Having purchased a home without a fireplace, I've been searching for non-vented alternatives, like electric heating units that emulate the look of a wood stove.

I came across this interesting looking bioethanol firebox.

It is meant for indoor or outdoor use. The flame is out in the open. I don't know how it can be safe to use indoors -- wouldn't it create smoke and wouldn't a large open flame pose a significant safety risk?

I asked the creator by commenting on his YouTube commerical. He said it's safe because it's bioethanol.

I don't understand this answer. This is a real flame, right? Couldn't it easily catch the Christmas tree in the commericial on fire? Does bioethanol not produce any smoke, therefore requiring no vent/chimney?

  • It is a real flame, a candle is a real flame and think of the soot they produce that you dont usually see when everything is buring just right.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 23:07
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    I just couldn't believe that someone would have a large open flame in their living room. I guess it's do-able with sufficient caution, but I think I'll go with one of those electric heaters with the digital flame!
    – Hack-R
    Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 23:46
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    I doubt I'd want to burn even alcohol in large quantities indoors without venting it. Nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizers can remain in bioethanol. Burning corn ethanol produces carbon dioxide, but also carbon monoxide, soot and other particulates, formaldehyde and acetalydehyde. None of that sounds great. It's worse with heavier biodiesel. This article references an interesting study: insideclimatenews.org/news/20100609/… Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 1:18
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    He said it's safe because it's bioethanol. Same could be said by everyone who's burnt down a house with beeswax candles. As displayed in that video, it's an open flame just waiting for somebody to do something normal and carelessly. I don't find it to be safe simply by design. Look at how a Kerosun heater is constructed if you want to have a safe heating system. And alcohol incompletely burnt in an enclosed space causes your eyes to burn from the noxious substances produced from personal experience. Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 2:48

2 Answers 2


Although some bio fuels produce much less carbon monoxide they still produce some. I would not use it without some kind of venting until there is a UL listing stating it is safe for indoor use and only use the specific blend of fuel listed.


I see your indoor fireplace and I should say – it’s REALLY open.

Even though biofuel is relatively safer (no smoke, fumes), the flame can still be a hazard. There are a lot of bioethanol fireplaces with certain safety instructions. As long as the fireplaces are used according to instructions, you’re safe. Biofuel fireplaces are safe to use, indoors or outdoors - as long as they're used properly. Some brands are UL /CUL listed, which means they pass safety standards.

Have a look at this site. They have a lot of biofuel fireplaces to choose from. Hope this helps.

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