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Dan Broun
Posts: 24
Location: Southern Missouri
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Hello Permies,

I am in the process of purchasing land and am planning out the house I want to build. It's only .71 acres, but It is super cheap, and in an area where I can have animals and what not, and I am in the process of finding out just how green I can make this place. I am 90% sure that I can do it with strawbale, but the earthen floor might not get the greenlight, but that's still a year or more down the road so lets hope.

Back on track, the purpose of my post here is to inquire as to the feasibility of an idea that I had. As I plan to use solar, I want to cut my energy costs as much as possible. In the same frame of mind, I don't want to have propane, just because it's an added hassle. So even though electric isn't entirely out of the question, I would much rather do all of my cooking with wood. Having an indoor wood fired oven isn't that uncommon, and they can be used and not bring the temperature of the house way way up, but the cooking stove is another matter entirely. One of the big selling points for those big cast iron cook stoves is that they heat your house and your water, etc etc. I don't want one of those. I want to make into by cob counters, a rocket cook stove. I intend to have it vent out to the same chimney as the wood oven, but I am concerned about what this will mean for the summer time. This house will be passive solar, actually I'm basically making a straw bale and cob earthship. The stove and oven would be at the very back of the kitchen, and would receive little sunlight in the summer, and surrounded by all of that insulated thermal mass, I am hoping that will keep it from heating up EVERYTHING. The kitchen will also be on the far end of the house, with only one door to the rest of the place, aside from the one leading to the greenhouse where I am planning on venting the heat through one of the skylights.

I have found very little information on indoor kitchen set ups like this, and am wondering if anyone can shed some light on this for me. Will this end up making the house too hot? I am on the fence about air conditioning, hoping that I can keep the place cool through design alone. I am also debating putting in earthship style cooling tubes, but I won't have a berm, so If I had to go that route, I would have to get pretty creative.

Any and all advice is welcomed.

Thanks
 
Dan Broun
Posts: 24
Location: Southern Missouri
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I know I wasn't very clear in the description, but the stove I had in mind would be very similar to this, just placed into a cob counter, with a hood over it that also vents through the chimney.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvlOelD5HOE
 
thomas rubino
Posts: 828
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi Dan; Welcome to permies! I have lived off grid with wood & propane for the last 30 years. Let me tell you, that no matter what style stove you build and how far away from the solar heating your kitchen is planned to be... you are not going to like a wood burner indoors in the summer ! A propane range is just the thing to heat up some water first thing in the morning, although it is a petroleum product and not (green) it is a wonderful convenience especially if you need to get up and out the door for work .... A summer kitchen outdoors is where you bake and even stovetop cook, this is where you place that large cast iron wood cook stove ,or build a traditional cob rmh with an oven and a cook top. You don't mention your location, what is your weather like ? When you first move off grid it's all fun, sort of like an extended camping trip with a roof and hopefully hot & cold running water. After the years start passing you begin to notice that you really like certain "conveniences" and maybe it would be OK if you had some of them... Take it from somebody who really has been there and done that... think LONG TERM ! Being as green as you can is good & easy... but while you are doing that remember that the rest of the industrialized world is sucking the life out of the planet and currently is planning on watering our crops and our animals with WASTEWATER FROM FRACKING !!! Do all you can to leave as little footprint as possible every little thing can help But having a few comforts while you are doing it is OK because who knows how long mother earth will take our shxt before saying enough is enough .
 
Satamax Antone
gardener
Posts: 2281
Location: Southern alps, on the French side of the french /italian border 5000ft high Southern alpine climate.
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Dan Broun
Posts: 24
Location: Southern Missouri
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Thanks for the responses! I am looking through the link that was posted, and looks like it is going to be very useful.

As far as summer cooking goes, I always planned on having an outdoor kitchen, here in southern Missouri, but I will also make sure I have a couple induction cook tops for the indoors so that i don't burn myself out of the house in the summer. I'll still try it though, at least once.

I appreciate you also taking the time to warn me about how quickly living off grid can get old, but let me just say that i've planned this whole thing from the get go, without having to want for anything, really. Even though there will be tons of insulated thermal mass, I still have a couple fireplaces planned, for the cloudy winter weeks when it actually does get cold enough here in MO. And for the ridiculous summers, I'm probably going to have central air conditioning, I'm just hoping that I can do that by running a fan through some cooling tubes to get the desired effect. I think i MIGHT be able to run a very small AC unit off of the solar set up I have in mind, and I have been planning a biodiesel back up to kick on if the batteries get to low.

I love the standard of life I have right now, and as a single guy, I think it would be fairly difficult to bring home women to something resembling a permanent camp site. I just want to build a home affordably, that will last a long time, and wont contribute to some of the things that you mentioned. And I hadn't heard about them wanting to water crops with fracking water... we are in for a rude awakening. I would say they, but we are going to suffer too. They say if things keep up the way it is, Missouri will go from the nice green place I grew up in, to something more similar to west Texas.



