Bio-ethanol fireplaces are a relatively cheap to buy, easy to use and a quick way to introduce a secondary heat source in to a property. However there are also a number of bioethanol fire safety issues that need to also be considered.
First, read the manufacturers instructions that were supplied with the bio-ethanol fireplace. If you do not have this document then it is best to contact the manufacturer and ask for a copy before using the fire.
Bioethanol Fire Safety : Are Bioethanol Fireplaces Safe?
Overall bioethanol fireplaces are considered to be decorative, especially some of the smaller gel burners. However, today there are more and more larger and wider burners being sold, including large bioethanol ribbon burners, and, as with any product that has a live flame, safety needs to be observed. Bioethanol fires have a live flame, give off heat and are fueled by a flammable liquid. This means that great care needs to be observed for storing bioethanol fuel, handling bioethanol fuel, using a bioethanol fire and protection from the flame. Below we have covered some of these issues.
Storing Bio-Ethanol Fuel
Bio-ethanol fireplace fuel is highly flammable and is supplied in liquid form in bottles from 1l to 10l in size. Buying bioethanol fuel in bulk can have savings over small bottles but additional safety issues need to be considered including where it will be stored safely.
It is my opinion that it should be stored in a fireproof container, preferably outdoors in a secure store room like a locked garage or shed. Only the amount of bio fuel that is required to use the fire at that time should be brought inside and afterwards any unused fuel returned to the store. The manufacturer should also give you extra safety observations on handling and storing the fuel.
Using BioEthanol Fuel
Regardless of what bottle sizes you decide on when you to buy bioethanol fuel great care needs to be observed when filling, lighting and extinguishing the bioethanol burner. The manufacturer should say in the user manual how to do this safely.
When you are ready to use the bioethanol fireplace it will involve filling the burner tray with ethanol fuel, which, if you have read the difference between bioethanol and gel fuel page, is a liquid. That means it is easy to spill and overflow. Again, the manufacturers user manual will tell you how best to fill the tray and how much bio fuel to use. It is likely you will need to use a funnel, or maybe a pump, to add bioethanol fuel to avoid fuel spillages.
Lighting the bioethanol fireplace requires great care. Make sure all spillages have been cleaned up, stand back from the fire at a safe distance and use a long lighter or long match to light the fuel.
Once the bioethanol fire is alight it will start to generate heat and will have a live flame. To extinguish the flame follow the manufacturer guidance as it will probably involve a sliding lid, a plate and some form of handle. The flame is killed by lack of oxygen, unless it is a remote control bioethanol fireplace where an electric pump will stop feeding fuel.
Bioethanol Fire Flame Protection
Ensure that all combustible materials are at a safe distance from the fire – for example curtains, carpets or cushions. The fire may include a glass screen to protect the flame from drafts and from touching the flame. When buying check to see if your chosen model includes some form of flame protection. The model shown in the image has glass.
Bioethanol Fire Ventilation
Ensure the room has sufficient ventilation to make the environment comfortable for the user. Ventilation can be provided by a permanent air vent or by opening a window. Read our guide to bioethanol fireplace ventilation
Buying a Bioethanol Fire
Take care over the size of burner and volume of fuel you will use. Consider how long you intent to use the bioethanol fire for, how much heat you require, where it will be used, any installation requirements and of course bioethanol fire safety before choosing a bioethanol burner. For some extra pointers, read our guide to choosing a bioethanol fire.