The Versatility of an Ethanol Burner Insert
“Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation.” Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway, has more experience than most when it comes to engineering new ideas and solutions to old problems. His memorable quote reminds even those of us that are simple at-home DIYers that a little creativity can result in some pretty fantastic and attractive home décor options if we’re willing to explore some of the newest technology commercially available. Why stop at simply wowing your visitors with a unique creation, especially when it comes to something as entrancing as tamed fire? Burner inserts boast a wide variety of styles, and when combined with ethanol biofuel, you can take full advantage of their unique simplicity of use and maintenance.
What is an ethanol fireplace burner insert, and what are these benefits? An ethanol burner insert is a commercially available product intended for both retrofitting and new construction projects, intended to replace or augment an existing fireplace. In the past few years, more and more styles and imaginative approaches have been developed, expanding the breadth of available pieces to include table-top and wall-hanging options as well. What ethanol biofuel offers is immeasurable ease of use. Each and every burner insert or free-standing piece is completely smoke and soot free, devoid of any toxic gasses or emissions, and requires absolutely zero ash cleanup. No chimneys or vents required. The only byproduct of this green, environmentally friendly fuel when it burns are beautiful crisp flames, heat, and a bit of water vapor. What can we do with all this awesomeness packed into one little place?
Convert an Existing Fireplace
Let’s start with an easy one: do you already have an existing fireplace? How often do you use it? If you’re anything like me, you get sick and tired of all the extra work that goes into preparing for a relaxing evening in front of the fire. With how hectic and busy the day can get, why not optimize your relaxation as much as your day? Put away the tinder, split wood, lighter fluid, matches, and poker. Cleaning out your fireplace will take a little work, but trust me, it’ll be very, very worth it.
It’ll get messy, so wear old clothes and lay out sheets to protect nearby furniture and carpet. If it’s been a while since you’ve used your fireplace, keep in mind that birds might have nested in there, so do what you can to avoid knocking their nests down into your house while brushing things loose. Start by cleaning the firebox itself: shovel out old ash, sweep up what else you can, then go to town on those beautiful bricks with a wire brush first (to loosen the soot), then a scrub brush with a water/baking soda solution to tease out the stains. If you notice a funky smell, it’s likely leftover creosote. Just take a water/baking soda paste and apply to any stubborn build-up.
Now it’s time to choose. The Bio Blaze Bloc 23½ Inch Biofuel Burner is a low profile, high efficiency ethanol fireplace insert for existing fireplaces, sleek and sexy in high quality stainless steel. It holds a total of 3.5 liters of bio-ethanol liquid fuel (never substitute!) and can burn for a max of about five hours, more than enough time to get deep into that new bestseller you’ve been craving lately. While burning, this burner can put out almost 12,000 BTUs, so it isn’t for small spaces. If you decide to shut down a little earlier, it comes with a snuffer tool that will allow you to preserve the leftover fuel for next time. Fill, light, enjoy. Snuff, enjoy later. All of a sudden, the idea of sitting in front of the fire doesn’t seem so far off!
Looking for something even bigger and more impressive? The EB4800 model Ethanol Fireplace Burner Insert is a whopping 48 7/8" long, so if you’ve got a larger fireplace going to waste and not serving it’s entertainment purpose, it’s time to resurrect that beautiful feature. The EB4800 holds 15 liters and can burn for thirteen hours on a single fill, putting out around 23,000 BTUs, making it perfect for large gathering spaces and community areas.
Smaller, more intimate options have no shortage on sass and style, so if you’re looking to retrofit a more private space in a smaller home or apartment, Eco-Feu’s 1.5 L Insert provides a lower level of heat for no lost attitude. The design also works extremely well for table-top usage, so you can use it in your fireplace for solo nights in, or move it to the dining room table for entertaining, as long as it’s set on a nonflammable surface. With its 1.5 liter capacity, it will burn for three to four hours.
Convert a Coffee or Dining Table
While this option will take a little work, it’ll have a great impression on your visitors when you touch off the eco-friendly flames with the touch of a lighter. How you’ll go about this will greatly depend on the table you want to convert, so it’s hard for me to give specifics. Know going into it that you’ll need to ensure that the edges of the insert hole are shored up enough, because that’s where the insert will be resting its weight, and that the surfaces around it should be fireproof, to prevent accidents. Tile, stone, brick, and steel are going to be among the best options for surface material. You can also convert an existing firepit table with one of the many bio-ethanol inserts as well.
The Insert Table Bio-Ethanol Fireplace is made for this project specifically, and comes with four safety glass pieces to ensure that your guests won’t accidentally swing too wide and you won’t end up needing to clean charred food bits out of the burner after dinner. Because it is made to sit flush, you’ll see the sleek steel, glass, and natural, beautiful flames. Coming with two tank options, 1 or 2 liters, this insert will stay lit for about three or 6 hours, respectively.
Also keep in mind that there are many great choices for table-top options as well, if you want something with great visual impact. The Eco-Feu 1.5 L Insert mentioned before is a great choice, among others like the Chantico Line A-05 Bioethanol Fireplace Insert. An elegant powder-coated black steel and tempered safety glass design makes for a stunning centerpiece for a dining table or coffee table. This one features a 1.8 liter tank, allowing it to burn for about three to five hours.
New and Modern Entertainment Centers with Electric Fireplaces
If you don't already have a fireplace in your home, you may think you'll never have one. After all, the average cost of installation of a traditional wood-burning fireplace is about $2,000 – that's if you already have a gas line installed. You could spend up to $6,000 getting the gas line, ventilation, wiring, and actual fireplace all set up.
Even if you can afford that sort of home improvement, there's space that you need to consider. If you're living in tight quarters, a fireplace may not be a feasible consideration for you. There are alternatives, though, so you can have the cozy hearth you've always wanted without having to break the bank or give up precious space.
An electric fireplace TV stand is a good solution for those on a budget – both with money and space. These fireplace alternatives mimic real flames using clever tech tricks, such as LED lights, mylar, and mirrors. You get the soothing, cozy effect without having to worry about chopping firewood, or figuring out how to open a flue.
A Grand Choice
If you have room for a large entertainment center, then you have room for an electric fireplace. The Eliot Grand Entertainment Center with Electric Fireplace is a large unit that's wider than it is tall. It includes a 40-inch firebox, so it's clearly the focal point of this entertainment center.
It measures just more than 81 inches long, and stands at 34.25 inches high. This is a heavy, sturdy piece, so you can place it on a carpeted surface without worry. The center itself includes six shelves for consoles, video games, and other media.
The best part is that it isn't just for show. This fireplace puts out 5,100 BTUs of heat from its infrared heater. If you happen to live in a warm climate, you don't have to worry about overheating – this fireplace includes a programmable thermostat, so you can fire up the flames, but not the heat. It also comes with a remote control, so you can shut it off that way, or set up a time shut off.
Clean and Simple
Smaller rooms don't need giant fireplaces, so you may want to consider the Cabrini Media Electric Fireplace. The firebox is only 23 inches wide and 20 inches high, so it's just the right size for a small space. It's ideal for heating a 400 square-foot room.
This electric fireplace media center has plenty of room for DVD or game storage in its four shelves. The storage area is tucked away behind frosted glass cabinet doors to keep everything neat and organized. You can turn the fireplace on without heat any time to simply enjoy the flickering light of the almost-real flames whether it's 75 or 100 degrees Fahrenheit out.
The clean lines and bright white color works well with many different home décor styles. Although it's a smaller entertainment center, it can hold a flat screen TV up to 58 inches. This center includes a remote control, so you can easily turn the fireplace on or off anytime. And the thermostat keeps the heat going when it's cold and shuts off when it reaches your ideal temperature.
Big and Bold
One of the largest options is the Tracey Grand Entertainment Center with Electric Fireplace. Be sure you have a large enough space to accommodate the nearly 84-inch long piece. With a large media center like this, you also get a large firebox – it's 40 inches long, so it may even compete with your TV for your attention.
