This is currently becoming a bit of a hot topic with our customers, who are becoming aware of more options in the wood heating arena, steel or masonry.
Firstly what is a masonry wood burning stove or tile stove, a masonry stove is as the name depicts a stove that is made of masonry. That then brings up the question what is masonry, masonry is this case is a heavy mass material able to handle extreme heat, is stable at extreme temperatures and of course having good heavy density to absorb all that energy created by the fire.
So what are masonry heaters actually made of, Fire bricks, fire cement, silicone carbide, ceramics as well as refractory cement based castings.
The principal difference between a masonry stove and a conventional steel or cast stove, is the masonry heater will store the heat generated by the fire and gently release the heat without overheating the room the appliance is located. Overheating the room where is appliance is located is a common problem with steel and cast iron stoves, meaning uncomfortable overheating and then the quick cooling of the room a few hrs afterwards, this is because a steel or cast stove has no thermal mass and therefor no where to store all that heat, it simply radiates or convects all that heat quickly to the room.
So how else is masonry heater better a steel or cast iron stove?
Well it can potentially heat your whole home, the masonry heater will gently force warm air around your property heating your whole property (making it potentially your main heat source) meaning potentially a reduction of reliance on fossil fuels eg gas and oil. The masonry stove can also be equipped with a coil or back boiler to heat your hot water too, therefor a masonry heater really can be a whole house solution for all your heat and hot water needs.
How big is a masonry wood stove and can I fit it in my living room fire place
In most cases yes you can, masonry stoves come in a range of outputs and dimensions to fit into most homes and yes we can swap your current wood burning stove for a masonry heater. It’s also worth noting we build custom masonry heaters which vary in size and appearance, meaning you can have a custom piece in your home that can incorporate oven, pet nooks and even coast seats, the options are endless.
Is a masonry heater different in its use or more work than a standard steel or
It is principally the same, you burn wood. However, you generally burn a batch of wood and let the stove slowly release the heat instead of constantly feeding the stove. The masonry stove is generally less work as they are more efficient (80% +) therefor burning less wood fuel. The masonry stove is also more environmentally friendly, with higher burn temperatures burning off more fly ash and less Co emitted into the atmosphere due to the secondary burning (gasification) stage, this makes the masonry wood stove a very green option.
Masonry heaters can come in a few forms, pre manufactured in kit form or purpose built on site (your home). Here at Gondwana we are involved in both forms custom wood masonry stoves and kit form.
So has the steel / cast stove had its day?
Well with more people interested in high efficiency, low cost energy and even going off grid the masonry stove will definitely have a firm place in our future, however things move slowly and attitudes take allot of changing in the UK, so what is fairly common in Northern Europe will no doubt take a decade to become mainstream in the UK .