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Bio Ethanol Fuel burning Fires

Ethanol burning fireplaces are becoming increasingly popular because there is no need for a chimney and some models can be moved around.

While it will give out heat, it’s not sufficient enough to heat up your house like a traditional stove and are more likely to be used as a decorative feature.

Whether you already have an ethanol fireplace or are looking to buy one at some point, it is important to understand the fire hazards that they can cause before using the fireplace. Usually, the 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 problem is spilling bio ethanol while fuelling the fireplace. 

Bio Ethanol  as a product acts differently than water, therefore it is most likely that you will spill a little fuel at some point. 

If you light an ethanol fireplace with disregard to any spilled fuel, you risk having an uncontrollable flame. There is no risk of burst flames as the fuel needs a certain temperature in order to produce larger flames. However it can cause material damages to the fireplace. In order to avoid spilling, we always recommend using a funnel. 

If you should spill some fuel, it is important that you clean it up and ensure that you do not have any bio ethanol on your hands or lighter. 

Bio Ethanol Burner.png


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. 

Conclusion

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.
Black Museum Logo 1

Our Black Museum has a case study about a Fire caused by by the refilling of a Bio Ethanol ornamental burner.



Latest Update :
26 October 2017
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