EcoSmart Fire Grate 30" Ethanol Fireplace Insert by Mad Design Group

What is an Ethanol Fireplace?

A bioethanol fireplace, commonly known as an ethanol fireplace, is an eco-friendly and ventless type of fireplace that uses bioethanol fuel. It is a great alternative to gas and traditional fireplaces because of its sustainable, smoke-free, and convenient burning operation.

For a more in-depth buyer’s guide, check out Ethanol Fireplaces 101: Everything You Need to Know About Bio-Fireplaces.

Table of Contents

 

The Science Behind Ethanol Fireplaces

What is Bioethanol Fuel?

Bioethanol Fuel

Bioethanol fuel is a type of ethyl alcohol made from fermented agricultural products like corn, sugarcane, and wheat. As a form of renewable energy, it produces fewer emissions compared to fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas.

The only byproducts are water vapor and minimal amounts of carbon dioxide. You can see a sample of bioethanol fuel in the picture above, and it’s available for purchase along with ethanol fireplaces at US Fireplace Store.

How is it used in the Fireplace?

In a standard ethanol fireplace, there is a burner reservoir where the fuel is poured. This fuel is then ignited with a long lighter or match. Depending on your fireplace model, you can adjust the flame using a remote control, slider, or lid to meet your needs.

Benefits of Ethanol Fireplaces

EcoSmart Fire 143" Flex 140BN Bench Ethanol Fireplace Insert with Decorative Box by Mad Design Group

Pictured: EcoSmart Fire 143" Flex 140BN Bench Ethanol Fireplace Insert with Decorative Box by Mad Design Group

Check Mark Environmental Advantages: Eco-friendly, using renewable bioethanol fuel that emits minimal carbon dioxide and water vapor.

Check Mark Health and Safety: Improves indoor air quality by eliminating smoke, soot, and ash, and often includes automatic shut-off mechanisms.

Check Mark Aesthetic Flexibility: Available in a variety of designs and finishes, from tabletop models to standalone units, fitting any decor.

Check Mark Easy Installation: No chimneys or flues required, many models are portable and suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

    Check Mark Real Flames and Ambiance: Provides genuine warmth and a cozy atmosphere, enhancing any room's ambiance.

    Check Mark Minimal Upkeep: Less maintenance than wood-burning fireplaces, with no soot or ash to clean.

    Check Mark Energy-Efficient: 98% efficiency rate, offering a highly efficient heating option.

    Check Mark Ease of Use: Simple operation — just pour the fuel and ignite.

    Check Mark Additional Functionalities: Some models combine features, like a fireplace with a coffee table, adding both value and style.

      Performance and Efficiency

      How Effective Are Ethanol Fireplaces In Heating A Space?

      Anywhere Fireplace 19" Stainless Steel SoHo Wall Mount Fireplace

      Pictured: Anywhere Fireplace 19" Stainless Steel SoHo Wall Mount Fireplace

      Ethanol fireplaces are known for their efficiency in fuel and heat handling, as well as ease of installation and maintenance.

      Since bioethanol fuel burns cleanly, it produces minimal byproducts. Nearly 97% of the fuel’s energy is converted into heat, with very little soot, ash, or smoke. This makes ethanol fireplaces very consumer-friendly, as they do not require major home renovations like adding a chimney or venting system. Additionally, they need fewer maintenance checks due to the lack of emissions.

      In contrast, wood-burning fireplaces have an efficiency rate of 10-30%, with a lot of heat lost through the chimney. Gas fireplaces offer a better balance between efficiency and convenience, with an efficiency rate of 70-90%.

      Heating Capabilities

      Before discussing heating capabilities, keep in mind that ethanol fireplaces are mainly designed for decorative and supplementary heating. They should not replace your primary heating source.

      The heating capabilities of a bio-ethanol fireplace depend on its design, operation, and purpose. On average, a manual ethanol fireplace generates between 2,000 and 9,000 watts of heat. Automatic models, which have features for easier refueling and flame adjustment, can produce between 2,000 and 15,000 watts of heat. High-end models can even output up to 50,000 watts, suitable for large spaces.

      The heating power of these fireplaces can also be measured in BTUs per hour, with various models ranging from 1,400 to 50,000 BTU/hr.

      Below is a table that shows different types of bio-fireplaces along with their estimated heat output in watts and BTU/hr:

      Type

      Heat Output in Watts (W)

      BTU/hr

      Burner

      2,900 - 9,000

      10,000 - 30,000

      Firebox

      2,900 - 15,000

      10,000 - 50,000

      Fire-pit

      1,400 - 9,000

      5,000 - 30,000

      Fireplace

      2,300 - 9,000

      8,000 - 30,000

      What are BTUs?

