The Advantages and Disadvantages of Ethanol Fireplaces


I often come across the question, ‘what are the pros and cons of ethanol fireplaces?’ Well, it is completely understandable that as a frugal customer, you will want to know both sides of the coin when it comes to a product. Salespeople often state the upsides of ethanol fireplaces and completely ignore the downsides with an aim to entice the customer to buy the product. However, this does not really help the individual make the correct decision. As such, I have gone ahead and addressed this aspect in this post with an aim to help you make the right decision.

Open Fire Will Always Have a Risk

Perhaps the biggest downside to any fireplace is open fire. A live flame in your home will always be a potential hazard. There’s a chance that people, especially kids and your pets will come into contact with the flames. As such, it is imperative to strictly follow the user manual that comes with the product.

It’s also advisable to find a safe place for the ethanol fireplace. Ideal placement is one that doesn’t easily allow direct contact with the open fire. If you plan to have the fireplace in a hallway or a spot where people will pass by the fireplace, an excellent solution could be to pick a model that comes with a glass cover or to add a shelf beneath the fireplace to ascertain a safe distance at all times.

Bioethanol is Flammable

The flammable fluid is another important aspect to consider. Traditional fireplaces are far less risky as they do not utilize dangerous fuel. Bioethanol, however, can be very hazardous if it’s not treated properly.

That being said, always ensure that:

-You remove any spilled fuel

-You use a funnel to ascertain safe filling of the fluid

-You never fuel a hot or lit fireplace

-You always ignite the fireplace with a long lighter.

When you lit an ethanol fireplace, you’ll experience instance heat. Most of these fireplaces produce about 3 kW which can heat a living room of up to about 60 sq meters. However, fireplaces are not considered to be ideal sources of primary heat. That is because both woodburning and gas stoves have a higher heat output per hour, making them better options for primary heating.

Another downside regarding ethanol fireplaces is the possibility of excessive heat. Most individuals are not savvy in this field and often view these fireplaces as decorative rather than functional. As a result, most of them end up buying a fireplace that is too large for their living space. Most houses have adequate isolation and heating to get the ideal interior temperatures. As such, adding a fireplace will only increase the temperature. So, do your homework and look for an ethanol fireplace that matches your living space.

Ethanol Fireplaces Need to be Turned off Before Refueling

Woodburning and gas fireplaces can continue to burn as long as there’s an adequate supply of fuel. However, when you add a bio ethanol fireplace you will realise it can’t burn continuously. Most models run out of fuel after 5 hours, at which bioethanol need to be refilled.

If you refuel a hot fireplace, chances are a burst flame will occur once you ignite it. As such, it is advisable to let the fireplace cool before refueling the fireplace.

They Ideally Consume Oxygen

As with any other open fire, ethanol fireplaces will consume some of the oxygen in the living room. This is usually not an issue for rooms larger than 20 sq meters, but if the room is smaller, you will need to ascertain a steady flow of air from a vent or an open window.

No Embers or Sounds

There is no denying that wood fireplaces lend a unique feel to the room with the embers and sound of wood burning. Unfortunately, these vibrant sounds cannot be experienced with an ethanol fireplace. That’s because bioethanol is a form of clean fuel that doesn’t produce smoke, soot or ashes. The CO2 produced by burning ethanol is almost negligible, making these fireplaces an excellent option for those who want to go green. And even though there’s no ember or sound, the heat produced by ethanol fireplaces is still cozy and vibrant.

It’s Not always Possible to Get a Demonstration

Unfortunately, there are no many dealers that showcase their fireplaces. This makes it hard to experience the product before making the significant purchase. As such, we recommend watching a couple of videos of the actual flames. Images do not always show the true nature of the fireplace. This can be a con, especially if you don’t get what you wanted, but dissatisfaction with ethanol fireplaces rarely happens.

Easy to Maintain

One of the greatest benefits of ethanol fireplaces is that they are easy to use and maintain. They do not emit any gasses or damaging particles and do not leave soot that can discolor your fireplace. There is no residue left behind as the bioethanol flames are virtually free of emissions. This guarantees that your fireplace will serve you for years to come.