Masonry heaters commonly reach a combustion efficiency of 90 percent. The relatively small, but intense fire also results in very little air pollution and very little creosote buildup in the chimney. Because most of the heat from the fuel is transferred to the masonry and slowly released into the room over the day, this type of heater does not need to be loaded with fuel as often as other types of wood heating appliances.
We chose a masonry heater because of its ability to heat so much space with so little wood. At The Strawbale House, we burn less than two loggers cords per year. Many people in these parts heat with outdoor wood boilers. A conventional house our size (2000 sq. ft.) typically would burn 10 to 12 loggers cords using an outdoor boiler. In 2008-09, we could buy a loggers cord for $70. Not only is our masonry heater easy on our pocket book, but also on the environment. Masonry heaters are the cleanest way to burn wood, their large mass allows a fire to be burnt without dampering, meaning a clean quick fire that burns completely.