Ethanol Fireplaces – Clean and Cozy

by Rachel Laurendeau on September 21, 2012

I love curling up next to a fireplace with a good book on a cold winter day. Unfortunately, my home doesn’t have a fireplace and cozying up next to the electric oven just doesn’t cut it, even when there is a batch of cookies on the go. If you’re like me and yearn for a fireplace but live in an apartment, condo or home with no possibility of hearing the crackle of a log, then an ethanol fireplace may be just the right solution. Ethanol fireplaces are basically an alternative to traditional wood or gas fireplaces, offering a clean-burning, convenient option to homeowners who are looking for something innovative. An ethanol fireplace can even emit enough passive heat to heat an average sized room.

• Since burning ethanol does not generate smoke, soot, ashes or harmful gases, no chimney is required for the installation of an ethanol fireplace. No chimney means that they can be installed nearly anywhere, from attic to basement.

• Another advantage is that there is no mess from carrying wood in from outdoors and more importantly, no potential of bringing in allergens or bugs as you would with logs.

• You will see that there is a wide variety of ethanol fireplaces and burners on the market. You can buy wall-mount types that you simply hang from the wall; these are particularly practical if you are living in a rental or a condo where you might need permission for any other type of fireplace. Additionally, they can be taken down, packed up and put back up in a new place, should you move any time soon. There are also freestanding fireplace units that can be used as a divider between spaces or as a focal point in a room and there are even tabletop models if you are looking for something on the smaller scale. For a more traditional look, they can be built into the wall. The built-in version is more practical if you are in the process of building a house or undertaking major home remodeling.

• As with most things related to home improvements, there are even DIY kits if you want to build your own ethanol fireplace but you will have to ensure that you take all the right precautions to insulate your wall and use non-flammable materials such as granite for the slab. Check on local building codes and fire codes before starting this do-it-yourself project.

• If you are looking for a fireplace for your deck, porch or patio there are also outdoor models of ethanol and gel burning fireplaces available. What a cozy way to spend an autumn evening!

• The downside to ethanol fireplaces: the fuel has to be replaced and it is quite expensive compared to a wood or gas burning fireplace.

Green Tip: as their name denotes, ethanol fireplaces burn ethanol fuel or denatured ethyl-alcohol, a naturally clean-burning eco-friendly fuel.

If you are thinking of putting in an ethanol fireplace in your home, talk to your local home remodeling or home improvement expert for more information.

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