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What do you all think of Masonry Heaters for log homes and timber frame homes?

I mean substituting these masonry units in the place of our traditional open fireplaces.
The variety of style is amazing.

Check out all the different creative ways to build these units.
What do you think??
I haven't see any of these out west yet.
Do any of you in the Neighborhood have experience with these?

In my opinion, they are the way to go, for heating your home with wood.

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Comment by Rick Taron on March 6, 2009 at 10:10pm
Thanks for your comment Tim. Tara Gobel and Ro Bailey above have great input as well. Espesially the websites that they offer for more information.

Tara's link to a Canadian manufacturer Here gives a lot of helpfull information about how much they cost and how they work, thanks Tara.

Ro's site, Alaska's Cold Climate Housing Research Center is full of good info for very cold climates. He also mentions the Tulikivis fireplace. This has got to be the top of the line for heating a home with wood. It is made in Finland. Have a look.
Ro, I think you gave the best advice for Ted and others on a tight budget, just but in a free standing wood stove with a masonry wall behind to gather and store heat. You might burn more wood but it is great to stand close to and warm your butt.
Comment by Tim Hodgson on March 6, 2009 at 7:56pm
The radiant heat is the most comfortable way to heat people. The thermal mass of the fireplaces is the simplest way to store BTU's in a off the grid manner.
Pros: It is low-tech, efficient, great looking, low maintenance and comfortable way to heat your living area.
Cons: Slightly limited in area it will heat.
I'd put one in my home.
Comment by Ted on February 14, 2009 at 4:46pm
I'm not sure what a masonry stove is. Does it differ from a standard masonry fireplace built with refractory brick? I too have been looking for alternatives to a standard fireplace since I have been told that most of the heat goes up the chimney rather than heating the rooms. If this is something that concerns you might be interested in looking into the Napoleon model ZN 6000 or ZN 3000 fireplace insert. I don't own one but have been told that they do an excellent job of generating and retaining heat for long periods of time. The problem is, of course, the usual one .... price. They cost about $5500. Flue installation (depending on complexity) could run another $4000. Then is the cost for building the fireplace including stone work. The price for this work is all over the place.

Having given all the negatives, I still will consider the Napoleon insert as the long term fuel bill savings could be quite significant.

Comment by Ro Bailey on January 27, 2009 at 5:40am
If you go to the website of Alaska's Cold Climate Housing Research Center (, you'll see a beautiful masonry stove application there. They are doing research on the efficiency of the various type out there, one of which is Tulikivi. I had a meeting down there one day last winter when the temperature was minus 29, with no wind. They stoked the cold firebox and lit the fire at 8:30 am, and when we left at 5 pm the stone enclosure was still too warm to do more than a quick touch. Efficiency-wise, they are about 83% efficient, but today's more advanced wood stoves also produce efficiency ratings in the mid 80s. However, they are expensive--the one in the photo would cost $18,000 or more, and Tulikivis are more than that. By contrast you can get a very high quality stove, zero clearance if you want to make a stone enclosure, and get it all done for about $5-6000. The efficiency is there, but you won't get the all day or more radiant heat. On the other hand, if you like to watch a fire, the masonry heater won't be satisfying. It burns very hot for a relatively short time, and then holds onto the heat--nice, but not much to watch. So it all depends on what's most important to you and how much you are willing/able to spend. I shifted to a wood stove for the log home I am building, for both cost and the ability to watch the fire.
Comment by Tara Golby on December 12, 2008 at 4:39pm
Hi Rick, it actually pretty old technology and has been used in Europe for years and years. The mass of the fireplace stores the heat to be released later. We are actually looking at masonary heaters such as those at "" (that's the web site) we talked to Chris there, a number of times, he is full of information and a big fan of Masonry fireplaces. These heaters work and the thing that impressed me when we went to people's homes to look at them is they are so clean. The ash falls down into a catch box and is easy to take out, and there is very little ash. We also have looked at soapstone fireplaces specifically the Tulikivi, and visited the "local" distributor. These are the same basic concept but because of the cellular structure soapstone it stores the heat with less space taken. However, they are quite a bit more dollars. The soapstone fireplace we saw hadn't been lit for 3 days and was still warm to the touch. They then lit it and in 15 minutes or so you could feel the heat in the room next door. The heat from both these is a radiant heat which, they say is more soothing. (I personally haven't lived with it yet so can't personally say.) Anyway, that's a start...Tara
Comment by Rick Taron on December 12, 2008 at 12:28pm
Thanks Tara, send me what you have that would be great. Just post it here if you like.
I would like to see a cross section of one of these heaters. I understand the smoke travels all around, up and down, before it exits, getting all the heat out of the wood and storing it to be released slowly. Sounds very efficient but does it work?
Comment by Tara Golby on December 11, 2008 at 10:26pm
We have looked at lots of Masonary heaters and plan on putting one in our house, or a soapstone one. There is a guy in Edmonton Alberta that sells and builds them and he hooked us up with about 6 people that he had built for. They are great. If you want even more info let me know, I can get you the brand of the ones we looked at and their size weight, etc.

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