Pros and Cons of Bio Ethanol Fireplaces

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More and more people are switching towards energy efficiency buildings, and this has resulted in changes in some areas, with the fireplace, which has been known to have a poor energy performance and producing high emissions, being at the top of the areas being targeted. The old fireplaces needed a flue, which forced creating a hole in the roof, and this result in loss of heat, and the wood that is used ends up being impractical – or good for your health – and this is why there are some areas that have banned or imposed restrictions on its use.

There have been some alternatives to these traditional fireplaces, and many people have been able to try it and the notices it is simpler to install, requires little maintenance, and easy to use. The two most common options are ethanol and gel-fueled fireplaces. Below are some of the things you should know if you are thinking of getting one.

What is an Ethanol Fireplace?

This is a fireplace that is made up of a stainless steel and has a burner tray, cowling or cover, and a protective screen. Burning ethanol will produce harmless by-products, at least in the perfect environment, and these are heat, steam and carbon dioxide. This is why you don’t need a vent to the outdoors.

Consumers love it because it has versatility and adaptability because it means they can easily incorporate a great ethanol fireplace into the living environment without having to spend a lot of money


The basic types can be split up into four categories.

  1. Burner. The burner is the tray responsible for holding the fuel and regulating the fire and made out of stainless steel. The burners can be set into any type of noncombustible substrate. There are some who use concrete. The common types of burners are round, square, and linear, but there are some manufacturers making options that have corners.
  2. Inserts. They are metal (with the most common being stainless steel) boxes usually recessed into the wall.
  3. Freestanding. These are tabletops that can be hanged from the wall or self-supporting units.
  4. Retrofit units. They have been designed in a way that they fit the opening of an existing fireplace. They usually look like fireplaces grates.

Pros of Ethanol Fireplace

  • You don’t need to install a vent, resulting in less heat loss
  • Can be easily installed; no installing the flue; and means you can do it on your own, saving you a lot in installation costs.
  • There is more interior space because there is no flue, making it perfect for urban dwellers who don’t have much space.
  • Burning clearly
  • Operating it is easy
  • It is low maintenance because there is no need for chimney cleaning, clearing the ashes, or bulky wood.
  • It has a low impact on the environment because it doesn’t produce smoke or fumes, and the fuel source is a renewable source and doesn’t need electricity.
  • You can easily make adjustments
  • Can be used in both the indoors and outdoors
  • The decorative element can be used all year round because it is not a heat source.
  • Some models come with fuel-filling features and automatic safety shut-offs.


  • It is not a great primary heat source because of its limited BTU output
  • The ambiance that comes with ethanol flames is far much different from that with wood -the fire does not produce and popping or crackling sound.
  • It burns clean, but there is the production of pollutants inside the house (carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide)
  • A ventilation system is needed (carbon dioxide, water vapor, and carbon monoxide is produced)
  • It has limited burning times, and this means having to refuel it on a regular basis, which comes with some risks
  • There needs to be makeup hair for replacing the oxygen that gets consumed in the room
  • Depending on the manufacturer or model, the fuel can be a little bit expensive and proprietary.