As masonry heaters heat by way of radiation and passive convection they are best located in as central a position as the floor plan of the dwelling will allow. Ideally the dwelling should be designed around a centrally located heater and its chimney.
With a heater that is localised towards one of the dwelling extremities, there will be a relative imbalance of temperature within the house, and a considerable loss of radiated heat through the outside wall closest to the heater.
The worst place to locate a masonry heater is against an outside wall, especially if the heater uses an exterior chimney. When this is the only option, the installation of custom insulation in the exterior wall is a necessity. Even so, the heater would never perform on par with a centrally located counterpart.
Only under special circumstances should a heater be built in a basemen . As most people - even with finished basements - spend most of their time on the first floor, it is preferable that the heater be located there. A heater in a basement would discharge all its radiant heat into the basement with only passively convected heat reaching the upper floors. A heater built upon the first floor in a dwelling with a basement or crawl space must be supported by an elevated masonry foundation, which would have virtually the same footprint of the heater and chimney.
With a Finnish downdraught counterflow heater the chimney may be located on either of the heater`s two sides or anywhere against its rear wall. It is usually the particular layout of a dwelling which dictates this. A rear centrally located chimney will always draw more from one of the side manifolds than the other, though this imbalance is virtually negligible.
Cookstoves can be located independently or as part of a heater cookstove combination. Again, central location and in this proximity to the kitchen are of primary importance. The cookstove chimney may be located anywhere against its rear or side walls.
Upper chamber bake ovens may be built within a heater`s secondary combustion chamber. the oven loading door may be located in the rear or front wall of the heater (not either of the side walls). With a heater having a chimney running up its rear wall, the oven door would have to be mounted on the front of the facade just above the fire box door.
For fuller discussion of white upper chamber bake ovens, see our other articles available on our website.
Custom variations of the standard heater cookstove combination are common. There are no clear rules for the client to follow with a custom project, and all aspects of orientations must be meticulously planned between the client and stove builder, in accordance with each projects specific peculiarities.
In general most prefabricated masonry heaters are oriented in the same manner as hand-built units.