Everyone has at least one well loved memory that takes place in front of a roaring fire. It might be a fond memory of a summer night spent around a campfire, or a cozy Christmas Eve celebration culminating with cider in front of a glowing fireplace; either way, the gentle light and soothing warmth of the hearth has given people a place to bond and share since the beginning of human existence.

While this has been the tradition for many eons, the modern era has seen a dramatic decrease in household use of fireplaces. This can be ascribed to a number of factors, from the wide availability of electric and gas heating, to the reduction in the general amount of time individuals spend with their family. In many ways, the absence of the roaring fire around which a people can gather is a tragedy, a consequence of modernization that has left an unmistakable void in our collective social lives. Without the communal gathering place of the fireplace, it can be hard for a family to find spaces to relax with one another free of the distractions presented by modern information technology.

Fortunately, the tides have begun to turn. While fireplaces have been largely ignored as an element of house design for a good many years in recent history, they are starting to make a notable resurgence. This is largely due to the invention of the consumer available bio ethanol fireplace, an innovation that have made fireplaces a viable feature for the 21st century home. This high tech wonder presents fire in a stylish and easy to use manner, and has single-handedly brought fireplaces back from the brink and introduced their charms to an entirely new generation.

The new-found popularity of the bio ethanol fireplace has brought it wide media recognition and coverage. This positive press has also brought with it some doubts, largely regarding the safety of this relatively young technology. The general population’s unfamiliarity with the device has further fueled this fire, which has in turn generated a number of misconceptions and unfounded fears surrounding these futuristic fireplaces. In this environment, it can be hard to discern fact from fiction when trying to figure out the truth.

So how safe really are bio ethanol fireplaces? For those endeavoring to answer this question, the first place to start investigating is the process which makes these fireplaces work.

Bio ethanol fires work in a similar way to a gas range, or a propane barbecue. A tank of fuel, pressurized for compactness, is equipped with a controlled release nozzle, which is used to control the flow of fuel from the tank. This nozzle is connected to the lighting element, which generates the spark that lights the fuel stream. The fire the results from the combination of these components is scentless, smokeless, and easily controllable. Because the fire is completely dependent on the continuous flow of ethanol fuel to sustain itself, cutting off the gas from the fire will cause it to immediately go out.

Essentially, bio ethanol fires are like the cleaner and easier to control cousin of the traditional fire. Take into account the additional features often found on modern bio ethanol fireplaces (like thick sheet of heat resistant glass surrounding the flame, preventing the spread of embers and the curious touch of young hands), and you’ll find that they are some of the safest fires around. Of course proper precautions, like the availability of a fire extinguisher and removal of flammable material, should always be taken when working with any kind of fire. But used intelligently and responsibly, bio ethanol fireplaces are a safe, attractive, and modern way to experience the joy and togetherness of a fireplace.

Written by Elodie Thuraim