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Newbie here, suggestions RMH for 100 square feet  RSS feed

 
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Hello.
I have stubled across this excellent online resource and have been soaking up videos and discussipns regarding rocket mass heaters.

My friend and I are planning to each build a small 1v dome structure out of wood and pkywood. Styrofoam insulation and lining the inside with Aluminum for reflective radiant heat conservation.

These will be appx 100 square feet and appx 8000 cubic feet of space. Not very big.

Our issues are the fact that the location of these shelters will make it extremely difficult to bring materials in. Also we need long term viabilty on the RMH and will not be able to consitantly replace things.

Outside temperatures in the winter for 4 months will average minus 10 degrees on the low side with some days reaching lower.

Can you suggest a proper size of RMH including size of burn hole as well as width and height of insulated riser as well as outside drum.


For long lasting potential would a single stove pipe handling te exhaust heat from the drum extending 6 feet straight out horizontally exiting the structure be ok?

As far as heat mass is concerned we may have to result in surounding the exiting stoce pipe with large rocks to protect the pipe and then pebble size rocks for heat mass. Is this going to provide suitable holding heat mass.

How long will this setup last? 2 years, 5years, 10 years?

Would a cast iron wood stive be a bettwr long lasting option?

We were thinking of making the fire box and riser from fire brick. Is thos good? How log will the fire brick last?

Thank you so much for your time!

Will


 
Will Williamson
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I meant 100 square feet and 800 cubic feet.
 
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Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
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It seems you're going for extreme heat loss efficiency, so with the tiny size you could get by with quite a small system. A major issue might be the door - you would lose a noticeable fraction of the room air each time you open it. The RMH is valuable in this because its primary function is not to heat air but to make a warm surface to sit on. I would suggest making the mass in/under the bed so you get maximum benefit from it overnight. Even if you are not sitting on the bed when awake, you will be right next to it most of the time.

In the extreme Arctic-like conditions you describe, I would expect a good amount of gusty weather, so an exit straight out a sidewall is likely to be a problem. You really want the chimney to go straight up inside to keep it warmer for good draft, and to position it where it will get the least gust effects. If it is within a few feet of the top center of the dome, and a few feet higher, it will be as well situated as possible.

Is there any kind of clay available in the vicinity of your build site? If so, you will have a simple job of constructing a mass cavity beneath the bed. If not, you might need to bring in some sheetmetal sections and fabricate a tight box to surround with stones. A 55 gallon barrel cut in half lengthwise and surrounded with stone would be a quick and effective means to do this.

Sizing: In general, a 6" diameter system is the smallest common size; a 4" system can sometimes be made to work well if built just right and tweaked, but it has severely limited output. In a more temperate climate, I might suggest close to 4" for such a small space, but I think you would be safer going with 6". If it generates too much heat for the space, you just need to run it for shorter periods to charge up the mass. You might want to burn a couple of times a day to cook anyway. By the way, how is the wood supply in your location? You can use small stuff, even spruce/fir if that is what grows there, but it will need to be dry. A smaller system is especially sensitive to this.

The exact dimensions of the combustion core will depend in part on your materials. Firebrick is an excellent choice, likely to outlast you. You will need good insulation surrounding a firebrick core, which can be rockwool, ceramic fiber blanket, perlite, or any fireproof material you have available. The feed tube, burn tunnel and heat riser should have similar shapes and sizes, like 5" x 5", 4 1/2" x 6", or whatever works. For the riser and possibly other areas, you can use firebrick splits (4 1/2" x 9" x 1 1/4") to minimize unhelpful mass in the unit and weight carried in. You would want a small steel barrel to go over the riser, any size that gives at least 1" at pinch points around the insulated riser and around 2" average, for good airflow. Remember the recommended ratio of 1:2:4 for feed tube height above burn tunnel floor, burn tunnel total length, and riser height above floor. The actual dimensions will depend on your barrel clearances and brick sizes. The burn tunnel can be as short as possible and still have working clearances.

