MAIL: Kudos for Mass Heaters

Intermediate
Phot of Tulikivi wood heater
Soapstone wood heaters can be practical and beautiful.

I enjoyed Stephen Hren’s “Efficient Heating with Wood” in HP159. We bought a Tulikivi soapstone heater about seven years ago, and it is the best thing that we have ever purchased. It makes firewood work—it burns very efficiently and does not require tending after the initial 1- to 11/2-hour burn cycle. It provides instant heat and a cheery fireplace glow through the glass door, and long-lasting radiant heat from the soapstone mass.

For a season’s worth of heating here in the foothills of the Alaska Range, we burn about 3 cords of split and seasoned aspen, birch, and spruce. Harvesting wood locally is central to the economy. If you have to burn all kinds of fossil fuel in a truck to harvest the wood far away, you might as well just heat with fuel oil.

You’ll spend between $12,000 and $15,000 to have a Tulikivi built by a mason. But the heater will pretty much last forever, and you’ll save big bucks after the initial investment while making your home a cozy fortress against economic cycles and fuel crises.

“NorthPilot” • via homepower.com

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