The dangers of ethanol burners

Ethanol burners are decorative burners that are filled with methylated spirits, ethanol or other fuel. They come as free-standing burners or smaller, d├ęcor burners that are placed on tabletops. Recently, Queensland placed an interim ban on the sale of these burners after it was reported they have caused more than 100 injuries and house fires since 2010.

The interim ban on the sale of ethanol burners was extended to run into March with product safety agencies pushing to ban the sale indefinitely and nationally. The ban does not apply to fixed fireplaces, cooking devices or anything with a power output of more than 4.5kW.

However, people with decorative ethanol or fuel burners are urged to stop using them immediately. These burners are incredibly dangerous and can put you and your family at risk. If you choose to continue using them you must follow these safety precautions:

  • Follow the instruction manual provided by the manufacturer,
  • Make sure that the burner is on a solid, level surface,
  • Avoid placing it in an area where children or pets could knock it over,
  • Keep the flame away from combustible materials such as tablecloths, clothes or curtains,
  • Keep it away from drafts/breezes from open windows or doors,
  • Have a fire extinguisher at hand,
  • Do not light a burner if it is not fully assembled,
  • Only use the fuel that the manufacturer specifies,
  • Do not use a match to light it, use a long BBQ lighter,
  • Do not leave it unattended,
  • Keep a safe distance of at least 1 metre,
  • Always use a funnel when refuelling to prevent spills. If you do spill, wipe it with a paper towel and wash the area, and your hands, with water immediately,
  • Never refuel the burner while it is still on, or warm.