So I own a home in Upper Michigan and it has a boiler system for heat. I want to build a rocket stove out in the yard (about 20 feet from the house) so that I can place a coil above the combustion chamber to heat water carried back to the home underground to warm 4 new radiators I am putting in the basement of the home. The idea is to use this instead of the natural gas boiler when we are there in the winter. This is our "vacation" home so I am here off and on in winter to snowmobile. I keep the home heated in the winter (about 50 degrees) but turn it up when we go up to stay there. I would much rather use a rocket stove and radiant heat when we are here instead of running the boiler constantly. Has anyone incorporated a rocket stove with radiant heat like this? I am not an engineer so I am trying to figure out what size recirc pump I need, what diameter tubing to use, etc. If anyone on here has thoughts or helpful feedback, I would greatly appreciate them!! I am very analytical and have a bio and chem degree, so this is right up my alley for experimenting. I would like to document this whole process as I fine tune the design, the set up, installation, and operation of the system which I will gladly share and post here as well as to Youtube when completed. I am new to this site, so thank you in advance to everyone/anyone reading this and for all the great posts! Daniel
That sounds like the most complicated way possible to get supplemental heat on winter weekends (or whenever you will be there).
Will you be around for a whole day or more when you do visit in cold weather? If not, a micro-mass rocket heater in the living room may be your best bet. If so, a modest mass heater would probably work best. A batch box with a modest bench that will warm up in an hour or two would probably serve you nicely. The batch box is designed to load and fire up, then burn steadily for an hour without attention and put a large blast of heat into the mass. A RMH always works best when it is in the occupied space. An outdoor RMH will waste a large portion of the heat it produces, as it is not designed to be a water boiler, which requires special technical expertise to do safely.
posted 4 years ago
Thank you for the reply...you are probably correct, seems like a lot of work for short stints of time. When I retire up here and have my place in the woods, I will definitely look to incorporate that where I can monitor it closer. Maybe I can do a small RMH in the basement and that could add a bunch of heat that will radiate up through the home....
Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
posted 4 years ago
A RMH in the basement, unless you spend time there regularly, will not work without frequently interrupting your day and checking on it. Also, heating the basement will not put a lot of heat into the main floor unless there are big openings, even then it will be minimal.
If your structure is reasonably well built, you can probably find a place in the living room where you can put a small RMH. If it could hold a waterbed, it can hold the RMH, and if there is space for a woodstove, the same space with its wall clearances could fit a RMH. A warm couch/bench to sit on when you come in from the cold will quickly become the favorite spot in the house. Conduction through warm surfaces is the most effective form of heating there is.
The complexity isn't just all the systems and the rest of it to get radiant heat, for instance water isn't going to work. The complexity is matching a stove designed to produce say 2000+ degrees F with the need to heat water only a little above room temperature (well at least where it will be heating you). The way the mass heater squares that circle is by having a large mass to absorb the heat, and gradually release it, but to do that for water/antifreeze is a little more tricky, to say the least. The RMH just (we are told) works: the heat lasts overnight, the creasote, and gas leakage aren't a problem. Low on pollution and cost to feed, the only problem is that is all it does. Mess with it, and it doesn't work. There are so many superlatives attached to it, one might think it was a universal solution, like a tech controlled gas burner, can be in a forge, a stove, a dryer, you name it. RMHs are pretty much the one thing.
I love the idea of radiant in floor heating provided by a rocket stove. I am all for building one in our new home that we are starting to build in 2 weeks. We live in Ontario Canada. Problem that I am thinking I am going to run into is insuring my house. No one has answered me on this very important question.. Here everything wood burning has to be WETT certified and CSA approved. How do I get around this?? Anybody??