 
Dan Broun
Posts: 24
Location: Southern Missouri
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Satamax, that is some damn fine work, and one hell of a thread. I spent a decent amount of time on google looking for exactly that, but couldn't find much.

So here is my thought, because I still think this might be feasible. Your cooker is sitting in a huge thing of metal, and heats up that entire apparatus pretty quickly I would imagine. If instead it where sitting entirely in a big hunk of cob, and had maybe ten percent of the metal, do you think this thing would be easier to use in the summer?

If you are only using say a to foot by three foot metal plate, or even 1.5-2.5, and thats the only metal that is going to heat up, but also with the removable holes, do you think it would dissapate the excess heat faster, and make it bearable to use in the heat?

Also, what is the house like that you use this in? If you go a room or two away, without alternate heating I imagine it gets pretty cold doesn't it? Below I will post a link with first draft floorplan for my house. You will see the kitchen on the far left. If the wall dividing the kitchen from the rest of the house is cob, and I use exterior doors, I imagine that if I close that door, the heat will stay in the kitchen. What do you think?

http://www.homestyler.com/designprofile/a09ff2f4-aa78-42ed-af68-b503f65286f5
 
Satamax Antone
gardener
Posts: 2281
Location: Southern alps, on the French side of the french /italian border 5000ft high Southern alpine climate.
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Dan, i live in an old 18th century stone building in the southern alps, in france, about 5000 ft high.


I have back up heat, but i don't need much, the flat is 400sqft, or aproximately. This thing is definately lacking mass. But it will be transformed into another batch rocket cooker and massonry heater at some point. I'm moving place soon i hope.

But it will be dormant in the summer, exept if we get a snowy day, or badly rainy, when it gets cold.


Even encased in cob, bricks or else, i think it's way too much to have inside in the summer. You start it up, and don't feel the heat much, then an hour after, you have 27C° in the flat, with only two reloads!
 
Satamax Antone
gardener
Posts: 2281
Location: Southern alps, on the French side of the french /italian border 5000ft high Southern alpine climate.
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Dan, there's matthew, working on this one for the moment.

http://donkey32.proboards.com/thread/1624/walker-riser-less-core?page=1

There's this one, which apeared lately!

http://donkey32.proboards.com/post/16159/thread

And i threw that idea in lately

http://donkey32.proboards.com/thread/1568/batch-cooker
 
Dan Broun
Posts: 24
Location: Southern Missouri
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I really like the look of the first one you posted, its not too far off from what I have in mind. Does it generally take you an hour to from the first lighting to prepare your food? I was planning on just running it long enough to cook, then have a stopper at the feed slot to kill the flame. Do you think that with shorter cook times you would heat the house less? I know that there is going to be room heating from this thing, no getting around it.

Another question, how shortly after your stove goes out does the cold start creeping in, or I could imagine you not having faced that problem. I'm betting that from where you live, diligently keeping up on your firebox becomes a second nature.

Either way, I'm just spit balling here. Once I get this up and going I am most likely going to make something more like what you where kind enough to link for me, those where very well made and I think they will work extremely well for both the indoor and outdoor kitchens. And when the time comes, I will try a July afternoon run, and let you all know how miserable it gets in the kitchen :p.


Good luck on the move, are you going to stay in the Alps, or are you going to look elsewhere?
 
Satamax Antone
gardener
Posts: 2281
Location: Southern alps, on the French side of the french /italian border 5000ft high Southern alpine climate.
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Dan, i think it is impossible to cook in less than an hour. Let say, it takes at least 1/2 hour to get to temp.


As for the heat, i wasn't woried, i have an electric accumulator, which runs on night time electricity.

And i'm not moving far, may be half a mile away.
 
John Elliott
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I'm in a similar situation, I would like to heat my house and I would also like a rocket cookstove in the kitchen. I built a RMH out of a 30 gallon smoker that now sits in front of the fireplace and is covered with a couple inches of cob. If I build a second one in the kitchen, it will have a plate of 1/2" cast iron on top and I will direct the exhaust gases around a sheetmetal breadbox to make an oven. I too, wondered how much the kitchen cookstove will heat up the whole house. I have come to the conclusion that it won't be much. Here are my specific observations:

1) The living room RMH only cuts the winter heating bill like about ~30%. This house is 1200 sq. ft., and if I want to be totally dependent on wood, I'm going to need to upsize, and a smaller cookstove in the kitchen isn't going to help much.

2) When the fire goes out in the RMH, the cob on top cools completely in an hour or so. Even when it is going full out, the temperature of the cob directly above the rocket chimney is only 130F; a temperature which adds heat to the room space, but is inadequate for cooking.

3) Because of venting my RMH through my existing fireplace chimney, I'm not capturing as much heat as I could. The gases exiting the top of the chimney are around 100F, and if they had to snake through a high thermal mass bench first, that would more efficiently capture the available heat.

