Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Masonry heating systems.....

  1. #1
    Member Waterlover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    126

    Default Masonry heating systems.....

    Hey all~

    I have been looking into getting into a more rural living setting up here and upon reading many of the posts of remote living and cabin living have been struck by the lack of mention and/or support for masonry heating with wood. I lived in a home in Washington with friends that had an 1800 SF living space...2 story place... and they made ONE fire per day to heat the place all day. The heat radiated from the bulk masonry of the unit. It does take up square footage, however...the quality of heat is superior...and they can be very beautiful as well.

    Used nebulous wood, scraps and such...not necessarily nicely stacked cord wood...and very little of it at that. I think it's a wonderful way to heat, use the natural resources available, keep the carbon footprint small, and the labor less than that of a traditional airtight woodstove.

    There are many ways to go with this design and method of heating...but I was wonderin' if ALASKA might be too frigid for these to be functional...but they are used in Sweden, Russia, Germany and others, all of which are frigid in their own right. Here is a link for some info on them. I'd love to know if anyone has had experience with them. For me...it's an esthetic and functional answer to heat.

    Enjoy! http://www.alternativeenergyprimer.c...y-Heaters.html

    FF


    "The Nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.
    In memory of our troops...defenders of our freedom."

  2. #2
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    5,594

    Default

    A couple of thoughts.

    First, we are in one of the most seismically active zones on earth, and hence masonary is generally not a good fit for our location.

    Second, I think you'll find the expense of getting rocks shipped to your location and having skilled masons assemble the heating system will be very expensive.

    Third, we don't have an abundent supply of good cheap hardwood for heating. There are some areas you can cut your own firewood, but it is mostly beetle killed spruce, and when you add the cost of fuel to drive there, it isn't exactly free.

    I think a good woodburning stove is an option for suplimenting your heat source, and a fraction of the cost of a masonary system.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  3. #3
    Member Waterlover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    126

    Default

    Good points. I hadn't thought of the seismic activity. My Washington place has loads of rock available nearby but I hadn't realized that AK was so different that way. And SERIOUSLY??? Not good firewood? Yowza!

    Well I sure learned me some good stuff!

    Thanks!
    FF
    "The Nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.
    In memory of our troops...defenders of our freedom."

  4. #4

    Default

    Some folks in Fbks are using masonry stoves with great results. A guy in Fbks charges 10-15K to build a custom masonry stove.
    http://newsminer.com/view/full_story...in-the-winter?
    http://newsminer.com/view/full_story...lmost-no-fuel?

  5. #5
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Talkeetna
    Posts
    5,714

    Default

    Properly built, a masonry stove works fine and really isn't a big issue where seismic is concerned. A masonry stove can be built with the same seismic resistance as any other concrete stucture. The only remote one I know works very well with the local available birch he has. However, it was a HUGE undertaking to build it in his location. I know of a couple on the road system around here that are also doing very well burning our local birch. Afterall, these things were designed in countries that burned primarily birch for their heating also. I wouldn't even consider building one unless I could drive a truck to the building sight.

    Paul has some great insights into many subjects, but his view on firewood is wrong for many areas of Alaska. In the more populated areas like Anchorage wood supply is not easy. You asked about rural areas, and many of those areas have lots of wood available. In the Susitna Valley we have easy access to quality birch firewood if you want to get after it. There are also several providers of log length birch in the valley. I burn 30 cords of birch a year to heat my commercial building and after all is said and done it cost me less than half the price of heating with heating fuel does. Even spruce will work fine as long as you plan for it's lesser BTU's per cord. The beauty of the masonry stoves I have been around is that they are gassification burners and then transfer that tremendous heat into the masonry. The BTU's put out by spruce is right about 30% less than birch. So if you need 7 cords of birch you are going to need 10 cords of spruce. Just plan accordingly and you will be fine.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

  6. #6

    Default

    I grew up mostly in Alaska, and I've been back up here for 4+ years after living in Portland for about 7. Folks up here think "carbon footprint" is walking around in ashy boots Obviously a sweeping generalization, but I haven't met too many people who place a value on environmentally friendly building methods or energy usage. Not to say there aren't those who are quite concerned and change their habits accordingly, the green movement just hasn't hit the way it has in a place like Portland. We're sort of behind the times in a lot of ways because of isolation. When you have less population and no tv, and you don't hire out much work, you simply aren't exposed or nearly as influenced by new (or re-emerging, such as the masonry stove) ideas. You build what your Dad or your buddy built, because you know that works. "There's a couple crazy hippies in Fairbanks" who have masonry stoves is about the way a lot of people look at it in my little town....
    I am personally pretty frickin exited since I live close and plan to put one in my house, those are some of the most beautiful masonry stoves I've seen!
    And as already mentioned, when you're on limited funds, and your cabin is out some scraggly dirt road, it becomes impossible to put in that kind of heating system even if you wanted.

  7. #7
    Member tboehm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Soldotna AK
    Posts
    2,408

    Default

    I actually visited some folks in Dilingham that had one brought in. I can't remember what they paid to bring it in and then they had to fly a guy in to install it. IT was some special stone. They said that it took a week to heat the thing up but once it did, it put off some much heat that all it took was very little fires every so often to keep the whole house toasty.
    Semper Fi and God Bless

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •