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Curt Hettman

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since Nov 21, 2011
Just south of Dallas Texas
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Recent posts by Curt Hettman

Well it has been a long time since I have been to the forums and pisted anything.
But I love the pep idea and want to throw my hat into the ring. I made this simple mallet today but have to say that it is not measuring up to the other I have seen here. I will try again soon and post the results
3 months ago
Allan thank you.

Aaron do not be afraid to try something. My diy level is pretty high but this project was really easy. In fact I was surprised at how easy it was. My suggestion to anyone trying this would be to make the clay/perlite mix in small batches. It will take you longer to put together but it lets you think in between about how it is shaping up.
5 years ago
I am offering my help to anyone in my area building a Rocket mass heater.

I live in the Dallas Texas area.
I have a truck.
I have built a pebble style rocket mass heater that works great.
I have resources in the area to get materials and an idea of their cost.

Why am I doing this? I want to gain experience in the making of rmh's so to that end I will build or help you build one of your own.
Please send me a message or post below if you are interested.
5 years ago
Cindy, thanks I didn't think about that. That is why I am here to learn and be a part of growing the community.
Willie, I did a dry stack without mortar and used the clay perlite mix on the outside as the mortar.
Today I put the bench on and as soon as I have a few dollars more I will put a backrest and cushion on and get the box stained.
5 years ago
Yes the pebbles get warm. I think they would get very warm if my exhaust was longer. I have pics of it with the rocks in, but it is as yet unfinished. I plan on making a wood bench over the rocks and staining all the wood so it will be prettier.
5 years ago
So I built a rmh. After watching and reading and talking with everyone for more than a year I took the leap.
After building the rmh there are things I would like to change and things that I could do different to make it better.
-- back to the post --
I made a 6 inch system, used clay and perlite to insulate the burn chamber, full fire bricks for the burn chamber, small pea gravel for the mass, and vented it out the window. I live in Texas about 20 minutes south of downtown Dallas. We do not get cold like the north does (born in NJ lived in Ma). I live in a trailer home so it had to be small enough not to add several tons of extra weight to the end of the trailer where it is located.
I took a lot from Pauls videos on his portable heater. Then I studied as much of the info as was available on his pebble style heater that he put in his office. I built the system with a very short exhaust (yes I know I am not getting all the heat out of it before it vents outside) in hopes of keeping the exhaust hot enough to still be rockety even though it is fairly warm outside. Most nights we don't get below freezing.
After using the heater for about 2 weeks now this is what I have learned. Starting at the front...
The burn box is to close to the end of the system for my wife to be comfortable, the wall near the burn box gets warm (admittedly it gets real warm but not scorching hot).
The feed tube should be taller, I have been sitting a few bricks around the opening to make it taller and plan to fix them into place when I put the decorative coating of clay on the outside.
The barrel is ugly. I am thinking I will paint it with high heat stove paint.
The exhaust is to short. I could have made it longer and still kept it working well.
So what are my likes??
I love that I am able to heat half of my house with sticks. I am using the branches from the 3 trees I had to take down this past February.
I live out in the county so my power goes out on a regular basis during the winter and since everything runs on electric there was no heat. Now I have a way to heat the house even if the power goes out.
The house smells like a wood fire! Yay!!

My wife's hope was to cut our winter electric bill by 25% to 50%. The jury is still out on that one but I have high hopes.
My plan was to have a heating system that would be sustainable and off grid. I have gotten what I wanted.
5 years ago
Jesse, I am not sure how Paul's is doing but after running mine for 2 weeks I have notices a small amount of shrinkage. The clay and perlite mix around the burn chamber have a small gap now where they touch the wood of the box (originally the box was the form for the clay). I do not see any cracking and am not expecting to see any. Hope this helps.
5 years ago
Paul, I have a question. Do the pebbles ever get warm? I have built a pebble style rmh and it is only a week old and I have only had fires in it for about 6 to 8 hours.
5 years ago
Thanks for the replies everyone. I did finally get clay from a pottery supplier. I picked up fire clay and silica to mix for my project. I still wish I had a better source of free clay as I underestimated the amount I would need. Since I ran out of clay the project is on hold till next Monday when I can get to the supplier and get more fire clay.
5 years ago