Rick Sherman

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since Mar 17, 2012
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Recent posts by Rick Sherman

After living with a RMH for a couple of years I am sold on the idea of capturing a storing heat. I am sure that someone has experimented with converting the standard metal box stoves into mass storage heaters. How is that working?
What are the pros and cons? Who can I talk to about ideas?
I have problems with smoke back into a small space and I never have been able to get the down draft working consistently. I have been using a horizontal fire box successfully and may have found solutions recently to draft issues. Still I would like to help people get more efficiency out of their home wood heating systems. Modifying existing stoves seems like a good idea.
7 years ago
I have bee living in a 20' yurt heated with a RMS in the floor for two years now (second winter in Montana). It works great for capturing and storing heat but I am still tinkering with the draft. I used a fan the first winter to get it to pull through to a short four foot tall outside stack. This fall I went to a 12 foot insulated outside stack and eliminated the fan. It worked great but was inconsistent. I finally realized yesterday that the issue was wind. I was using a 12 inch elbow at the top of the stack to deflect wind and weather. I realized that the directional aspect caused wind to funnel down the stack if it blew into the elbow or created a vacuum that limited draft if it blew from the back side of the stack. Both situations smoked me out of the yurt. I pulled the big elbow off and installed a standard cap on the 6 inch flew pipe and pegged the thermometer on the barrel top by the time I got off the ladder and back into the yurt.

I have torn this stove down four times to improve efficiency and yesterday I dug up the floor to see if the underfloor pipes were clogged before I hit on the wind thing. I think it finally has taught me what I need to know.
Some suggestions:
Limit the length of your exhaust, especially in the floor.
If you have a turn around under the floor consider a plenum box instead of two 90 degree elbows. This limits the turbulence of air at the corners allowing a smoother exit.
Consider clean out locations at directional changes that gives you access to potential problem areas.
I use a shop van to clean the ash out but what if you are off grid? Designing straight shots that can be cleaned with a chimney brush would be a good idea.
7 years ago
We are planning a project here at Sundog using the copious piles of pine and fir woodchips accumulated from two years of forest thinning. After watching many hempcrete videos we are doing test blocks using wood chips and lime. Anyone have experience with this? I am wondering about chip water lime ratios.
8 years ago
Thanks Ernie,
I have been using ponerosa pine that has been dead and drying for at least a year. It's not the best fire wood but since we have been hit with pine beetles we have plenty.
I am using a fan so the fuel doesn't linger long enough for a full secondary burn and the exhaust exit is too small according to the responses received here.
What are referring to when you say, "stoves that do not have a good gap between the barrel bottom and heat riser"? If you are referring to the top of the stove where the heat spills over, this one is 1.75".
Thanks for the feed back all, it has been most helpful.
Rick
8 years ago
Dawn,
Check out our web site sundogecovillage.org. If this looks like something you would be interested in contact us.
8 years ago
Roy and Kirk,
Thanks for the insight, I had not considered the exit volume as an issue. My understanding was to keep the system, 6" or 8", consistent from the beginning of the j channel all the way through. I need to modify the barrel to be opened from the top for cleaning. I tore it apart this winter after three months of daily use to find that the creosote had filled the interior wall of the barrel with black hoar frost. It has been another three months and likely needing it again. I need a redesign of the exit as well as the top access.
Is there a formula for the amount of space needed for the exit in a 6" system?

I love this process of learning, experimenting and sharing. I should be able to pass on some wisdom once it is all worked out.
Thanks again
Rick
8 years ago
The barrel is half exposed and half buried in rock and cob. I had not heard about the cold air against the barrel acting as an engine. It is something to look into. The exit from the barrel is a 6" hole into a 6' elbow with a 45 degree bend as it descends under the floor. The exit hole is sealed with cob which is part of the reason for the barrel being partially buried.
8 years ago
I have been living with a variation of the RMS all winter in an insulated yurt. See http://sundogecovillage.org/sundogecovillage.org/Projects/Pages/Yurt_Project.html.

The heated mass has kept the 300 sq' space at an even 50-55 degrees all winter with inside temps up into the 70's if we burn longer than two hours. The issue for me is that we have not succeeded in getting the stove to draw without the use of an electric fan to pull the smoke and heat through. It burns wood down to fine white ash but smokes more than I would have anticipated at the outside stack. Over all the stove has been reasonably efficient for fuel consumption, considering we are using beetle kill Ponderosa Pine

At first the six inch system extended across the 20' space and back under the stove and out the back. With four elbows in place the distance was over 40'. I recently shortened the system to less than 20' and replaced two 90 degree elbows with a curved plenum box. It improved but did not cure the draw issue.

We were never able to get the down draft system to work in the beginning so we created a wood box that burns the wood horizontally. The two departures on the standard design is the horizontal burn chamber and the below the floor exhaust. The drop from the bottom of the barrel to the horizontal pipe run is about 2.5' then about 6' to the plenum. The whole exhaust system is below the level of the fire box.

I love living with the system and I like the ritual of the twice daily burns. The big problem is that the power goes out on a regular basis here. If the fire is full on, we get smoked out when it does. I am determined to overcome this issue and develop the concept further as we add more experimental structures to Sundog.

My question is, is the low exhaust the issue? Should I abandon the heated floor concept and go with a heated bench that exits the barrel and runs horizontally from the there?
8 years ago