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Help with heating a 200 sq ft cabin on the down-low

 
pollinator
Posts: 126
Location: Western Idaho
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I built a 200 sq ft cabin last summer, single pitch roof with tons of south facing glass but I need to be able to heat it in the winter months and also do it under the radar. I am hoping you all might have some creative ideas. My first priority is to achieve a clean burn one way or another, I am willing to purchase the appropriate materials to build a 6" RMH but for such a small area it seems kind of like overkill to me...  would a 4" system be appropriate in this case? I think I have a decent grasp on the limitations of a 4" system but overall my goal is to comfortably and efficiently heat the 200 sq ft space while at the same time having as little smoke come out the chimney as possible, thanks!
 
gardener
Posts: 2168
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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cat pig rocket stoves
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Hi Arron;   Check out this small brick bell build.  Might be a good size for your cabin.
https://permies.com/t/43809/Masonry-stove-diy-build-feasible

You will get smoke on startup and die down with any stove.  Some steam if your wood is wet.  Beauty of an rmh is they only need to burn long enough to heat the mass.  Lots of your burning could be after dark.   Use super dry wood. As soon as it gets rocking all the smoke will be gone.
 
Posts: 414
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
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Hey Thomas, I think if you carefully light a batch rocket stove it can be virtually smoke free on startup.  I can't say I've ever noticed smoke from my batch rocket stove as the fire dies down.  By that time all the wood is now coals and so the wood gases are long gone.
 
Posts: 497
Location: Rural Unincorporated Los Angeles County Zone 10b
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We heat our 120 square foot tinyhouse with a Dwarf...





It has three air controls:

Primary, underneath the firebox up through the cast iron grate
Secondary burn, injected through nozzles from a preheated manifold in the rear of the firebox
Tertiary, front door glass airwash

These offer superb control over the fire. After just a few minutes of start up it does not smoke at all because it uses the latest clean burn technology that larger stoves have. Primary and secondary air comes from outside.



The firebox is rated to burn coal and is cast iron lined with firebrick.



Although the footprint is only 10 inches by 12 inches, it easily heats the tinyhouse toasty warm.





 
thomas rubino
gardener
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Graham is correct about the batch box's .  Nothing left at die down to smoke.      That small Masonry stove is looking better and better...

Nice looking stove Greg!  I bet it keeps your house nice and toasty!


.
 
pollinator
Posts: 266
Location: Penticton, Canada
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Hi Aaron,  A 6" rmh can heat up a small space rather quickly with radiant and convective heat before the mass has a chance to heat up which is why its often recommended to either partially cover your barrel with mass or eliminate the barrel and make a bell instead, both releasing the heat much slower.
 
master steward
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Paul's got a tiny rocket mass heater that he heats one of the tiny cabins (I think it's Red Cabin?) with. Let me see if I can find the threads...

Ah-ha! It's a cyclone heater! You can see pictures of them building it, as well as specs, here: https://permies.com/t/71576/tiny-house-rocket-mass-heater



Here's a video about it:



 
Aaron Tusmith
pollinator
Posts: 126
Location: Western Idaho
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Well thanks for all of the input, I suppose I'll have to go back to doing more research on the tiny house models, I had finally become comfortable with all of the RMH jargon and feel relatively comfortable with taking on the task but it just looks like I will have to expand my knowledge set to other models. I am kind of gathering that a 4" system is not even worth doing... is that the consensus? I wont be starting any construction until spring so there is plenty of time to get a plan together.
 
pollinator
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Location: ALASKA
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May I ask, or do you mind sharing the WHY part of not wanting any smoke?  
 
Aaron Tusmith
pollinator
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I would say that overall I don't want to attract any attention. I doubt that anything would would ever come up enforcement wise but I have no idea what the future holds for my part of the state as things a growing very rapidly. Also,  from what I have learned the presence of smoke is the result of incomplete combustion, I'd like to get my energy use dialed in to be more efficient, which in the case of a wood burning stove would mean less work and more heat. Also it's better for your neighbors and those around you who are the most likely to call in a complaint to the county or city anyway.
 
Walt Chase
pollinator
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In my estimation most any wood heating device is going to produce at least some smoke when the burn is started.  After it gets started and good and hot smoke is reduced or almost eliminated.
 
Graham Chiu
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Start the burns at night. With a rocket mass heater you're looking to do one burn a day.
 
gardener
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Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
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You mention 4" systems being ineffective... true for a J-tube unless you get it just right, and even then its maximum efficiency will be less than a larger system; but a 4" batch box like the cyclone heater in the video is supposed to be very effective.

I built a drystacked firebrick mockup of a 4" batch box core as a test a couple of years ago, and (without any system around it) it burned hot and clean, so much so that I could stand on a ladder with my face a few feet above the riser and comfortably breathe the exhaust.
 
Greg Mamishian
Posts: 497
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Walt Chase wrote:In my estimation most any wood heating device is going to produce at least some smoke when the burn is started.  After it gets started and good and hot smoke is reduced or almost eliminated.



This is true.

After a few minutes of starting up our stoves, there is no smoke whatsoever because it is totally consumed by secondary burn air which is preheated in a manifold directly behind the firebox and then injected into the firebox just above the burning wood.
 
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