      British Thermal Units (BTUs) is a measure of heat that indicates the energy required to heat or cool one pound (roughly 0.45 kilograms) of water. To calculate how many BTUs you need to warm up your room, simply multiply the square foot area of your space by 20 BTUs.

      Area Coverage

      Bio-fireplaces can be used both indoors and outdoors, but they are best for heating smaller areas.

      The size of the area a bio-fireplace can heat depends on the model and capacity of the fireplace. Factors like room size, layout, ambient heat, and insulation also affect how well the fireplace distributes heat.

      Always follow your manufacturer’s recommendations for minimum room size, usually starting at around 400 square feet, to ensure adequate heat dissipation and personal safety.

      Below is a table that shows the approximate size of the area that different fireplaces can cover:

      Type

      Area of Coverage (sq. ft.)

      Burner

      500 - 1,500

      Firebox

      500 - 2,500

      Fire-pit

      250 - 1,500

      Fireplace

      400 - 1,500

      Cost-effectiveness

      The cost of bioethanol is approximately $60.51 for 20 liters, with bulk purchases reducing the price by $7.44 per 20 liters.

      How much do you exactly need to use?

      The amount of fuel you need depends on your fireplace model, usage frequency, and flame size. Typically, a small burner uses about 1 to 1.3 liters of fuel to burn for up to 6 hours.

      Below is a table that shows each type of fireplace, how many liters you need, its burning time, and its running cost:

      Type

      Fuel Needed in Liters (L)

      Burning Time in Hours (h)

      Cost per hour in USD ($)

      Burner

      1 - 1.3 L

      3 - 6 h

      $0.99 - $1.80

      Firebox

      1.5 - 3 L

      3 - 5 h

      $1.24 - $2.48

      Fire-pit

      2 - 4 L

      4 - 7  h

      $1.61 - $3.10

      Fireplace

      1.5 - 3 L

      3 - 5 h

      $1.24 - $2.47

      Are Ethanol Fireplaces Safe to Use?

      Pictured: EcoSmart Fire Be 53" White Freestanding Designer Fireplace with Black Burner by MAD Design Group

      Pictured: EcoSmart Fire Be 53" White Freestanding Designer Fireplace with Black Burner by MAD Design Group

      Safety Features

      • Automatic Shut-Offs: Equipped with mechanisms that shut down the fireplace in case of overheating or flame issues, ensuring safe operation.
      • CO2 Detectors: Built-in detectors monitor carbon dioxide levels, automatically shutting down the fireplace if levels become unsafe.
      • Secure Fuel Chambers: Designed to prevent spills and leaks, these chambers enhance safety by reducing the risk of accidental fires.

      Compliance with Safety Standards

      Ethanol fireplaces adhere to international safety standards and certifications, ensuring they meet high safety requirements, including UL (Underwriters Laboratories), CE (Conformité Européenne), and CSA (Canadian Standards Association). These certifications indicate rigorous testing and approval for safety and performance.

      Guidelines for Safe Operation

      • Installation: Follow the manufacturer's installation instructions, ensure installation in a well-ventilated area, and keep flammable materials at a safe distance.

      • Fuel Handling: Use only recommended bio-ethanol fuel, store fuel in a cool, dry place away from the fireplace, and refill the fuel tank only when the fireplace is cool.

      • Operation: Do not leave the fireplace unattended while in use, ensure adequate room ventilation, and avoid placing objects on or near the fireplace during operation.

      • Maintenance: Regularly clean and inspect the fireplace for efficient operation, and promptly address any signs of wear or damage.

      • Emergency Preparedness: Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, familiarize yourself with emergency shut-off procedures, and evacuate and contact emergency services immediately in case of an emergency.

      Maintenance and Care

      Regular maintenance and inspections are crucial to prolonging the lifespan of your ethanol fireplace. Since ethanol fireplaces burn clean fuels, cleanup and maintenance are easy and hassle-free.

      Cleaning and Inspection

      Cleaning and Inspection
      1. Always ensure the fireplace is completely cool before cleaning or inspecting it.

      2. Wipe down dust from the fireplace model using soft cloths with a mixture of warm water and mild detergent.

      3. Use the same warm water and mild detergent mixture to clean the burner reservoir regularly. For hard-to-remove stains, use isopropyl alcohol.

      4. Clean the exposed areas of the fireplace to ensure efficient operation. Polish the entire fireplace with a microfiber cloth to leave the surface shiny and brand-new-looking.