4) I wonder how hot a cast iron plate right above the cookstove chimney will get. Oh, it will heat up fast, but will I have a little 4"x4" square of cooking surface while the edges are too cool to be useful?

5) After the rocket gases have left most of the heat on the cast iron cooktop, will there even be enough heat left to keep a breadbox type oven at a decent baking temperature?

This is still a work in progress, but I've made enough progress to offer the opinion that the kitchen RMH isn't going to be heating up the whole house. Maybe in the Missouri summer you would rather be cooking outdoors, but for the rest of the year you will be glad that the extra RMH in the kitchen warms it up a little. Oh, and I'm in Georgia, with a shorter heating and a longer cooling season than where you are.
 
Dan Broun
Posts: 24
Location: Southern Missouri
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So what I think I should focus on, is coming up with a design that will rapidly heat the cooking surface, so that I don't have to spend a lot of time bringing it up to temp. Right now, my normal cook time is around 20 minutes per meal. I think that if i design this thing to have two removable lids, that have the flames coming directly up the riser on the first one, then angling down below an insulated spacer, and coming up to run vertically underneath a second for cooking that needs less heat. I would have to make sure that the two openings will fit a snugly with whatever pot or wok I happen to be using, so I will need to find a standard size. In theory this should allow them to heat the first one more rapidly, and would be great for frying and boiling, and the other one for simmering.

For the way I normally cook, this is perfect. I eat a lot of fried eggs, stir fry, and rice. These all need very little actual cook time. I make the rice by bringing the exact amount of water i need to cook a specific amount of rice, add some salt and butter, once it boils i add the rice, cover, and reduce to a simmer. For this I could just cover and place in one of those thermal boxes that I learned about on here, but I forget the name of.

When I am doing things that are more time consuming, like reducing a lot of onions, or canning, or similar stuff, I prefer to be outside anyway because I like spending more time outdoors, and I don't want my entire house to smell like onions, lol.

And John, I really thought that the rocket heaters where supposed to produce a lot more heat that what you are getting. That's why I am trying so hard to keep the heat manageable on my range project. Does your home not have much insulation, or do you think your heater might need some tweaking?

Thanks for the replies!
 
John Pollard
Posts: 125
Location: Ozarks
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I'll second what Thomas has said. Been off grid and primitive for 5 years now and all the little chores get old after a while and almost everything is a chore. Do yourself a favor and get a two burner coleman propane camp stove. Preferably a used one green in color as they're made better than the new black ones. We've got one and it will go a couple of months on a 20lb tank. It works well with my pressure canner too. We heat with a wood stove which has a flat top and so we cook on it all winter. Being near a heat source in summer is no fun and I wouldn't want to bring a heat source into our non-air conditioned cabin for sure. Especially a few summers ago during that heat wave. Misery. If you burn yourself out being green, you'll end up quitting it all together and that ain't green. They used to refer to it as slaving over a hot stove for a reason.

 
John Elliott
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Dan Broun wrote:
And John, I really thought that the rocket heaters where supposed to produce a lot more heat that what you are getting. That's why I am trying so hard to keep the heat manageable on my range project. Does your home not have much insulation, or do you think your heater might need some tweaking?


Here in the South, houses are not superinsulated, just the normal batts of fiberglass in the framed exterior walls and 4" or so of blown-in insulation on the attic floor. I'm not surprised with the results I'm getting, one of the reasons is that my RMH only has about 400 lbs of thermal mass, not the tons you see in designs that incorporate a sitting bench or other massive structures. If you build your kitchen stove without connecting it to a big thermal mass, then the heat is not going to be able to stick around and heat the whole house. My RMH works for this climate, and there is always more tweaking I could do, but for now I am happy with a significantly reduced winter heating bill.
 
thomas rubino
Posts: 828
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi dan; I don't want you to think that being off grid (gets old) it doesn't but ... no need to be primitive about it if you don't have to be. My home has bright led lights a totally awesome (diamond brand) 18 cf propane fridge/freezer . full size propane range and a full size wood cook stove, a microwave we never use, a small window air conditioner that we never put in (open windows at night ... shut down early morning) 32" flat screen smart tv with direct tv . Nice stereo system. Full woodworking shop , auto shop. I went off grid in 1980, in 1986 I bought my current home. Power was connected ... I made them remove it ! Had to sign a notarized paper that I was requesting removal of their power, nobody had ever done that! Wanted me to know that when I wanted power back it would be a new service hook up and cost +++ I assured them that their power was overpriced and unreliable and I would not be wanting it back ,thank you very much! Its 2015 now and I still don't want their power back! Yes i have a remote start generator that I use when we want to run high draw items,but 90% of the time my hydro & solar provide all the energy I need. On another sadder note, yes they are allowing frackwater to be used on crops in california ,they also have made it legal to give to livestock! I can't believe the greed that drives our country anymore... uruguay is looking more and more progressive everyday! lol
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I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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