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rocket mass heater in sauna

 
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Could sure use some info...
I have a stand-alone sauna that I'm about ready to put a stove in, then heard about rocket stoves/heaters. I was wondering if I could install the wood feeder/heat riser portion in the sauna room to heat it... then extend the ducting/mass bench through a wall into the changing room to heat it.
Wondering:
Will the barrel get hot enough by itself to create a sauna-like experience? (sauna room is 7x8.5x7)
Will the thermal mass bench in the other room make the changing room too warm? (chanring room dimensions are the same)
What special considerations should I make to go through the wall?
Thanks for any thoughts
RRB
 
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kelly ogle wrote:Could sure use some info...
I have a stand-alone sauna that I'm about ready to put a stove in, then heard about rocket stoves/heaters. I was wondering if I could install the wood feeder/heat riser portion in the sauna room to heat it... then extend the ducting/mass bench through a wall into the changing room to heat it.
Wondering:
Will the barrel get hot enough by itself to create a sauna-like experience? (sauna room is 7x8.5x7)


Yes. The top third of the barrel gets as hot as most woodstoves - 400 to 800 F depending on your fuel and draft. You can place rocks on top of the barrel and scoop water onto them if you want a wet sauana, but I would check the top for corrosion and maybe oil it or paint it with high-temp stove paint (rated for 1200 or 2000 F)


Will the thermal mass bench in the other room make the changing room too warm? (chanring room dimensions are the same)


The bench surface usually doesn't get much above 75 to 90 F, sometimes hotter for thin spots. I would think it would be very comfortable, especially if people are opening and shutting both sauna and outside doors a lot. Clothing left on the bench top would be warm for getting dressed; just finish the top with a good plaster or something like tile or wood.



What special considerations should I make to go through the wall?


You'd want to make sure that the hottest part of the pipe (the part coming out of the barrel) is not too close to any wooden structures, and there is good clearance from the barrel to the structures. Clearances that are roughly compatible with building codes would be 36" from the barrel to combustible walls or benches, or 18" with a heat shield with 1" air gap.
For the part of the bench that goes through the wall, the masonry heater convention is a "wing wall": after the usual 5" masonry thickness around the channels in the bench itself, you'd make a 4" thick mini-wall, extending 8" out from the top and sides of the bench, to fill in the space between the bench and the wall framing.



Thanks for any thoughts
RRB



One other thought: Depending how you use your sauna, there are some extra considerations different from home heating. It's often dark; people tend to relax, and some people use saunas as entertainment while intoxicated, or as therapy while ill. There's always a possibility someone will faint, or become too drowsy to tend the fire. People can get disoriented in the heat and steam, and blunder into the heater instead of walking out. So you may want to consider building in some extra-safeties such as outside air, extra draft (taller heat riser or vertical exit chimney), a venting / safety light window, and some little mini-walls or heat shields to keep anyone from falling onto the hottest surfaces.

Hope that helps! There have been some other sauna projects on these forums so you might search around for pictures or ask for updates from the builders.

Yours,
Erica W
 
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