhance the fireplace’s appeal even further. Some bioethanol fireplaces come equipped with optional protective fire screens, optional stainless steel log sets and protective covers, to name a few spectacular add-ons.
Ecosmart Fireplaces always include core accessories that are required for the safety, operation and maintenance of your freestanding ethanol fireplace. Some of these include a fire lighter, lighting rod and an ethanol jerry can.
3. Relocatable With Ease – Indoor & Outdoor
An ethanol fireplace is perfect for any occasion. The item is so versatile, suitable for both the lounge room and the backyard, ideal for aesthetics or for warmth and perfect during either day or a night. This product is built to suit your needs and give you the freedom and flexibility corresponding to all your lifestyle preferences.
In your living room, the fireplace will flicker and glow, creating a warm and cosy ambient space. All you have to do is light the fuel, relax and sink deep in to your book. Out the back, your friends and family will gather around to talk, laugh and share stories in the glow and warmth of your designer piece.
4. Clean Burning – Are Ethanol Fireplaces Safe?
You may be somewhat concerned about burning fuel or wood inside your home. How would that affect your health? Will you be putting yourself or your family at a risk of respiratory trouble?
While these concerns may be valid for regular fuels, bio ethanol fireplacesare completely safe.
Studies have shown consistently that the impact of burning ethanol on air quality doesn’t even come close to the use of wood or gas fireplaces. The reason is simple – ethanol for fireplace burning doesn’t combust in the same way that other fuels do.
Burning ethanol fuel produces heat, steam and CO2. Your ethanol fireplace doesn’t produce any odours, ash or dangerous fumes, no harmful by-products are released, which is why the fireplace has chimney-less design.
Let’s compare the functioning of an ethanol fireplace to the burning of wood, putting things in perspective.
According to the American Lung Association, wood smoke is one of the biggest air pollution contributors. The fine particles that go into the air when burning wood (carbon particles, dust, etc.) can become deeply lodged into the lungs, contributing to issues like asthma and respiratory infections.
Wood smoke contains toxic and harmful pollutants on top of those fine particles,the Environmental Protection Agency reports. These include benzene, formaldehyde, acrolein and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Inhaling those on a regular basis increases the risk of lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)and emphysema. The risk is significant for children, seniors and people suffering from chronic respiratory conditions.
Ethanol is safe burning – no smoke - no soot – no ash – no odours. You can rest assured you’re putting your family’s health first when buying a bio ethanol fireplace.
Do Ethanol Fireplaces Give Off Heat?
Ethanol fireplaces are very aesthetically pleasing but they are also great at producing heat. There are many different models of burners which will produce a larger or smaller flames, which will obviously impact the heat output.
Let’s check out some features below by comparing two popular models of fireplaces that use bio ethanol fireplace fuel.
Ethanol heaters are vent-less, meaning all the heat stays in the roomrather than escaping up a flue, like it would on other types of fireplaces. Increased heat retention meansa better fuel efficiency.Ethanol Fireplaces will heat on average 20m2 - 60m2 depending on the model, 5000 – 20000 BTU’s!
Paired with the BK5 burner
Holds up to 5L of ethanol fuel
Heats on average 35M²
Burn time is 7 – 11 hours
Thermal output at 3.5kW/h
Paired with the AB3 burner
Holds up to 2.5L of ethanol fuel
Heats on average 20m ²
Burn time is 8 – 11 hours
Thermal output at 1.7kW/h
There are many other options too choose among. Some of them can heat up very large spaces of 110m3 or even more.
How Much Do Ethanol Fireplaces Cost To Run?
The cost to run anethanol fireplace depends on how much ethanol fuel is used and the size of the fireplace. On average it costs as low as $1.50 per hour to operate an ethanol fireplace.
The average operating cost sits low-middle compared to other fuel sources.
Ethanol $1.5 / Hour
Wood $3.0 / Hour
Electric $2.0 / Hour
Gas $0.5 / Hour
Best Bio Ethanol Fireplace Practices
Are you convinced of the benefits already? Do you feel ready to make such a modern and functional addition to your home?
Before you move ahead and buy your brand new ethanol fireplace or fire table, let’s examine a few usage tips and specifics that will help you make the most of your brand new possession.
