Bioethanol Fireplaces

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Romancing the Flame


bioethanol fireplaceBefore you allow yourself to be captivated by the charm and style of bioethanol fireplaces, read this comprehensive list of pros and cons.

It is easy to understand the appeal of bioethanol fireplaces. They provide the beauty of real fire without the ashes to clean or vents to install. However, like all things new, bioethanol fireplaces also give rise to a host of questions, such as: Are they safe to use? Do they actually give off heat? Is the fuel freely available? And so on.

Therefore, before you allow yourself to be captivated by the charm and style of bioethanol fireplaces, read this comprehensive list of pros and cons.


A bioethanol fireplace is easy to install and requires little space. Since it uses a clean-burning fuel, there are no by-products in the guise of odour, smoke or ashes; there is also no need for a chimney or vent. Bioethanol only produces a tiny amount of harmless CO2 and water, leaving no residue. The fuel burns fully and the unit is easy to clean and maintain.

Another big plus is its portability. Once cool, the unit can be moved around the house or taken outside. 


Bioethanol fireplaces are not meant to be a primary heat source. The fireplace takes about ten minutes to reach the right temperature and burn with a vibrant yellow flame. And even though they produce very little carbon dioxide, like all fire, they still consume oxygen, and the room needs to be ventilated occasionally.

You need to manually fill the unit with fuel and then light it, which can be too much work for some. There may be a slight smell upon initial lighting, as well as when the flame is extinguished, similar to when you blow out a candle.

bioethanol fireplace


Like all open flames, bioethanol fireplaces need to be handled with due caution. Bioethanol fuel is extremely flammable and must be stored safely, where children can not reach it.

The fireplace itself must be placed on a hard, stable surface, away from flammable materials like curtains and out of reach of children and pets. People with small children and pets may want to consider installing a wall bioethanol fireplace.

You should never pour ethanol on it while it’s burning or even when the burner is hot, and you certainly should not try to roast marshmallows over your bioethanol fireplace.

It goes without saying that one must read and follow all instructions and warnings on the fuel bottles as well as the instructions from the fireplace manufacturer.

Heating Capacity bioethanol fireplace

Bioethanol fuel burns very efficiently and requires little ventilation, which means that most of the heat stays in the room. Because of that, this fireplace provides more warmth than one might expect. A small bioethanol fireplace can heat a 20 square metre room, while bigger ones can heat up to 60 square metres.

Still, even in the (relatively) mild South African winters, bioethanol fireplaces can not be considered as the primary source of heat.

Fuel Considerations

Bioethanol is a denatured alcohol, also called methylated spirits. It can be purchased from hardware stores as well as major petrol stations and supermarkets. There are expensive high-end products and affordable variants. Many manufacturers recommend using only a specific brand fuel.

One litre bioethanol should last between one and a half to five hours, depending on the type of fuel used, the size of the unit, and the size of the flame: the bigger the flame, the more fuel is consumed.


When you accept that bioethanol fireplaces are not meant to be a primary source of heat, you will be able to fully enjoy the ambience of real flames inside or outside your home and to bask in the pleasant, moderate warmth they emit.

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