Alan Burdon and Fiona Kotvojs enjoy participating at field days events for a number of reasons, and particularly because it’s a great way to spread the word about what they do.
“We love it,” Mr Burdon says. The husband and wife live on the family farm near Bega, NSW, but have taken their exhibit as far as Tasmania for AgFest.
This will be about their fifth visit to MFD. “We like Murrumbateman; it’s one of the best, really. We get a lot of interest there,” further describing the people they meet as “very friendly”.
They started Heavenly Heat because it was something they could do together, and they believe so passionately in the masonry heating concept.
Alan is actually semi-retired, and Fiona has another business of her own.
“It’s very much a hobby of ours,” says Mr Burdon, “but we do it because we really believe that masonry heaters are the key for clean wood-burning in Australia.”
He also pointed out that “we are the only in people in Australia selling what we’re selling.”
He says the concept has been around for about 500 years, but didn’t really make it to Australia.
He tells a story about living on a farm with firewood falling down all around them, and when they built their new home they wanted to make use of that resource but in the cleanest and most efficient way possible.
“When we were on holiday in Italy we got snowed in at one of the mountain lodges. They had a masonry heater there, which they fired up, and we sat and leaned against this thing all day. It was just amazing.”
Having experienced that, “We thought, this is what we’ve got to have. We came back to Australia and started researching and there was absolutely nothing here. We’ve since found one or two people with a European background who have had [one] built individually, which is the way they’ve always been done.
“Eventually I found a company in Canada, Temp-Cast, who sell the whole core of the thing as a kit of pre-cast components, which takes all of the super-skill that’s required to build one from scratch, out of the equation. It just becomes a straightforward building exercise.”
This advertising feature is sponsored by:
The simple explanation is; the masonry functions as a heat sink.
“They’ve got a big firebox, it takes about 20kg of wood, and we just stack the firebox up, light it and let it rip as fast as you can, full air, and all of that wood will burn out in a couple of hours.”
It will also burn very hot, and as cleanly as it possibly could as a result.
The heat is then circulated up and down through channels in the core, and so the heat is absorbed by as much as two tonnes of masonry.
Once the fire has finished burning the warmth then radiates outwards gently for up to 24 hours, so you only light the fire once late in the day and the house will still be pleasantly warm in the morning.
“I figure if I’m cutting and splitting and carrying this wood, I want to get everything out of it, and I do.”
To find out more go and have a chat to Fiona or Alan at the Murrumbateman Field Days.