Ethanol Fireplace Tip: Minimum Room Size

November 21, 2014

Ethanol Fireplace Tip: Minimum Room Size

So … you have decided you are going to add a fireplace to your home. You have done all your research (wood fireplace, gas fireplace, ethanol fireplace), considered all the negatives vs the benefits for each:

Wood fireplace

  • Good: Romantic, Warm, Cracking, Smell
  • Bad:    Cost of wood, Storage, Dirty,Smoke, Soot, Ash, Smell, etc

Gas fireplace

  • Good:  RomanticEasy on/off, No wood, Warm, Clean Burn
  • Bad:     Requires Vent, Requires Gas Line, Expensive

Ethanol fireplace

  • Good:   Romantic, Warm, Clean Burning – No toxic Exhaust, No Vent required, No Gas Lines, Easy for homeowner to install
  • Bad:      Ordering Fuel, Fuel Storage

And after considering all the options, you have decided the best choice for you is an Ethanol Fireplace – Its economical to purchase and install. You can do the installation yourself. No flue or vent is required, no gas lines to run. Ethanol Fireplace Fuel is quite accessible for purchase online or in store. It’s a Great Choice! But don’t forget to consider just one more very important factor:

Minimum Room Size

Here we are not concerned so much about exhaust generated by the fireplace. But rather, we want to consider that any burning flame will consume oxygen in a room – even a candle. So you need to have a room of adequate size that contains more than enough oxygen to support the burning flame, AND, to support your respiration and for others in the room with you. So ventilation and configuration of the room, access and openings will play an important role.

The great thing about ethanol fireplace fuel is that when burned COMPLETELY there is no toxic exhaust. However, a poorly designed burner or an ethanol fireplace making use of a damper to reduce the flame size, can generate CO and other impurities. A good solution to consider is an electronic controlled fireplace that will assure that the ethanol fireplace fuel is completely burned (combusted) and due to its onboard electronics, will monitor for safety – this is a superior solution to an open tank manual burner when making your choice for an ethanol fireplace. This type of fireplace (electronic) typically monitors a number of safety factors including temperature, CO2, seismic motion, tilt and fuel levels.

When installing an ethanol burning fireplace, be sure to take into consideration the minimum room size required for the particular fireplace you are installing. There are several of factors for you to consider, some of which are:

  • Size of the Room
  • Ventilation (access doors, layout of room and house)
  • How “tight” is the house sealed (usually goes along with the age of the home)
  • Size of the fireplace

Most reputable manufacturers of Ethanol Fireplaces will provide you some guidance within their literature as to the minimum required room size. As a rough guideline and to help you understand the limitations, we can consider and will use as generally accepted – the minimum room size for a standard size burner (16-24″) as approximately 2200 cubic feet.  I offer this number just as a generalized, ball park number for discussion - be sure to check with the manufacturer of your specific ethanol fireplace for an accurate assessment prior to installation. And as stated, the properties of your particular installation are important considerations.  This number would translate into a room that is approximately 15.5′ x 18′ x8′h.  So if you plan to put your ethanol fireplace in a small bedroom or small den with limited ventilation and your room dimensions are close to these – be sure to carefully check the requirements with the manufacturer of your particular ethanol fireplace.

For more open installations in larger rooms of your home, or where the rooms open to each other creating good ventilation and air flow, this may not be a very big concern. But in a smaller home, loft or apartment – this should be one of the key factors you consider. Today you can find burners up to 72″ in length. These will consume a much greater amount of oxygen. So whenever you are considering a larger size burner, contact your ethanol fireplace manufacturer and check on this important requirement.

I hope you found this article useful and that you are keeping warm this winter!





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