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Existing furnace exhaust. Advice please!  RSS feed

 
Posts: 20
Location: South Bend, Indiana
forest garden solar woodworking
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Alright, for the last 2 years I have been paying anywhere from $300 to almost $600 a month for my electricity during the winter. And I am sick of it. I was told by a friends about how he plans to build a RMH, so I looked into it. After about 3 hours of research I believe I have the gist of it.

My only concern is how I plan to run the exhaust out.
I intend to build the RMH in my basement and run the final exhaust out through the chimney for my furnace. It is somewhere in the lines of 25 to 30 feet from the basement to the top outside the house. Would this cause me any problems with my RMH because of how tall it is?

Also I have a 2 story house, would a RMH in my basement actually be sufficient enough to heat my whole home?
 
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Jason E. Smith : Location, Location, location ! We need little more information from you ! We need to know your general location (Township ) to Guestimate your local

Winter weather conditions . from there we can get more specific about '' degree days '' (THis information is buried somewhere in your Elect bill) We will need to know

the number of square feet per floor,in your layout and age of your home, then onto Wind Exposures and Your buildings Lay-out and even its height above Sea-level .

Also important is its ease of use and effectiveness in a specific place in your house, and the risk / reward factor of a fire in your house, any fire in your home is

dangerous, putting it in a remote location, out of sight, out of mind, increases the dangers .


The leakier (drafty ) your house is, the less likely you are to have good luck with a basement location . Google ''Stack Effect " And '' Whole House Stack Effect ".

This is not just an intellectual exercise, you have to grasp the 2 basic ideas to understand why this is a major problem ! Such things as attempting to use your R.M.H.

while running a clothes drier, Your Kitchen / Bathroom exhaust fan, can cause your R.M.H. to draft back-wards filling your house with smoke !


An R.M.H. like all wood stoves is primarily a Space Heater, and will be hard pressed to Heat your whole house without over heating its core, are you willing to trade

off having a warm house core and not use parts during winter months ? How about a wife/ partner / Domestic Goddess ? ( any kids ? )


Nether your regular furnace nor any wood stove should ever share a chimney with an other appliance ! this goes back to the '' Whole house stack effect '' - Backdrafts,

and can kill you !

A tall chimney, especially an inside tall chimney is preferred, installing a chimney ''To Code " will be the most expensive part of your Build .

I am sure others will add on to this discussion, however You HAVE come to the right place, and if there is a R.M.H. in your future we will help you build it !

Remember we all started where you are now !!!


For the Good of the Craft ! Big AL

 
Jason E Smith
Posts: 20
Location: South Bend, Indiana
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Thank you got your replay.

I live in South Bend, IN.
Normally during the winter is anywhere from -20 to around +35 during the winter around here. Usually get a ton of lake affect snow and some pretty bitter wind chills. This winter was pretty mild.
My house is 66 years old with no insulation in the walls just in the attic. My basement is unfinished and around 750 sqft. First floor has four rooms and the bathroom and is around 750 sqft and the 2nd floor is a room and a hall way around 450 sqft.
Elevation is around 700 feet above sea level

I know all about how dangerous fire is. When I was 14 I burned myself, second degree burns all over my face.
My ex lives with me right now. (I know I know.) We have a child together and she has a son. She hates that I try to keep the temperature in the house as close to 70 as possibly. I always find that she has turned up the heat when I am not looking and it gets up to 80+. So I am pretty sure she wouldn't mind it. As for the kids, I don't think they would even notice.

My gas furnace is hooked up to the chimney, but I haven't used it in 2 years. For the most part I have gone electric for my heats. (Besides a couple of solar absorption heaters.) Chances are when I build this RMH I will completely disconnect the furnace. I was also trying to think of a way to "siphon" some of the heat off the RMH and use the pre-existing duct work to spread it around.

The Chimney is completely enclosed by the house except for the part that sticks out of the east side of the roof. I believe the Chimney is either 6 inch or 8 inch (Can't remember for sure, haven't but up there in years.) square tubing that is surrounded by brick.

