If you are interested in heating your home with wood, masonry heating is an excellent choice.  While they may look like conventional fireplaces…. masonry heaters have channels inside them that absorb much more of the heat generated by the fire and then give that heat off into the space they are heating over a longer period of time.  They are amongst the cleanest and most efficient wood-burning appliances.  A well-designed masonry heater is sized so that a 2-3 hour fire in the evening supplies enough heat to the space for it to stay warm until the next evening when it is fired.

Take a look at the heaters that we have made in our masonry heater portfolio!

This masonry heater is designed into the center of a home and works as a normal fireplace until a damper is closed and the hot gases are forced through channels in the stone masonry which absorb and store the heat inside the building. The heater also serves as an oven, heats water and is a spiral staircase to the second floor.

Masonry heaters are part of a tried and true tradition that dates back centuries in Europe.  They are slowly gaining popularity in North America as knowledge about this clean-burning, easy and beautiful way of heating homes with wood becomes available and more and more of them are built.  They are also a part of a cultural renewal that recognizes the importance of craftsmanship and site-specific design as opposed to industrial manufacturing.

Firespeaking is proud to be a member of the Masonry Heater Association of North America.  We are especially interested in combining the sophistication of the internal engineering of masonry heaters with the beautiful and comforting look and finishing possibilities that natural building has to offer.  We are interested in working with owner-builders and creative architects to seamlessly design these heaters into the aesthetic and functionality of their home.

Please contact us if you are interested in discussing and exploring further this option for your life.

The following two photos are of masonry heaters constructed by colleague Holger Laerad and exemplify the kind of integration into homes that we would like to achieve with our heaters:

(photos included with Holger’s Permission)

What’s a Masonry Heater? (from MHA website)


The main thing that distinguishes a masonry heater is the ability to store a large amount of heat. This means that you can rapidly burn a large charge of wood without overheating your house. The heat is stored in the masonry thermal mass, and then slowly radiates into your house for the next 18 to 24 hours.

If you burn wood fairly rapidly, it is a clean fuel. If you try to burn it too slowly, the fire will change from flaming to smoldering combustion. The burning process is incomplete and produces tars. Atmospheric pollution increases dramatically. This is important if you are planning an energy-efficient house. The average energy demand of your house will be quite low. For most of the time, it may require only 1 to 2 kW of heat. For most conventional woodstoves, this is below their “critical burn rate”, or the point where they start to smolder.

Masonry heaters fill the bill perfectly. If you need even a very small amount of heat, such as between seasons when you simply want to take off the chill, you simply burn a smaller fuel charge–yet you still burn it quickly. The large surface is never too hot to touch. You have a premium radiant heating system with a comfort level that simply cannot be equaled by convection or forced air systems.

Take a look at the heaters that we have made in our masonry heater portfolio!

More Resources on Masonry Heaters:


Other Masons Doing Inspiring Work: