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What are the alternative fireplace options in New York City with wood-burning fireplace ban?

 

Almost three years into New York City’s ban on the construction of new wood-burning fireplaces, New Yorkers have explored alternative ways to add a touch of heat and visual delight to their homes and to enhance social gatherings.

Alternatives include gas, electric, and alcohol fireplaces. While vented gas fireplaces can be an efficient source of heat, the venting and running of gas lines and electrical connections require considerable costs, time, labor and planning. They also need regular inspection and maintenance. Electric fireplaces require much less maintenance and do not create any smoke or waste. But they can significantly raise the electrical bill since they use electricity for heating. Also, electric fireplaces do not provide a real flame. Alcohol fireplaces are easy to install and maintain and they burn extremely clean. Alcohol gel fireplaces using pre-filled, single-use cartridges, in particular, are safe to use and provide a golden flame that crackles like a wood log but without any smoke or mess.

We believe HearthCabinet™ Ventless Fireplaces can be the best solution for your project. Instead of wood, gas, or electricity, our luxurious fireplaces run on our patented, clean-burning Safety Gel Cartridges™. They can be securely installed virtually anywhere and are only chimney-free fireplaces approved by the Department of Buildings and Fireplace Department for use in New York City.

 Project by Virginia Tupker Interiors

Project by Virginia Tupker Interiors

 

Alcohol Fireplaces

For over a decade now, alcohol fuels have been increasingly applied for use in fireplaces. They are among the cleanest burning fuels available – generally producing only water vapor and carbon dioxide comparable to human breath. This allows alcohol fireplaces to be free of chimneys, conventional venting, and electrical wiring.

Alcohol fireplaces are easy to use and maintain as they do not produce smoke or mess. They are not a permanent part of construction and can be placed or installed virtually anywhere. The cost of incorporating an alcohol fireplace is considerably less than vented fireplaces with their associated construction costs.  

Ethanol vs. Isopropyl Alcohol

The two most popular alcohol fuel types are Isopropyl and Ethanol alcohol in either a liquid or gel form. Many ethanol and bio-ethanol fuels sold are actually a combination of ethyl and isopropyl alcohol.

Ethanol (Bio-ethanol) and Isopropyl Alcohol are both extremely clean-burning. The biggest difference is that pure ethanol tends to create a bluer flame compared to the golden flame produced by isopropyl.

Liquid Alcohol vs. Alcohol Gel

There are multiple steps required to handle liquid alcohol. Pouring liquid alcohol can be dangerous if usage directions are not known, clearly understood, or strictly adhered to. Since alcohol can burn invisibly, extreme care must be taken when refilling the liquid alcohol, to make sure that the fire is extinguished and to prevent any possibility of blow-back.

Non-pourable alcohol gel fuel is a safer way to use alcohol as a fuel. It is available in single-use, prefilled cartridges. Alcohol gel has the additional benefit of producing a crackling sound like a wood log as it burns. The flame will eventually go out on its own when the fuel is used up.

 

Gas Fireplaces

Gas fireplaces burn natural gas or propane fuels. They consist of a firebox, a chimney or vent, a gas line, and an electrical connection for some models.

Direct vent gas fireplaces are 75-80% efficient and can be used as a heating source. Gas burns cleaner than wood, but its bi-products from combustion may still pose health risks, particularly a gas fireplace without chimney venting. In fact, gas fireplace options without venting are not approved for use in New York City. People looking for ventless options with real flames should consider alcohol fireplaces.

For vented gas fireplaces, the venting and running of gas lines and electrical connections require considerable costs, time, labor and planning by homeowners or trade professionals. Chimneys and gas lines need to be regularly inspected and maintained for safe usage and to eliminate the risk of fire or indoor air pollution. Availability of natural gas and propane can vary greatly even within a city, and prices can fluctuate over time.  

 

Electric Fireplaces

Electric fireplaces don’t actually produce a real flame. They are essentially an electric heater that simulates the look of a fireplace. An electrical connection is required.

Electric fireplaces do not burn any type of combustible materials and do not create any smoke or waste. They require little to no maintenance and some models can be installed by the homeowner. Since they use electricity for the heater unit, they can significantly raise the electrical bill. They cannot be used if the electricity goes out. Also, many people don't like the artificial look of electric fireplaces because there are no real flames generated. People wanting a real flame should consider other alternatives.

 

Why can HearthCabinet™ Ventless Fireplaces be your best option?

HearthCabinet™ Ventless Fireplaces use patented Safety Gel Cartridges™ for fuel. Single-use and prefilled, the alcohol gel fuel cartridges ensure the safest fireplace experience possible for guests and children. Our standard models are ETL tested to UL standard 1370. Our fireplaces are the only chimney-free fireplaces approved by the Department of Buildings and Fireplace Department for use in New York City. Because they require no connections, HearthCabinet™ Ventless Fireplaces can be securely installed virtually anywhere, providing beautiful, golden flames that crackle like a wood fire but without the smoke or mess, chimney venting, gas line, or electrical wiring.

Our architect-led team of designers is experienced in collaborating with other architects, designers, and developers to create a fireplace design that blends seamlessly into your project décor. Call us with any questions about HearthCabinet™ Ventless Fireplaces at (212) 242-1485 or visit our Contact Us page for showroom appointments across the nation.

 

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Published on by Hearth Staff.