Five Reasons to Not Use Chafing Fuel as Catering Heaters

Not Use Chafing Fuel

It is quite exasperating to receive cold food items at an event or party to which you have been invited. The delicious looking dishes served by caterers can end up tasting awful if served cold and stale. Owing to this, the catering companies utilize open flames to serve hot food to the guests attending any outdoor event. But, all types of fuel that can create an open flame, including chafing fuel, are hazardous to human health and can also cause accidents conflagration.

Let us focus on chafing fuel and the dangers involved in utilizing it.

What is Chafing Fuel?

Chafing fuel is available as a liquid or gel fuel that can create an open flame. It usually comes in small metal containers that have varied burn time options. While some chafing fuel containers are available with a set burn time, like two, four, or six hours, others come with adjustable heat levels that can be turned up or down. Food heaters that make use of chafing fuel do not need any electricity in order to work. So, traditional chafing fuel heaters enable a caterer to serve hot food anywhere, even if there is no power outlet available.

Chafing fuel can be availed in one of two varieties – namely gel fuel and wick fuel. There are two categories of wick fuel, both of which use clean glycol. This fuel involves lower risk than gel fuel because glycol is not combustible without a wick.

On the other hand, two types of gel fuel can be found, known as ethanol (pink) and methanol (blue). This fuel can be efficiently used in windy conditions, unlike wick fuel. However, gel fuel is a highly flammable liquid that can easily cause a fire if not properly handled..

There are some potential risks associated with using conventional chafing fuel at catering events. Take a look on the reasons why you should avoid using chafing fuel as catering heaters.

Five Reasons to Shun the Use of Chafing Fuel as Catering Heaters

1.Working with Fire Poses Danger

Caterers have been using fire as the source of heat to serve hot food to their customers since the origin of chafing fuels in the early 1900s. Fire is always inconvenient to work with and involves many risks and hassles. There have been many cases of accidents while working with fire, or injuries caused by the open flames created by chafing fuel.

Moreover, catering personnel need to check the temperature of the fuel, observe if the fuel has been exhausted or not, and also check to ensure that there is water in the chafing dish that heats the pan containing the food above it. Keeping track of such miscellaneous things during an event or party can be difficult and may lead to accidents caused by negligence or absent-mindedness.

2.Emission of Smoke from Chafing Fuel Can be Harmful

The smoke released by chafing fuel when it is burned can cause respiratory and nasal irritation making for an unpleasant and potentially unhealthy situation for the guests and attendees. It can have an adverse effect on the health of those who inhale it. This poses an additional risk for the catering professionals, who are always exposed to the fumes of the chafing fuel. Inhaling these fumes can greatly harm their health and compromise their long-term well-being. So, it is better to avoid using chafing fuel for operating catering heaters.

3. Creates an Unsafe Working Environment

The food service industry has perilous working conditions that can adversely affect the workers’ health. Food-service providers such as caterers, usually use chafing fuel to keep the food items hot. But, this fuel has some disadvantages that can be quite disastrous to the people preparing and serving the food.

Gel fuel contains ethanol that dries out the skin if it remains in contact with the fuel for a long time. If this fuel is ingested by accident, the victim can get intoxicated, and it may even result in a damaged nervous system if consumed in large amounts.

Another perilous feature of this fuel is the fire that it creates in order to facilitate heating. Burning chafing fuel creates an open flame, which makes for an unsafe and hazardous working environment. Alternatively, fire-free heating equipment can be used instead of these open flame catering heaters in order to enhance safety and prioritize the health of the guests and the workers.

4. Leads to a Higher Carbon Footprint

Chafing fuel canisters are generally thrown away in unsafe conditions after being using. Sometimes, gel or liquid fuel remains inside the containers even after disposal. This leftover fuel may contaminate the soil, drinking water, and even the air that we breathe. This can cause health issues in the local residents. So, the best solution to this adverse environmental impact is to avoid using chafing fuel in catering heaters whenever possible.

5. Time Consuming and Expensive

Using chafing fuel to warm food leads to ample wastage of money and time. Caterers need approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour in order to set up the whole food warming unit before any event. Each chafing dish takes about 30 minutes to 45 minutes in order to be set up for use, and requires one or two staff members to prepare it. Additionally, before packing up, the caterers have to wait at least ten minutes to allow the fuel to cool down before expelling the hot water from the chafing dishes.

Chafing fuel can increase the costs borne by the catering business. There is huge amount of hidden cost associated with utilizing chafing fuel. First of all, considerable time wastage raises the expenses of the catering companies. Next, these companies need to be insured against fire hazards. The employees may get burnt by the open flames, or may suffer health conditions if they come into contact with the fuel while changing a chafing dish. So, getting appropriate insurance coverage is a must for catering companies, which is an additional cost that needs to be borne by them.

