June 11, 2008 by Brian Klipfel, under Fire Works Masonry News.
This brick heater was built into an existing home as part of an extensive renovation. The family wanted a more open floor plan between the living room and kitchen. This is an ideal situation for a masonry heater. The wall between the kitchen and living room was removed and appropriate measures were taken to address the load bearing wall issues. The family was delighted with the new space and freedom on the first floor. The new more spacious floor plan was also ideal for the inclusion of a radiant masonry heater.
The brick Finnish contraflow heater divides the living room and kitchen. The loading door and wood box heat and illuminate the living room while the bakeoven warms and cooks in the kitchen. A short heated bench under the wood box connects the heater to an already existing masonry chimney in the nearly 100 year old house. The existing chimney was used for a basement wood stove in the past. This original chimney was relined with an insulated steel insert for safety and to meet modern code requirements.
During the kitchen renovation, the heater’s bake-oven was the sole source of cooking. The family discovered the versatility of retained heat cooking for more than just delicious pizza, preparing everything from eggs and bacon for breakfast, hamburgers for lunch, slow cooked pulled pork and baked potatoes for dinner, finally to cookies or pie in the evening. They also mastered dutch-oven cooking, leaving a stew in the cast iron cookware in the morning to return home in the evening to a ready to go dinner.
Along with the great meals and aesthetic enjoyment of the heater, the family obviously also desired to cut their high heating bills in the old home. After finishing the heater, the next heating season the family burned two fires a day in the masonry heater and reduced their natural gas heating bill from the previous season by over 70%. The home is in a urban location. The home owner contacted local tree removal services and secured free delivered tree rounds to the home. With some time and a wood splitter the owner obtained most of his winter heat for free and saved trees from the landfill or mulch pile.
Fire Works Masonry