Zach and Christel's Heater


Zach and Christel have an old house about 1300 square feet in size. They had an old woodstove that they installed to cut down on heating costs. Over time, the stove started to deteriorate and lose efficiency, and so they looked into new options for efficient wood heating. They did not want to install a different chimney, since they had just put in the 6 inch stove pipe for the stove, so they asked me if I could design a heater that could draw on a 6-inch, double-wall stove pipe.


The result was a medium sized heater with a bake oven. This heater can burn up to 40 pounds of wood in a firing, and can keep up with the heating needs of a medium to large building depending on how well insulated it is. It turned out to be a nice size for their home, because it is in the center of the house there was a limit to how much space it could take up.


Zach and Christel wanted something that felt like it belonged in the north woods, so they decided to build with local fieldstone. We also reused bricks from the original chimney for detailed parts of the heater. Stepping out their back door into their yard, I discovered the perfect material for the top of the heated bench, they had to give up some of their limestone stepping stones, but now they can use them year-round. We also reused old 24 inch cinder block for the foundation in the basement under the heater. They donít make them like they used to! Each block must have weighed about 60 pounds!




So far the heater is meeting the challenge of heating a fairly big old house that still has a few leaks. Once in a while they turn on the natural gas furnace if itís particularly cold or if they are gone on a trip, but they donít really use it much. It is nice for them to know they have the option.



Zach bakes bread and many desserts and entrees in the oven, and the heater has become a focal point and gathering place for their home. It feels like the part of the home that was accidentally left out when it was built over 100 years ago.