Many of the kiva fireplaces in Stam houses, though built to the standards of the 1950’s, have fallen into disrepair. The masonry work, including fireplace thickness, hearth thickness, and hearth extension measure, is not up to current codes.
Justin Bailey recently built this masonry heater in Tesuque, NM. Bailey is one of the only contractors in The Southwest that offers design/build services for this type of fireplace, sometimes called a masonry stove.
Bailey, owner of Baileys Chimney, LLC, is New Mexico’s only member of the Masonry Heater Association, an international organization. He attends the MHA annual meeting every year in Wildacres, A retreat center on top of a mountain near the Blue Ridge Parkway. The annual meeting is a festive, educational event that lasts for one week. 120 Masonry Heater builders, designers and enthusiasts from a dozen countries gather to build heaters, share knowledge and expertise, and test new Heater designs.
Masonry heaters channel the flue gasses through passageways in the core of the heater so the mass absorbs the heat. One fire a day In this heater, and the house will stay warm 24/7. When the flue gasses leave the fire chamber they are over 1500 degrees, and when they leave the heater they are only 300 degrees F. All that heat remains trapped in the heater, which provides radiant heat to the room over time.
The radiation waves from a masonry surface are longer than radiation waves from a metal surface. The long radiation waves heat up all the mass in the room, rather than heating the air.
The warmth from a masonry heater tends to put people into a meditative, peaceful state. People say it “warms your bones.”
Masonry heaters are the most efficient way to heat with wood, if you measure the percentage of the energy in the fuel that gets converted to warmth in the room.
If you are interested in a custom masonry heater for your home, give Bailey a call.
Justin Bailey was at the National Chimney Sweeps Guild Conference in Portland, Oregon. April, 2018. Bailey has served as the journalistic reporter for Sweeping Magazine at the conference for the last four years in a row. Bailey had the opportunity at this conference to share his story about his journey to becoming a masonry heater builder in a presentation for about 150 Chimney sweeps.
The National Chimney Sweeps Guild supports it’s members by providing representation, proven standards, camaraderie and networking. This is done through education, industry specific publications and a yearly convention that brings the industry together on a national platform.