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The Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ) would like to give you a few tips that will allow you to enjoy your fireplace safely.
Regardless of the model you chose or of where you decide to buy it, your fireplace must be compliant with the Canadian standard ULC/ORD-C627.1-2008, Unvented Ethyl Alcohol Fuel Burning Decorative Appliances.
Here are examples of certification seals or labels affixed on ethanol fireplaces and attesting their compliance with the Canadian standard:
This standard is mandatory for ethanol fireplaces in buildings subject to the Buildings chapter of the Safety Code (BCSC), which contains provisions for this type of machinery. Although the BCSC does not target small residential buildings (e.g. single-family homes, residential occupancies with less than 2 storeys and less than 8 apartments), several municipalities have integrated this obligation into their regulation. Your insurer may also ask that your fireplace be certified.
Beware of appliances which are offered at a cheap price and uncertified. The following may happen:
The installation of an ethanol fireplace is simple, consisting essentially in assembling certain parts and in fitting anchoring devices. However, do remain careful and follow all the manufacturer’s instructions:
The incorrect use of an ethanol fireplace may result in burn injuries and fires! To avoid such accidents:
Attention! An ethanol fireplace is a decorative item and should not be used as a heating appliance.
Only use the ethanol recommended by the manufacturer, as the appliance has been approved to be used with a certain type of ethanol.
Ethanol is a flammable liquid that technically should burn cleanly. However, under certain conditions, its combustion in a fireplace is imperfect and may produce carbon monoxide (CO) and certain other noxious gases, for instance, when the combustion temperature is too high or too low.
Even if ethanol is of a similar nature than the fuel used in fondue warmers, the danger is greater due to the higher volumes. As no chimney is necessary, the toxic substances may accumulate, in particular with certain appliances of the more powerful types. Therefore, make sure to have a CO detector installed.
Ethanol, also called bioethanol or ethyl alcohol, gives off flammable vapors at room temperature.
During fill-up or upon a spill, liquid ethanol can evaporate and produce dangerous vapors. These may stagnate, since they are heavier than air. If their concentration is high enough, such vapors may be set ablaze by any flame.
When using an ethanol fireplace, it is therefore very important to be equipped with a portable fire extinguisher in good working condition. The installation of a smoke detector is also called for.
Do remain alert at the time of filling up:
It is recommended to store no more than 5 liters of ethanol and to not store any combustible substance inside a room where a fireplace operates or near any source of heat.
It is also advised to store ethanol at room temperature. This flammable liquid must be kept out of the reach of children.