Masonry heater vs wood stove?

And if you want less heat, just use less wood. In a well-insulated house, a.

And if you want less heat, just use less wood. In a well-insulated house, a. Masonry stoves are designed to keep hot fires burning. The chimney damper is wide open during use and there is an abundant air supply.

The wood burns quickly, but it burns very cleanly and does not produce creosote. Pellet stoves, which are among the most efficient solid-fuel heating systems, have about the same amount of emissions as masonry heaters. A fire can heat a house for 12 to 24 hours. Masonry heaters are space heating devices that operate on the principle of rapidly burning wood and storing the resulting heat in a large mass (usually at least 500 kg).

Basically, what happens is that the fuel burns in the combustion chamber, which is like the “engine”, and then most of the heat produced is “absorbed” in the heavy body of the heater, like in a battery, which then slowly releases that heat to your environment, your home. You usually turn on the fire once every 12 to 24 hours (or even less often if you have a very well insulated house). Much of this heat would simply come out of the chimney if you used a fireplace or a metal stove. This makes masonry heaters much more efficient and, because the combustion chambers are well designed, they produce minimal amounts of harmful emissions.

A masonry heater can provide primary heating for a moderate-sized home if it's centrally located so that radiant heat can reach rooms throughout the house. The EPA requires that a catalytic wood stove have a maximum emission level of 4.1 grams of smoke per hour, which is lower than the emission limit imposed on non-catalytic stoves. Masonry heaters are very innovative and show what can be done when trying to take full advantage of the heating benefits of fire. Masonry heaters are thought to have been relatively unknown in North America until about a quarter of a century ago.

Masonry heaters are ideal for inefficient homes, as they create a comfortable zone of warm air that can fill a room for many hours. The mass absorbs the heat of the fire and radiates it into the house for hours or days, depending on how long the masonry has been heated with wood heat. Materials are available that provide step-by-step instructions for building your own masonry heater. With two-stage combustion, the combustible material (cord wood or wood granules, in general) is heated in one chamber in the relative absence of oxygen, and the gases are released in another chamber where fresh air is injected, which accelerates the combustion and burns the gases almost completely, at temperatures much higher than those that can be reached in a wood stove, a pellet stove or a traditional outdoor wood boiler (most gasifying boilers release).

The xeoos TwinFire heats wood in a compartment in the relative absence of oxygen, which releases combustible gases in a separate compartment, where it is expelled with fresh air (no fans are needed and therefore no electricity is required). Their surfaces are only warm to the touch, so they emit a much more uniform and pleasant heat than a wood stove (however, glass windows get very hot). Masonry heaters emit heat more efficiently and with less pollution than any other type of wood fireplace, wood stove, or pellet stove. Because of the way they are designed and the fact that their efficiency depends largely on proper maintenance, catalytic stoves have a steeper learning curve for newer wood burners.

Without thermal storage, every time the house needs heating, the heater is turned on, which means that the heater is turned on and off quite often. So why do we think that masonry heaters are something worth exploring and adding to the skill set of communities in transition? The hourly emissions from a wood stove (OWB) can be twenty times higher than the emissions per hour from an EPA-certified wood stove. .

Carolyn Signor
Carolyn Signor

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