Many users amazed by the idea of ethanol fireplaces, will look for solutions which they can afford. Obviously this is a rational approach, but avoid really low-cost solutions like the plague because they can be only dangerous to us.Warning of low-cost versions of the ethanol fireplaces should be taken very seriously. In France, where ethanol fireplaces are probably the most popular in Europe, there were a couple of serious accidents resulting from using low-quality burner. These products, probably made in China, were unsealing, heated fuel was leaking, and everything unfortunately ended with a fire. These burners were constructed of low quality materials, thin sheet, which expanded by the action of heat, changing the dimensions minimally and unsealing as it did not withstand the stress. Similarly, thin metal sheet register controlling the access to the open fuel, also by the action of temperature changed its dimensions, curved and wedged in the plaster flatness guides and thus it could not be securely closed in order to extinguish the fuel. The fuel leaking from the unsealed burner and the fire flaring together with the leaking fuel and fully open, wedged register which prevented complete extinction of the ethanol fireplace was the reason for starting the fire. There was not rescue for the fuel spilt around the ethanol fireplace. The fire covered the whole interior. We must remember that biofuel, like gas, lights up very rapidly and extinguishes rapidly. The fire spreads in hundredths of a second. Unlike wood-burning fireplaces, ethanol fireplaces light up in an instant. Therefore, quality of the burner is more important here than even in the case of traditional fireplaces, where starting the fire is just as easy, but a lot slower. So we should not save on quality. We must remember that after all we are dealing with a real fire.
These incidents initiated public consultation on the safety of alcohol-fuelled fireplaces carried out by the European Commission and resulted in developing a European standard defining a harmonized safety requirements.
See: Opinions of the Internet users on ethanol fireplaces prices.