In a masonry heater, a big charge of wood is burned rapidly, usually 2 hours, which
releases heated gases into a network of tunnels within the masonry mass. The
masonry absorbs the heat and then slowly radiates it into the house over a period of
12–20 hours.

The first firing of the season takes 2 or 3 days to bring the heat up to a comfortable
level. Once this level is achieved however, you can depend on non-drying warmth for
the entire heating season with minimal firing.

A  single firing consumes 50 - 60 pounds of seasoned hardwood. One firing per day for
a month would use approximately 1/2 cord of firewood.

The firebox is lined with firebrick, refractory concrete, or similar material that can
handle temperatures of over 2,000°F (1,093°C). Since the firewood is burned rapidly
at such a high temperature it burns cleanly with maximum efficiency and minimum
pollution. Masonry heaters commonly reach a combustion efficiency of 90%.

An equally important benefit of rapid combustion is the near total elimination of
creosote deposits in the chimney flue which minimize the risk of a chimney fire.

In addition to a firebox, the parts of a masonry heater include, a large masonry mass,
cast iron doors, dampers, and decorative masonry facing. Optional extras, such as a
bake oven, heated bench, glass doors for flame viewing, or a hot water coil can be
incorporated into the design.

A completed masonry heater weighs 3 to 6 tons and requires a specially designed
foundation to accommodate the substantial weight. While a concrete foundation is
ideal, lolly columns or structural steel can be substituted to save money.

Retrofitting your home with a masonry heater is possible if it has an open floor plan,
but they're best suited for new super-insulated home construction and additions
designed with a radiant heating system in mind.

Masonry heater cost
According to Marge Padgitt, president of Padgitt Chimney & Fireplace in Kansas City,
Missouri; "The average cost a homeowner may expect to pay is from $15,000
to$30,000, with price depending on the complexity of the heater, material costs, and
labor. The expected time to get a return on your money is approximately 10 years."

Masonry stoves, decorated with tile, stone, or adobe, are also very attractive from an
interior design standpoint, and often downright stunning.    

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individual rooms, the idea of a
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actually originated in North
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