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Make Cozy Happen with Masonry Heaters

| 3/9/2020 7:01:00 AM

Brick Column Masonry Heater Fireplace

So much of any new learning is learning new language. Technical definitions exist that define a masonry heater in terms of physical characteristics, but I want to come at this from a different angle. I want to start with the problem. Finding fuel has always been a challenge for humans. Fuel becoming harder to find is a reality of our times, but that alone is not the real problem.

The real problem is that it gets cold, and I'm too stubborn to move to Florida in the winter. Winter is beautiful in New England. I love when the snow piles on, and I get to walk in the woods in the stillness of a winter day but I have to admit, it hurts if I stay out too long. There are lots of ways you can make a house warm, but a masonry heater solves the problem of cold in a way that also creates what the Danes call hygge, that wonderful coziness that makes us feel warm, safe, secure and, somehow, loved.

A masonry heater burns a charge of wood (though some use coal or even straw) quickly and cleanly and then stores the heat in a thermal mass, typically brick, stone, or tile. You'll burn for an hour or two but warm the space for much longer.

As we consider what a masonry heater is, I want to focus on attributes that all heaters share, so that we encompass all of many worldwide styles with our explanation. And we don't want leave anyone out simply because their heater doesn't look like ours. The principles are simple and elegant. A masonry heater takes advantage of the natural forces at work and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

A good masonry heater does three things:

1. Burns (typically) a day's worth of wood with excellent combustion efficiency
2. Absorbs the heat thus produced into its structure
3. Radiates that heat into the cozified space

Brick And Stone Masonry Heater

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