Benefits of using masonry heating; a highly efficient wood burning system:

Specializing in masonry heaters Jeremy R. Brown is committed to bringing efficiency and tradition into your home or business with sustainable wood heat.

“Hillcrest Masonry can walk you through the process of integrating a masonry heater into your existing or newly constructed home from start to finish. We will work with you from design to completion, tailoring your masonry heater to your personal vision.

Create a piece of functional art that transforms natural energy into your comfortably heated living space, bringing culture and tradition into your home. Let’s work together to eliminate fossil fuel dependence while gathering 'round the hearth with your loved ones absorbing the flickering flames.”
Jeremy Brown

Masonry Heater Association
Masonry Heater Definition:
A masonry heater is a site-built or site-assembled, solid-fueled heating device constructed mainly of masonry materials in which the heat from intermittent fires burned rapidly in its firebox is stored in its massive structure for slow release to the building. It has an interior construction consisting of a firebox and heat exchange channels built from refractory components.
Specifically, a masonry heater has the following characteristics:
- a mass of at least 800 kg. (1760 lbs.),
- tight fitting doors that are closed during the burn cycle,
- an overall average wall thickness not exceeding 250 mm (10 in.),
- under normal operating conditions, the external surface of the masonry heater, except immediately surrounding the fuel loading door(s), does not exceed 110 C. (230 F.),
- the gas path through the internal heat exchange channels downstream of the firebox includes at least one 180 degree change in flow direction, usually downward, before entering the chimney,
- the length of the shortest single path from the firebox exit to the chimney entrance is at least twice the largest firebox dimension,
(passed unanimously at 1998 MHA Annual Meeting, June 8, 1998)

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Hillcrest Masonry owner Jeremy R. Brown is working to re-introduce the long-established practice of heating with Masonry Heaters. Interest in this type of heat is growing as these high-efficiency wood burning systems provide a sustainable source of warmth and comfort. Using less firewood than woodstoves and burning at a higher temperature reduces pollution. The quality of the radiant heat they provide is even and gentle with the added benefit of a healthier indoor environment.

What is s a Masonry Heater?

From the Masonry Heater Association:

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."

The benefits of using masonry heating, a highly efficient wood burning system:

Efficiency, safety, renewable/sustainable energy source

  • The short hot fire completely combusts the fuel, resulting in lower CO2 emissions, reducing pollution. Less wood consumption is required than in a conventional woodstove application.

  • The very high temperature heats the thermal mass, then radiates slowly into the living space without disturbing the air around it. Radiant heat is even and gentle, the indoor environment is healthier due to less dust circulation.

  • Burning seasoned wood at these higher temperatures will not produce creosote; eliminating the cause of chimney fires.

  • Using renewable, sustainable firewood fuel results in energy independence, conservation, and helps to reduce fossil fuel dependence.

Aesthetics, beauty, tradition

  • The masonry heater is a major functional architectural element creating interest and a focal point of living in your home

  • Finnish Contraflow Masonry Heaters are our preferred style but in addition there are Russian fireplaces and heaters; all with choices of finish materials.

Design considerations:

  • The ideal place for a masonry heater is an interior, central location. Due to the nature of the radiant heat generated, an outside wall is not the best position.

  • An independent foundation/support system is required

  • A masonry chimney or factory-built stainless steel insulated chimney is needed

  • The materials used for the finish is the biggest cost determiner

Due to the nature of masonry heater projects we are willing to travel to many New England, NY locations. Please contact us for more information.

We are a proud member of the Masonry Heater Association and you can find more information at their wesite: