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How do bioethanol fireplaces work ?
Top FAQ's for bioethanol fires!
A woodburner style biofire in action!

Beautiful Bioethanol Fires!

For anyone looking to upgrade their existing fireplace, either for purely aesthetic purposes or for a more simple solution for heating your living room, there is a very wide choice of contemporary style fireplaces to choose from. At Imaginfires, we only sell beautifully designed modern fireplaces that are developed specifically to use bioethanol fuel.

 Bioethanol fuel is a clear liquid that is supplied in 1 litre bottles, and then simply squeezed into a stainless steel fuel box inside our fireplaces. The bioethanol fuel is clean burning and smoke free, which means that the elegant design of our modern fireplaces is matched by the simplicity of its installation.

Beautiful Bioethanol Fires!

For anyone looking to upgrade their existing fireplace, either for purely aesthetic purposes or for a more simple solution for heating your living room, there is a very wide choice of contemporary style fireplaces to choose from. At Imaginfires, we only sell beautifully designed modern fireplaces that are developed specifically to use bioethanol fuel.

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Bioethanol fuel is a clear liquid that is supplied in 1 litre bottles, and then simply squeezed into a stainless steel fuel box inside our fireplaces. The bioethanol fuel is clean burning and smoke free, which means that the elegant design of our modern fireplaces is matched by the simplicity of its installation.

Benefits of bioethanol compared to log or gas fireplaces

  • No need for a chimney

    Our bioethanol fireplaces don't need a flue or chimney because they don’t give off any smoke!

  • Environmentally friendly and clean

    Bioethanol fuel burns with 98% efficiency, so its clean burning with no unpleasant residue.

  • Zero or minimal installation needed

    Many of our free-standing bioethanol fireplaces come fully assembled, whilst others are wall mounted in 40 minutes or less.

  • Allowed in smoke controlled zone

    Since our bioethanol fireplaces do not produce smoke, they are permitted in geographical areas that have smoke controlled zones!

  • Safe

    Our biofires have passed the new European Standard for Bioethanol Fireplaces : BS EN 16647:2015 

  • Adjustable flame

    Its easy to adjust the flame size or heat output of most of our real flame bioethanol fireplaces. 

  • No gas or electricity

    All you need is a bioethanol fireplace, and our bioethanol fuel . That’s it! Nothing else. No gas or electric source.

  • Real warming flame

    Our biofires give off real heat from a real flame. Nothing artificial here!

Most Common FAQs

  1. How do I light a bioethanol fireplace?

    Customers thinking about buying one of our bioethanol fireplaces often ask “How do I Light A Bioethanol fireplace?” It’s such a common question as many customers cannot believe that using a Biofire is as straightforward as we say.

    All you need is a fire lighter and some bioethanol fuel. You simply squeeze the biofuel into the fuel box, and light at arms-length! That’s it! You should of course clear away any spilt fuel with a paper towel or cloth before lighting, and if you have any of our ceramic pebbles or logs then don’t position them over the opening of the fuel box.

    Once lit, you will get around 3.5 to 4 hours from 1 litre of fuel. If you need to close off the flame before all the biofuel has been used up, it’s just as easy. Simply use the supplied closing tool to pull the shutter on the fuel box over the flame. Should you need to refuel the fireplace, please allow at least 30 minutes or until the fuel box has returned to room temperature.

  2. Are there any emissions from a bioethanol fire?

    The only emissions produced from burning bioethanol fuel are heat, water vapour, and carbon dioxide. Burning bioethanol uses oxygen from the air and emits a small amount of carbon dioxide back into the room. You might think that sounds worrying, but a bioethanol fireplace generally releases roughly the same amount of carbon dioxide as two burning candles. So, there’s nothing to worry about. 

    Your bioethanol fireplace uses oxygen from the air, so it’s advisable to create some ventilation in your room whenever you burn your fire. Keep your living room door open while burning, or open a window for a few minutes to let some fresh air in if the air becomes stuffy.  

    Do bioethanol fireplaces generate more emissions than others?

