Exploring Benefits of Bioethanol Fireplaces: Are They Worth It?
7 mins to read

Exploring Benefits of Bioethanol Fireplaces: Are They Worth It?

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With the cold, dark nights drawing in, you might be thinking of how you can keep your home warm and inviting even when the temperature drops.

As well as traditional heat sources like log burners, electric fires and gas fires, a new option has come to prominence over the last few years: bioethanol fires, or biofires.

But what is a biofire, and what are the benefits of a bioethanol fireplace?

Let’s look at the pros and cons of bioethanol fireplaces and whether they make a worthwhile addition to your home.

What is a bioethanol fireplace?

Black bioethanol fireplace next to a coffee table with books

A bioethanol fireplace is a fireplace that burns bioethanol fuel. This is a renewable and sustainable fuel made from plant materials like sugar beets, sugar cane, and corn.

Bioethanol fires are super-easy to install and use. Squeeze your bioethanol fuel into the burner box, light the fuel with a fire lighter, and control the flame as needed by adjusting the burner box. When you’ve enjoyed your fire, extinguish the flame by closing the burner box entirely. 

That’s all there is to it!

The benefits of a bioethanol fireplace

So, what advantages does a bioethanol fireplace have over, say, a log-burning fire? Both provide heat and ambience, but what puts a biofire out on top?

As one of the UK’s leading suppliers of bioethanol fires, we could talk about the benefits of bioethanol fireplaces all day! Here’s why we think they are a fantastic choice for any home.

Bioethanol fireplaces are eco-friendly

White bioethanol fireplace in the living with chairs and a piano

Bioethanol is a renewable energy source. This means it's more sustainable than fossil fuels like coal and gas.

While burning logs can also be an eco-friendly choice (depending on the log types), some people still opt to burn unsustainable materials like charcoal and treated wood, despite government regulations.

Bioethanol fireplaces are clean-burning

Log-burning fires produce a range of substances when in use, including high levels of carbon dioxide, ash, soot, benzene, formaldehyde, and nitrogen oxide. If a fire is lit without adequate ventilation, log-burning fires can also generate carbon monoxide, a gas that can be fatal at high levels.

The only emissions produced from burning bioethanol fuel are water vapour, heat, and a small amount of carbon dioxide – roughly the same level as burning candles. This makes biofires a fantastic option for people with allergies or respiratory conditions like asthma.

You can also use a bioethanol fireplace in a smoke control area without fear of penalty.

Bioethanol fireplaces are safe

Black bioethanol fireplace mounted on the wall in a contemporary living room

Log-burning fires are great for making your home cosy and warm, but they come with many potential risks. The smoke can be hazardous to health, and there is the risk of fire if your log-burning fireplace or stove is overfed or grows out of control.

Biofires don’t need a chimney or flue, meaning no risk of chimney fires. While bioethanol fires produce real flames, most fireplaces have safeguards in place, including a ‘no-spill’ box that means biofuel doesn’t spill out if the fireplace is accidentally knocked. 

All the fireplaces we sell at Imaginfires are thoroughly tested to meet safety standards BS EN 16647 – for your peace of mind.

Of course, while bioethanol fireplaces are much safer than log burners and other heating sources, it’s still important to be careful as they are a real live source of heat and fire. Make sure there is plenty of ventilation, keep your biofire away from flammable materials, and take care when filling the burner box with fuel.

Bioethanol fireplaces are low-maintenance

Biofires are easy to install – no need for an expensive technician or to put a chimney or flue in your home. Just place where you want, and you’re ready to go!

As bioethanol fireplaces don’t produce ash or soot, there’s no cleaning and very little maintenance needed. Just make sure there’s no residue or debris in the burner unit, and have a quick check for wear or damage before lighting. 

Bioethanol fireplaces are suitable for a wide range of homes

Small black bioethanol fireplace in a traditional black and white insert

Bioethanol fireplaces are small and compact, meaning they look fantastic in a variety of homes, from the largest mansion to the smallest countryside cottage.

As they are safer than log-burning fires, you can even use bioethanol fireplaces in non-traditional locations, like yurts, beach houses, wooden cabins and loft apartments. Just ensure there’s proper ventilation and lots of fresh air for your comfort. 

