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Does anyone here have experience with a European-type masonry heater? They are also sometimes referred to as "Finnish stoves" or "Russian stoves." They are also called "contraflow heaters" because they take the gases from a hot fire and move them through a series of ducts, taking out the heat and cooling the gases before they are released from the chimney. Supposedly this results in very low emissions.

The brand name I am most familiar with is Tulikivi. They make soapstone heaters and stoves of various sizes, but they are very pricey.

Basically what I am trying to decide is, if and when we build an addition on our house, should we include a masonry heater or a woodburning range (dual purpose: heat and cooking). Right now I'm leaning toward the range, but don't know how much actual heating that would provide.

Thanks for any and all comments.
 

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If you can plan ahead for all those tons of stones and cement you will be happy with the heat from your "Russian"
The basic idea with the Russian is getting that mass of stone heated up and then keeping it warm with very small fires.

Wish I could put one in here.................but its not to be.
 

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am i the only one with concerns about the complicated masonry exhaust system getting plugged with creosote? if you cool the gases enough (by heating the masonry), it's not hard to imagine the croesote would precipitate out and deposit in the system...resulting in clean exhaust.
 

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am i the only one with concerns about the complicated masonry exhaust system getting plugged with creosote? if you cool the gases enough (by heating the masonry), it's not hard to imagine the croesote would precipitate out and deposit in the system...resulting in clean exhaust.
Here is an quoted explanation from the masonry heater association about these types of heaters that explains the burning process. No worry about soot.


"What’s a Masonry Heater?

A MASONRY HEATER ALLOWS YOU TO HEAT YOUR HOME WITH WOOD IN A UNIQUE WAY.

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. "

P.S. I have always wanted to build one, but my time has yet to come.
 

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Here is a link to a page from a personal site of a friend of mine who has a masonry heater. He has written a small downloadable paper on the subject, and has lots of links to information about masonry heaters. His free downloadable paper is available on on this page:

http://www.beetberry.com/BeetberryEnergy.html

You might want to check out his "Resources" page also, for more links.

He absolutely loves his heater.
 

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At NASA, we investigated some systems like this and found them to be efficient if done on a large enough scale.

Water can be a more convenient heat sink than masonry or stone. It fits anywhere you can build a container. The heat can be piped to and from the water storage.

We built one house with the entire basement flooded and used a geothermal heat pump. In summer, we took heat from the house to warm the water. In winter we took heat from the water to warm the house. The water volume was scaled to meet an annual cycle.

To meet a daily cycle, the amount of water, masonry or stone would be considerably smaller, but still quite large. Water has the advantage of being much cheaper than the others.

The efficiency of your wood could be a lot higher using convoluted heat capture schemes, where the hot gases from the flame are forced to pass over the water tubes mulpiple times until practically all the heat is extracted.

Genebo
 

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I'm in the planning stage on a heater based on the MHA's Heater Plan Portfolio. It's #2 in the book: 22" firebox with replaceable liner and Front White Bake Oven. The cost of the core materials is going to be around $1400. That doesn't include the doors/drawers/grate.
http://mha-net.org/html/bookstore.htm

What I like about the stove is that once you load it, you burn the wood as fast/hot as possible. Only burn 1-3 charges a day. Because of the refractory firebox and full burn at high temps, you don't get creosote. One installer said that the only creosote he ever saw on all the heaters he inspected over the years was caused by burning green wood. Cleaned out the chimney, switched to seasoned wood, and it hasn't had any buildup since.

bookfarmer: what you have to decide is what is the main use of the stove. Do you want to mainly cook on it, or use it for heat. Are you going to use it every day, or just occasionally. Do you want a massive architectural feature? Is it going to be up against a wall, or in the center of the room?

Unless you're going to do the work yourself, the masonry heaters are very expensive compared to a metalbestos chimney and a cook stove, even if the stove costs $1500 or more.

We picked up a cookstove off of ebay for $225. Needs a piece welded on, but has water reservoir, upper shelves and everything.

Here's one on ebay. $900, $1,150 buy it now.

