Blog about fireplaces and stoves in Mallorca

Gas, wood or bioethanol?

Nothing brings more warmth to a room than a good fire to relax around. In addition to its aesthetics and the way it is integrated into the environment, it is important to take into account other aspects such as the following practical questions such as the calorific performance of the chosen fireplace, its installation requirements, the most suitable type of fuel in each case or the ease of use, cleaning and maintenance. The good news is that more and more options are becoming available, with better features and much more efficient performance than traditional homes.

False beliefs. A traditional open fire offers low performance, since a significant percentage of the heat produced escapes through the chimney along with the fumes and gases from combustion. This is why it is recommended to choose sealed models, with glass doors, to increase the heating performance, which will always be much higher than that of open models. Without any doubt, fireplaces should be closed,” says Antoni Massanet. The open ones do not go beyond yields of around 50%, while the closed ones exceed 80% in wood and more than 90% in gas and pellet systems”. The latter also allow for more precise fire control. In addition, among the technological innovations incorporated are the dual combustion systems which, by using the gases generated to produce more heat, not only reduce polluting emissions, but also save fuel.

However, if a bioethanol fireplace is chosen, it must be open or semi-closed. “Bioethanol combusts with oxygen and needs it to burn properly. In any case, with semi-closed or glass fireplaces we will obtain a greater sensation of heat than with an open fireplace, which disperses the heat more”, explains Rosana del Pozo.

Wood-burning fireplaces are the most popular. But despite the incomparable elegance of their flames, wood-burning fireplaces have some drawbacks, such as the price of fuel, the weight of the wood or, as Massanet says, “it is not possible to program the temperature or the lighting times”.

In any case, it is also important to bear in mind that the combustion of wood generates waste, which requires periodic cleaning. Not to mention permits. The main one is, undoubtedly, the permission of the city council and the approval of the community of owners -in the case of residential buildings-, since the smoke outlet runs through the common areas of the property.

With all the advantages of a wood-fired model but with an energy efficiency of up to 95%, biomass models, powered by pellets (small cylinders made from waste wood, sawdust and chips pressed without any additives or binders), are gaining more and more importance. It is a totally environmentally friendly fuel and is considered neutral in terms of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere.

Moreover, as this type of fuel generates hardly any waste compared to wood, these fireplaces greatly simplify cleaning and maintenance tasks. The only drawback of this type of fireplace is that “although they are economical in consumption, the initial investment in the device is much higher than if you opt for a wood-burning fireplace,” says Antoni Massanet.

Antoni Massanet considers that it is important to calibrate the power of the fireplace according to the room to be heated. “As a rule of thumb, and for a normal ceiling height, we would need approximately 1KW of power per 10 square meters.”

Very interesting are the heating fireplaces or thermo fireplaces, which incorporate a complement in the form of a water tank with which the heat is distributed to the rest of the house in order to enjoy domestic hot water. Its great advantage is that with the normal use of the fireplace you can heat the radiators of the entire house and enjoy hot water without additional expense.

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