Back in the old days, the most common way to light a regular outdoor fire pit (not ethanol fire pit) was by burning natural wood. Now of course, we use gas lines to connect the natural gas to the fire pit. Or have a tank of liquid propane to fuel the flame.
But sometimes neither of these options is quite what you need – maybe you can’t run a gas line. Maybe dealing with changing out propane tanks is too much of a hassle – an alternative exists. A lesser known fire pit burner that is starting to become more popular lately in the burner market, using essentially a liquid alcohol called Ethanol.
What is Ethanol? also known as biofuel, is an alcohol-based fuel. Unlike the kind that makes one happy after a glass or two, it is a clear liquid, highly flammable, no nasty smelling almost odourless type of alcohol that is only best suit to fuel, in this case, fire features especially fire pits.
What is the big hype about ethanol fire pit?
For one, Ethanol is produced from biomass that makes it a renewable fuel. It is a product of process
ferment sugar derive directly from food sources such as corn, rice, grains and other agricultural harvests. In Canada though, Ethanol is mainly made from corn and wheat. The process results in a colourless, non-air-pollutant, odour free, environment friendly and super combustible, clean burning fuel.
Ethanol has not gotten the recognition that it should have yet. It still is fairly new in the fire pit market. Actually, Ethanol has been in the market for decades and decades but is gaining popularity more recently as people are turning to renewable resources, now more than ever.
Natural gas or liquid propane are still the more prefer choice for fire pit burners. The only set back in using these gas line fuel is that they need to be install by a professional or certified gas fitter which is an involve process. Aside from the inconvenience of making an appointment for all this to happen, time also costs money. The longer the gas fitter stays, the more expensive the installation can get. Then you have would have to take time off work to coordinate with theirs…There’s that too… Oh, what a hassle!
What are the benefits of Ethanol?
Ethanol burners do not require technical installation, much less a certified gas fitter.
Set up is not complicate; it is simple and easy. There are no permanent connections or hookups attache to the fire pit that give it the advantage of portability. You can move your Ethanol fire pit anywhere you want provide there is enough clearance to combustible materials and the area has good air exchange. Ethanol fueled fire pits are safe to use both indoor and outdoor!
With Ethanol, there is no need to worry about running a Natural Gas line nor having to look at your unsightly Liquid Propane tank. Sometimes, there are restrictions on gas lines or propane fire pits as well among strata buildings and that adds to the challenge of acquiring a fire pit run by NG or LP.
Ethanol burns clean… Did I say that before? I do need to reiterate how clean burning this fuel is! It does not emit fumes that make it safe to use indoors. It does not produce ash or soot and does not leave black ashy mess every after burn either making it even more environment friendly.
This seems like a miracle fuel, you may say…Well, perhaps it is. But like everything else, it has few disadvantages…
Disadvantages of Ethanol Burners
Because Ethanol burner comes in a stainless steel enclosure, that makes it slightly leaning toward more of a contemporary style. For some, the sight of the burner sitting on the fire pit itself is a big turn off while others are drawn to it, finding it to have a more modern effect
Ethanol is a little more costly than natural gas or propane.
In general, a liter of this biofuel would burn for 4 – 4 ½ hours on a maximum setting and up to 8 hours on a medium to low setting. It also has limit heat output and produces shorter flames. Now, putting a positive twist to it, that makes it ideal for smaller areas if you want to create a cozier ambience.
Are there safety concerns with using Ethanol (for fire pit)?
Like all open flame appliances please use common sense during operation, and abide by clearances to combusitibles. The most important aspect to remember that is unique to ethanol burners is in how the appliance is refille. For safety precautions NEVER ever refill an Ethanol burner that is still lit. I know, it should just be common sense, right? Well, people are born curious and some may attempt to see how safe Ethanol really is. Let’s put it this way, flame and fuel are so attracted to each other that once they get in touch, better yet, get together, it is going to be lit! (Pun intended.)
There are many factors to consider when choosing your fire pit burner. However, the most important thing to do first is to check your areas and regions for any fire pit or burner restrictions. And the rest of the choice is yours to make.
DreamCast is an avid supporter of renewable resources and only uses Ethanol burners that are CSA Certified.