What is a Masonry heater?
A Masonry heater is a highly efficient and ‘low emissions’ fireplace that stores heat into hundreds of kilograms of solid masonry, which it then slowly releases as radiant heat over the next twelve to twenty four hours. Masonry heaters use a hot, fast and rapid fire, as opposed to conventional fireplaces which burn slowly, this results in a cleaner, more efficient and a most ecological heating option.
How does it work?
A Masonry heater performs differently from all of the most common ways of heating.
A specified load of firewood is burned rapidly in a firebox. The temperatures exceed 600⁰C, which is required for residual free burning (a complete combustion). The hot fumes generated subsequently travel through a series of masonry baffles (or channels) where they then cool down to approx 100-150⁰C. The heat generated is stored in the dense walls of masonry, which acts as a heat battery.
The stored heat is subsequently released by the mass surface area as infrared radiation. This radiation (radiant heat) will interact with anything directly in its way. This means that the room, its furniture and its occupants will be heated evenly regardless of their distance from the heat source.
This even distribution of heat limits the movement of the air and dust particles in the house, while the immediate surrounds of the masonry heater never overheat and the air is cooler and fresher making your surroundings overall more comfortable.
Like the sun within nature, a Masonry heater becomes the warm centre of one’s home.
Fire and Burn Safety
The main hazard of traditional solid fuel burners is the potential for chimney fires. Chimney fires are principally caused by an accumulation of unburned hydrocarbons (Creosate) that condense and solidify on the inside of the chimney due to incomplete combustion. When a significant amount of Creosate accumulates and is subjected to high temperatures, it can ignite and the resulting fire can spread throughout your home.
When dry fuel is burned quickly at temperatures exceeding 600 ⁰C, there is no accumulation of Creosate as the combustion cycle is complete. Masonry heaters are designed to burn at such high temperatures making them safer than all other types of solid fuel burners.
Additionally, the exterior surface of the masonry heater is designed to reach only a maximum temperature of approximately 80-100⁰C, which is not hot enough to ignite anything in the house. This is in stark contrast with metal woodstoves and common electric or gas heaters that can reach very high surface temperatures.
Fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas, take millions or years to develop and once they are used and exhausted, they will take millions of years to regenerate.
Trees however, due to their relatively short regeneration time frame and CO2 absorbing nature, create a natural carbon offset when they are sustainable used as fuel. This makes wood a carbon neutral energy source in contrast to a gas or electric home heater.
Masonry heaters are the most efficient type of wood burners, making them the ideal clean heating tool if you think in terms of environmental costs and benefits.
Woods performance as a battery, to store the energy of the sun, is the perfect way to use solar energy without having to wait for a sunny day.
Masonry heaters are considered a long term investment, as unlike regular heating appliances they will last for decades. This, when combined with their efficiency, functionality, cost effectiveness and grand appearance, will make your masonry heater appreciate in value over time.
There are countries (mainly in Northern Europe), which recognise and appreciate the benefits of this technology. For example, the government in Finland has subsidised the installation of masonry heaters, which has resulted in more than 90% of new homes having acquired masonry heaters as their primary source of heating.
What Is A Heat Storage Unit?
A heat storage unit is a set of masonry buffles or channels that can be added to almost any fireplace. Its function is to cool down the exhaust gases by storing the heat into its mass. The energy is then emitted as a radiant heat into your home.