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Ethanol burners

A national interim ban on unsafe ethanol burners currently applies. Previously, an interim ban was imposed at a state level by the Queensland Government.

Ethanol burners, like those pictured below, are small, portable, decorative alcohol-fuelled burners. They can be freestanding or designed to sit atop furniture, and do not require professional installation, connection to gas lines or ventilation.

Retailers are not permitted to sell decorative alcohol-fuelled burners, unless they:

  • have a power output of more than 4.5 kW, or
  • require installation in a fixed positon, or
  • are designed for warming food
  • have a dry weight of at least 8 kilograms and a footprint of at least 900 square centimetres, and
    • have a fuel tank that is removed for refuelling and display a permanent, prominent legible warning with the following text:
WARNING
Filling an alcohol fuelled device while lit has caused severe burns. You must remove the fuel tank from the device before refilling. When refilling first check the flame is extinguished and that the device is cool.

    OR

    • the device is supplied with a fuel container that incorporates a flame arrestor and the device displays a permanent, prominent legible warning with the following text:
WARNING
Filling an alcohol fuelled device while lit has caused severe burns. When refilling only use containers with a flame arrestor. When refilling first check the flame is extinguished and that the device is cool.

Retailers and suppliers who sell ethanol burners covered by the interim ban must immediately stop selling the products, and remove them both from store shelves and online stores.

The ban was imposed following a number of serious and life-threatening injuries caused by unsafe ethanol burners.

Product safety agencies around Australia continue to work together to impose a permanent national ban.

Consumers are entitled to a refund for products covered by the national interim ban, because they are deemed unsafe.

Banned ethanol burners can not be resold privately.

Safety advice

If you own an ethanol burner now banned from sale, we strongly recommend you stop using it.

A safety video, Don’t fuel the fire, shows how easily ethanol burners can go from decorative to dangerous.

If you do choose to continue using an ethanol burner now banned from sale, it is vital you follow these safety tips.

Setting up the burner

  • Strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use before setting up and lighting the burner.
  • Keep the instructions in a safe place and within reach.
  • Put the burner on a solid and level surface where it will not be accidentally kicked or bumped.
  • Keep the flame away from combustible materials such as clothes or curtains.
  • Make sure the burner is away from drafts or breeze from open windows and doors or fans.
  • Have an appropriate fire extinguisher nearby.

Using the burner safely

  • Never light a burner that has not been fully assembled.
  • Always use the fuel recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Use a kitchen lighter or long barbecue match to light the burner.
  • Never leave the product unattended while in use, especially if there are children or pets around.
  • Always maintain a safe distance of at least one metre from the burner while it is on.
  • Extinguish the fire when leaving a room or before going to sleep.
  • Make sure the flame is out and the fireplace has had plenty of time to cool before attempting to move or refuel it.
  • Use a funnel when refilling to prevent spills. If a spill occurs before lighting, wipe it up immediately with paper towel, wash the area with water and wash your hands. Don’t use the burner until all fumes and traces of fuel have left the room.
  • Store fuel in a separate room to the fireplace.
  • Never throw anything combustible into the fireplace.
  • Never use the product for cooking.
  • In the case of a fire, use a powder extinguisher or fire blanket to smother the fire. Never use water on an ethanol fire. Water could spread the fire.

Some models have an open flame which can be difficult to see, particularly in daylight, and this creates a risk that someone may think the flame is extinguished and try to refuel or move the device while the flame is still lit.

Community consultation

The Commonwealth Government is currently consulting on a long term solution to unsafe decorative alcohol fuelled devices.

You can have your say until 21 May 2017.

Complain or report

Please click on the links below for other types of query or complaint:

Complain about a business

Report an unsafe product

Report a scam

Information for suppliers and retailers

Following a safety warning notice (PDF, 105KB) being issued in 2014, and subsequent investigation (PDF, 250KB), a guide for suppliers (PDF, 150KB) was released.

Last updated
12 May 2017

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