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Are EcoSmart fireplaces any better or worse than the dreaded ventless gas fireplaces in a tight home, in terms of combustion safety?

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jan 04, 2012 02:07 AM
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by last modified Dec 02, 2010

I've read that, "the combustion of denatured ethanol releases water steam and carbon dioxide. The ratio of CO / CO2 passes standards for flueless gas fireplaces and the amount of Carbon Monoxide is negligible" I have asked several energy and combustion safety experts. So far, I've only gotten speculation, and, "I've never heard of such a thing." Here is the website for EcoSmart. Does anyone have any feedback about actual testing. What a



I am not very familiar with this product but just read the user’s manual. I can’t imagine it is any worse than a traditional vent free fireplace but may not be much better either.

A few thoughts.

You mentioned that you read, “The ratio of CO / CO2 passes standards for flueless gas fireplaces and the amount of Carbon Monoxide is negligible." 

  • This may be true right out of the box, but any fuel burning appliance will have carbon monoxide concerns.
  • Carbon Monoxide is mainly a byproduct of incomplete combustion. So after the burners are used for a few hours, they will not burn as clean and you could have low levels of carbon monoxide.

Even though you do not need a flue – you still need ventilation or fresh air exchange and this appliance can contribute to poor indoor air quality if the proper amount of ventilation is not calculated properly and supplied.

The amount of customer awareness and customer care seems high – can easily lead to some dangerous situations.

  • Customer need to understand how this type of fuel burns and be aware of a clear flame, not let any fuel remain after burning, be sure the proper fuel is used etc.
  • The biggest concern is that it recommends cleaning the burners after 13 gallons of fuel. Using only a single burner, 1.25 gallons will only burn for 25 minutes – so basically need to clean the burners every 4 hours.
  • We have a hard time getting people to change their air filters every month – so I have a hard time believing people will maintain this properly.
  • Not sure what the fuel cost per gallon is, but at 25 minutes per gallon, I bet it can get expensive.

Will be curious how it works out for you if you get it. If you do decide to use it, I would recommend a very high end digital carbon monoxide detector that will read low levels of CO.


For more information:

Read Lee Hall's Q&A "What is the greenest, best fireplace replacement?"




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