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Mendota Heights Chimney & Fireplace Tips: Saving Energy with Masonry Heaters

Most energy experts agree that masonry heaters are one of the most efficient, durable, and easy to use fireplace or wood stove systems you can have in. If you are considering building a masonry heater in your Mendota Heights home, you should understand how they work so that you are familiar with their benefits.

Masonry heaters are distinguished by their structure, design, and ability to burn wood or pellet fuel efficiently. Masonry heaters are also referred to as Russian or Siberian fireplaces, and they look similar to brick ovens because of the masonry structure that is built around the firebox or stove insert. Inside the masonry, a complex and carefully designed system of smoke channels distribute the heat throughout the home over a longer period of time, which means it does not need to be loaded often like traditional fireplaces.

Because Russian fireplaces can also withstand extreme temperatures, they only need to be re-loaded once or twice a day. Once the load is burned, the heat is stored in what is known as the “masonry thermal mass,” which provides you with one of the most efficient radiant heating systems available. Masonry heaters are also ideal during the times you only need a small amount of heat because you can burn a smaller load to meet your heating needs.

If you have an existing fireplace, you have the option of modifying your fireplace or stove with a custom-built masonry fireplace installation. However, any type of masonry heater should be installed by an experienced professional.  Installing the masonry heater incorrectly can create fire hazards and will be less efficient.  In addition, you will need to know how to properly stack and burn the wood (unless you are using a pellet stove) so that the wood burns rapidly enough to provide clean fuel. When you burn wood or fuel too slowly, it can produce tars and other combustion pollutants. If you aren’t sure what the “critical burn rate” is for your wood or pellet-burning appliance, you will need to know this before installing a custom masonry heater.

You can always call 2nd Generation Chimneys if you aren’t sure whether a masonry heater is right for your Mendota Heights home. We’re always glad to answer questions and offer our expert advice.

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