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rmh for tiny houses?  RSS feed

 
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I have a tiny house on wheels 8x24...or roughly 200 sq feet.

Is a rmh a viable option?

I would love to do one that I could fire up at night and it would keep my lil place and my dogs warm all the next day.

Thoughts...go!
 
Posts: 147
Location: New Hampshire
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forest garden hugelkultur tiny house
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Probably not a viable option due to weight. My rmh is in my 12'x24' cabin and it works great, but then the cabin is on solid footing. Before building the cabin I was looking at building a tiny house, but calculating out the weight of just the structure I wanted showed how little wiggle room there is. Even a small mass would add hundreds of pounds/kilos.

Also, the mass does take up quite a bit of space in the cabin so I had to plan carefully just to make everything fit in a way that works. Mine runs along one wall, under the stairs to the loft (which on the underneath is the closet) and through the bathroom. It does make a nice heated seat in the shower, but also complicated the design; and the bathroom is 5' wide.

If/when I build a tiny house I'd certainly look for a small & efficient propane heating system, probably with an electric space heater as a backup.
 
Posts: 416
Location: Otago, New Zealand
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There's been a few threads on permies about this but I haven't seen one done inside a moveable tiny home sucessfully yet. As Ron mentions weight is an issue, both for floor strength, and for driving/legals. One way to solve the latter is to make something that is removable.

Other issues are size of mass in a small space, best minimum flue size for efficiency (there is info on this in past threads), and safety/design.

I considered this for my housetruck (similar size to your tiny home) but fast and direct heat suited my situation better so have a conventional wood stove (with fire bricks inside). A RMH inside a tiny moving home would need good design and experimentation to get right. I think someone will eventually do this, but the RMH material I have seen is aimed at efficiency in spaces that are quite different to mobile tiny homes. I would love to have a more efficient wood stove so that I burn less wood, and can see a rocket stove being in such a small space, but the mass will always be the design sticking point. Maybe someone will develop a hybrid that ups efficiency but sacrifices some of the mass as a concession to weight and space.

Just looking at the old threads, Erica Wisener says that RMHs in tiny houses are using 1/2 - 3 tons of mass. That's about 3 x the weight of my full sized woodburner, and not an amount I would want to add to the house.

http://www.permies.com/t/14609/wood-burning-stoves/RMH-flue-fires

Another option is to build mass into the tiny home that serves dual purposes.

http://www.permies.com/t/28910/wood-burning-stoves/Mini-Pocket-Rocket-Van-life#231392
 
Ron Helwig
Posts: 147
Location: New Hampshire
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forest garden hugelkultur tiny house
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Oh yeah, there's also the stress that moving would put on the mass, making cracks or breaks a big issue.

In a tiny house I would even avoid wood burning because you have to store the wood somewhere, and space is precious. Also, when bringing in wood you'd be bringing in critters/bugs as well as sawdust etc that will get all over.

And as I learned last Winter, with my RMH (and probably to a lesser extent a traditional wood stove) you get fine ash all over the place. Before this spring I always wondered why "spring cleaning" existed as a thing. I always keep my place relatively tidy but there was just no way to clean everything all Winter.
 
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