As bioethanol fireplaces don’t have to be connected to a flue, chimney or gas line, they can be easily moved from room to room, ideal if you fancy a change! Just wait for your fireplace to cool down completely before you move it to another location.

Bioethanol fireplaces come in a range of styles

One of the wonderful benefits of a bioethanol fireplace is that you can choose from a wide range of styles and types to fit the aesthetic of your home. Whether you prefer a modern fireplace or something more rustic and traditional, you’ll find it in a biofire!

Why do you get the option of so many different styles? As there isn’t a need for a chimney or gas line, there’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to design. 

You can choose from:

  • A wall-mounted bioethanol fire – ideal if you don’t have much floor space
  • A fire basket – a stunning focal point for any room in your home
  • An outdoor fire – while bioethanol fires are safe indoors, they’re an excellent choice to bring warmth and light to your garden too!
  • A suite – the magnificence of a traditionally styled mantelpiece, with the modern ingenuity of biofire
  • A freestanding fireplace – a flexible fireplace that you can easily install anywhere in your home
  • A wood burner-style bioethanol fireplace – perfect if you want the look of a log-burning fireplace without the hassle
  • A fireplace insert – an easy way to convert your log-burning fireplace into a biofire

Check out the range of stunning bioethanol fires on offer from Imaginfires.

Busting the myths around bioethanol fires

While biofires aren’t perfect, we have heard many stories about them that aren’t entirely true. 

Let us dispel three of the biggest myths made about bioethanol fires.

Myth one: Bioethanol fires don’t keep you warm

One of the main myths we hear about bioethanol fires is that they aren’t an ideal heating source.

It’s true that bioethanol fires have a slightly lower heat output than some heat sources. For example, a typical log burner has a maximum heat output rating of 8 kilowatt hours (kWh), while a bioethanol fireplace has a maximum heat output rating of 3kWh. While this is less, it still means an average-sized room will increase in temperature between three to five degrees. 

This means a bioethanol fire will warm your room more than you might think!

While a biofire isn’t intended to be the primary heat source for your home, it’s perfect for keeping specific rooms in your home toasty on those cold winter nights. 

Plus, bioethanol fires are easily adjustable, meaning you can effortlessly make the flame larger or smaller as needed.

Myth two: Bioethanol fires are expensive to run

Black bioethanol fireplace in a white dining room with white table and chairs

As bioethanol is a relatively new heat source, many people think it’s expensive to use. The truth is that the cost of bioethanol fuel has stayed relatively stable over time while other fuels have increased in price.

While costs can vary depending on heat output and where you buy your fuel, our calculations show that it costs about £6 to have your bioethanol fireplace on for eight hours.

 Conversely, to run your gas boiler for eight hours, based on October 2023 prices, you’ll pay about £13. To run a log-burning fire for the same amount of time, you can pay up to £10, although the more efficient your burner, the lower the cost.

Bioethanol fuel isn’t always the cheapest heat source, but it’s not as expensive as you might assume.

Another advantage is that bioethanol fires are easy to maintain, meaning you’re not spending cash to get your chimney swept or flue regularly inspected!  

Myth three: Bioethanol fires don’t look realistic

Unlike electric fires, the flame produced by a bioethanol fire is real, meaning you get a warm and cosy flame.

If you want the ambience of crackling fire and embers, you might prefer to invest in a log-burning fire. However, this comes with lots of additional maintenance and upkeep you don’t get with a bioethanol fire.

If you want to up the authenticity of your biofire, why not invest in a false flue that simply snaps to the top of your fireplace?

In conclusion: take advantage of the benefits of an indoor bioethanol fireplace

So, to answer the question we posed at the start of the article… is a bioethanol fireplace worth it?

If you’re looking for a clean, low-maintenance fireplace with the ‘wow’ factor, a bioethanol fireplace has many advantages!

Positive review of Imaginfires products and service by a customer

Compared to other heat sources, the benefits of a bioethanol fireplace easily outweigh the disadvantages. It’s no wonder that more and more people than ever before are installing them in their homes!

Considering making the switch to a biofire? Get in touch with our friendly team, who will help you choose the perfect bioethanol fire for your needs.