Bioethanol fireplaces use a real fire to deliver a more realistic fireplace experience compared to other types such as electric fireplaces.
Bioethanol fuel also burns clean enough to allow bioethanol fireplaces to not need any form or chimney or flue to be used indoors.
This means that, unless choosing to use a bioethanol fireplace within a chimney breast or open fireplace, all by-products from a fire will stay within the room, including any smells.
Bioethanol fireplaces can produce a minimal to unnoticeable smell during use. However, using a bioethanol fireplace for the first few times, or using low quality bioethanol fuel, can lead to more noticeable smells during fires.
Our own bioethanol fireplace doesn’t smell, but did during the first couple of uses.
We do however use high quality fuel in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines to help with the clean burn of the fire.
We discuss below more about whether bioethanol fireplaces smell, why bioethanol fireplaces can smell and what you can do to help minimize any smells from a fire.
Do Bioethanol Fireplaces Smell?
Bioethanol fireplaces typically do not smell during use if using appropriate bioethanol fuel and using the fireplace in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Bioethanol fireplaces don’t typically smell thanks to a clean burn of the fuel, where minimal by-products are released by the fire.
We explain all about bioethanol fuel in another article, but a bioethanol fireplace fire will only typically release carbon dioxide and water vapor.
Our owner’s manual explains:
‘There is no smoke given off by the bioethanol fires. Bioethanol combustion uses oxygen from the air inside the room and releases carbon dioxide (non-toxic) and water vapors.’Imagin Fires
As a result, bioethanol fireplaces don’t require the need for any form of chimney or flue, which would be required for other types of fireplaces to safely remove any smoke or other harmful particulates from a home.
For example, firewood may not be burnt cleanly if it’s too wet. Smell from any fire combustion can be a result of a less clean burn of the fuel.
This clean burn can be thanks to using bioethanol fuel, which is typically high in alcohol content giving a cleaner burn than many other common fireplace fuels.
For example, we burn high alcohol content bioethanol fuel and the bottles state that the fuel is clean burning on the packaging.
The result is that bioethanol fireplaces use clean burning fuel that releases minimal by-products, leading to minimal or negligible smells coming from fires.
However, there can be situations where you may notice a smell from a bioethanol fireplace fire, such as when the fireplace is new or when burning lower quality fuel, which we discuss below.
Why Does My Bioethanol Fireplace Smell?
A bioethanol fireplace can smell if the fireplace needs cleaning or where there is poor combustion of the fuel. Burning lower quality fuel can increase smell but expect a new bioethanol fireplace to smell slightly for the first couple of uses.
A bioethanol fireplace shouldn’t smell during a fire but if it does there can be a few reasons why:
- The fireplace is new
During the few fires, any leftover paints and other materials from the construction of the fireplace can burn off, leading to a more noticeable smell being produced.
This can be completely normal, and a manufacturer of a bioethanol fireplace will typical explain this within the owner’s manual.
For example, our owner’s manual states:
‘For the first couple of uses, there is a very slight temporary odour, which is perfectly normal and will disappear within a few uses.’Imagin Fires
We noticed a chemical-like smell coming from our fireplace for the first few fires but as expected there have been no noticeable smells from our fires from then on.
- Using lower quality fuel
Burning lower quality fuel than what is recommended by the manufacturer of a bioethanol fireplace can lead to increased smells from fires.
Lower quality refers to the ‘grade’ of the fuel, or in the case of bioethanol fuel the alcohol content.
For example, our fireplace manufacturer strongly recommends that we burn ‘bioethanol liquid fuel with at least 95% alcohol content and maximum of 97.5%’.
We there use 96.6% alcohol content bioethanol fuel in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines.
This aids in the clean burn of the fuel, helping to prevent any smells.
- The fireplace needs cleaning
If a bioethanol fireplace has any spilt fuel or has any debris within the fuel box of the fireplace, then it can lead to increased smells from fires.
Debris inside a bioethanol fireplace can include things like:
- Ends of matches
- Anything that has fallen down a chimney
- General dust or dirt
We use long matches to light our bioethanol fireplace and if it takes a while to start then the burnt ends of the matches can fall into the fuel box. This can lead to smells at the start of fires.
As we’re required to use our bioethanol fireplace inside an open fireplace or chimney breast (for safety reasons), there can be dirt that falls down onto the fireplace over time.
Our manufacturer explains to:
‘When not in use keep the shutter closed on the fuel box to avoid anything falling into it or dust gathering.’Imagin Fires
To help reduce smells from a bioethanol fireplace, ensure to look after it between fires and clean it periodically between fires in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines.