Can bioethanol fireplaces be used as a primary heating source?
Bioethanol fireplaces are mainly designed as a decorative or aesthetically-pleasing item that can enhance the ambiance of a space, whilst offering some additional, supplementary heat from a warming flame.
What to consider when using a bioethanol fireplace as a heating source?
Heating capacity: Bioethanol fireplaces generate radiant heat, which can warm up immediate surroundings and create a cosy atmosphere.
Supplemental use: They are most effective when used as a supplemental heat source in conjunction with other heating methods.
Ideal for smaller spaces: Bioethanol fireplaces are well-suited for smaller rooms or well-insulated areas where they can make a noticeable difference.
Need more information on using bioethanol fireplaces for heating purposes? Please contact our team today to find out more.
Outdoor Wall-Mounted Bioethanol Fireplaces: These fireplaces can be mounted on exterior walls, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere in outdoor entertaining areas.
Outdoor Freestanding Bioethanol Fireplaces: These standalone units are designed to be placed on patios, decks, or other outdoor areas to provide heat and a captivating flame.
Wood Burner Style Bioethanol Fireplaces
For those who love the look and feel of a traditional wood-burning fireplace, there are bioethanol fireplaces designed in a wood burner style. These fireplaces mimic the appearance of a wood-burning fire, providing a rustic and classic charm without the need for wood logs or a chimney.
For more information on the different types of bioethanol fireplaces and to explore our range of products, please visit our bioethanol fireplaces page.
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.
In the majority of cases, all items on your order will arrive together. However, during busy periods if you order a biofire and accessories such as logs, pebbles or biofuel, they do sometimes get deliberately separated by the courier, but then get delivered within 72 hours of the first item arriving. This is currently unavoidable in some circumstances only. At this exceptionally busy time of year, can we please request that you only contact us about missing items if they have not arrived within 72 hours of the initial item. We really appreciate your help.
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.
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.
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.
Bioethanol fireplaces produce real flames, so it's 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 ethanol fireplace safety features 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 and have been delighted to install in our own homes.
What makes bioethanol fires safe indoors?
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 for maximum ethanol fireplace safety. 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 recommend buying the fuel that is of a high quality and has at least 95% alcohol. This provides the best and longest flame.
We offer some of the best value biofuel in the market, and our fuel is developed and bottled specifically for Imaginfires biofires. You can read many great Trustpilot reviews we have received from customers for our biofuel.
No. You don't need a chimney with a bioethanol fireplace because bioethanol fuel burns cleanly — without smoke, soot, or ash. This makes bioethanol the ideal alternative energy source for buildings that don't have chimneys, such as flats, conservatories, and many modern homes.
Do I need a flue for a bioethanol fire?
Bioethanol fuel burns without creating any harmful emissions — it uses a little oxygen from the room and emits:
Heat (around 3kWh or equivalent of an electric heater on medium)
Water vapour (although you won't notice it), and
A little carbon dioxide — don't worry, burning bioethanol produces around the same amount of carbon dioxide as two lit candles.
This makes it safe to burn indoors without a flue or a chimney.
It is good, however, to have some ventilation to prevent the room from becoming too stuffy. So, we recommend keeping an internal door open to ensure the through-flow of oxygen or opening the window a little to let fresh air in.
You may have seen some images on our website and social media of some of our fireplaces with our flues. These are FALSE FLUES and just add to the wood burner effect and do not impact on the heat output as there are vents on the rear of these flues to help the heat circulate.
Can I install a bioethanol fireplace into my existing fireplace with a chimney?
Absolutely. If you have an existing chimney but are concerned about burning fossil fuels, such as wood or coal, a bioethanol fireplace makes an excellent alternative heat source for your room.
Remember, chimneys reduce the efficiency of all fires because a lot of the heat from the burn escapes up the chimney. So, an open vent will reduce the amount of heat produced by your bioethanol fireplace.
You can close off your chimney with a proprietary”chimney sock” and some fireboard to stop the heat escaping.
Can I use a bioethanol fireplace with a closed chimney?
If your chimney is closed, a bioethanol fire is the ideal eco-friendly heat source because it burns at around 98-100% fuel efficiency (compared to approximately 80% or lower for a traditional wood-burning stove). You don't need a flue or working chimney to operate bioethanol fireplaces.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
And while there's no need for a hearth, some of our customers choose to install one. ImaginFires don't supply hearths, however.
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.
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)
4 to 5 hours (sometimes more)
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.
Do I need the large or small set of logs for my bio fire?
Some people enjoy the modern, minimalist aesthetic of a bioethanol fireplace without a log set. However, many of our happy customers prefer to add ceramic pebbles or logs to heighten the traditional feel of their wood burner-style bioethanol fireplace.
Whether you choose a wood burner-style bioethanol fireplace, a fireplace insert, a freestanding biofire, or a more traditional-looking bioethanol suite, logs or pebbles can lift the appearance of your chosen fireplace.
What size fireplace logs are best for bioethanol fireplaces?
It depends on personal preference whether you choose the large log set (containing a mix of 9 logs/pine cones) or the small set (including 3 logs). You might enjoy the "full fireplace" look of the large set or the subtle impression of a traditional fireplace provided by the small log set.
Large log set v Small log set
Whichever you choose, make sure that you keep the opening of the fuel box clear. Never obstruct the flame aperture with your logs or pebbles - locate them AROUND the opening.
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We only sell Bioethanol Fireplaces! We are trusted by many of the UK's biggest high street names to supply biofires to their customers too. Biofires use an environmentally friendly bioethanol fuel which will give you a real flame and real heat! There's no chimney required, no flue to install, no cables to connect and no mains power needed.