Are Ethanol Fireplaces Really Worth It?Patrick Murray
Are Ethanol Fireplaces Really Worth it?
We have heard this question a lot. While we would love to scream “yes” at the top of our lungs, that wouldn’t be fair. To some people, ethanol fireplaces are worth more than their weight in gold. To others, however, they aren’t. Although we can’t decide whether an ethanol fireplace is worth it for you, specifically, we can help you decide. In order to do so, it’s important to look at your objectives and the overall importance of a fireplace for you. So, to answer the question (for yourself), here are some things to ponder:
What is the main reason you would like a fireplace?
- Heat. Ethanol fireplaces do, in fact, provide heat. However, the energy source doesn’t produce as much as a woodburning or gas fireplace. So, if you’re looking for a major difference in warmth, an ethanol fireplace is probably not worth it. If, however, you’re looking for a subtle difference in temperature, then it may be worth considering.
- Ambiance. Ethanol fireplaces are best known for the ambiance they create. Sleek linear fire ribbons are extremely popular in contemporary spaces. With an ethanol fireplace, the ambiance of a genuine fire can be achieved with plenty of freedom for design choices without cumbersome chimneys, fuel lines, or any other attachments. So, if the ambiance is what you are seeking, we would say an ethanol fireplace is worth it.
- Eco-Minded. Ethanol fireplaces are eco-friendly and will reduce your carbon footprint. There are, however, other eco-friendly fireplace alternatives available. While this can be taken into consideration, we feel that other factors along with the clean burn will decipher worth for you.
How often will you use your fireplace?
When comparing types of fireplace solutions, ethanol fireplace fuel is slightly more expensive than alternatives. However, there are no installation costs or ongoing maintenance costs. No chimney to repair, no ventilation to install – except for building the fireplace’s surround there are no costs in preparing or installing an ethanol fireplace.
So, we think the amount of time that you use the fireplace will easily paint a picture as to the worth of an ethanol fireplace. In most cases, when compared, this technology saves many thousands of dollars. With no maintenance over time, more cost savings are had for the life of the fireplace. To judge worthiness, we suggest looking at all initial and ongoing costs of the fireplace solutions you are considering. Then, estimate the amount of time you believe the fireplace would be used over a five-year period. Once you have both figures, simply divide the cost by your estimated time of use. This calculation will better compare worthiness versus looking at fuel costs alone, which doesn’t paint the whole picture.
The last point to consider is that ethanol fireplaces are more efficient. With no vent or chimney for heat to escape, all the warmth from the fireplace stays in the space – so, you’re not paying to heat outer space.
Is an ethanol fireplace really worth it yet?
How important is the convenience of the fireplace?
While ethanol fireplaces are much more convenient to operate than wood-burning models, they are not as convenient as flipping the switch of a gas fireplace. Ethanol fireplaces us a liquid biofuel that needs to be refilled manually. Because there are no big fuel tanks or fuel lines, the fuel must be poured into the burner. If you are looking to flip the switch for an instant fire, then bio ethanol fireplaces probably aren’t worth it. If, though, the value of no installation costs and no ongoing maintenance costs outweigh this issue, then it might just be worth it for you.
Do you have concerns about an open flame?
Ethanol fireplaces, as you probably already know by now, are ventless. Therefore, to function, they need to be exposed to oxygen, as it is not available through a vent or chimney. So, an ethanol fireplace will always have an exposed flame when alit. Ethanol fires burn in a controlled setting and are confined to the ethanol burner. When used and installed properly, even with an exposed flame that are safer than any other fireplace solution. Still, however, some customers with children or pets have concerns about a fireplace that isn’t fully enclosed. So, if you are looking for a fireplace completely behind glass, then an ethanol fireplace won’t be worth it for you. If, however, the benefit of keeping all the heat because of no vent is more beneficial, we would encourage you to look at bio ethanol closer, because it may be worth it.
So, what do you think? Is an ethanol fireplace really worth it?
We hope that these questions help you to answer your larger question of “Is an ethanol fireplace really worth it?”. If you are still unsure, please feel free to reach out to the IGNIS fireplace professionals who will gladly answer any questions you have and help you decide what is best based on your specific objectives, environment, or any other condition relative to your decision.
In addition to our blog posts, the IGNIS Knowledgebase may help to answer so of your questions, too.