That better?
I will be looking up the stack effect and Whole house stack effect now.
 
gardener
Posts: 1273
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi Jason ; Welcome to permies and the wonderful world of RMH! Your first question about how tall your chimney is, as long as the inside dia. matches or exceeds the dia. of your core & riser it would work fine. Next question will it heat a two story house... not very well, particularly if it is in the basement. All sorts of issues with a rmh in the basement... starting with, Do you spend most of your time down there ? If not, feeding a rmh every 40 minutes will quickly become a dreaded chore. RMH do best when they are located where you spend most of your time , in fact most people use their mass as a couch or even a day bed ! Another problem with a rmh in the basement is what is called the whole house stack effect, where things happening on the upper floors adversely effect the draft of the rmh in the basement, could cause a "smoke back" thru your feed tube , choking out everybody upstairs! Your on the rite track ... it is spring so you have all summer to acquire all your materials and work on this. If you can access your chimney from the main floor consider replacing your couch with a mass... nothing as warm as sitting on a 90 degree mass while its below zero outside! Purchase a copy of rocket mass heaters by ianto evans and read it multiple times . The moderators of this forum ernie & erica wisner have a new book soon to be released called the "builders guide" This will most likely become the new "bible of rmh building" ernie & erica have designed and built over 700 rmh all over the country, they are designers and innovators of all things rmh , if its been tried ... they will most likely know about it. There is currently a kickstarter to pre-purchase this book, I have ordred mine and I highly suggest that you do the same. RMH really do work awesome,as an example my wife's outdoor greenhouse / artist studio used to use 12-15 cords of wood to stay warm thru a montana winter, last year we burned less than 5 cords !!! With no fire all night long in a plastic greenhouse its -10 and windy outside and 40 + inside 8-10 hrs later !!! How cool is that! This year its closer to 4 cords ! It is very easy to get so excited about these that you rush out, buy a bunch of stuff and start building. That is what I did ... three rebuilds (core only) later I have finally perfected my greenhouse rmh. Read everything on this forum and another called "donkey pro board" that you can ... STAY OFF OF YOU TUBE !!! Lots of poor information there , with many supposed rmh there, that we jokingly call " FLAMING UNITS OF DEATH " read the books ...ask questions on the forums, there are many styles and sizes of rmh that can be built to fit almost any home. If there is a RMH in your future your in the rite place to get the help you need.
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allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Jason E. Smith : here's another vote for Ianto Evans Great book " Rocket mass heaters " . Go to Rocketstoves.com to pick up a PDF copy that will have it

in your hand today . There are a lot more RMH's successfully built after Reading 'the Book' than all other combinations of Advice from all sources (stay off U-Tube)

Also To help you navigate around Permies.com a little better - L@@K at this !!


http://www.permies.com/t/43625/introductions/Universal

this should help too ! for the good of the Crafts - Big AL
 
Jason E Smith
Posts: 20
Location: South Bend, Indiana
forest garden solar woodworking
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Thank you everyone for the advice about the books and such. But unfortunately I am on a very tight budget at this point. My last Electric bill was $543, this months is $383,98. Sadly I will not be able to purchase a copy of anything because of this. I won't be able to until probably the middle of summer, and chances are by then I will already have build a test RMH in my garage.
Besides, I love to learn but hate learning from books. I prefer to watch and learn.
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Jason E. Smith : I just went to Rocketstoves.com- the price for the downloadable pdf is $18.00 U.S.D. - Having "the book'' will save you more than that many times over-

by keeping you from spending money on something that will quickly fail or is the wrong size . This is an investment in a working build !


Having already said that you should stay away from U-Tube - most all of them are Crap videos, or have Fatal flaws, some are even '' Flaming Units of Death ''; I will modify that

to only goto sites strongly recommended by your Fellow Members* Here is a free look at 3/8ths of a professionally done, quality video ( for sale ) . The build is eye candy and

this is in large part due to the Build team assembled by ernie and erica Wisner for this RMH Build ,Enjoy !



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30rPCRB5e-s&list=PL0bZy202ImXP7NpLUJMtKJOjpjPPv59b

\
*It is important to us that you have a successful build For the good of the Crafts ! Big Al
 
Jason E Smith
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Location: South Bend, Indiana
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Actually I started by reading around, then went to youtube. While a couple of the guys seemed to know what they were doing, most seemed like that didn't have a brain cell in their heads.
I eventually came across this site while searching for the answer to my question, and began reading again. I have probably spent close to 6 hours now reading up on different people's problems and have learned quite a bit.
Now I don't believing in the slightest that I know everything about the RMH system and know for a fact that I will likely make mistakes while building the one in my garage. But the reason I will build it in my garage first is because I don't want to risk testing something in my home and burning it down or asphyxiating my daughter.
I know I will run into parts that I know little to nothing about, but when that happens I will sit down and do some research before continuing.

