Masonry Heater Fireplaces - Sustainable Heating

 
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Old 04-21-2009, 08:01 PM   #1
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Masonry Heater Fireplaces - Sustainable Heating


Have any masons here built Masonry Heaters? These fireplaces have been around for centuries but mostly in Europe, and are highly efficient at burning wood. The fireplace absorbs most of the heat from the fire into its contra-flow masonry mass, instead of shooting it straight up and out, like most other woodburning fireplaces.

Once the two to three hour fire's combustion has stopped, simply shut the dampers and outdoor air inlets to the fireplace. The Masonry Heater owner will then enjoy a warm masonry mass radiating gentle heat for the next 24 to 48 hours, depending on home size and exterior temperature!

The fire temperatures can reach up to 1700 to 2000 degrees inside the firebox, so your fuel will be burned much cleaner. Dry, seasoned cordwood is a must, unless you like excessive creosote.

Baking ovens and water heating elements can be added to these units as well, which can extend Masonry Heater owners farther off the grid.






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Old 04-21-2009, 08:21 PM   #2
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Re: Masonry Heater Fireplaces - Sustainable Heating



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Old 04-21-2009, 08:31 PM   #3
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Re: Masonry Heater Fireplaces - Sustainable Heating


You are right about the high end efficiency. Most people get fooled by the pink panther and idealized heat loss calculations since it takes more knowledge to understand the benefits of mass and the heat absorption over time.

My masonry home (real masonry and not just veneer) in northern Minnesota never called for heat from the very small furnace until sometime in December and after a number of below zero mornings. After a year ot two, I gave up on setting the programmed thermostat and just left it at 60F and then I started my massive Queen Air masonry fireplace (too large, unfortunately) up for the week-end during the winter.

In eastern Europe, Russia and Siberia they cannot understand why we do not use the benfits of mass when it comes to walls, but the fireplace is always the traditional unit that also is used for cooking and baking in addition to heating.

I showed a $750,000 model log home in Michigan to a group of engineers and contractors and when we got out of it, they asked "Why do they build a house out of fire wood".
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Old 04-21-2009, 09:06 PM   #4
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Re: Masonry Heater Fireplaces - Sustainable Heating


We installed one for a relative here in SW Washington, in a daylight basement home. He heats his entire home (2,000 sq. ft.) and his water with the Masonry Heater and he spends about $80 a month on his electric bill in the winter!

How about a tax credit for High Efficiency Fireplaces?


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Old 04-21-2009, 09:58 PM   #5
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Re: Masonry Heater Fireplaces - Sustainable Heating


MasonryPro, I checked out yur website the other day & saw the masonry heaters. I've done a few rumfords & a clay pizza oven, & found these heaters preaty interesting. I may have to try one someday, I just have to get over the proportion of fire opening to masonry. I noticed some heaters that had heated benches, & I believe the flues ran thru them? Either way, do you design the entire firebox/assembly yourself or do you use some pre-fabbed components?
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Old 04-21-2009, 10:07 PM   #6
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Re: Masonry Heater Fireplaces - Sustainable Heating


these are what I've seen

http://www.vermontwoodstove.com/msnyhtrs.htm

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...72oEay8pP-txJQ
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Old 04-21-2009, 10:07 PM   #7
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Re: Masonry Heater Fireplaces - Sustainable Heating


The Queen-Airs are nice units, used to sell a bunch of them. Do they still make them? Masonry mass is the most underutilized resource in American homebuilding today.
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Old 04-21-2009, 11:13 PM   #8
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Re: Masonry Heater Fireplaces - Sustainable Heating


TS -

My old Queen Air was bought in about 1980. It was the larger size and I assumed it was better to be too big instead of too small, but I was very wrong. My unit had a beautiful top hinged glazed door, but I never wanted to get it hot enough to keep the inside glass clean from creosote and soot because it was too efficient and too large. The double steel construction with air circulation was great and efficient.

It was a brute (very heavy) to move and get in place before we built the heavy masonry around it. In the winter (-20F to +20F), I would start it up on Friday night and leave it on early Monday morning and it was still warm on the next Friday afternoon.