    All fires generate emissions, including carbon dioxide, but wood- and coal-burning releases carcinogenic soot and ash particles into the air. Bioethanol burns cleanly, leaving no soot, ash, or any other residue, so bioethanol fuels are generally considered much safer in the long run.

    We recommend buying high-quality bioethanol fuel from a reputable vendor. We sell excellent bioethanol fuel and three scented fuels with vanilla, forest, or Christmas aromas. 

    Bioethanol doesn’t create carbon monoxide, a dangerous, poisonous, odourless gas. However, if you’re worried, install a carbon monoxide alarm in the same room as your bioethanol fireplace to set your mind at rest.

  3. Are bioethanol fireplaces safe?

    Bioethanol fireplaces produce real flames, so its important that they should be treated with the same level of caution and safety as any other object that produces flames. Having said this, bioethanol fireplace safety procedures are very easy to follow, meaning that they are suitable for use in most homes.  

    To ensure that our customers stay as safe as possible, Imaginfires are constantly updating and improving our biofires. This means that our products have been tested by a world-renowned testing laboratory to ensure they meet the new British and European safety standard BS EN 16647:2015. Customers can rest assured that we only sell products that we would be delighted to install in our own homes.

    Recent updates include the introduction of a new, patented, ‘no-spill’ fuel box into our freestanding, fire basket and woodburner biofires. This means that the biofuel is quickly absorbed by a special internal absorption feature, reducing the risk of any biofuel spilling out of the fireplace when knocked.

    Of course, despite every effort being made to make biofires as safe as possible, there are a few basic safety measures biofire users should always follow. These are all listed in the supplied product manual, but include:

    Taking care with biofuel

    Biofuel is obviously a flammable substance, so it should be handled with care.  It is important never to pour biofuel onto a lit or warm fireplace.   Rather, users should only refuel the fireplace once it has been turned off and cooled down. Before refilling the steel fuel box with the bioethanol fuel, always ensure the fuel box has returned to room temperature (this takes approximately 30 minutes from extinguishing the fire). You should also clean up any biofuel spillages before lighting the fire.

    Purchase high-quality fuel

    To keep your running costs reasonable and to avoid any potential problems that low quality biofuel could cause, we recommned buying the fuel that is of a high quality and has a high % of quality ethanol.  We offer some of the best value biofuel in the market, and our fuel is developed and bottled specifically for imagin biofires.  You can read many great trustpilot reviews we have received from customers for our biofuel.   

    Take care filling the fuel box

    Make sure not to overfill the fuel box as this can cause the flame to become too large and unwieldy. It also makes spillages more likely. Although our ‘Non-spill fuel box’ reduces the chances of spills from  liquid inside the fuel box, there may still be spilt biofuel around the fuel box or fireplace in general. Always clear this away before lighting the biofuel.


  4. Do I need the large or small log set?

    There is no right or wrong answer. It's just a matter of personal preference. Some customers like the look of just a few logs in front of the flame, and so the small log set containing 3 logs is ideal. Others prefer the more 'full look' of the large set, which typically contains a mix of 9 logs/cones. A small number of customers prefer a more minimalist aesthetic of no accessories at all. Regardless of what set you choose, please just remember not to put them OVER the opening of the fuel box. Only locate them AROUND the opening.

  5. Do I need a chimney for a bioethanol fire?

    No.  You dont need to have a chimney as our bioethanol fireplaces are smokeless. This is why we sell so many biofires to people in flats, as well as houses, conservatories etc.  If you do have a chimney, then of course you can still use a bioethanol fireplace too, and it doesnt matter if the chimney is blocked or open.  If it's open, then of course some of the heat from the bioethanol fireplace will be lost throught the chimney. If the chimney is closed/blocked then the heat will be retained in the room. 

  6. What flooring can be used with my biofire?

    Which flooring should I use with my biofire?

    All of our biofires are safe for use on most flooring. They come fitted with rubber feet (made by 3M), which prevents heat transfer and floor damage. However, we don’t recommend that you drag your fireplace across the floor to preserve the life of the rubber feet and prevent floor marking.  

    Is my flooring suitable for a bioethanol fireplace?

