Do Ethanol Fireplaces Provide Heat?
Ethanol fireplaces are gaining popularity worldwide. Architects, contractors, interior design professionals, and do-it-yourself remodelers are attracted to this low-cost, user-friendly fireplace alternative. However, there is a lot of misinformation on the internet that causes confusion about ethanol fireplaces, their function, and safety. Although an ethanol fireplace will certainly add an ambient quality to both indoor and outdoor spaces, there are other benefits to installing this clean-burning type of fireplace.
In addition to their pretty looks, ethanol fireplaces do provide heat. Although they are not intended to be the primary heat source in a home, they are ideal as a supplement or on evenings when there is a slight chill in the air. Because we receive so many questions as to how much heat our ethanol fireplaces produce, we thought it wise to break down just how much heat ethanol fireplaces produce.
In short, the answer to this often-asked question is, yes. Ethanol fireplaces do provide heat to a space. The amount of heat that is felt by those in its surround, however, is determined by many variables. This article will focus on the primary conditions of a proposed space so that you’re able to make the best purchasing decision for your project.
Variables That Determine How Much Heat Ethanol Fireplaces Provide
One of the primary benefits of installing an ethanol fireplace is that they do not require a vent or chimney. Because of this, this type of fireplace or fireplace insert is inherently more efficient. So, although an ethanol fireplace may not produce the level of heat than more traditional applications, their heat output stays in the space in lieu of escaping through the flue. With that said, here are the factors that should be considered before purchasing an ethanol fireplace:
- Size of the Room. The first variable to consider in terms of the heat produced by an ethanol fireplace is the area of the room – specifically the cubic footage of the space. Cubic footage is calculated by multiplying the space’s length by width by the ceiling height. Many fireplace and other heating and cooling companies speak in terms of square footage, which is misleading and inaccurate. The cubic footage of a room is also vital in ensuring the safe use of an ethanol fireplace. Producing real flames that consume oxygen, the fireplace should only be used in a size-appropriate room that allows for enough air exchange so breathing air is sufficient for the occupants of the space when the fire is alit. The minimum requirements for each ethanol fireplace and ethanol burner insert may be found on the model’s individual product page of our website.
- Model of Ethanol Fireplace. Each ethanol fireplace and ethanol fireplace insert produces a different level of heat in terms of BTU (British Thermal Units). The amount of fuel capacity coupled with the dimensions of the fireplace burner’s flame opening determines the heating capability of each model. The estimated heat output of each fireplace and fireplace insert is published on the product’s page on our website. This calculation is made in a controlled environment (no windows, vents, ceiling fans, etc.) using IGNIS® Ethanol Fireplace Fuel. It is an educated estimation that serves as a guide. It will vary depending on individual environmental factors – many of which are listed here.
- The Functionality of the Burner Insert(s). In addition to varying ethanol burner sizes, the functionality of burner inserts also contributes to the heat produced by an ethanol fireplace or ethanol fireplace burner insert. While some burners function with only “on” or “off” capability, others (like the Eco-Hybrid Ethanol Fireplace Insert Range) offer a sliding baffle for control of the flame – which impacts the level of heat produced. Also, models that are remote-controlled offer five levels of flame intensity – which in turn offers five levels of heat produced by the fireplace.
- Insulation of the Room. Another variable to consider is how well the room in which the ethanol fireplace is being used is insulated. As with any other source of heat, if the room is poorly insulated or contains windows that allow for a draft, the less the ethanol fireplace’s heat production will be felt in the ambient surround. Likewise, if using an ethanol fireplace insert or grate to convert an existing fireplace, how well the flue is closed or sealed will determine the level of heat that will be added to the room.
- People, Placement, and Things. Although seemingly negligible, the heat output produced (felt) by an ethanol fireplace will also vary depending on the amount of warmth produced by people, electronics, lighting, etc. Moreover, the placement of the fireplace will also help determine the level of heat added by the fireplace. If, for example, the fireplace is positioned or installed close to a door or annexed space, heat is more likely to “spread” and be less concentrated in the intended space.