eAlternatives To Liquid Fuel Gel For Your Ceramic Firepot, Flamepot, Firelite – Solid Fuel, Single Use Cans, Organica

When the first firepots/flamepots/firelites came out they were immediate hits. Besides being decorative and attractive, they created an ambiance, enhancing the mood of any event. Indoors or out, from romantic encounters to party time, or just a relaxing few moments by yourself, these ceramic or glass or metal adornments added a comfortable aura with their warmth and attention-getting fascination.

The primary fuel, liquid fuel gel, for the current crop of firepots/flamepots/firelites underwent a voluntary recall in the fall of 2011, not for any problem with the fuel gel itself, but because some users (43 cases we understand) did not refrain from trying to refill the fuel cup while it was still burning, resulting in spot fires and burns. Liquid fuel gel is no longer on the market. Several alternatives have been developed to work better and safer. We’ll first give you a list of the alternatives, then go into a longer description after that.

  • Bird Brain Solid Fuel Gel – comes in a 6 pack of single use cans with a metal ring adapter, was developed by Bird Brain and Sterno, the adapter replaces the stainless steel cup. UNFORTUNATELY, this is no longer available. Please see our blog on Get Your Bird Brain Firepot Back To Work.
  • Windflame FlameGuard – uses a can, shield, and wick assembly to replace the cup, uses bottled liquid bio-alcohol as the fuel
  • Pacific Decor 2 Hour Fuel Can – Single use can of liquid fuel gel, drop it into the stainless steel fuel cup provided with the firepot, light it and it burns for about 2 hours
  • Evergreen’s Organica Fuel and Media – A liquid fuel that won’t burn unless it has its media wick, safe and easy to use for all size stainless steel reservoirs.
  • patioglo – TBA

As always with ANY type of fuel, observe and heed label warnings and directions for safe and efficient use of the product.

All of these were a long time coming, as the developers wanted to ensure their offering was acceptable to CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission), and each took their own path to that end. All of them are deemed Green energy fuels, clean burning with no soot or cleanup, and no hazardous fumes. And all, in some way, are safer than the circumstances than resulted in the voluntary recall.

Sterno/Bird Brain Solid Fuel Gel Retail Six Pack
The Bird Brain Solid Fuel Gel was developed by them and Sterno, and is manufactured by Sterno. The flame burns higher than the familiar Sterno, but at a lower temperature, to preserve the ambience of the liquid fuel gel. The fuel is sold as a 6-pack of the gel, plus a ring adapter and a can removal tool.

The ring adapter replaces the fuel cup, and does not fit their firepots with the smaller 2 inch diameter cups or the larger 3 inch cups. The inner flanges are bent down and made to conform to the inside of the firepot. The single use can is opened, placed in the ring adapter, and lit. The single use cans burn for about 90 minutes each, depending on conditions of course, so the retail six-pack will burn a little longer than the liquid gel 32 oz. bottle did, and pricing is about the same.

The ring adapter fits the Bird Brain 2.5 inch firepots cup hole snugly, with very little wiggle room. For the Windflame and patioglo firepots with their 2.75 inch holes, this method will also work, though with an extra 1/8 inch on either side there is a little more wiggle room, but the fuel gel can is steady when placed in it, so this is a usable fuel for most of those firepots as well as the Bird Brain’s.

Bird Brain is supposed to have the resolution for the smaller 2 inch diameters sometime in January, but so far nothing has been announced.

The 6 packs are available in our CreekTreeUSA store.

Bird Brain Solid Fuel Gel in use
Pacific Decor 2 Hour Single Use Fuel Gel
This is a 2 Hour Single Use Gel from Pacific Decor, the 3.2 x 2.2 inch can sits in the stainless steel cup instead of on any kind of adapter, it’s 2.2 inch diameter is just about the right size for most firepot’s stainless steel cup. This is too large for the Bird Brain 2 inch cups, so you can’t use it there (though there’s nothing to keep you from pouring the fuel into the reservoir, except that defeats the purpose of the Single Use Can). It comes in regular and also citronella which can be used outside to help deter hungry mosquitoes and the like.

