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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
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    Does anyone have any experience of masonry stoves in general and ECCO stoves in particular?

    According to the sales blurb, Ecco stoves are:

    88% efficiency rating
    • Only 0.07% carbon output
    • Radiates 25% of its stored heat up to 12 hours after the fire has gone out using only 7-10kg of wood.

    And they are supposed to heat more than just the room they are in.

    I like the look of this one:


    It’s a large stove with a good viewing window and will fit nicely into our oversized inglenook (normal stoves tend to look a little lost in there)

    I’m not convinced it will heat the whole house, but I do like the idea that I can’t damage it by running it too hot, that it’s heat output isn’t overpowering in the room it’s located in, and it reapta8ns it’s heat (the current stove is cold in the morning, no matter how long it’s been running the previous day.

    The downside is that it sounds expensive (plus the website doesn’t give price details, which is always a good sign of something being embarrassingly expensive) and so I don’t want to spend a ton of money on a white elephant. So any help, advice or comments would be greatly appreciated!
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2019 edited
    I cant speak for ECCO stoves but I've had friends in Germany who had a Kachelofen or tiled stove. They are usually quite big, sometimes 2M tall+ and often very attractive sculptural statements in themselves, and expensive. They work best I think when placed centrally within the home where their masonry heat retention capacity is best utilised. They work on the Hypocaust principle where internal hot air travels via convoluted chambers through the masonry core.
    The smaller ECCO stove may be a compact mini version of this principle, but I'd imagine it's heat release and whole house warming is vastly diminished when compared to the real Macoy. Placing it in an Inglenook too may further diminish any potential due to restricted circulation.
    I have 4 masonry stoves (between 3 buildings). They are common in this part of Europe. The traditional ones that I have are bigger than the one in the link and without the glass door. They are essentially wood fired storage heaters. Independent tests have shown efficiencies over 90% for the designs type we use. We tend to use them only in the spring/autumn and otherwise the central heating. (wood gasifying boiler with 2000ltr thermal store, for 2 buildings and gas ch in the other)

    I managed to find a price with a quick search, £5,900.

    Over here if you want a masonry stove to heat more than one room then it is built into the dividing wall with each room seeing part of the stove. The stove you are looking at has an output of 10.5 kW that's a lot for one room! You are then relying on leaving the doors open to allow the heat to drift around the house by convection. This is not an efficient way to transport heat. Unless you have a very open plan then IMO you wont get the heat dispersion the advert implies and the area around the stove will be very hot due to the radiated heat.

    10.5 kW might be enough to heat your house but when it is all in one place it is the 'central heating' that will give you cold periphery rooms - that's why central heating has radiators to move the heat around and the output of this stove (all 10.5kW) has to go into the room in which it is located because there is no other exit from the stove for the heat.

    If your house has an upstairs could you fit a ducted fan in the inglenook (thermostat switched) to blow hot air from the inglenook space to the upstairs to help heat dissipation?

    One point to remember is that whilst they are storage heaters and give out heat for hours after the fire has gone out there is a delay of a couple of hours after lighting them before you get useful output. That is with mine which is a different design to the one shown (physically bigger and no glass door) but there must be some delay as most of the heat (by design) will be going into heat the thermal mass and then to be given out.

    Radiates 25% of its stored heat up to 12 hours after the fire has gone out using only 7-10kg of wood. - I'm not sure what this means. What happens to the other 75%? (7 - 10kg of wood gives about 40kWh of heat) With the stoves we have here once the fire has gone out they have to be completely shut tight otherwise most of the heat goes up the chimney so you can't load them up on the way to bed because you loose all (most) of the stored heat.

    And a stove that size will need an external air supply.

    No one here expects a masonry stove to heat more than one room unless it is built in the wall between 2 rooms.
    Thanks for taking the time to reply - as always, it's very much appreciated.

    I was a little dubious about the ability to heat more than the room the stove is in, and your comments seem to underline this.

    I sent off for a brochure, so I'll see what the prices are for the different models.

    Thanks also for the reminder that we would need an air supply. I don't see anything in the sales blurb about it having a dedicated air supply, so I'm assuming it'd be an air vent. It seems counter intuitive to spend so much time, effort and money in making the house more insulated and air tight to then put a hole in the wall to vent a stove.
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2019
    Posted By: Pile-o-StoneIt seems counter intuitive to spend so much time, effort and money in making the house more insulated and air tight to then put a hole in the wall to vent a stove.

