Masonry heaters provide a beautiful central hearth that is also an environmentally friendly, convenient heating system. The warmth is comfortable and even, and slowly released over a twenty-four hour period from a single fire.
Usually centrally located in a home, a masonry heater can be a stunning design centerpiece. Masonry heaters can be finished in a wide variety of materials based on your unique preferences.
Why Choose a Masonry Heater?
“I love dancing naked in my living room, basking in the warmth of my masonry heater!” ~a satisfied client
Masonry heaters use a wood-burning technology developed in central and northern Europe several hundred years ago during a previous energy crisis. Contemporary heaters incorporate a refractory firebox, a long heat-accumulating flue surrounded by a masonry veneer, and a chimney damper.
These basic design elements allow you to burn a load of wood very quickly at high temperatures, capturing the heat released in the masonry mass of the heater. When the fire has burned out in three or four hours, the damper is then closed to prevent the accumulated heat from escaping up the chimney.
This approach to wood burning offers several advantages.
Environmentally, wood is a renewable, sustainable fuel and when burned at high temperatures, has a minimal effect on air quality.
Masonry heaters, because of their high combustion temperatures, have the
lowest emissions of any cordwood burning technology available.
Masonry heaters provide greater comfort. Conventional steel or iron wood-burning heaters and zero-clearance fireplaces need to be fired continuously to heat consistently. Typically, masonry heaters are fired only once a day, and the fire burns out after three to four hours. The heater is then a consistent radiant heat source for 12 to 24 hours, which is well suited to the lower energy demands of an energy-efficient contemporary home. In a 2,000 – 3,000 s.f. home, many clients find (in normal winter conditions) they can heat their home with 2 to 3 cords of firewood a year.
This convenience allows you to choose the time of day for enjoying your hearth fire while experiencing the radiating heating benefits 24 hours a day. And because masonry heaters are radiant heating devices which do not require electricity in order to heat your home, you would still be able to heat your home in the event of a grid power outage.
Masonry heaters are safer. Unlike steel or cast iron woodstoves which have a high surface temperatures, the veneer on a masonry heater rarely exceeds 120 degrees. And because they burn so cleanly, chimneys that serve masonry heaters are much less likely to accumulate dangerous creosote deposits.
Masonry heaters have great design flexibility allowing for a wide variety of heated benches, bakeovens, and variable chimney placement. The refractory core can be finished with a variety of brick, stone, or tile materials in a manner unique to your home and design preferences.
Gimme Shelter installs masonry heaters throughout Wisconsin and in neighboring states, the Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan areas, and the U.P. of Michigan. Occasionally we will travel further afield.