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! Newbie Question

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Hello everyone. This is my first post on this group. I have become extremely intrigued by rocket mass heaters after coming across the various videos on YouTube which eventually led me here.

I live in a typical urban town in Alberta Canada that I recently moved to almost a year ago. As such, my house is a newly built approximately 2200 square foot two story. We are on a forced air natural gas system for heat, but I am looking for redundancies in case of an emergency. This brings me to my questions.

1. If I put a rocket mass heater in the basement, how well could it heat the house, especially up to the second story given the tight insulation of modern builds.

2. We are close to the mountains and are prone to vast temperature swings in the winter. We’ve already had problems with thawing behind the basement insulation which has caused mold that the builders are in the middle or remediating. Once they fix it, how would I run the chimney out without disturbing the insulation and therefore inviting more potential mold problems in the future? Does spray foam work to insulate around the chimney or could that be a potential fire hazard given the flammability of spray foam?
Rocket Scientist
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Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi J De;  Welcome to Permies;
And welcome to the wonderful world of rocket science!
I'm sorry to tell you that putting a RMH in the basement is not usually recommended. Only in a full finished basement, that you spend your time in would it be a good idea.
A RMH needs to be where you spend the most time. A J tube design rmh needs wood every 45 minutes or so. A batch box design would extend that to over a hour.
Yes, heat rises. But to rise all the way to the second floor it would need to be burning steadily for hours.

Now having said that, I will say folks have done that in the past we just don't hear back how well they liked running up and down stairs to keep the fire burning.Or how long they kept their rmh.

I would suggest a smaller rmh in a living area on the first floor. Or a bedroom on the second floor. A room that your family spends time in will make it easy and enjoyable to feed a rmh.

Now about chimneys.  They do best going up thru the roof. A class A roof jack with class A insulated pipe. Your builders could install that for you.
It sounded like you were hoping to maybe exit the chimney thru a basement window???  Again that's not recommended.  The outside pipe would need to be insulated all the way up to the roof .
Or you would need a mason to build you a block chimney outdoors for your rmh to vent properly.

You can have a RMH, it just needs a proper install to make it an enjoyable experience.
I suggest getting a copy of the RMH builders guide readily available from Amazon. It will answer all your questions!

Or we have a crew of happy rocket scientists eagerly waiting to help you!  
Feel free to come back often and ask questions!
We'll leave the light on!
Happy rocket scientists eagerly awaiting your questions!
Happy rocket scientists eagerly awaiting your questions!
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Location: Westbridge, BC, Canada
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Not much to add to what Thomas already suggested but I did find a thread that a fellow Jason Speaks started that discussed the same thing. Near the end of the thread he said it worked out for him but no recent updates.  

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