I have a ranch style home in Iowa that has a full 8' concrete foundation wall on the front of the home and a 4' foundation wall on the rear. It's a bit unique in that regard but I like it. I have a "higher efficiency" wood stove on the main floor which adequately heats the main level. It is vented straight through the roof and drafts well. I also have an auto damper type "make up" air intake that is tied into the cold air return of the HVAC system which helps to keep the home from developing a negative pressure condition.
The problem is that when I run the stove to heat the main level the basement temp will naturally drop into the 50's which obviously is not comfortable. I would love to install a rocket mass heater in the basement! I think the ones that have plans available on this page http://www.richsoil.com/rocket-stove-mass-heater.jsp are incredible and would love to build one. I have a place in mind on the rear of the home which would back it up against the 4' foundation wall and it would sit on the basement slab I think? The flue would have to go through the rear framed wall and ninety up on the exterior. I don't know if I would be able to stop just outside the exterior wall or have to go up through the soffit in order to avoid back drafting.
After reading a billion posts on rocket stoves I'm not sure it will work. Taking air from low ground, exterior intake for the stove/ no exterior intake, this list of options/ questions goes on and on. Basically I guess I just need to know whether it will work or not and possibly some direction on which set of plans to purchase if any. I understand that things are evolving in the RMH world and recently read about shipping manufactured cores. What an awesome idea.
I love the idea of the RMH. Less fuel consumption, higher efficiency, best of all reduced dependence on the grid. I think I like that part the best.
Mike Gillingham : I think that your present system is trying to tell you that you have some big problems with it !
I would get a professional in to see what is going on! Most Likely, you could easily find that the RMH is making your system worse.
You also need to due little research on "STACK EFFECT" and 'Whole House Stack Effect', Understanding the concept of Stack Effect,
especially as it effects Rocket Mass Heaters RMHs, and very specifically RMHs in basements, is easy, Grasping the realities are much
harder, Someone turning on the fan in the hood over your Kitchen oven, Or running a Clothes Dryer that vents outdoors can cause
your Rocket to Backdraft, and fill your Basement and House With Smoke !
I definitely would plan on A full exterior Chimney that exhausted on the lee side of the house and ended 4 -5' above the ridge line of
my house, Anything less may work, but it would be several heating seasons before you would know For Sure !
For the Craft, Think like Fire, Flow like a Gas, Don't be a Marshmallow! As always,comments and questions are Welcome and Solicited
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posted 5 years ago
I don't have any problems with the present system. If I want the whole house warm I use the furnace. If I just want the upstairs warm and can deal with a 55 degree basement I can run the wood stove in the living room. I would like to install a RMH in the basement so that I don't have to use the furnace at all during the winter months and can still enjoy my basement space.
Yes Stack effect is what I am concerned about. I don't want to buy a PDF or DVD to find out that the thing will not work in my situation. I really like the mass portion of the design and have even imagined that the RMH would be enough that I wouldn't have to run the upstairs stove much. It's a hard call but since Ernie and Erica Wisner have so much diverse experience in this subject I was hoping they might chime in and offer some thoughts as well. If not the masters then maybe some folks who have built a few and can suppose what I might need to do in order to make it work or not...
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