One of the many questions we are asked is “how to heat a timber frame home?” The short answer …. “Easily.” Since your frame will likely be wrapped in Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) the building envelop will be extra tight and efficient. (Read more about Structural Insulated Panels in an upcoming article). While any type of heating system can be integrated into your timber framed home we recommend some type of radiant heat. The added comfort provided by an efficient enclosure system is easily enhanced with our favorite type of heat; radiant heat. See the “Why Radiant heat section below”
What is a Masonry Heater?
Sometimes referred to as Russian or Finnish stoves/fireplaces, masonry heaters have a long standing tradition as the favorite heat source in some of Europe’s more frigid countries. The principles behind masonry heaters are quite simple and include; high temperature combustion for increased efficiency, and large thermal mass for heat storage and continuous radiation. A small hot fire is burned once or twice a day and hot gases are directed through channels which allow the gas’s heat to be absorbed by the surrounding masonry. The masonry then radiates heat evenly and continuously for 12-24 hours into the surrounding space. With this system combustion efficiency approaches 90% resulting in drastically less pollution such as tar or creosote; this also means virtually no risk of chimney fires and means maintenance such as chimney cleaning is rarely needed. Since most of the heat is absorbed by the masonry fuel efficiency is also increased requiring far less fuel during a heating season. A recently complete project will require between 1-2 full cords of wood to fully heat a home. One popular addition to many masonry heaters, is integrating a bake oven into the heater.
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