How to Build a Bio-Ethanol Fireplace That You'll Be Proud to Show Off
A fireplace is an attractive and useful way to add value to your property. Many homeowners are put off by the idea because they think it’s a costly affair that results in a little extra heat and a whole lot of clean-up. If you go for a wood-burning hearth, that could be the case, but thanks to bio-ethanol fireplaces, it doesn’t have to be that way.
One of the many benefits of a fireplace designed to burn the clean-burning plant-derived fuel is that it can be quick and easy to install. Depending on how much thought, time, and effort you put into it, the feature could be one of the real highlights of your home. Below, we offer a few tips on building a bio-ethanol fireplace that you’ll be proud to show off.
The Beauty Of Bio-Ethanol
With the growing awareness of the catastrophic effects of pollution, a rising cost of living that outpaces wage increases, and a desire for more free time, many people are put off by traditional fireplaces. Those folks don’t want to contribute to the toxins being added to the atmosphere every second.
They also don’t want to spend a small fortune on wood fires when there are cheaper ways of heating their homes, nor do they want to spend hours cleaning up ash and soot.
You don’t need to worry about any of those issues when you have a bio-ethanol fireplace. Bio-ethanol is a liquid biofuel produced by fermenting and distilling various types of plants such as sugarcane, barley, hemp, potatoes and corn. Unlike fossil fuels, it’s renewable, and can be used for more than heating. These days, several cars run on bio-ethanol or a mix of the bio-fuel and regular petrol and its use is becoming increasingly common.
Here are just a few reasons to consider building a bio-ethanol fireplace:
- They’re quick to build/set up, install and move
- There’s no smoke or toxins so no need for a flue or chimney
- They’re suitable for apartments
- The cheerful orange flame burns clean
- There’s no smell
- The fuel is compact
- The fuel is eco-friendly
- Minimal cleaning and maintenance is required
Using a bio-ethanol fireplace is incredibly simple. All you do is pour the fuel into the stainless-steel burner and then ignite it. Being slightly more expensive than gas but much cheaper than wood, the bio-fuel is cost-effective.
Deciding On A Fireplace
Bio-ethanol fireplaces are versatile enough to offer you an array of different styles. You can go for the traditional built-in design, or you can look at mounting a burner against a wall. The popular third alternative is to make a free-standing unit that can be moved around.
The first two can add value to your home, and the third is portable enough for you to take with you, should you move to a new house. When deciding on the type of fireplace you want, consider your reasons for getting one, as well as your budget.
Materials For Built-In And Wall-Mounted Units
Regardless of the style of the fireplace, a fire will always be a focal point in a room. For this reason, you should make yours look as attractive as possible. If you decide on a built-in or wall-mounted unit, think carefully about the materials you use.
If you go for a built-in style, those materials will frame the fire. In the case of a wall-mounted unit, the materials you choose could provide a base and/or a backdrop.
Choose stone, stone cladding, or stone-coloured materials for a built-in bio-ethanol fireplace with a truly traditional look that commands attention. Granite, limestone, and slate are popular choices. Sinking the burner into the floor is not impossible, but it could be pricey. It would be better to position the built-in unit higher in the wall.
A vertical strip of stone cladding can make an effective backdrop for a mounted fireplace. If you intend to use multiple burners, you could run the strip horizontally to create a ribbon fireplace. Using dark, polished stone will create a wonderful contrast to the orange flames, and it will have a mirror-like effect, which can look amazing.
Unless you choose a stone that’s light in colour, your fireplace may look ‘cold’ when not lit. If you prefer something a little more homely with a softer, warmer appearance, consider using wood. You could combine wood and stone to create a beautiful built-in or mounted fireplace. If you choose wood, remember that the burner will need to be set into a non-flammable material such as vermiculite, stone, or stainless steel. You cannot set it into the wood as you would be creating a major fire hazard.
Creating A Bio-Ethanol Fireplace
The bio-ethanol burner you choose should be appropriate for the type of fireplace you want. Some are not suitable for being inserted into a surface. Instead, they are designed for use as free-standing units.
They can still be used in a built-in or ‘hole-in-the-wall’ fireplace, but the burner will sit on the hearth, rather than be lowered into it to sit flush. Whatever your choice, you should use tempered glass panels to box in or hedge the fire to protect it from draughts.
When designing your fireplace, remember that the burner’s position should comply with its clearance requirements. For most standard burners, which are rectangular in shape, the front and back length should both be approximately 5cm away from the front and back of the firebox/fireplace. Either side should be 5 to 10cm away from the sides of the firebox, and, if it’s a built-in unit, the top of the burner should be 60 to 80cm from the top of the fireplace.
When making a cut-out in which to insert a bio-ethanol burner, it’s important to leave some room for the metal burner to expand when lit. Whether you insert it into vermiculite or stone, the surface should be thick enough to withstand the heat. 2 to 4cm usually suffices.
Surf the web for some ideas, then combine the information in this article with your personal tastes in design, add a burner, and voila! You will have a bio-ethanol fireplace that you will be proud to show off.