Why is it dangerous and expensive?


Anyone who does not have a fireplace, but appreciates the coziness emanating from a fireplace, is happy to choose an ethanol fireplace today. They work on a simple principle and are available for little money. Experts warn that everyone who wants to warm up with it should be careful. We explain why.

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What is an ethanol stove?

“The so-called ethanol fireplace or ethanol stove is not actually a real fireplace, but a warming open hearth,” explains Martin Steinestel from North Rhine-Westphalia Consumer Center. Unlike a real fireplace, an ethanol fireplace stove is not connected to a chimney. “With an ethanol fireplace, the heat is generated by burning the alcohol,” says Steinestel.

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Is it possible to heat with an ethanol stove?

However, ethanol fireplaces are not suitable for heating living spaces. “An ethanol fireplace is neither an additional source of heat nor an alternative to central heating – the power is not enough,” explains Steinestel. Ethanol fireplaces emit little heat and should primarily provide comfort – according to Steinestel, they are not suitable and not intended for long-term use.

How dangerous is an ethanol stove?

Even though manufacturers and sellers like to advertise that ethanol fireplaces are safe, according to Stiftung Warentest, there are a few things to consider when using them. Because: “The combustion residue of the ethanol fireplace goes into the living room,” explains Steinestel. These are water vapor, carbon dioxide and small amounts of carbon monoxide. According to Stiftung Warentest, stoves can emit the carcinogenic substances formaldehyde and benzene, as well as fine dust.

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“The resulting gases can really pose a poisoning risk,” says master chimney sweep Andreas Walburg, who is also a spokesman for the Federal Association of Chimney Sweeps. Walburg strongly recommends using carbon monoxide detectors with ethanol fireplaces. Steinestel also explains that using ethanol fireplaces requires a lot of ventilation and “again heat is lost through air exchange.”

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Risk of poisoning and explosion

Stiftung Warentest also took a closer look at ethanol fireplaces and recommends using them only in “well-ventilated rooms, not for heating.” Background: French consumer magazine “60 million users” tested Wikao Zenith Smart and Oneconcept Phantasma Tower models. According to Stiftung Warentest, the results were “catastrophic” due to the pollution caused.

But it’s not just exhaust gas that can become a problem. Steinestel warns that with an ethanol fireplace, at least an open fire in the living room is always a risk. Walburg agrees: “Ethanol stoves certainly have significant risks.” Even if ethanol is used improperly, explosions can occur. “If you’re not sure, you should talk to a plumber—he can give you advice and clarification,” Walburg points out.

What should be considered when using an ethanol fireplace?

Although ethanol stoves are limited in terms of performance and lifespan, according to Stiftung Warentest they can be placed on the market without testing. “When buying, you should pay special attention to DIN standards and TÜV certificates – and say goodbye to the idea that you want to heat the room with an ethanol fireplace all winter,” limits Steinestel. According to Stiftung Warentest, Your EN 16647:2016 to be respected.

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Walburg also cautions that you should get detailed information and pay attention to the manufacturer’s information before using an ethanol fireplace. If it’s not entirely clear that a stove is intended for indoor use, according to Walburg, under no circumstances should it be used in the home: “Not every fireplace is suitable for indoor use.”

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die North Rhine-Westphalia Consumer Center also recommends avoiding ethanol stoves altogether if you have children or pets in the home.

How much does ethanol cost for heating?

You can order ethanol or bioethanol for an ethanol stove online or at hardware stores. Five liters of ethanol costs about 15 euros, and the same amount of bioethanol can be bought for about 20 euros. Even if an ethanol stove No for continuous use…

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