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.
- Candace Osmond