The 1,500-Watt infrared heater keeps things warm in the winter, but the LED-lit flames work independently of the heater, so you can enjoy it all year long. A remote control lets you set the thermostat and the timer to switch the unit on or off. An added benefit to the seemingly real flickering flames is that you can control the brightness – turn it all the way up to focus on the mesmerizing flames, or turn it way down for romantic ambiance.
Compact and Modern
Apartment dwellers or those who are living in extremely small living quarters may not think they can use an entertainment center with fireplace. Enter the Dimplex Jasper Media Console. This unit won't offer much by way of storage, but it can hold your TV, and warm your home with its ceramic heating system.
The small electric firebox – it's about 25 inches – can resemble a log-burning stove or a gas fireplace, depending on which firebox you choose. You can easily control the heat or the ambient LED flames using the remote control. And it warms up a room efficiently using a fan to circulate the warmth out and throughout the room.
This electric fireplace includes a technologically-advanced system called gWave, which lets you turn the fireplace on or off with the wave of your hand. It's like knowing a Jedi mind trick.
Cozy, but Spacious
When you need room for media consoles, video games, and DVDs, you may not want to compromise by giving up a section for a fireplace. The Claremont Convertible Media Electric Fireplace solves that problem by offering plenty of room for consoles on its open-air shelf, and enclosed storage space for your media.
In the center of this ivory entertainment center is a mock fireplace made up of LEDs and heat for a 400-square-foot space. You can place this against a wall, but it also works as a corner piece, which can save you space in a small room.
New and Modern
One of the sleekest designs for an electric fireplace media center is this black, low-profile unit. The Dimplex Desmond Electric Fireplace Media Console measures about 73 inches across and 36 inches high, but it has stubby, angled legs that give it a mid-century modern appeal. The fan-forced heater can keep a large living room cozy and comfortable.
The 50-inch firebox has a glass ember bed, which gives the whole unit a decidedly modern look, and the entertainment center itself can easily accommodate a 70-inch TV. There's a bit of space on one side for media storage and room for consoles above the firebox.
An electric fireplace offers supplemental heating, which allows you to turn off your central heating more often, which can save you money. It also offers year-round ambiance and modern, clean statement pieces for your home. You don't have to fork over $6,000 for a wood-burning fireplace, and you never have to worry about soot, actual flames, smoke, or ashes.
UL/ULC Listed Ethanol Fireplaces
Fireplaces are an extremely versatile home décor element that demands attention while offering more than just visual impact. You can be relaxing solo with a good book, cuddling up with that special someone, or swapping stories and presents with friends and family on a cold winter night. Now, leave the living room and see the adaptability of a fireplace to other locations in your home. Take a freestanding fireplace to your dining table for an extra flair of style or outside onto your balcony or porch to stave off the chill of the evening. Go even further and install a space convenient recessed fireplace into your office for style or comforting white noise while you work.
Now do all that without having to worry about chimneys, dangerous fumes, or ashes. Get the cozy ambiance of a fireplace without the difficulty of completely remodeling your rooms or office. A ventless ethanol fireplace is a perfect fit for someone looking to add that extra bit of classy comfort to their home without the pain. Not only is it easy to install and maintain, but each of the following bioethanol fireplace fuel options is listed UL/ULC. UL and ULC safety standards are set in place by both United States and Canadian safety organizations, ensuring that safety is each item’s top priority, and you can be assured that convenience and style need no sacrifice.
Pretty as a Picture: Antalia Recessed Ventless Ethanol Fireplace
The Antalia Recessed is an unobtrusive wall mounted bioethanol fireplace that takes all the elements that make contemporary décor beautiful and fits them together in one pretty package. A square black tempered glass and silver accent frame the recessed fireplace compartment, which can be mounted on the wall with a little modification or directly on the wall. A clear glass guard adds a touch of sparkle to the piece, giving this design enough character to stand tall next to your other wall art. Match it to other frames for a seamless look, or accentuate it boldly for standout style. Whatever you choose, the Antalia will fit with almost any pre-existing décor. This particular piece offers a burn time of four to five hours on a 1.3 liter tank, without any need for a chimney, gas or electric lines, or ash clean-up.
