I'm in the process of designing our future home and am thinking we will do a bit of experimentation with RMHs and rocket stoves AFTER the house has been built, at which point we will decide what to install more permanently.
I've allowed some space in the living room for a wood burning heater of some kind, and I've left space in the kitchen for some kind of stove, but beyond allocating a patch of floor space I've made no other provisions in the plan for a RMH and rocket stove.
So what else should I consider when designing a home, to allow for easy installation of a future RMH or rocket stove?
The house will be made from timber and have polished timber floors, so already I'm guessing there might be some potential issues if I don't give this some thought now!
The climate is very mild so the RMH will only be used in winter months.
While I hope someone experienced with RMH/RS will chime in, I have a few generic woodburner points:
1) Make sure the floor can take the weight, rocket MASS heater generally means lots of mass!
2) Make sure the floor is insulated, or can easily be insulated if needed.
3) Air/heat circulation is a huge consideration. How many stories in this house? If more than one, having the woodstove on the lower floor is optimal; consider vents between the floors. Having the wood heat in a central area, with a minimum of long corridors, corners, doorways, etc, will help the heat spread through the house, as will well planned ducting. Integration into a hot water supply, or a radiator based heating loop, would be best to plan in advance as well.
4) Chimneys; seems obvious... but putting the wrong things in the areas the chimneys will occupy could be major headaches later. Also, consider where the chimney will be coming out on the roof or wall. Any conflicts are best avoided now.
5) Finally, if it's a mild climate where the stove will see modest use in winter only, are 2 stoves necessary? Could you put a single RMH at the kitchen/livingroom border, if these are contiguous?
Debris area design so that you are OK with the bits of wood bark and ashes that will be a tad messy and a good route for carrying wood. While you're at it, a integral wood storage/chopping area might be something to consider.
Type of rocket, J-style or batch? Do you want to play / fiddle with the fire every 5 or 10 minutes whilst it is burning or do you want to start it and just let it burn? J-style for the former, and batch style for the later preference.
It sounds like you are covering this part anyway, but people seem most pleased when the RHM is built into an active area of the home. NOt so good being stuffed away in the basement unless you live there right near it. These are *not* forced air heating systems so they work best when you are close to the masonry heater.
As dillon said, make sure you support your floor extra well in the area you want your rocket. If you have hardwood floors you will want to build your core & mass elevated 2-3" above the floor. If you are thinking of building next to a wall ,extra insulation or better yet an air gap so all your heat stays inside the house and is not trying to heat a wall. Your chimney should exit the roof , although rmh can be vented out a wall, less trouble will be had if you go up instead of sideways. A block chimney is nice but because of the low temp of your exhaust, you can use exposed uninsulated pipe (your insurance company may not agree). You may want a " pad" in the area in front of the feed tube ,possibly tile or brick or any non flammable material to protect your hardwood from any hot stuff. Will you split all your wood outdoors? or want it smaller once its indoors ? If so, as erik said you will want a wood area near your stove. Deciding what type of rmh is another consideration. Batch rockets are the newest thing. They burn longer but they also burn much hotter.It sounds like your climate will not need a batch design . A J tube is the original design, after you heat your core & mass up an 8" J tube will need wood every 30-45 minutes , yes while its getting started every 5-20 minutes you will be poking & prodding ... but once it's hot it will burn unattended for twice that. Remember unless it's very cold , you won't be burning this but a few hours a morning and or a few in the eavning. While you are planning you should invest in "ianto evans" rmh book and possibly the wisners new book (only available as a download currently) there are also a set of videos that you may enjoy. Search the back posts here at permies and you will see many different style rmh's, you may like a bell design better for its smaller footprint and similarity to a masonry heater, that could make an insurance agent happier. No matter what style you build always refer to it as a masonry heater when talking to any bureaucrat... they don't know or care what a rocket stove is because it isn't in their rule book, BUT a masonry stove is. Good Luck, happy planning and future happy rocketing.
Not all who wander are lost... J.R.R. Tolkien
posted 4 years ago
Brilliant. Thank you Thomas, Erik and Dillon! I'll give all of that some serious thought before we commence the build.