I'm not to vocal on this site but I've been a massive stalker for several years since I first heard about RMH's and fell in love with them. Thank you all for the information!
Here's my dilemna. I'm in a rental home with 4 other roommates. I'm a biochemist and I have 3 engineers and a math teacher for roommates. We all find RMH's super interesting and would love to start experimenting. We cant just build an out-of-code RMH in the basement of a fairly nice rental home in the suburbs of Central Connecticut. We've built a great test rocket out of cinder blocks(I know, not exactly heat resistant) to demonstrate to ourselves and validate the concept.
For for the piece of mind of everyone in the house I think we all agree that we would be willing to move forward if we could burn outside and somehow pump the heat in. Can this be done? I'm not asking anyone to do all the research for me, but filtering and navigating through the immense amount of data contained on this website can be challenging.
I would think in terms of heating water and then pumping that inside. There are lots of outdoor wood burners down here in VA and that's how they do it. Usually a shed, and a massive furnace that eats up ungodly amounts of wood, often smokes like crazy, but heats all domestic hot water and also radiators for house heat. Depending on how much heat/ hot water you need you could size it and figure out how big a batch burner you need.
look here to get most of the data and information. You may have to look up things like BTU's to heat water, and allow a bit extra for losses from moving the water inside.
As far as building codes and such, I saw a reference on how to qualify as a masonry heater and many of the codes do have provisions for that, so you might want to investigate that aspect locally.
It really is far simpler and more efficient, and of course much cheaper if you can qualify your build as a masonry heater and build inside. Actually, outdoor burners like I mentioned are often against local codes because they do tend to be quite dirty. So depending on your exact location it might be more in line with accepted practice to build inside. Take a look at some of the builds at the link I gave you and see if any of those resemble something you might like to install.
John - I did this in a different context, to heat a small greenhouse, and avoided the complication of heating water. I also did it using less than ideal materials - mainly clay, as opposed to the vastly superior insulated firebrick, ceramic fiberboard and ceramic fiber batting. I think that if those materials were employed, it would perform quite well. Mine worked well enough, and I was able to heat a masonry bell on the coldest nights of the year. It wasn't very practical in the sense that I wasn't willing to make a fire every day. Take a look: http://donkey32.proboards.com/thread/2321/indoor-outdoor-greenhouse-heater
It has certainly been an idea that has been rolling around in my head for a while - to do it in a residential setting with optimal materials.
It is perfectly normal here to heat with a furnace outside the house (denmark) mine is in my barn so only a short run in and no rain! The inlaws use a huge straw furnace, it takes the 300kg bales and heats the house, the water and a large polytunnel in the spring. It's all done with pumped water.
This is an idea I have considered to heat my detached garage. Homeowners insurance will not permit any “open flame” (i.e., any wood stove) inside the garage due to risks from gasoline storage in cars, tractors, mowers etc. So this idea could have applications in that type of circumstance also. My designs to address that have been limited to the idea of building a rocket heater directly outside a garage window and plumbing the exhaust through the window, through a masonry bench or bell, then back out the same window.
Might be more effective to build the bell as a part of the garage wall and have the firebox outside with lots of insulation. Maybe you could even have a separate attached little building that holds wood and makes building the fire easier
An outside insulated shed.
Maybe even on a trailer, so it go with you when you leave.
Yoy could heat a mass, then run air over it.
Blow through insulated duct in a window.
If there is a forced air system,feed the heated air into the return air vent.
Draw air to be heated through an insulated duct from a basement window.
If using water, use no mass outside, just the boiler. If the boiling vessel is open to.the air,steam explosions can be avoided. Heated water can be drawn directly from.the vessel,or through a coil that passesbthrough the vessel.
The bulk of the water would be inside. I would bring it into a storage vessel,and again I would try to piggyback onto the existing system,by parking it next to or inside a return air duct.
I would like to move the heat more efficiently via steam.
By purposefully boiling the water into steam and then cooling/condensing it inside the house,we move more heat,without a pump.
We can discard the tepid water,we can use it in laundry,flush toilets, water indoor plants,pump it back out to the boiler,or out to a greenhouse.
We could preheat our potable water by running a coil through the storage vessel.