Fashionable Freedom: Mecca Freestanding Ventless Ethanol Fireplace
Place this piece on your table, on the floor, wherever you most want a clean, safe way to evoke a comfortable environment without feeling constrained by installation elements. The Mecca Freestanding boasts an elegant, standout design that is bold enough to stand out and spark conversation with visitors while serving both solo and couple’s needs for versatility. Chase away the chill of night or city breezes under the stars out on the porch or balcony, or curl up with your favorite cup of hot chocolate in the living room while falling leaves or snow drift through the air. You can create the perfect environment with just one safe, easy choice. The Mecca offers a pleasant four hours on a single 1.3 liter tank, and is built from a powder coated steel exterior and a 304 stainless steel interior.
Crystal Clear: Ignacia Ethanol Biofuel UL/ULC Listed Fireplace
With the Ignacia Fireplace, you get no frames, no constraints, just pure, clear freedom in brushed 304 stainless steel and glass. The Ignacia is a bioethanol table fireplace with a sleek, contemporary design that compliments any similarly designed home. The glass and metal construction unlimits its own potential for maximum visual impact, while still maintaining a versatile package. The freestanding style of the Ignacia lends itself to tabletop use, but it can serve most any need. The non-toxic, clean-burning biofuel is truly eco-friendly with a modest four to five hours burn time per 32 ounces, requiring no excessive installations or clean-up that come with a traditional fire pit table. If you’re looking for an outdoor piece that you can easily transport when needed or a multi-use fireplace accent that can be used on any table, the Ignacia may be the perfect fit for you.
A Touch of Spirit: Tokio Recessed Ventless Ethanol Fireplace
Let’s talk emphasis. Sometimes, subtle is just too little. A fireplace can be the centerpiece of your room, even in condo living where space is a premium. When you’re looking for something functional, safe, but with that extra pow that really gets peoples’ attention, the Tokio Recessed might just be exactly what you need. A great looking piece, the Tokio lends itself to wherever emphatic style is required, home or office. Make that big impression while still maintaining safety and functionality. Speaking of, the Tokio looks good, but can it stand up to your demands? With a solid four to five hour burn time on a single 1.3 liter tank, you can warm the chills away all evening long as you relax before bed, or pop it on for a quick, fiery visual impact for visitors. Plus, it is UL/ULC approved, giving you peace of mind in case that relaxing book turns into a rejuvenating nap.
No Shadows in this Box: Hayden Ethanol Biofuel UL/ULC Listed Fireplace
If you’re looking for a fireplace that’s more statement than subtle but still manages to balance the two, the Hayden Fireplace sets just the right amount of style, popping out from the wall as if a shadowbox art piece. By using bio-ethanol fireplace fuel and UL/ULC safety measures, you don’t have to worry about fumes or damage from use. Your only concern will be where you want to install it. Its smart, unique design sets it apart from the others as it is made to be three-dimensional, intended to stand out among the rest. Plus, since it is not recessed, there is absolutely no impact to your home’s vital structure. The stainless steel and included wall mount materials make sure that this piece will not budge from where you place it.
The Flexibility of Adding a Ventless Fireplace to Any Room
If you ask a variety of people about what the best part of their homes are, of course their answers will differ. It will depend on the size of their house, which rooms they use the most often, and what memories were created there. However, if you ask people what makes their home feel the coziest, you will probably hear a lot of the same answer; the fireplace. Fireplaces are warm and inviting; intricate parts of the house. They are an extra source of heat, and families enjoy gathering around while being in each other’s’ company. Ventless fireplaces in particular are fairly ideal for most homes. They come with a variety of additional benefits for homeowners to enjoy.