I did not tie into the central system with the thermostat, but wiring of the 3 speed fans that were thermally controlled was a bit of a challenge. I needed the right color wires, so our plant electrician had THHN wire in every color for me to use. I ran the conduit and my 12 year old son pulled the wire and made the connections. When the local residential electrical inspector came in and looked at my son's outlet connections and then saw THHN wire (red, black, white, green, blue, etc.) in conduit, he just went home to enjoy a cup of coffee and make his easy day complete. - We ended up fishing together for a few years. He was a better inspector than fisherman.
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Old 04-21-2009, 11:34 PM   #9
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Re: Masonry Heater Fireplaces - Sustainable Heating


That was the most common complaint I had: The damn thing works too well. Of course in Central Texas, a Weber grill is fine for most of our so-called "winters". Many people here put them in 2-3000 SqFt homes as the only source of heat. I still get inquires about them, although not many calls for replacement parts. We stopped selling them in the mid 90's, I think they are out of business. A shame.
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Old 04-22-2009, 02:40 AM   #10
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Re: Masonry Heater Fireplaces - Sustainable Heating


You're correct, jomama. The heated benches just extend the masonry heater flue system a bit longer, but it spreads the heating capabilities a little bit more, getting every ounce of heat possible from the fireplace. Plus it makes a nice warm place to sit!

We have our own "Mastercraft" branding of our Masonry Heater design and installation, but there are pre-fabbed kits available called "Heat Kits", and they're out of Shawville, Quebec.

http://heatkit.com/html/guide.htm

Check that link out for more information on ordering Masonry Heater kits. We do not sell our Masonry Heater design because of trademarks and liabilities associated with the construction of a Masonry Heater. They need to be constructed correctly to work, as they expand and contract hundreds of times in a given heating season. The materials also have to be very fireproof, as the refractory we use in our Masonry Heaters takes up to 3,000 degrees.

Yeah, sometimes Masonry Heaters can make the homeowners open windows if they burn a full 50lb. wood load on a late winter day!

I agree, Masonry Mass Heating is one of the most underused (and largely unknown) heating methods in America!


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Old 04-28-2009, 04:32 PM   #11
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Re: Masonry Heater Fireplaces - Sustainable Heating


We've had many people comment that these kind of fireplaces are the future of masonry, from Green building experts and homebuilders in our area.

As Americans find out about efficiencies of normal fireplaces (only 40%), it seems they may be right.
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Old 04-29-2009, 11:59 AM   #12
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Re: Masonry Heater Fireplaces - Sustainable Heating


seems to me that there was a kit available back in the early 80"s for a "russian" fireplace built on the thermal mass principle with lots of up and downs in the flue sections. Not very practical here in Central Texas where it is common to run the A/C unit in order to burn the old yule log without running everyone out of the house, but but I sure could see the advantage for you guys where the ground turns white in the winter.

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Old 04-29-2009, 12:56 PM   #13
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Re: Masonry Heater Fireplaces - Sustainable Heating


we sold century fireplace furnaces,out of joplin.they were a very good unit also.the came in a zero clearance or a masonry unit.hooked into the duct work of your home furnace.
we sold one to an older couple,and we tried to explain to them that a raging fire was not needed to produce the heat for the house.well like older couples,they didnt listen.the first night they used it,they called their home builder,who in turn called my dad.dad and the home builder went over and found a raging fire in the firebox,and the inside temp of the house about 100 degrees.dad said that candles on the mantle were wilting.all that could be done was open the damper and then open all the windows and doors in the house.
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:55 PM   #14
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Re: Masonry Heater Fireplaces - Sustainable Heating


Yeah up here in the Pacific Northwest it tends to be pretty chilly - about 35 to 40 degrees F and raining during the winter. The marine air hits and it'll chill ya to the bone.

Not with a Masonry Heater though! My parents had one in the house I grew up in, and often I would go and sleep beside it - the gentle radiant heat will make you fall asleep quick! Very therapeutic and relaxing.

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