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Brasero (heater)

A brasero is a heater commonly used in Spain. It is placed under a table covered with a cloth that extends to the floor to provide heat for people sitting at the table. This arrangement is similar to the Japanese kotatsu or Iranian korsi. Modern braseros are electric, but in the past they have been coal fired.

The brasero was considered a dangerous piece of furniture inside a house, because the embers it generated were not retained. Many accidental fires have been ignited by fabric coming in contact with braseros. Because a brasero is covered, combustion occurred with small quantities of oxygen, and instead of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide was generated. Carbon monoxide poisoning often killed silently while the victims slept, especially when habitations were poorly ventilated.

The modern brasero is an electric heater with a thermostat attached to guard against too much heat being generated. Most homes in Spain had a brasero until modern heating systems were installed in newly built homes over the last 15 years.

The brasero is making a comeback due to rising heating prices and the economic crisis. People love the idea of the brasero heating the people close to it, rather than the room in general and all the heat leaving through the windows.

In South America, notably Argentina, a brasero is a small grill attached to a box with coals used to serve sizzling hot meats at an asado.