November 14, 2012
|Masonry heater and bake oven|
by Gene Padgitt of HeartthMasters, Inc.
Masonry heaters are site-built wood-burning appliances constructed with natural materials that radiantly heat a home with the renewable resource of wood. Masonry heaters are efficient and use relatively small amounts of wood to heat without the use of electricity, gas, fans, or ducts. These appliances heat the home through burning wood in a firebox, which connects to channels inside a large thermal mass. After the fire is out the heater gradually radiates heat to the living space for many hours without causing large temperature fluctuations or drafts. Many homeowners prefer masonry heaters rather than gas, electric, or wood-stove heating methods for regular use, not just during power outages.
Masonry heaters can be built with an oven, which can be used anytime, but is especially important during times of disaster when electricity or gas may not be available. Stand-alone outdoor brick ovens are another option. These are site-built using a pre-cast oven kit or built with firebrick.
Masonry heaters and bake ovens are appliances that masons should get specialized training in before building. The Masonry Heater Association of North America trains heater masons and oven builders.