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help with RMH design

Posts: 2007
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Hi Folks, I'm hoping someone can share a little insight and experience.

I am building a rocket stove mass heater in my small cob greenhouse. (This is not connected to the house where i live and sleep). I have collected most of the materials, and am puzzling over a few "how do I ......? s".

The passage from the barrel to the heat diffusion tubes...... I'm building a 6 inch system, and have some old 6 inch black stove pipe and some new pieces. I know not to make a cross sectional area smaller than the horizontal combustion chamber, but can I just shape it up out of brick? then cob over it to make it stable and airtight?

Next comes the clean out. I am really wondering about that. Seems like the most important clean out is the one just after the barrel -- the fumes fall down the barrel sides and go into the pipes to the mass. I have a 6 inch T with a cap, and though I know it would be easiest to have the opening on the bottom, I just can't seem to fit it in. What I am thinking is that I can raise the barrel, and all connected to it, so that the bottom edge of the barrel is above the heat distribution, so the ash will fall down into the stove pipe and I can clean it out from the top or side of the 6 inch pipe.

Does this make sense, and is there something I have not considered which will cause huge frustration later, either in how the stove burns, or the clean out process?

Further down the heat tubes, I come to some bends and short runs. I have a couple of factory made adjustable 90 elbows -- and I have some 1 gallon tin cans-- exactly 6 inch diameter. If I use the cans for some of the short runs, how can I seal the joints between the elbows and the cans? I've been reading about a metal tape, and about silicone sealant. Is there anything I need to know before I go looking for the tape? (Sometimes the people at Home Depot don't know much about the products, so I have found that I am better off if I am not relying on having the good fortune to get a good helper.

Another not so pressing question is about the turns I am building in. I am making a 180 in about a 3 foot square, then a couple of 45 degree turns. I will have less than 20 linear feet total ibefore I go out the wall. Again, I know this is not ideal, but I have no experience, and it is winter here and I feel like I need to get something built so I can add heat to the greenhouse.

Thanks so much for any help.

Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association
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