    Our fireplaces do not require a hearth as the heat is not generated at the bottom of the fireplace, however some customers have installed hearths for their own personal aesthetics.

    Our bioethanol fireplaces are strongly built but lighter in weight at less than half the weight of a cast iron fireplace. 

    One of the best things about a bioethanol fireplace is that you can unwrap it, fill it with fuel, and immediately enjoy a natural flame. There’s no special installation necessary, and you don’t need a flue or a chimney.

    Our fireplaces do not require a hearth as the heat is not generated at the bottom of the fireplace, however some customers have installed hearths for their own personal aesthetics.

    Pembrey (with Hearth)Hampton (on wood flooring)Globus White (on carpet)

    Pembrey (with Hearth)        Hampton (on wood flooring)   Globus White (on carpet)

  7. How does a bio ethanol fireplace work?

    Just squeeze the bioethanol fuel from our ‘squeezy’ bottles into the burner box supplied with your fireplace. Using a gas-lighter-style tool or extended taper, light the bioethanol fuel.

    Within just a few minutes, a lovely natural and cosy flame will appear. Use the metal closing rod supplied to pull/ push the sliding mechanism over the flame to adjust or extinguish the flame.

  8. Can you put a TV above a bioethanol fireplace?

    As there is no smoke given off by our bioethanol fires, you don't need to worry about smoke damage to your TV. Nevertheless, we recommend that you only place a TV above a bio ethanol fireplace that has a closed top, such as our extremely popular wall mounted Marlow.

    Ideally you can leave 18 inches between the top of the fire and the bottom of the TV.

  9. Do bioethanol fires produce heat?

    Are bioethanol fires warm?

    Perhaps surprisingly, this is a very common question that confuses many people!

    While biofires are not intended as a primary heat source for your home, your bioethanol fireplace gives off plenty of heat, with much better fuel efficiency than a wood-burning stove (which loses around 40% of its heat up the chimney). 

    So with our fireplaces you can close off the chimney (with a proprietary chimney sock or similar) and finish off above the fireplace with a piece of fireboard or similar for that added bit of protection.

    brick fireplacebio fireplace in living room

    Do bioethanol fires give off heat?

    Yes. The real flame provides a cosy atmosphere, but it also produces a comfortable toastiness for your room.

    However, we don’t recommend replacing your central heating system with a bioethanol fireplace as it will not produce enough heat and will be expensive to run. But for supplementary heat, you’ll love the comfortable warmth produced by your bioethanol flame.

    Our fireplaces are ideal for those cooler summer evenings when you don’t want to heat the whole house, just taking the chill off a room and alternatively are also great for that added boost of heat in a room on the colder winter evenings.

    How much heat does a bioethanol fireplace produce in Kilowatt-hours?

    In technical terms, bioethanol fireplaces produce around 3 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of heat when the fuel gauge is fully open. 

    To give you an idea of how hot this is, the average electric fire will generate around 2kWh of heat. So, depending on the size of your room, your bioethanol fireplace gives off heat that maintains a comfortable, consistent temperature.

    Wood-burning stoves and open fireplaces generally generate around 5kWh of heat (depending on their size), but this is often too hot for small-to-medium-sized rooms. So, you should find that your bioethanol fireplace gives off plenty of heat, even for deep midwinter. 

    If anything, you may find that a full bioethanol flame is a little too hot for your tastes. Fortunately, the easily adjustable slider on the fuel box will allow you to reduce the strength of the flame as you desire.

    imaginfires trustpilot review

  10. Do Bioethanol Fireplace suites require a hearth?

    There's no legal requirement to install a hearth stone for your bioethanol fireplace, unlike a traditional wood-burning or coal stove fireplace. 

    Traditional wood- or coal fireplaces get much hotter than bioethanol fireplaces, and there's a much higher risk of burning embers and ashes falling from the body of the fire. This means that traditional fireplaces require hearths made from heat- and fire-resistant materials to minimise the house fire risk. 

    Is there a need for a hearth with biofires?

    The simple answer is no. Our biofire suites may resemble traditional open fireplaces, but they don't need a hearth. Instead, your room is protected by a 6mm tempered stay-clear safety glass barrier. You get a mantel shelf, the fireplace surround, the steel fireplace insert, a bioethanol fuel box, a safety-glass barrier, and a fire closing tool.

    We have two bioethanol fireplace suites - the elegant Holborn, suited to period properties, and the Broadway, which enhances a more modern space.

    Broadway without Hearth    Broadway with Hearth      

    Broadway without Hearth                             Broadway with Hearth

    And while there's no need for a hearth, some of our customers choose to install one. ImaginFires don't supply hearths, however. 

  11. Does bioethanol fuel evaporate?

    Does my fuel evaporate?

    The simple answer is yes. 

    Bioethanol fuel is mostly alcohol, so it will evaporate over time.  

    How quickly does ethanol evaporate?

    Bioethanol is generally around 96% alcohol, meaning your fuel evaporates fairly rapidly, which is why you buy it in airtight containers.

    But there are steps you can follow to minimise evaporation. 

    How do I prevent ethanol evaporation?

    As a rough guide, 1 litre of our high-quality bioethanol fuel lasts around 3-4 hours with the shutter fully open and therefore Half a litre will last around 2 hours in your ethanol fireplace.

    You can always refill it if you change your mind, BUT make sure you leave around 30 minutes for the fuel box to cool down completely before adding more fuel. 

    If fuel remains at the end of your burning session, close the lid of the fuel box to minimise evaporation.

    imagin review

  12. Can a biofire be placed flat against a wall?

    Can a freestanding bioethanol fireplace be placed flat against a wall?

    You get lots of flexibility with our freestanding bioethanol fireplaces - all suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Whether you choose a traditional log-burner-style fireplace, a funky fireplace insert, or a sleek, modern signature piece, you’ll have plenty of flexibility regarding where you choose to use it. 

    When you’re storing your fireplace, you can keep it flat against the wall to save space, but we suggest you move your fireplace off the wall when in use. 

    Where do I place my freestanding bioethanol fireplace?

    Move your fireplace a minimum of 100mm from the wall before you light it. Keep it away from the wall while it's in use. This ensures good air circulation around the fireplace.

    Never move your bioethanol fireplace while it’s lit or still warm. It will be hot to the touch so you must wait until it has cooled.

    Alternatively, you might opt for a wall-mounted bioethanol fireplace. These are fixed directly to the wall, meaning you don’t get the flexibility of a freestanding model, but you get a super-slick fireplace that will be the envy of your friends and family. Our wall-mounted fireplaces come with a wall mounting kit, which is simple to install safely without any specialist skills.

  13. How long does bioethanol fuel last?

    Simply squeeze the fuel out of the bottle and into the fuel box. You can then sit back and enjoy the benefits of your bioethanol fireplace. But for how long exactly? 

    So, how long does bio ethanol fuel burn in a biofire?

    On average, a litre of our bioethanol fuel will last between three and a half to four hours, and sometimes longer. The exact time depends on a wide number of issues, including the amount of natural ventilation in the room, the type of biofuel being used, the prevailing room temperature and the extent to which you open the steel fuel box slider.  When the slider is opened fully, fuel will be used at a faster rate than when it is only opened halfway.

    Type of fuel box

    Burning time (per litre)

    Half open

    4 to 5 hours (sometimes more)

    Fully open

    Around 4 hours


    How long does bioethanol fuel last comparatively in both large and small biofires?

    All of our fireplaces have our patented 1 litre fuel boxes with an adjustable slider so you can choose to reduce the size of the hole the flame comes out of, which will in turn make the fuel last longer.

    How can I find the cheapest bio fuel?

    Biofuel is widely available to buy from various outlets. However, we strongly recommend purchasing your fuel from Imaginfires. We provide fuel at an affordable price that you can rest assured will burn at an excellent rate. 

    Some of the cheapest brands out there often produce a strong unpleasant smell when burning, and often come in unwieldy containers prone to spillage.  We strongly recommend you only use biofuel that is specifically for bioethanol fireplaces and has at least 96% alcohol content. 

    imaginfires biofuel review

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