What You Need To Know: Bio-Ethanol Fireplaces

What You Need To Know: Bio-Ethanol Fireplaces

WORDS Tracy Greenwood

Modern bio-ethanol fireplaces offer a more environmentally friendly way to heat your home.

Wood-burning fireplaces remain popular for heating homes and creating a cosy ambiance, but there’s a new alternative with a number of benefits. For one thing, bio-ethanol fireplaces are environmentally friendly.

Bio-ethanol is a collective term used for a wide range of natural fuels made from plant matter. Whereas non-renewable fossil fuels such as wood and coal emit greenhouse gases, bio-ethanol generates energy by way of sunlight and does not release harmful gases into the atmosphere when it burns. Bio-ethanol burns clean, with no smoke, ash or odours.

These fireplaces don’t need a chimney or a vent, and some units are mobile so you can take your fireplace with you when you move.

We asked Beauty Fires managing director Charles Scott three tough questions:

Can a bio-ethanol fireplace heat up a big room?

“Definitely, but keep in mind there are small bio-ethanol fireplaces and big ones. The same goes for gas and wood fireplaces. You have to look at the output of the fireplace. For example, we have a bio-ethanol fireplace that produces 12 kilowatts of heat per hour, whereas most wood fireplaces produce between 6 and 10 kilowatts per hour. You have to compare apples with apples, and in the fireplace world that’s heat output measured in kW/h.”

Are bio-ethanol fireplaces more expensive than their traditional counterparts? 

It’s difficult to say whether bio-ethanol fireplaces are in general more expensive, because their prices range from R2000 to R70000 plus… and the same is true of wood and gas fireplaces. What is the same across the categories is that you get what you pay for.

How much does the fuel cost and is it readily available? 

Bio-ethanol sells for about R2000 (price for 24 litres).

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