A third option it to do both... sortof. If you are pouring a foundation, have it poured for the masonry heater. It should't be too expensive, mabye a couple hundred dollars of concrete extra. You can install the cookstove, and try it out. You'll use the metal chimney going through the roof for either. You can always sell the cookstove if you decide to install the masonry heater later.

Michael
 

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I like putting water pipe in the heater and distributing hot water for heat to cover the rest of the home.
Hot water can also be stored.
A woodfired bread oven can also be fitted with steel pipe to make hotwater.
Just keep the runs short so the water doesn't boil. The system needs to be open to the atmosphere this allows the water to expand and contract and allows air to get out of the system.
Check out http://heatkit.com/html/bakeoven.htm

An exhaust heat exchanger to water can also be added to harvest the exhaust heat.

An exhaust heat exchanger to water can also be put on most any heater
jim
 

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We had a masonary heater installed in an addition 2 years ago and are very happy with it. It was expensive $11,000 but we built a Cadillac model out of red sanstone, added a large stone mantel, and a baking oven as well. You could probably do a homeade brick version for 7 or 8.

The biggest problem was finding a mason who could do the work. Don't turn a regular guy loose on one of these the temps are soo high it must be done right. If you are unsure of the mason's ability go with a kit. Kits eliminate much of the guesswork. My mason had built dozens of MH's all over the world. I was fortunant to find him.

The way you use a masonary heater is very attractive. I fill the firebox up when I get home from work and burn up the wood as fast as it will burn (about 2 hrs). The only smoke you see from the chimney is when its first lit. The rest of the time all gasses are incenerated and this adds efficiency and is good for the environment as well.

The goal when you light the fire is to complete the burn and close the chimney flue as fast as possible to trap the heat. After the burn I can lay my hand on the outside of the heater. It's safer if you have children. The stone is warmest 12 hours after the fire is out. On very cold days we do a morning and evening burn about 12 hrs apart.

Some of the advantages are:
You only have to feed it once a day. Its one armload and you're done.
Your house will not smell like smoke from the constant opening and closing of the stove door.
You never have to leave your home with a fire burning.
You can burn any kind of wood, ceedar, pine, sycamore...
Chimney fires and stove pipe cleaning are eliminated.
The heat radiates over a long period and does not run you out of the room.
There aren't gadgets like cattalitic converters that wear and require attention.
They can be very attractive.

I do split hardwood finer then one would for a normal stove. Culled hardwood boards from a local mill work great sawed into 18" lendths. Let me know if you have any other questions. /RA
 

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This is regarding posting #5, above, where I listed a link to the website of a friend of mine who has a masonry stove.

Yesterday, I discovered that two of the weblinks listed as references on his free downloadable paper are "broken". They were ok when the paper was first written, but became broken when the referenced sites made changes.

Here are the corrections:

mha-net.org/msb/html/g-pric-u.htm should now be http://www.mha-net.org/html/mall.htm

and

mainewoodheat.com/index.html should now be http://www.mainewoodheat.com

The first of these links is important for anyone wishing to hire a mason to do your stove. It has a list of all of the Masonry Heater Associations Certified Heater Masons. No masonry stove should be installed without a trained Heater Mason!

The corrections have also been made on the paper, so if you wish a new copy, just go to http://www.beetberry.com/BeetberryEnergy.html, and get yourself a fresh copy.

I apologize for the error. I should have checked before listing the link.
 

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Masonry heat (fireplace) has to go on a inside wall . There is a masonry fireplace builder association. Check with them first . Also , check with your insurance company to see whether you are covered.
 

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Do you have any info about this project that I can access on the web or otherwise? Thanks
http://naca.larc.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=1000815&id=3&qs=No=10&Ne=20&N=230

This is a related project that is newer than the one of which I wrote. It references using the air of a crawl space to preheat the air for a heat pump.

The link will put you into NASA's tech library, where you can search for all the research that has been done in the area. In the time I had to search, I couldn't find the right keywords necessary to bring up the report I wanted.

Genebo
 
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