I'm looking to more efficiently heat our 100 year old 3-story, 2100 square foot farmhouse that we bought about a year and a half ago. I was wondering if a rocket mass heater would be a reasonable addition to our house. Currently we have electric baseboard heating on the third floor. On the first and second floor we have hot water baseboard heating using propane. Additionally we have a very small wood stove, but it's on an addition to the house where a previous owner turned a deck into a sunroom, so it's not centrally located at all. It seems that a rocket mass heater might be a very cost effective addition.
Would a rocket mass heater be an appropriate way to heat the house?
What are the best ways to move the hot air to the second and third floors of the house?
Hi Aaron; Welcome to Permies!
A 3 story 100 year old house in Minnesota is not going to be "heated" by a rmh BUT it can certainly assist making it warmer and lowering your other utility bills some.
To start Do you have a copy of the rmh builders guide ? Readily available on Amazon. It is the go to book for all aspiring builders.
Does this house have an internal block/brick chimney ? Is it usable ? If so describe it.
Your RMH should be located in a room where you will spend most of your time. A RMH is best enjoyed in the same room or even by sitting on it. Fans will help and installing hot air registers on the second and third floors would allow some heat to rise up but don't expect to shut off your other heaters on the upper floors.
Two styles of building , a long solid mass (requires strong floor) or a stratification chamber "brick bell" that has a smaller footprint and lighter weight.
Two styles of rocket cores, A traditional J tube in 6 or 8" or a newer style horizontal batch box. The first is easy to build the second burns longer and hotter but is more technical to build.(a 6" is too small for your home)
Some library's have a copy of the builders guide you can check out if purchasing it is a problem.
Let us have some more information about you and your home and its arrangement.