What is a Masonry Heater?
A masonry heater is a vented heating system of largely masonry materials (soapstone and fire brick are common) weighing at least 1760 pounds excluding the chimney and masonry heater base. A masonry heater is designed to capture and store a substantial portion of the heat produced by a fire, which burns rapidly and rather completely at high temperatures in order to reduce unburned emissions. It is constructed of sufficient mass (i.e. weight) and surface area that under normal operating conditions, the external surface temperature of the masonry heater does not exceed 110 degrees except in the immediate area surrounding the fuel loading door(s).
A masonry heater allows you to heat your home with wood in a unique way. Its main distinction is the ability to store a large amount of heat. This means that your can rapidly burn a large amount of wood without overheating your house. The heat is stored in the masonry thermal mass (the weight of the stone), and then slowly radiates into your house for the next 12 to 18 hours.