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Uncle Mud Basement Cob Rocket Heater Maintenance Update

 
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Here's an update on the Rocket Mass Heater we designed for the basement of a wellness clinic in NE Ohio. Built in 2019, it is starting its third season heating a 4000 plus square foot farmhouse. We came by to replace a cracked firebrick and perform inspection and cleaning to get it ready for this winter. We wanted to invite you to come along and see how it is doing.

 
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Great video showing the most common area for a J tube to fail. Are they using a P-channel plate? This can really help that leading brick last much longer.

Curious what the silver pipe exiting low down in the end of the stratification chamber (next to the black exhaust chimney) is for?
 
Chris McClellan
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That pipe is the code required outside air intake that comes in from the rim joist in the basement ceiling and runs along the bottom edge of the mass bench to maybe warm the air a little before it opens up down low a couple feet from the wood feed.
 
Chris McClellan
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A p channel plate interfered with completely closing the top of the feed tube. If the firebrick there breaks again from the heat I will have to design something.
 
Gerry Parent
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Thanks for the replies Chris.
Yeah, something as simple as making little grooves for the 'wings' of the P channel deep enough to sit into making the top flush with the rest of the feed tube so that a cover will completely seal the opening.
 
Chris McClellan
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That's what I was thinking thanks to your earlier comment. Thank you.
 
Chris McClellan
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Uncle Mud Basement Cob Rocket Heater Maintenance Update Part 2: Replacing a Cracked Firebrick

This Rocket Mass Heater burns hot enough  that it has cracked the firebrick in the top of the burn chamber. We designed the RMH to be easy to replace bricks with off-the-shelf parts when necessary. Sealing everything with cob rather than cementitious mortar makes it especially easy to repair. Stay tuned for part 3.

 
Chris McClellan
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Uncle Mud Basement Cob Rocket Heater Maintenance Update Part 3: Cleaning out the Bench Chamber

Part of the yearly season prep for any wood burning appliance should be a good cleaning. Rocket Heaters generally don't produce any creosote so it might be tempting to skip this bit. DON'T!! Creosote buildup (if there is any, which there shouldn't be) tells us there is something wrong. It could be a design issue, or someone burning trash or wet wood, or a nest clogging a chimney. The point is NEVER ASSUME it's going to be okay and that will help it be okay. Stay tuned for part 4

A decent, low cost ash vacuum https://amzn.to/2Z4yn13

 
Chris McClellan
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Uncle Mud Basement Cob Rocket Heater Maintenance Update Part 4: Explaining the Bench Chamber.

With the ash vacuumed out we have a good view of the guts of the Rocket Mass Heater's Stratification Chamber inside the cob bench. The exhaust enters the bench from the slot bottom left and exits at the bottom of the far end. The hottest gasses rise fairly evenly to the top of the chamber where they warm the cob bench from the inside. Stay tuned for Part 5 where we look in from the far end.
 
Chris McClellan
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Uncle Mud Basement Cob Rocket Heater Maintenance Update Part 5: Checking for Creosote. There is none

Opening the far end of the Stratification Chamber I was pleased to find NO CREOSOTE in the chamber or the pipe, and very little ash at all. The cleaner the burn, the more efficiently (and safely) your Rocket Mass Heater is turning your firewood into heat.

Please consider supporting our work at https://patreon.com/unclemud

Final Report Build Video from 2018: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nq-242iJ4FY

 
Yeast devil! Back to the oven that baked you! And take this tiny ad too:
rocket mass heater risers: materials and design eBook
https://permies.com/wiki/188812/rocket-mass-heater-risers-materials
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