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Bio Ethanol Fuel burning Fires

Ethanol burning fireplaces have gained popularity due to their chimney-free operation and portability. However, they primarily serve as a decorative feature as they produce insufficient heat to warm a house like a traditional stove.

Whether you currently own or plan to purchase an ethanol fireplace, it's crucial to be aware of the potential fire hazards they can pose before use. Typically, these hazards relate to three areas:

  • Spilled fuel 
  • Fuelling a hot fireplace
  • Overfilling the burner 

While Bio Ethanol is not explosive, it is still highly flammable. Therefore filling and lighting the fireplace is where you want to be extra observant.

Spilling Bio Ethanol while fueling the fireplace

A common issue with ethanol fireplaces is the accidental spillage of bio ethanol during refueling.

Unlike water, bio ethanol behaves differently, making spillage likely at some point.

Ignoring spilt fuel while lighting the fireplace can result in an unmanageable flame.

While there's no risk of burst flames since the fuel requires a specific temperature to produce larger flames, it may cause damage to the fireplace.

We suggest using a funnel to avoid spillage. If any fuel spills, it's vital to clean it up immediately and ensure that there is no bio ethanol on your hands or lighter.

Fuelling a hot burner

Filling Bio Ethanol into a hot burner is not something you should experiment with. When lighting Bio Ethanol, it is the fumes that are ignited and burn. 

Pouring Bio Ethanol into a hot burner will increase evaporation of the fuel, and thereby increase the amount of fumes. As a result, lighting Bio Ethanol that has been poured into a hot burner can cause a burst flame.

We always recommend following these four steps before refuelling any ethanol fireplace:

1. Close the lid safely

2.Wait a minimum of 10 minutes before refuelling

3.Pour Bio Ethanol into the burner using a funnel

4.Check for any spilled fuel before lighting the fireplace 

This prevents two risks: 

  • Fuelling a hot fireplace and causing burst flames
  • Fuelling a fireplace that is still lit

Once a fireplace is running low on fuel, the flames tend to decrease in size. If it is dark, the flame might be hard to spot. 

As a result, you risk assuming that the fireplace is extinguished and fuelling it when it really isn’t.

Naturally, this will cause a burst flame, and potentially ignite the fuel inside the bottle.

 Remember that it won’t explode, but it is still a very dangerous situation that could have been avoided.

Overfilling the burner

The third and last risk also relates to overfilling the fireplace. 

You should always follow the guidelines set out in the instruction manual when it comes to fuelling. 

The instructions and quantities may vary, but we usually recommend filling the burner no more than 1 cm. from the top. Filling too much fuel into the burner can cause an uncontrollable flame, and it can be difficult to shut the burner off.

Most ethanol fireplaces will be able to handle the increased amount of heat, but should you knock into the lighted fireplace, there is a risk that some of the hot fuel will flow out of the burner and ignite. 

Most certified ethanol fireplaces have an integrated spill tray to prevent exactly this from happening. In essence, the hot fuel will be captured in a safe compartment and won’t be able to spill onto the floor or wall. 


The three hazards underline what we always stress: 

  • Fuelling is the crucial point when it comes to safety. 
  • If you follow the guidelines provided by the manufacturer, the hazards are kept at an absolute minimum. 
  • Remember: With any live flame, there is a fire hazard. In the end, it is up to yourself to ensure that the flames are safely lit within your home.