    Your intuition is correct.
    *** Breaking news ***

    I've received information from the manufacturer. Some of the models do have a dedicated air supply, which is great but more interesting still is that they can also by fitted with a 'hot box' that can be used to supply hot water via pipework or vented air. The information states that because of the nature of the silicon carbide that the stove is made from and because the hot box in on top of the stove rather then integral like a boiler stove, the water isn't warmed as fast and as hot as a cast iron boiler stove would do, though the flip side is that the boiler doesn't cool down the stove as much, so I guess there is less pollution to atmosphere and less tar in the chimney.

    The lower heat is not so great, but I assume that if used with UFH then the lower level heat would be adequate. I could therefore plumb this into my heatbank, but at a lower height to reflect the lower temperature of the feed pipe and the stratification in the tank. I certainly wouldn't want it feeding into the top of the tank, lowering the temperature of the water already there.

    More interesting though is the option to have ducted air rather than hot water through the hotbox. As I will be fitting a MHRV system, I'd be very interested in this option as it seems to allow me to move a decent amount of heat to other rooms. I'll look into this a little further - I had seen issues with having MHRV in rooms with stoves where it can suck smoke from the stove into the room when it's opened, so I wonder how they get around this issue?
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2019
    Posted By: Pile-o-StoneI had seen issues with having MHRV in rooms with stoves where it can suck smoke from the stove into the room when it's opened, so I wonder how they get around this issue?

    I suppose stoves are normally in living rooms, which generally have supply vents rather than extract vents, so the MVHR will push smoke into the stove rather than pull it out, in as much as it does either. I expect that the hot box should be installed with room-sealed ducting if used for hot air distribution.
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2019
    Posted By: Pile-o-StoneI was a little dubious about the ability to heat more than the room the stove is in,

    anti-dubiousness kit Here...


    The provision of a hot box I see as tacit acceptance that the heat from this stove doesn't move around the house quite as well as they would like and I also expect that it was a post design/prototype addition.

    If you are going to have a hot box I would suggest having a wet one and fitting a couple of rads (depending upon the output of the box) on a gravity system. The rads would be self regulating with no pumps or valves needed and no danger of over cooling the stove. Water pipes are a lot less intrusive than retrofitted air ducts which will presumably need a fan to drive the air (= noise).

    To my mind they seem expensive for a partial heating source that may well overheat the room in which it is located - even with the hot box.
    • CommentAuthorfinny
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2019
    The Ecco stove isn't a masonry stove at all, at best a hybrid with a little extra storage than a 70-200kg standard stove can manage.
    If you want to heat somewhere other than the room the stove is in, install a convector stove which will distribute a large proportion of its output to the air, rather than a traditional (in the UK) radiant stove which distributes it heat by radiation which warms the fabric of the building and the things in it..
    With a little more detail about the house you could get some great advice... size, age, insulation levels, glazing, airtightness, other heat sources and where the fireplace is in relation to what you would ideally want to heat..
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2019 edited
    If you do consider distributing stove heat around the home via hot air ducting, why not look at a ducted Air to Air heat pump instead. It'd be a more controllable and quite possibly a cheaper option, and summer cooling too. More so if you DIY the basic install bits. You can still have a small, simple WBS in your inglenook for visual appeal.
    Hi all, im new to the forum!
    If anyone in the UK is interested in learning this topic in-depth, Martin Ruzicka will be teaching a week long course in July in Suffolk. Hes designing and building us a masonry stove for our soon to be Meeting Room, whilst sharing the process with students.
    I figured this doesn't count as advertising as its a training opportunity? Hope thats ok!
    Posted By: VanplastererI figured this doesn't count as advertising as its a training opportunity? Hope thats ok!

    Hmmm - Looks like an advert for a £475 course and a £110 seminar to me !!
    • CommentTimeMay 4th 2019
    I guess that's true. Equally it could be seen as a useful link to a source of information about masonry stoves. FWIW Orchard Barn is just down the road from us and is doing a good job of reviving old crafts etc.

    I eventually made my decision on the new stove from three alternatives. One was this masonry stove circa £6k, an inset boiler stove circa £4k or a dry woodburning stove £1900. In the end I decided to opt for the cheapest and most straightforward option. The installation costs were also a factor as the masonry stove was circa £2k, the cast iron stove was £1500 and the boiler stove a lot more.

    I think if we were definitely going to stay in our current home, then I may have gone for the masonry stove, but with the kids laving the nest, the house is decidedly large for our needs and so I think we'll be moving along at sme point between 5 to 10 years.
    From the costs Pile o Stone outlines, seems the course at OB isnt bad value for money ;)
    Thanks for your support djh: hope i meet you there soon? Unless we've already met? Ive been involved intermittently for the life of the project, but now ive just joined the directorship.
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