      Routine Maintenance Tasks

      Frequency

      Task

      Weekly

      Check for any visible damage or wear and tear. Clean the burner reservoir and the exposed areas.

      Monthly

      Inspect the fuel chamber and all moving parts to ensure they are functioning correctly. Clean and polish the exterior of the fireplace.

      Annually

      Perform a thorough inspection of the entire unit. Replace any worn or damaged parts as needed.

      Long-Term Care Tips

      Long-Term Care Tips
      • Use Recommended Fuel: Always use the recommended bio-ethanol fuel to prevent damage and ensure efficient operation.

      • Proper Storage: Store the fireplace in a dry, cool place when not in use for extended periods.

      • Avoid Overfilling: Never overfill the burner reservoir to prevent spills and potential hazards.

      • Regular Use: Regularly use your fireplace to prevent the fuel system from becoming clogged or damaged.

      Troubleshooting Common Issues

      Troubleshooting Common Issues

      Weak Flame

      • Ensure the burner reservoir is filled with the correct amount of fuel.
      • Clean any residue from the burner.

      Difficulty Igniting

      • Check that the fuel is fresh and properly stored.
      • Ensure the ignition source is working correctly and cleanly.

      Unusual Odors

      • Ensure you are using the recommended fuel.
      • Check for and clean any spills or residue in the burner area.

      FAQs

      FAQs

      What is an ethanol fireplace?

      An ethanol fireplace, also known as a bioethanol fireplace, is a ventless, eco-friendly fireplace that uses bioethanol fuel. It provides real flames and heat without the need for a chimney or vent.

      What is bioethanol fuel?

      Bioethanol fuel is a renewable energy source made from fermented agricultural products like corn, sugarcane, and wheat. It burns cleanly, producing only water vapor and minimal carbon dioxide.

      Are ethanol fireplaces safe to use?

      Yes, ethanol fireplaces are safe when used correctly. They often come with safety features like automatic shut-offs, CO2 detectors, and secure fuel chambers. Always follow the

      Do ethanol fireplaces produce smoke or soot?

      No, ethanol fireplaces do not produce smoke, soot, or ash. They burn cleanly, improving indoor air quality and reducing maintenance.

      Can ethanol fireplaces heat a room effectively?

      Ethanol fireplaces are primarily designed for decorative and supplementary heating. They can provide warmth but should not replace your primary heating source. Their heating capacity varies by model, with some producing up to 50,000 BTU/hr.

      How do I install an ethanol fireplace?

      Installation is straightforward and does not require a chimney or venting system. Ethanol fireplaces can be wall-mounted, free-standing, or inserted into an existing fireplace. Always follow the manufacturer's installation instructions.

      Can I use an ethanol fireplace outdoors?

      Yes, many ethanol fireplaces are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Ensure the fireplace is designed for outdoor use and follow all safety guidelines.

      Are ethanol fireplaces environmentally friendly?

      Yes, ethanol fireplaces are eco-friendly. They use renewable bioethanol fuel and produce minimal emissions, making them a sustainable choice for home heating.

      Conclusion

      Ethanol fireplaces offer a modern, eco-friendly alternative to traditional fireplaces. Using clean-burning bioethanol fuel made from renewable agricultural products, they emit only water vapor and minimal carbon dioxide, reducing environmental impact. 

      With versatile designs, ethanol fireplaces can seamlessly integrate into various living spaces, providing real flames and genuine warmth. They are highly efficient, converting nearly all the fuel’s energy into heat with minimal byproducts, making them an excellent supplementary heating option.

      Safety features like automatic shut-offs and CO2 detectors, along with compliance with international safety standards, ensure reliable and secure operation. Their simple installation and minimal maintenance requirements make them a convenient choice compared to wood-burning and gas fireplaces.

      Ethanol fireplaces combine style, sustainability, and convenience, making them a perfect addition to any home looking to enhance ambiance and warmth while supporting a greener environment.

      Where Do I Buy Ethanol Fireplaces?

      When it comes to purchasing an ethanol fireplace, it's essential to buy from trusted sellers to ensure quality, safety, and durability. Look for reputable retailers with a proven track record and positive customer reviews.

      If that’s the case… then, look no further!

      Browse our ethanol fireplaces collection, containing numerous styles and features to match any decor and meet your heating needs. Whether you're aiming for a sleek modern look or a cozy traditional feel, we have the perfect ethanol fireplace for you.

      🔥 Transform your home today! Check out US Fireplace Store's extensive collection of ethanol fireplaces and find the ideal addition to bring warmth, style, and sustainability to your living space.

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