This masonry heater features a “white” oven, ample wood-storage options, and a heated bench. The heater is faced with Idaho Bitter Root Ledge Stone, Sage Ledge Stone and the slab details are Pennsylvania Blue Stone. It serves as a visual focal point, as furniture, and as a resilient energy source for the home!
Here is an outline for a project about masonry heaters. Ideally it would be a publicly available web resource which was developed dynamically. Items would become links as they were written and discussion generated would be incorporated into the text. The big question is how to fund the project. Ideally, people would be moved to donate based on the utility they got from it. Comments are open below to provide feedback on the project. Feedback will fuel its creation! Also, join our mailing list to receive updates.
- Why Fire? Why Firewood? Why Masonry Heaters?
- Gentle Giants of Healing Warmth
- 2 Kinds of Efficiency – Combustion & Heat Exchange
- The Challenges Presented by Masonry Heaters
- “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” Approach
Masonry Heater Architectural Design
- Heart of the Home
- Placement – Locating a Masonry Heater in your Floor Plan
- Clearances to Combustibles
Masonry Heater Technical Design
- Design Methodology
- “Brick-by-brick” Design
- Comparison of Design Philosophies
Masonry Heater Construction
- Comparison of Basic Approaches
- Pre-Fabricated / Manufactured
- Core Kits
- Hybrid Steel & Masonry
- “Double-Skinned” Construction : Core & Facing
- Masonry Heaters & Construction Codes
Resources & Next Steps
The world needs more masonry heaters and masonry heater builders! A shortage of viable plans as well as education opportunities means there are very few masonry heater builders in North America. This design work reflects an effort to simplify things in order to make the process easier for everybody involved.
For the masonry heater we are currently working on, we took a new approach to the design and construction of the core by casting the most complex parts. The goal of this is to simplify both the design and construction process so that we can streamline the process for our own projects as well as produce a viable strategy and parts for other masonry heater builders.
We believe that bypass dampers are an important part of masonry heater function. They provide an easy way to heat the main chimney in order to then pull heated gases through a much longer heat exchange pathway.
I was invited to examine a masonry heater that was built by another mason in a town one hour north of us. One of the wooden studs immediately behind the heater, in the wall adjoining their bedroom, had been heated to the point that it had at least reached a smoldering point inside the wall….
Here’s what we’re working on right now! 🙂
Designing a masonry heater into a home can be complex. Here is a design chronicle of incorporating a Tulikivi into a floor plan while navigating other important architectural elements such as a staircase, an important structural beam and circulation space on the second floor.
It still takes a somewhat trained eye to understand the overall flow of gases through these sections. Further refinement and artistry would render them more understandable still. Basically, wood is burned very efficiently in the firebox, goes up and around a “white” oven and then down and around into a heated bench before coming back up and exiting through the chimney. A bi-pass damper will be installed in order to be able to prime the flue.
It has long time been a desire of mine to contribute to sustainability and ultimately to peace and happiness. I am hoping to put more energy into communicating through writing and drawings, and also into sharing both the artistic and emotional parts of this process. Subscribing to Firespeaking’s mailing list and/or following us on Facebook are two good ways to stay in touch and show your support!