So I like the Idea of a rocket mass heater, and they are fabulous! But maybe I'm still quite vain, IMHO, they just don't Look Fabulous!
Any ideas on how to purdy one up? All the pictures I've seen have had mostly barrels :'(
Emerson White wrote:
The top of the barrel has to be able to radiate heat off efficiently or you will not get the draw effect. So don't cover that sucker either.
The barrel is the part I hates D:
Its so..... industrial.
Ok so If I cant cover the barrel, anyone know of good heat resistant paints?
But with a Rocket as the heat source! Like a Rocket-Kiva Hybrid! Maybe I'm too girly?
Just a thought.
I have never built one but I have looked at a lot of pics. There are some that are completely encased in adobe or another material. They are basically turned into sculptures. Add colour and you can literally create the centre piece for your home.
The basic core of the RMH has to include certain things, but the exterior can be anything you want. Use your imagination and the sky is the limit. As long as it is a stable mass and any flammable materials are protected by mass you are fine.
Here is one that is fairly nice.
And here is an even nicer one.
Klorinth, Thank you for the links. Your right those do look a lot nicer than the normal ideal of a rmh.
Len, I think fireplaces and ironwood stoves Do tend to have beauty in them. Depending on design. And that's what I'm trying to find is a way to design a beautiful RMH.
Emerson, That would be awesome. Or maybe a copper barrel over another stronger metal that can handle the heat, almost like an encasement?
and Shaneaaron, sounds good but I have no idea what half of what you said meant due to my unfamiliarity with refrigeration tubing, or rope seals
I'm kind of thinking along the same lines as Johnny. Although the perfect thing would be a RS that looks like an ordinary fireplace, built into a wall. Has anyone ever done this? I am 1000% certain I would never get the RS original design past "the government". This could in turn heat hot water for showers or run in pipes in the walls or floor for a heating effect. Would be great if you have i.e. thermal mass stone floor.
Ditto, Been pondering how to do just that. I'm pretty sure you'd have to have the firebox directly under the stack to get any kind of fireplace type flame, and I'm also pretty sure that if it worked it would be a very hot fire with characteristics unlike a conventional fireplace, more blue flames than yellow/orange. I am building (rebuilding) my outside fireplace and am going for an RM/ fireplace (I have a few old water-heaters I've been saving just for this project) and am going to try mocking up a simple radiant sys. using garden hoses. I plan on taking pics. (if I can get my damn camera to stay working long enough) and will try my hand at posting if I have any. I will tell you up front it ain't gonna be pretty, just want to see if it'll work the way I want (no pumps, all thermal convection/gravity flow). No promises, just an experiment.
Well, I built a few nice-looking home heaters that work on mass. My favorite was a cob rumford design actually. It heated up the space quickly with little wood, but with a long hot fire, would then stay hot for hours and hours. I think you can see a photo here:
Here are a few cob ovens from earthenhand.com. Please notice the ceramic-skinned oven. I can make any kind of tile for your fireplace from scratch, which means you can get any array of wonderful surfaces and colors.
A good friend of mine, Ray Cirino, is inventing some impressive performance ovens and the like:
Thats so beautiful, thank you earthenhand for the links and further ideas
I am teaching a Lorena stove workshop in Naselle, WA June 10-12. This design is really similar because we use a rocket stove-like design, but build the whole thing out of adobe. You can heat the mass, heating your self your home, and cooking your food.
Here's a beautiful one.
A family built a wonderful cob/cordwood home in the UP of Michigan
Looks nice. I like the cob almost up to the top of the barrel.
This is the lattice idea I am talking about... Thanks
Ok. I like cob as much as the next permie person, but my husband isn't sold. I have also seen a masonry style rocket stove, but was thinking of a hybridization.... would a regular brick "lattice" screen built in a square pattern around the barrel (in a corner or whatever) be able to withstand the heat being radiated by the barrel? And, would it allow enough heat to be released to create the "draw"? I am in search of something functional as well as aesthetically pleasing....
This is the lattice idea I am talking about... Thanks
Those bricks would stand the heat fine. They are clay and were used for everything fire brick is used for now. Concrete patio bricks may be more problematic but are probably ok.... they loose strength at around 600C (some as low as 500C). Concrete brick may also insulate just a bit more than clay and raise the temp a bit more. So I would stick to clay brick and use clay based mortar.
The thing is, and I may be missing something, all the temperatures I have seen for the rocket mass heater have been of the barrel surface at various points. The top of the barrel gets very hot and the bottom is much cooler..... but, the top has the flue gas fired right against it whereas the the bottom of the barrel just has the flue gas passing by. So while the temp difference from top to bottom may be important to performance, I suspect it is less than the measurements made so far show.
Now obviously the ability of the barrel to radiate (or loose heat some way) is still important. Most RMH already have cob at least part way up the barrel with no problem. Cob or clay brick both conduct heat reasonably well and so might soak up the heat better than standing air anyway. How they soak up the heat as compared to radiating is harder to figure. That would depend on how reflective the room contents are to the heat.
Personally, I think the greatest problem with anything touching the barrel, is the varying expansion (from the varying temperatures) causing cracks in the clay. A lattice a few inches out would probably handle that better.
Unfortunately, the real answer at the end of it all, is you have to try it and find out. If you have read much about RMH (at least in these forums) the answer is to try it out in your backyard first. There really are a lot of variables in heat transfer and a lot of things that have yet to be tried. If you are not an experimenter at heart and just want something that works.... pretty much stick to the instructions in the book. That particular setup has been tried in lots of different places and has a good success record behind it. The farther away from those instructions you get... the less well travelled the road you are on..... be ready to try more than one thing. (clay mortar -AKA refractory- comes apart easier than portland)
Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
The brick lattice would be very attractive, but consider the labor of having to dust each one of those openings before you make a decision. (I hate dusting, LOL!)
I hadn't thought of that....
Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
I think that the drum would look nice if it was tiled all around, like many of the European mass heaters. It would be a lot easier to keep clean than the brick latticework. I'm not sure what you'd have to do for a backing for the tiles, though.
Cob.... or refractory mortar.... both are clay based.
I've been thinking about the lattice (metal or brick) and think it may be not the best idea. The air between the lattice and the barrel may act as an insulator because the lattice keeps it from moving. The lattice would also block the radiation to some extent. I think any metal/brick work would need to be in physical contact with the barrel to conduct the heat away. In the end we want to heat mass not air.
Just another way of saying... we don't know for sure without trying it. I don't know if anyone has even tried cobbing the top of a barrel, though they have cobbed the whole side to the top. I do know someone has made the barrel out of brick.... but I don't know how well it worked... it was built for a workshop, used two days and dismantled. Certainly no long term notes.
I think if looks are so important, but a mass heater is wanted, a masonry mass heater may be a better idea. Cost? More. Works? Yes. Permit? Yes. Warranty? Maybe. Most masons are willing to work out any kinks in their work as they rely on word of mouth.