December 13, 2023
Yurt Resources

How to Heat a Mongolian Yurt

How to Heat a Mongolian Yurt

One common concern amongst those who want to buy a yurt is how to keep these circular dwellings warm, especially in the colder seasons. It’s important to remember that yurts were developed over thousands of years in Mongolia, which houses the coldest capital city in the world, Ulaanbaatar. It isn’t uncommon for temperatures to dip down to -40 degrees Celsius (-40F). Therefore, it’s a requirement that their housing has efficient heating properties. See below for more information on:

  1. Yurt Insulation
  2. Yurt Heating
  3. Yurt Stove Recommendations

1. Yurt Insulation

Wool Insulation: Regardless of the heating method you choose, investing in proper insulation for your yurt is crucial. Good insulation helps retain heat, making your chosen heating system more effective. Wool insulation is not only a very efficient insulator, but is also all-natural, 100% biodegradable, and a renewable dehumidifier, insulator, and air purifier. And it will also insulate from the scorching heat of the sun in the summer months.  Thank you, Mr. Sheep!

Depending on your climate, you’ll need to consider the number of felt layers you’ll add to your yurt structure. If your area’s temperatures drop below -15 C (59 F) for prolonged periods, we recommend purchasing a secondary layer of felt.

Passive Solar Heating: Take advantage of natural resources by incorporating passive solar heating into your yurt design. If you decide on bow windows, ensure they’re south-facing to capture sunlight during the day. It should be noted that bow windows, although scenic, will decrease your yurt’s ability to retain heat.

2. Yurt Heating

Over 200 years ago, Mongolian nomads would heat their gers (or yurts) with an open fire. Today, they use simple iron stoves connected to stove pipes that run up the center of the yurt and through the toono (dome). Having the stove pipe run through the toono is recommended as it regulates and diffuses the heat throughout the space much more efficiently than a stove vented through the sidewalls. 

To comply with North American codes, we recommend sourcing a slow-burning wood or pellet stove. Not only do these sources efficiently heat the inside of a yurt, but they also help dry the air, thus managing humidity and preventing future condensation and mold issues.

Wood Stove: One of the most popular ways to heat a yurt is with a traditional wood stove. These stoves not only provide ample heat but also add a charming, rustic, and cozy touch to the interior. Choose a stove size that matches the yurt’s dimensions, and always follow safety guidelines for installation and usage. 

Pellet Stove: For a more modern and eco-friendly heating option, consider a pellet stove. These stoves have a smaller chimney pipe and burn compressed wood pellets, providing a consistent and controllable heat source that is long-lasting. You won’t have to worry about getting up in the middle of the night (especially if controlled by a thermostat). Or, if you’re off-grid, it is possible to run a thermostat using a battery pack and renewable energy source. 

Although pellet stoves are initially more expensive than wood-burning stoves, they are less costly to operate, produce less ash, require less maintenance, and offer a very clean burn. Keep in mind that you will need a space to store your pellets. 

Electrical & Propane Heaters: Electrical or propane heat will work in traditional yurts, but they lack the same capacity as a wood or pellet-burning stove to dehumidify the space in climates that experience heavy precipitation. A solid alternative, if you are living on the grid, is a simple wood stove backed by an electric (or propane) heater for support throughout the night.  

 Stove Tips: 

  • Use a stove that can heat 3x the square footage of your yurt
  • Source your stove locally and work with an expert to find the best one for you
  • Consider the log size of your stove (shorter logs - less than 16’’ can be more difficult to source
  • More information from >

3. Yurt Stove Recommendations

Friendly Fires: If you’re still shopping around for the right heating system, our team recommends reaching out to Friendly Fires (located in Ontario, Canada). They have a very knowledgeable team of experts who can help you find the perfect stove for your dwelling. 

  • Promo Code: Use groovylovesfriendly for 5% off your stove purchase

Drolet Spark II: If you’ve decided on a wood stove, our team recommends the Drolet Spark II. This is a compact model with a narrow profile for quick and efficient heating in freezing temperatures (and is also a floor space saver). This stove is best used in areas with 250-1200 sqft - which is suitable for our yurts.

Final Notes

Heating a yurt requires thoughtful consideration of your preferences, budget, values, location, and available resources. Whether you opt for the charm of a wood stove, the convenience of propane or electric (although not recommended), or the cost-savings of the pellet stove, each method has its advantages and disadvantages. By combining efficient heating systems with proper insulation, you can enjoy a warm and comfortable yurt living experience, no matter the weather outside. 

If you have any questions at all about how to heat your Mongolian yurt, please don’t hesitate to contact us >

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