The house we bought came with a propane fueled forced hot air system. Our heating bills were $800 -$1000/month with the thermostat set at 55º. The following year we had a wood burning insert installed in our zero clearance fireplace, which reduced our heating bill to $250/month. However that appliance really had a hard time keeping the home above 55º and the seven days we lost power during the ice storm it put out no heat because the blower required electricity. Than after three years of use, the electrical components in the wood burning insert started to fail. The manufacturer and installer had no real answers as to how to fix the insert without replacing the whole appliance. Buying a new insert plus the cost of installing was not an option for me.
A few years ago while traveling through Strasburg, France, I saw my first masonry type stove in an old castle and my awareness began. I started to research my options for heating my home in Feb. 2011, when the wood burning insert started to fail. I was reluctant to demolish the large “fireplace” in my home to make room for other means of heating my house. After much discussion with most of the heater masons in New England I finally found Roywood Masonry Heaters, LLC, who were willing to accept this complex project.
After a lot of head scratching and planning the project went forth. The process was fun, challenging and at some points stressful due to the nature of retrofitting my existing fireplace but came together nearly flawlessly. Now with the heater complete and in use it has surpassed all of my expectations. Our home is never below 65º and we are not even close to burning our max pounds of wood per day. As we sit in our living room without any chills we regularly use our oven which my wife fondly refers to as the magic oven, due to the fact that it is always on for no added cost. The oven is built into the back of the masonry heating, facing the kitchen – a wonderful extra benefit! I hope more people become aware of this wonderful technology as society moves into the future of limited fossil fuels and spiking commodity prices. The best part of having a masonry heater with a local fuel source is the comfort and peace of mind knowing that we will cook, be cozy and warm, and not have to worry about what Old Man Winter may throw at us.
Thank you, Royce and Woody! Sincerely, the McQuades
About Masonry Heaters.
The technology of the masonry heaters has been around since the Romans invented their hypocaust- a technique they created to heat their tile/masonry floors from underneath. This use of a heated thermal mass was further perfected in the northern European countries.
The coniferous forests of Scandinavia would have been exhausted if the local craftsman hadn’t come up with a more efficient means of burning wood. The efficient way masonry heaters burn wood also means that less particulates and greenhouse gasses are created. Burning wood efficiently for three hours while masonry stores and later radiates heat means less work, less biomass consumed, less pollution and more comfort from radiant heat that feels like sunshine. This newest of technology has only been more popular for four hundred years and if you go in a hardware store in Denmark, you will find a whole isle dedicated to masonry heaters. It has only taken about 370 years for them to be installed by a few North Americans who want to live warm, more cheaply and pollute less.