As per their name, ventless fireplaces do not require ventilation in order to operate. They do not need to be connected to a chimney or ventilation system of any type. These fireplaces do emit a certain amount of carbon monoxide, but they also come equipped with sensors. These sensors notice immediately when the level of monoxide is too high, and they will stop the flames right away. As well, ventless fireplaces have sensors to detect when the level of oxygen in the room has grown to such a low level that it is dangerous. If you are still worried, there are precautions that you can take just in case. They could have the fireplace set to be on for only a certain amount of time. Then, it can shut off automatically, which saves you the worry that you might forget and leave it on. As well, you can leave the door open in the room with the fireplace. If you have a fresh flow of oxygen constantly coming into the room, the fireplace will not deplete your supply.
Ventless fireplaces do not leave you with a huge amount of work. They are fairly simple to install, seeing as they do not need to be connected to pipes or venting systems. The safety units and sensors are built into the unit, so you do not need to add those to the fireplace. Seeing as ventless fireplaces do not produce real flames, they also do not emit soot or ashes. You will not need to clean out the ashes with a dustpan and broom any longer. In addition, the safety concern related to lit embers falling from the fireplace will also be eliminated. The front of the glass may need to be cleaned occasionally. You should consult the instruction manual that comes with your specific unit on proper cleaning materials. Each fireplace is different, and therefore will have a unique method of proper cleaning.
Heating the home
A ventless fireplace is essentially a larger form of a space heater. They give off a large amount of heat, and can efficiently warm the room that they are in. The size of the fireplace will depend on how much heat is being given off. Larger fireplaces will be able to warm more amounts of space. Similarly, smaller units only have the capacity to warm a contained amount of space. However, ventless fireplaces should only be used as supplemental heating sources for a home. They do not emit enough heat to keep the entire house and its occupants completely warm. Most people tend to combine ventless fireplaces with a furnace, or a different kind of heating system. They will balance the cost in a variety of ways. For instance, they might have the furnace turned up only in the evenings and nights, when people are home. Or they could have the ventless fireplace on a particular setting so that it only comes on in the night, when the temperature outside is the lowest. You can try different methods, and come to an ideal conclusion for you specifically.
What does this mean in terms of their flexibility?
Ventless fireplaces can essentially be placed in any room in the house. They do not need to be in contact with pipes or chimneys, so they can be setup wherever you would like them to be. For instance, if you want a fireplace in your bedroom, you can have one! All you have to do is bring it home and follow the instructions for installation.
The fact that ventless fireplaces do not make a mess also contributes to their flexibility. If you have carpet on your bedroom floor, it would be harder to clean with a traditional fireplace. It is not likely that you would want to scoop up ashes from a carpet when the fireplace gets a bit messy. Ventless fireplace provide a clean option that doesn’t make a mess!
As well, if ventless fireplaces were considered a primary heat source, they could not be placed wherever you want them to be. If they were, then they would need to be placed in the center of the house, typically where the family would spend the most time. Luckily, ventless fireplaces do not have the job of heating the whole house. This means that you could place them upstairs in a bedroom, or in the library, or even in the washroom if you like! They are a bonus heat source, and therefore can be placed in whichever room you believe would benefit from the addition of a fireplace.
It is safe to say that ventless fireplaces are much more flexible than their traditional counterparts. They do not have setup restrictions, require a lot of cleaning, or have the job of heating the entire home. They are better to work with if you are solely focused on the appearance of the house. This is because you can place them somewhere simply because they look nice, not because they have a specific job to accomplish. Ventless fireplaces are gorgeous to look at, and you can show them off to friends and neighbors who come visiting. The fact that they also warm you up is just a bonus!
How to Be Prepared for Winter Black-Outs
Depending on where you live, winter can be a long and arduous time of year. The temperature drops, the road freezes over, and people get sick. This is the time when you should be prepared for all eventualities. You have no way of knowing whether something will happen when you least expect it. This is why you should have the following list of items in your home to be ready for a possible black-out this winter.
Ventless fireplaces can be fueled by natural gas. This means that they have no need for electricity. The latest models of these fireplaces come with an automatic ignition. When the power goes out, you will still have the ability to operate the fireplace. You will be kept toasty warm throughout the power outage.
If you have medicine that normally is kept in the fridge, it will not remain cold forever. The power to the fridge will be cut off, and eventually everything inside will go bad. This is especially the case if the fridge is continually opened. Try keeping a small cooler in an accessible place. This will keep the important medicine cold for a longer period of time.
Alternative light sources
The darkness can be a frightening thing. Prepare for a winter black-out by having some extra light sources handy. Flashlights and lanterns are a safe bet. They require batteries and oil to light up the darkness, so make sure you keep a supply of those as well. Candles can work in a pinch, they provide a smaller beam of light.
Stock up on water
If you know in advance that a winter storm is coming, it is a good idea to have clean water available. Many people will fill up their bathtubs with water so that they have a large supply. This water should be used for hygiene purposes. Have a separate supply of water on hand for drinking.
Check the insulation
If you do not have proper insulation in your home, you will not be happy during winter black-outs. If you can, check to see that the work was done properly and efficiently. Having to redo insulation can be a huge pain. However, it will be worth it in the long run when you and your family are safe and warm during winter black-outs.
Winter black-outs do not have to be scary. By making a few key preparations beforehand, you can get through the storm in comfort. If you know that a storm is coming, it is easier to make preparations. However, you should always have some supplies in place in just case you are caught unawares.
Ventless Fireplace vs. Wood Burning
When you are curled up next to a cheery fire on a cold winter night, does it really matter what type of fireplace you have? Of course it matters! Do you want your home to be energy efficient? Or would you rather have the genuine smell of wood stoves? Wood burning fireplaces are considered the traditional model. Ventless fireplaces are the modern and convenient alternative to wood burning. Your preference in this decision matters, because you will be making the deciding vote between ventless versus wood burning fireplaces.
Electric ventless fireplaces can operate with or without heat. If you prefer, you can simply have the synthetic flame running for people to admire. Ventless fireplaces do not require ventilation, and therefore do not need to be connected to a chimney. This is a pro because they are more flexible about where they can be placed in the home. As well, they do not waste as much energy, because heat is not leaving the house through the chimney. This type of heat source will warm your home the same way that a heater would.
Ventless fireplaces do not typically warm huge amount of spaces. They are most suitable for small homes, or apartments. Another con for this type of fireplace is that they can have high initial purchase price. Although ventless fireplaces do perform the job adequately, some people may simply prefer the real thing.
Wood burning fireplaces
These types of fireplaces function by burning wood. They provide a real flame, and they give off a traditional ‘fireplace’ smell of burning wood.
These are the traditional fireplaces that have been around for hundreds of years. Many people love this type of fireplace because they enjoy snuggling together around the crackling flames. Wood burning fireplaces raise the value of a house, because they are considered to be desirable to home owners. These fireplaces are fueled by wood, which is a renewable resource. This means that you do not need electricity or gas to operate it.
Wood burning fireplaces are typically the most expensive option in terms of start-up costs. This is largely due to different components such as the gas line, assembly, ventilation and wiring.
Wood burning fireplaces are not known for energy efficiency. Some of the produced heat is immediately lost because it escapes out the chimney. This means that it is taking more heat to warm your home and requiring more wood for fuel.
When the wood combusts, soot, ash and various gases are let out into the air. This means that these fireplaces require cleaning often. If they are not cleaned there is a safety concern. Excess creosote in the chimney can cause dangerous fires. Another safety concern includes children and pets. They will need to be kept away from the fireplace to ensure that they do not get burned by touching the hot surface.
Although wood burning fireplaces are still the favorite of many, they come with an innumerable list of cons. Ventless fireplaces can solve most, if not all, of these issues. The overall convenience and modern touches make going ventless a joy! You may be attached to your old wood burning fireplace, but take a minute to think over the alternative. You might be doing yourself a favor in the long run.