Why we do this . . .

We live in the far south of New South Wales and are off the power grid. We began building our rammed earth, pole and straw-bale home at Dignams Creek in 2006. We wanted our home to be ecologically sound. Our heating options were solar power, bottled gas or wood.

(See the Owner Builder article on building our home)

Pole frame, strawbale, rammed earth, rain water, solar power, wood heating . . . and the view.

Pole frame, strawbale, rammed earth, rain water, solar power, wood heating . . . and the view.

With a constant supply of firewood falling down around us, a wood-burning heater was inevitable. But we were not happy with slow combustion heaters. They produce a lot of heat when going, and none the rest of the time. They also send most of the heat up the chimney which is a waste. They are also prone to creating pollution and deposits. So we spent a long time looking at other options.

While on holiday in Europe we were stranded in a mountain chalet during a blizzard. In the morning they used what limited fuel was available (an old packing case and empty cardboard boxes) to light a fire in a masonry heater. The fire lasted for about one hour. The masonry heater absorbed the warmth and then radiated it all day. We curled up against the heater reading books with damp clothes draped over it to dry. The heat was beautiful, not too hot. We had found what we wanted for our home. Then we researched it further (see our links section).

With all the experts being half a world away we toyed with trying to design and build our own. We looked at bringing someone out to Australia to build one for us. Then we discovered the Tempcast precast core unit kits which would leave us with only the facing to create.

In 2008 we visited John La Gamba at his Tempcast factory near Niagara Falls to see how they were made. We then imported heaters for us and four other couples who were also building their own homes around Australia.

We constructed our masonry heater, which included the bread oven. It was straightforward and the end result very pleasing (see picture).

Our first burns were at the end of winter. To find the heater still radiating gentle heat fifteen hours after the fire went out was a delight on a cold morning. Our heater met and even exceeded all our expectations. Friends who visited were equally impressed.

We now knew that masonry heaters were the answer to the problems of the slow-combustion heaters that were getting wood-burning a bad name. This led us to start Ecostoves; which has now been changed to Heavenly Heat. We now have highly satisfied customers in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania but are happy to ship them anywhere in Australia.

If you would like to come and see our heater in operation, please contact us to organise a time to have a look.

Fiona and Alan