The book may only be $18 something, but I literally only have $11.50 to my name right now and I just got paid 2 days ago. I am also a disabled veteran and can't find a job around here so I only get paid once a month.
Believe me, if I had the extra money to buy the book I would. But the whole reason I am going to be building a RMH is because I need to save money next fall winter and early spring.
 
gardener
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If money is that tight right now, you won't be buying any measurable amount of materials, so start with any old brick, metal ducting, clay dug out of your backyard, etc. Build a test J-tube in your back yard and see how it burns. Add a barrel on top of it and see the difference. Then add 5 or 6' of vertical pipe/duct for a chimney and see how the draft improves. By the time you do these things and before you buy materials you will really need for a permanent build, set aside the money for a copy of the book. It will save you from a lot of mistakes and probably save you from ruining some materials later.
 
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Go to the library, and if they don't have the book you need, have them acquire it through interlibrary loan. You'll get in in 1-3 weeks and it will be free, or a dollar or two at most.

I don't know exactly what your immediate/short term solution to the heat problem is. But I do know that the long term solution is more insulation. 3 1/2" of cellulose blown into the walls will cut your heating needs at least in half. You can do that yourself fairly inexpensively. I have a lot of experience in that regard. Ask if you need details.

With the current levels of insulation, it is highly unlikely that a rmh in the basement will keep the house adequately warm.


The natural gas furnace would almost certainly heat the house cheaper than the electric, unless you are using the electric in a severe zone scenario where you are only really heating 2 or 3 rooms in the main living area.


Having somebody live in the house with you, in which you have an adversarial relationship, is going to turn out bad sooner or later. Make other arrangements, for the sake of everybody.

In the short term, install a second thermostat in a discrete location and disconnect the current one. Then let her jack with the fake all she wants. That's assuming you can't have a reasonable and adult conversation about where we set the thermostat, and how we split the heat bill.
 
Jason E Smith
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Troy Rhodes wrote:
I don't know exactly what your immediate/short term solution to the heat problem is. But I do know that the long term solution is more insulation. 3 1/2" of cellulose blown into the walls will cut your heating needs at least in half. You can do that yourself fairly inexpensively. I have a lot of experience in that regard. Ask if you need details.

With the current levels of insulation, it is highly unlikely that a rmh in the basement will keep the house adequately warm.



I have a friend who delivers newspapers. He always has a lot of them left over every week.
Would it be feasible to use newspaper to insulate my home?
 
gardener
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Jason E Smith wrote:

Troy Rhodes wrote:
I don't know exactly what your immediate/short term solution to the heat problem is. But I do know that the long term solution is more insulation. 3 1/2" of cellulose blown into the walls will cut your heating needs at least in half. You can do that yourself fairly inexpensively. I have a lot of experience in that regard. Ask if you need details.

With the current levels of insulation, it is highly unlikely that a rmh in the basement will keep the house adequately warm.



I have a friend who delivers newspapers. He always has a lot of them left over every week.
Would it be feasible to use newspaper to insulate my home?

Yes, but over here, they use a fire retardant mixed with the powdered newpaper.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellulose_insulation
 
Jason E Smith
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Location: South Bend, Indiana
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Satamax Antone wrote:

Jason E Smith wrote:

Troy Rhodes wrote:
I don't know exactly what your immediate/short term solution to the heat problem is. But I do know that the long term solution is more insulation. 3 1/2" of cellulose blown into the walls will cut your heating needs at least in half. You can do that yourself fairly inexpensively. I have a lot of experience in that regard. Ask if you need details.

With the current levels of insulation, it is highly unlikely that a rmh in the basement will keep the house adequately warm.



I have a friend who delivers newspapers. He always has a lot of them left over every week.
Would it be feasible to use newspaper to insulate my home?

Yes, but over here, they use a fire retardant mixed with the powdered newpaper.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellulose_insulation



Well time to look into it. Its pretty cheap for a small thing of it at Home Depot. But I will need to buy it over time and figure out how to put it into the out walls.
Thank you for that information.
 
Troy Rhodes
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Unless you have a big expensive hammer mill, it is impractical or impossible to convert newspapers to insulation effectively. And it must have a borate product added to it to make it fire and pest resistant.

It's soo cheap, I wouldn't try to make my own.


It must be installed with an insulation blower, as that fluffs it up, and then packs it to the appropriate density in the wall. You can't do that by hand.

Many places, if you buy 20 bags or so, will throw in the blower for a day at low/no cost.

 
Getting married means "We're in love, so let's tell the police!" - and invite this tiny ad to the wedding:
Rocket oven documentary pre-sale now available
https://permies.com/t/90306/Rocket-oven-documentary-pre-sale
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