An ethanol fireplace is a very modern fireplace that receives a lot of attention these days. The popularity is a clear result of three advantages. If you’re considering purchasing an ethanol fireplace, you might want to continue reading this article.
When we consult clients with regards to ethanol fireplaces, we almost always cover three distinctive advantages:
- They are flueless and produce no soot, ashes or smoke
- They give real flames & produce a good amount of heat
- They are easy to install & use
A flueless fireplace
The single most important reason that our customers choose an ethanol fireplace is quite simple: they require no flue.
It’s not possible for every home to establish a chimney. Often, the installation becomes complicated and expensive. As a result, the customers seek out alternatives – most often the ethanol fireplace.
The ethanol fireplace is ventless due to the fuel, bioethanol. When burning the fuel, no smoke, soot or ashes are produced. The flames are so clean allowing the fireplace to be lit without any need for a vent.
As opposed to woodburning stoves, no dangerous particles are emitted, and the emissions are composed of water, heat and an insignificant amount of Carbon Dioxide.
Authentic flames with good heat
Seeking an alternative to a woodburning stove or even a gas fireplace usually entails looking at electric fireplaces as the first step. Unfortunately, they do not provide any real or authentic flames. Fortunately, ethanol fireplaces are the perfect replacement.
We’re often met by surprised customers who ask: “Is it really real flames?” – and yes, it really is. The flames are vibrant and move slowly as they burn. As the flames are real, they also produce a good amount of heat. Usually, an ethanol fireplace produces around 2-3 kW, which is the equivalent of a radiator on full effect.
Remember that the fireplaces have no heat loss due to the lack of a flue; therefore all the heat is distributed into the room.
They are easy to install & use
A last but not less important advantage of an ethanol fireplace relates to the ease of use and installation.
If you purchase a freestanding model, no installation is required. The wall-mounted units are simply installed on a bracket similar to those of flatscreen TVs. Most complicated are the built-in fires, however, they are still a lot easier to install than wood or gas fireplaces.
Besides the simple installation, ease of use is also considered one of the key benefits of ethanol fireplaces. The fireplaces are simply ignited by filling bioethanol into the burner and lighting the fuel with a lighter. The fireplaces can always be turned off with the use of a lid, and the remaining bioethanol will be stored for next time.
Does ethanol fireplaces give any heat?
One of the first questions many people have about the wonderful ethanol fireplaces concerns the actual heating of the products. Some people even ask whether the flame is real or not – and believe me when is say this; it’s real, and it does give heat. I’ll explain it in simple words, and don’t despair if you want specific details about how the ethanol fireplace works – you can simply search the blog for an answer!
How Much Heat Can You Expect?
Well, a traditional wood fireplace produces heat in the level about 6-9 kW but much really depends on the model and the heat. What I’ve been told by traditional manufacturers is that one kW is enough to heat 20 square meters, so it’s no wonder why traditional fireplaces produce so much heat.
The natural question now is what to expect, and just like the wood fireplace, it depends on the model you get. On average I would say that an ethanol fireplace produces about 2,5-3,5 kW when burning, so it’s clear from this that you cannot use it as a source of primary heating, but ask yourself: do you really need that much heat? – If the answer is yes, you’re probably on the lookout for a traditional wood fireplace.
How Does It Heat?
Having established that it actually gives out some heat, I still need to stress another difference between the traditional stove and the ethanol fireplace. The stove will give you some heating rays that you just don’t get with ethanol fireplaces. However, you get heat instantly as the flame gets hot quite fast. The heat is distributed in the very cozy form of hot air flowing from the flame. When the ethanol fireplace is done the burning, it won’t give you any more heat.
Where Can The Ethanol Fireplace Heat?
The good thing about the ethanol fireplace is that there are (to my knowledge) very few/no restrictions on where they can be used. The only thing the ethanol fireplace is fresh air, as the flame use the oxygen in the room to burn.
As the fireplace shouldn’t be considered a primary source of heating, you can actually still utilize it in a clever way. Say you are one of those lucky folks who own a holiday home or summer cottage. Maybe the heating isn’t that good, and the size of the place isn’t enormous – here an ethanol fireplace would be great. The thing is when you use the place it’s for a short period, and you only need heat when you’re there. Then you don’t need to think about chopping wood, cleaning, smoke, soot, ashes and many more of those annoying effects of a traditional fireplace. You can even put the ethanol fireplace in the back of your car, and take it with you when you leave.
But that’s not the only place you can use it. If you have a conservatory you might have noticed – they can get quite cool during winter. The sad thing is, that it’s still a room that is nice to sit in and relax, and with an ethanol fireplace, you can. As the fireplace instantly gives you heating, you can have it burning when you sit there, and just shut it off when you don’t – it’s that simple!.
The conclusion: Ethanol fireplaces give enough heat for conservatories, summer cottages and alike. The fireplaces generate about 2-3,5 kW which is enough to heat 40-70 square meters.
Do ethanol fireplaces need to be vented?
Here is a quick article with a central question that we receive often from interested customers. They are concerned that an ethanol fireplace needs venting as a gas fireplace does – but don’t worry, read why here.
Unlike gas-fireplaces or woodburning stoves, there is no need for an actual venting system, e.g. flue/chimney. The explanation is quite simple; as an ethanol fireplace utilize ethanol as a source of flames, no dangerous fumes are produced, and therefore no flue is required.
That being said, keep in mind that you still need a little venting of the room where the fireplace is burning. Just like with candles, the flames of an ethanol fireplace consumes some of the oxygen in the room, therefore you need some fresh air every once in a while.
What does this mean for you in practice?
- That you should keep a window open or,
- Open the window for a couple of minutes once the ethanol fireplace has been burning for some hours
- And of course: you don’t need to install any flue or vent
When it is time to open the window is difficult to say, but if you’re over 20 sq. meters, the above mentioned fits well. If you intend to use an ethanol fireplace in a smaller room, I suggest to keep a window open (it doesn’t have to be wide open).
What if there is no window?
Well, I won’t recommend an ethanol fireplace then – nor candles. Air is essential, so maybe there is a better room?. A solution could be to install a venting system, but that would somewhat defeat the purpose of a ventless fireplace. If there is a window nearby, it might be acceptable, but it depends on the room and house.