Return to Masonry Heater Association

Return to Lopez Labs Home Page

Cold Climate Housing
Research Center

Research Heater

Combustion Air System
Comments and Progress Reports
Project Outline


This heater was built by:

Solutions to Healthy Breathing
William Reynolds-Consultant
PO 83008 Fairbanks, Alaska 99708

It replaces an airtight stove, which was causing problems for an occupant with chemical sensitivities.

Heater mason:
MHA member Dan Givens, Stonecastle Masonry, Fairbanks

Solutions has received funding from CCHRC for a research project
to measure particulate emissions and flue gas properties for 50 test runs

Bill Reynolds and Dan Givens

Combustion Air System:

The combustion air system is designed to be reconfigurable for testing purposes.


Seismic Reinforcing

Reinforced foundation.

Comments and Progress Reports:

Early loading data (Excel spreadsheet)

Correspondence on early usage experiments and observations (Feb 13/05)


20 minutes, burn #4 (4x4 fuel crib)

20 minutes, burn #6 (4x4 fuel crib)

60 minutes - burn#9 (cordwood)

Project Outline

Complete Proposal


1. To establish an accepted protocol for testing masonry and other wood-burning devices.

2. To determine the emissions from an existing wood-burning masonry heater.

3. To determine the calculated burn efficiency of an existing wood-burning masonry heater.

4. To determine most effective way to regulate the combustion air to the heater

5. To compare emissions and efficiency between a masonry heater and (1) a conventional fireplace and (2) a high efficiency manufactured wood burning heater.

6. To determine viability of masonry heaters in Alaska.


1a. Purchase and assemble test equipment.
1b. Consult with Omni Environmental Labs and Norbert Senf of The Masonry Heater Association in Portland, Oregon to create the testing protocol.
1c. Base protocol on EPA and ATSM standards.

2a. Obtain cord wood with a 20% moisture content (white birch, spruce and dimensional Douglas Fir for fuel crib construction)
2b. Separate the wood into ASTM calculated fuel cribs for the heater test.
2c. Fire the heater for 30 to 50 consecutive days for analysis.
2d. Measure O², CO, and CO2 and stack temperature starting at firing and continuing
until completion of combustion.
2e. Collect and process samples to measure stack gas particulate (PM 2.5 and PM 10)

3a. Calculate the energy efficiency of the heater using the weight and moisture content of the wood, the emissions and stack gas temperature.

4a. Record burn time.
4b. Photograph flames.
4c. Record CO change with change in inlet air.
4d. Thermal image the exterior mass

5a. Obtain established emissions and efficiency data of a conventional fireplace and of a high efficiency manufactured wood burning heater.
5b. Compare emissions and efficiency of a masonry heater with a conventional fireplace and with a high efficiency manufactured wood burning heater.

6a. Determine viability based on quality of emissions, cost effectiveness and performance.
6b. Determine cost-effective sources of local construction materials


  • A standard protocol for testing wood burning devices

  • Values of gaseous emissions from a masonry heater

  • Measurements of particulate levels from a masonry heater

  • Calculated efficiency of a masonry heater

  • Cost effectiveness and cost comparison of a masonry heater relative to a manufactured wood burning device

  • Viability of masonry heaters in interior Alaska

  • A professional report


Excel spreadsheet for Condar Sampler data collection and calculation

Current fuel crib testing

Lopez archive of wood combustion technical information

This page was updated on February 12, 2006
This page was created on February 28, 2005
Return to Masonry Heater Association