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Pebble Mass RMH  RSS feed

 
Posts: 18
Location: Just south of Dallas Texas
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So I built a rmh. After watching and reading and talking with everyone for more than a year I took the leap.
--DISCLAIMER--
After building the rmh there are things I would like to change and things that I could do different to make it better.
-- back to the post --
I made a 6 inch system, used clay and perlite to insulate the burn chamber, full fire bricks for the burn chamber, small pea gravel for the mass, and vented it out the window. I live in Texas about 20 minutes south of downtown Dallas. We do not get cold like the north does (born in NJ lived in Ma). I live in a trailer home so it had to be small enough not to add several tons of extra weight to the end of the trailer where it is located.
I took a lot from Pauls videos on his portable heater. Then I studied as much of the info as was available on his pebble style heater that he put in his office. I built the system with a very short exhaust (yes I know I am not getting all the heat out of it before it vents outside) in hopes of keeping the exhaust hot enough to still be rockety even though it is fairly warm outside. Most nights we don't get below freezing.
After using the heater for about 2 weeks now this is what I have learned. Starting at the front...
The burn box is to close to the end of the system for my wife to be comfortable, the wall near the burn box gets warm (admittedly it gets real warm but not scorching hot).
The feed tube should be taller, I have been sitting a few bricks around the opening to make it taller and plan to fix them into place when I put the decorative coating of clay on the outside.
The barrel is ugly. I am thinking I will paint it with high heat stove paint.
The exhaust is to short. I could have made it longer and still kept it working well.
So what are my likes??
I love that I am able to heat half of my house with sticks. I am using the branches from the 3 trees I had to take down this past February.
I live out in the county so my power goes out on a regular basis during the winter and since everything runs on electric there was no heat. Now I have a way to heat the house even if the power goes out.
The house smells like a wood fire! Yay!!

My wife's hope was to cut our winter electric bill by 25% to 50%. The jury is still out on that one but I have high hopes.
My plan was to have a heating system that would be sustainable and off grid. I have gotten what I wanted.
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Posts: 5
Location: southern Indiana
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As far as the pebble mass, does it seem to hold and radiate heat out very well and for very long? And any pics of that finished? Thanks for sharing
 
Curt Hettman
Posts: 18
Location: Just south of Dallas Texas
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Yes the pebbles get warm. I think they would get very warm if my exhaust was longer. I have pics of it with the rocks in, but it is as yet unfinished. I plan on making a wood bench over the rocks and staining all the wood so it will be prettier.
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sorry it is blurry
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how high I should have made the feed tube
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what I am burning
 
Posts: 28
Location: Southeast TN
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Awesome, this looks great! I'm looking forward to starting my heater in the near future and I plan to do something similar, with a longer bench.

My design is for an 8" system with a 8-10' bench. But I love the wood box bench with pebbles for mass, I planned to do the same.

Did you mortar your brick into place? Your pics just show your dry stack and then finished.

Keep up the good work!
 
Posts: 243
Location: near Houston, TX; zone 8b
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Yes the pebbles get warm. I think they would get very warm if my exhaust was longer.



If your barrel is not encased in cob, you are losing most of the heat from the steel. If you want the pebbles warmer, insulate the barrel.
 
Curt Hettman
Posts: 18
Location: Just south of Dallas Texas
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Cindy, thanks I didn't think about that. That is why I am here to learn and be a part of growing the community.
Willie, I did a dry stack without mortar and used the clay perlite mix on the outside as the mortar.
Today I put the bench on and as soon as I have a few dollars more I will put a backrest and cushion on and get the box stained.
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I cut down the front and side
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bench is 19/32 plywood
 
I can't beleive you just said that. Now I need to calm down with this tiny ad:
five days of natural building (wofati and cob) and rocket cooktop oct 8-12, 2018
https://permies.com/t/92034/permaculture-projects/days-natural-building-wofati-cob
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