Have you read the book Rocket Mass Heaters, third edition (or as a digital download from rocketstoves.com) yet? It gives a lot of details for construction in various conditions.
 
Will Williamson
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Hi Glenn - thank you so much for your detailed reply. - You bring up a great point about the door..... one that makes me think how important it would be in any size stricture to build a little entry alcove where you enter and close the door behind you and do what you need to do and then open the structure door and enter.....

I agree with the making the mass under the bed, or use it as the bed.... with such a small space the bed area will double as a sitting area in the day.

I am not sure about clay. we will have access to earth.....and small and large rocks..... can we make clay from this?

your other information I will deliberate on as even some of the terminology I need to run through in my head.....

I just purchased the ebook you mentioned and have just made a thermos full of tea with cinnamon, cardamon, pepper, ginger, milk and honey and I am getting ready to read the book.




Glenn Herbert wrote:It seems you're going for extreme heat loss efficiency, so with the tiny size you could get by with quite a small system. A major issue might be the door - you would lose a noticeable fraction of the room air each time you open it. The RMH is valuable in this because its primary function is not to heat air but to make a warm surface to sit on. I would suggest making the mass in/under the bed so you get maximum benefit from it overnight. Even if you are not sitting on the bed when awake, you will be right next to it most of the time.

In the extreme Arctic-like conditions you describe, I would expect a good amount of gusty weather, so an exit straight out a sidewall is likely to be a problem. You really want the chimney to go straight up inside to keep it warmer for good draft, and to position it where it will get the least gust effects. If it is within a few feet of the top center of the dome, and a few feet higher, it will be as well situated as possible.

Is there any kind of clay available in the vicinity of your build site? If so, you will have a simple job of constructing a mass cavity beneath the bed. If not, you might need to bring in some sheetmetal sections and fabricate a tight box to surround with stones. A 55 gallon barrel cut in half lengthwise and surrounded with stone would be a quick and effective means to do this.

Sizing: In general, a 6" diameter system is the smallest common size; a 4" system can sometimes be made to work well if built just right and tweaked, but it has severely limited output. In a more temperate climate, I might suggest close to 4" for such a small space, but I think you would be safer going with 6". If it generates too much heat for the space, you just need to run it for shorter periods to charge up the mass. You might want to burn a couple of times a day to cook anyway. By the way, how is the wood supply in your location? You can use small stuff, even spruce/fir if that is what grows there, but it will need to be dry. A smaller system is especially sensitive to this.

The exact dimensions of the combustion core will depend in part on your materials. Firebrick is an excellent choice, likely to outlast you. You will need good insulation surrounding a firebrick core, which can be rockwool, ceramic fiber blanket, perlite, or any fireproof material you have available. The feed tube, burn tunnel and heat riser should have similar shapes and sizes, like 5" x 5", 4 1/2" x 6", or whatever works. For the riser and possibly other areas, you can use firebrick splits (4 1/2" x 9" x 1 1/4") to minimize unhelpful mass in the unit and weight carried in. You would want a small steel barrel to go over the riser, any size that gives at least 1" at pinch points around the insulated riser and around 2" average, for good airflow. Remember the recommended ratio of 1:2:4 for feed tube height above burn tunnel floor, burn tunnel total length, and riser height above floor. The actual dimensions will depend on your barrel clearances and brick sizes. The burn tunnel can be as short as possible and still have working clearances.

Have you read the book Rocket Mass Heaters, third edition (or as a digital download from rocketstoves.com) yet? It gives a lot of details for construction in various conditions.

 
Glenn Herbert
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Sounds good!
You can't make clay, it is either there or not. The book will describe how to tell the quality of any possible clay you find.

In a space as small as you are considering I wouldn't try to make a real vestibule; but a regular door and a storm door with a foot or foot and a half between them would allow you to pretty much close one before opening the other.
 
And tomorrow is the circus! We can go to the circus! I love the circus! We can take this tiny ad:
Rocket mass heaters in greenhouses can be tricky - these plans make them easy: Wet Tolerant Rocket Mass Heater in a Greenhouse Plans
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