Pricing may be slightly higher than the others, but the convenience would outweigh that, plus each can burns about 25% longer than the Bird Brain Solid Fuel Gel. Pacific Decor touts this as:

  • Mesmerizing, robust, high dancing Yellow Flames
  • Odorless, smokeless, non-toxic, ,Clean burning
  • Environmentally friendly, disposable no refill can
  • Convenience of no pouring, no mess, no clean up
  • Safety as a single use can eliminates refill hazards
  • Flamepot stays much cooler and flame burns cooler

3/5/2012 – Our shipment of this item has arrived, and is now available in our CreekTreeUSA store

2/9/2012 – The VP Ops at Pacific Decor graciously sent us a sample can for their product and we checked it against Bird Brain, Windflame and patioglo firepots. The diameter fit was really good, a little wiggle room but not enough to matter. The depth wasn’t a problem either, the top of the gel can came even with the lip of the stainless cup on most checks, + or – 1/8 inch. That’s fine, it doesn’t obscure the flame or sit so high the can is obvious. We have these on order, and expect a supply in about 10 days.

The Pacific Decor is our recommendation for the time being until/unless something better comes along.

Evergreen Enterprises Organica Firepot Fuel & Media

Update as of 5/8/2012 – Evergreen Enterprises Organica “Fuel” & “Media”

This a completely new fuel concept, and it’s really been hard to find any answers about it. However, we have enough info to know it’s very interesting, it’s finally available, and our order should be here next week. This “fuel” is completely non-flammable unless the “media” is present in the metal reservoir as well. I do not understand how this works, so I’m taking it on faith and the YouTube video.

• Organica will not burn without the media roll!

• Organica is certified by the US Dept of Agriculture (USDA) as 100% Bio-based.

• Organica has the lowest emissions of any type of fuel

• Organica is classified as non-flammable

• Organica can be extinguished with water

• The Organica flame burns with hues of blue, orange, and yellow

Also, from what we understand, this should be able to fuel the smaller Bird Brain firepots as well, since the “media” can be customized and used in about any size stainless steel reservoir. However, we’re told Organica will not work with ceramic reservoirs, again, no explanation for why not.

One other thing, since Organica is classified as non-flammable, you can ship it by air, i.e. USPS Priority Mail. All the other fuels must ship ground transport, either USPS Parcel Post, or UPS Ground.

Pricing on this doesn’t appear cheap, because you have to buy both the “Fuel” and the “Media” but if the burn times pan out on this, it’s going to be about the same price per burn as the other offerings.

Windflame Flame Guard  Insert Kit

Purefuels Bio-alcohol Fuel

Windflame has gone in a completely different direction.

The stainless steel cup still comes with the firepot, at least for now, but you also get the first incarnation of their “WindFlame FlameGuard Technology”.

FlameGuard consists of a metal canister, metal shield and material wick. Rather than gel, you use a Bio-alcohol Liquid Fuel, such as is pictured lower left. You charge the canister with the fuel, insert the wick into the shield, then screw the cowl onto the canister and replace the cup. Lighting the wick produces an impressive flame up to six inches, though we haven’t tried it that high. Flame height can be adjusted by trimming the wick down or pulling a bit more out of the shield.

Because the flame has to be put out and the FlameGuard cooled before the canister can be recharged, this gets around the problem that the liquid gel fuel had with users trying to fill a flaming fuel cup.

It’s currently suggested that the cup can be used as a snuffer.

The fuel currently recommended until Windflame gets their own brand on the market is purefuels Premium Bio-Alcohol Fuel which is used primarily used in decorative fireplaces. Pricing on this is competitive with the other methods.

This method can probably be used with any of the firepots whose diameter will accept the canister and whose height is higher than about 4-5 inches.

CreekTreeUSA carries the fuel in our store, and the Insert Kit comes with the Windflame Firepots, arrangements can be made for other brands.

Windflame Firepot with Flame Guard in use

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