In Conclusion

Chafing fuel involves a lot of risk when used to operate catering heaters. Due to this reason, it is losing its popularity among the food service providers gradually. Instead, easy-to-use and fire-free heating systems, electric chafer heaters, and electric chafer warmers are widely used by caterers nowadays.

Why Should You Opt for EcoHeat Warmers Over Sterno Buffet Kits?

Opt for EcoHeat Warmers

Traditionally, caterers have used sterno buffet kits to keep food warm during a party or event. Undoubtedly, these kits have served their purpose over the years and have been a solution to a major problem – the problem of how to keep food items warm and delicious during hours-long outdoor events.

No host would want to serve cold and stale food items to his or her guests. At the same time, it is difficult to keep food items at an optimum temperature during a long outdoor party in winter. For years, the solution to this problem has been provided by sterno buffet kits which make use of open flames and chafing fuel to keep the food warm.

Sterno Buffet Kits – Why it is Not a Safe Option?

While these sterno buffet kits have been of much use over the years, they also come with some pretty serious drawbacks that are rarely talked about. Some of these drawbacks of the sterno buffet kit has been listed and discussed below.

  • Fire Hazard: Open flames in an event venue will always be a fire hazard, an accident waiting to happen. Chafing fuel accidents are by no means rare, and every caterer has had some experience with the risks associated with sterno buffet kits. Such a buffet kit needs to be constantly monitored during the event, to ensure that something is not going wrong. Even a minor oversight might cause huge losses of life and property.
  • Toxic Fumes: The chafing fuel used to operate a sterno buffet kit releases fumes that are both unhealthy and unpleasant. These chafing fuel fumes can fill the venue with an unpleasant odor, making guests and staff members uncomfortable. This can be a major problem if the event venue itself is not particularly well ventilated. The addition of chafing fuel fumes in such a place could lead to a suffocating and wretched ambiance.
  • Environmental Problems: Chafing fuel is also harmful to the environment when it is disposed of at the end of its life-cycle. When the container is thrown away after use, the liquid or gel still inside it often leaks out and seeps into the soil. This leftover fuel is harmful and toxic and can subsequently end up in the drinking water of the locality, which can pose a major health risk for the residents of the area.
  • Risky Work Environment: Using flames to keep the food warm can make for a very risky work environment, wherein workers are constantly faced with the possibility of a sudden conflagration. Even with the strictest safety standards, the possibility of a fire is never truly eliminated, due to the open flames that must burn for hours on end. Therefore, replacing the Sterno buffet kits with a fire-free heating source could be a major blessing for those working in the catering industry.

Fire-Free Heating for Outdoor Events

The fact that food needs to be kept warm during parties and events is not debatable. However, the source of that warmth and heat can and should be debated, for the safety and wellbeing of all concerned. This is where the concept of fire-free heating must be given some serious consideration. One such fire-free heating solution comes in the form of EcoHeat Warmers by Heat Factory.

These EcoHeat warmers can keep the food items warm and tasty over a number of hours, even as the party or event is in full swing. The warmers do not use open flames or fire of any kind, nor do they make use of the dangerous and odor generating chafing fuel. Therefore, it can be said that these EcoHeat warmers will soon revolutionize the catering industry by making it far safer and more efficient. EcoHeat warmers also have the benefit of being both eco-friendly and highly cost-effective.

The innovative air-activated warmers are the central feature of this fire-free, water-free heating mechanism. These food warmers emanate offer consistent high temperatures over quite a large surface consistently. EcoHeat offers air-activated warmers that are both light and efficient, making them extremely easy to use. These warmers consist of a biodegradable mixture of various elements such as vermiculite, iron-powder, salt, and charcoal.

This mixture ensures that whenever the air-activated warmers are exposed to the air, they undergo oxidation, which in turn produces the heat needed to keep the food items warm without lighting a fire. This safe method of heat generation is what makes EcoHeat’s warmers so much superior to the sterno buffet kits that are still widely used by caterers. In addition to the warmers, a support system and a customizable skirt are also included in the fire-free heating kit sold by EcoHeat.

In Conclusion

Mentioned above are some of the main reasons why you should opt for EcoHeat warmers over the dangerous and environmentally harmful sterno buffet kits. To know more about the air-activated warmers and the associated technology, you should visit the website and check out some of the videos for detailed information on the product and also see how to use it properly for serving warm food to the guests.