1. Always Use the Right Fuel
No matter how great and effective your new bio ethanol fireplace is, you will not get optimal heat output in the absence of high quality fuel.
Bioethanol fuel needs to have an alcohol reading of 99 per cent for optimal combustion. The most typical commercial fuel varieties available in Australia will have an alcohol reading of 96 to 99 per cent.
Lower alcohol content will make the burning inefficient and it will also potentially bring down the heat output. Do look for quality as the heat output and the efficiency will be best. Cheap fuels can produce a somewhat unpleasant smell and the burning will not be consistent.
2. Always Follow Manufacturers Operation & Safety Instructions.
Its very important to follow the manufactures instructionsthat will arrive alongside your brand new, modern ethanol fireplace. You’ll be provided with safely operating instructions, clearance requirements, installation methods and other safety practices.
Operating an Ethanol Fireplace
Operating the fireplaceis fairly simple, it can be done in a few steps:
(Remember always to follow the manufactures instructions, these steps are a guide)
Inspect the burner to make sure is clean and clear from foreign particles and isn’t hot.
Using the correct safety refuelling equipment, fill theburner to desired amount, without exceeding its max limit – (often indicated as a line or in manufacturers instructions)
Place the jerry can at least 1500m from theburner before ignition.
Using the appropriate lighting device, safely light the fireplace according the operating manual.
At first, the flame will be small and often blue. Give it around 20 minutes it will slowly start reaching optimum flame.
After that initial period, you can adjust the flame according to your preferences.
Your fuel storage area should not be within a hazardous distance from the fireplace! This is very important to prevent accidental combustion. It must be 1500mm away from a flame at all times.
You don’t have to burn all the fuel inside the fireplace in one go. The beauty of bioethanol fireplaces is that you can extinguish the flame when you feel like it, preserving the rest of the fuel.
Again, there is a safety procedure to follow when extinguishing the flame:
(Remember always to follow the manufactures instructions, these steps are a guide)
The fireplace will often come with alid/tool you can use to put out the flame.
Using the correct utensils, place/slide the lid over the burners opening until the flame goes out.
Let the ethanol fireplace cool down completely, at least 1 hour.
Do not pour additional fuel inside the burner until the burner has lowered to at least room temperature.
Once the burner is cool, you can do basic cleaning and maintenance.
Use a dry cloth to wipe up spilled fuel.
You can clean the exterior of the fireplace with a damp cloth.
The right kind of cleaner (glass cleaner, for example) can be utilised for the maintenance of the respective part of the fireplace
Steel wool is not appropriate for removing stains or some kind of build-up from your fireplace
A Few Ethanol Fireplace Essentials
The same rules should be followed for an ethanol outdoor fireplace but when you are in a small space, it’s even more important to make sure you’re doing everything correctly.
As you’ve seen from the above section, there’s nothing way too complex about the use of a bioethanol fireplace. You simply need to follow logic and adhere to basic safety principles to enjoy the fireplace withoutany hazards.
Here are a couple of additional ethanol fireplace burner and usage tips that are suitable for beginners:
You should never pour additional fuel into an open flame and while the fireplace is working. While the recommendation is a logical one, some people will ignore the dangers of adding fuel to a fireplace that has an open flame
Obviously, you should also refrain from attempting to move the fireplace while it is operational – the freestanding item will be way too hot to handle and you risk getting serious burns
Flammable materials and supplies should also be kept a good distance away from a fireplace, atleast 1500mm at all times.
Do not leave children unsupervised by the fireplace
You should never use gasoline or another kind of non-approved fuel in a bioethanol fireplace. Not only can such activities damage your fireplace beyond repair, there will also be a higher risk of fire
Do not place combustible items like paper or charcoal in the burner
A bioethanol fireplace isn’t mean to be used for cooking food.
That’s it! Knowing these essentials will be enough to use your fireplace in an optimal way.
You’re now simply faced with the task of choosing the rightbioethanol fireplace for your home. We’ll be more than happy to guide you through the process or answer questions you may have about these amazing heating systems.Reach out today for additional information or check outour amazing collection of products!
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