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Compost mound for heating water-----Jean Paine---pack it tight or leave it loose?

 
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I have posted on the Jean Paine mound before and got some contradcitory answers.  I built my mound 51 weeks ago and it only procuced heat for about 3 months.  I now have about 50 yards of wood chips, a lot of cow poop and old bedding straw and hay.  

When I layer this together do I pack it tight? Or leave space for air to get in?

Is the mound anaerobic or aerobic ?

This time I am goig to wet the layers as I build it, I did not do that last time.

Anybody out here actually made a jean Pain mound?  It is a strange thing that I cannot get good information from people who have bult one.  

Thanks
Zeek



 
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Using water will definitely help you get a proper bacterial colony going. It doesn't have to be soaked but if it's consistently moist, that is what is needed for good composting.  Although I've seen some stuff online that was decidedly wet looking.  I don't build Jean Pain mounds, but I'm building some substantial compost piles.  You do not need to pack it tight.  The weight of the materials as well as the moisture will pack down the pile. From what I've read about Pain's piles, he used water, but he also shredded his woody waste, not just chipped it.  The difference is that his material, like bent up match sticks, had way more surface area that was exposed to moisture/bacteria/fungi and as such was much more available to be broken down.  The nature of the shape of his material also allowed for a certain about of air in the pile, I would think, but the sheer size of his piles would dictate that these were likely fairly dense with not much air flow.  He developed a methane digester for his pile as well.  Can you describe your system, and the size of your piles?
 
zeek mcgalla
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Right now all I have is a giant 40 to 50 yard pile of wood chips from mainly pine trees. What I planned on doing was layering the wood chips getting them wet putting some of the cow manure and straw and hay then the poly pipe that would be one layer. I would repeat that layer all the way to the top. I then have a circulation pump that keeps water always circulating through the compost pile for maximum heat transfer.

I did not intend on building another Mount of this year but I got home from work and there was a huge pile of chips so I figured I would use them.

What I wanted to do was just take the black pipe put it on the roof of the house facing south and use that to heat my hot water until it could no longer Heat like in the winter.

Thanks
Zeek
 
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I have not built one and I'm not excessively knowledgeable but I've done some reading on them.  These are all impressions I got from reading and youtube videos so take this with a few grains of salt:

It should be wetter than you think.  
Jean packed them pretty tightly.
If using wood chips and natural convection for air movement through the pile, you don't want ingredients that will block airflow like leaves.
Coiling 100' of perforated pipe under the pile allows air in for the natural convection.
Pine is fine but if it's cedar or tamarack it won't rot and thus it won't compost.
Jean also had leaves from the branches in his chipped mix so it wasn't entirely Carbon, there was some Nitrogen at the start.

If you haven't read Gaelen Brown's book on compost heat, it has a lot of good information and is only a few years old.
 
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