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Aaron McKinley

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since Jan 19, 2017
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Recent posts by Aaron McKinley

Thanks Thomas for the answers. So what would be the configuration of the steel pipe in the open pot, coiled like the copper or angular with 90 degree bends?

Price wise which one is going to be lower.  I have a plumbing relative that I am going to share this project with and compare pricing.

Now the wrapping of the coil around the barrel impedes the RMH performance or it's still too hot to be placed there?

1 year ago
What about wrapping copper coil around the drum? Upper third?  I have read for and against.  What diameter pipe works best?
1 year ago
Sorry I was just going off of what Erica W described here:

The other option I often suggest is an open pot or tank directly above the barrel, like the top position shown in your drawing - but with a large reservoir instead of pipes.
One of the other forum threads shows an Australian hot-water heater where they built the vertical insulated firebox and then suspended a whole (open) barrel above the fire. Then run the coil through this larger barrel. The large barrel can come to a complete boil (it's open to atmosphere) without damaging anything except maybe splashing the fire. The pressurized pipes running through the large hot water reservoir are protected from boiling as long as there is water in the big tank. It makes something like an on-demand heater, at a skill level that many DIYers (do it yourself-ers) could handle. I believe geoff lawton was involved with that design.  

I would use the bottom half, fill it with water and have a copper coil in the water, which would be part of a closed system, to heat water in a 1000 litre liquid tote for an aquaponic system.

I also could circulate the heated water in other 55 gallon metal drums, with a pump, to create a heat battery in my greenhouse.

Does this make sense?

Is it too hot on top of the riser to put a copper coil right on the drum?  The top of my heat riser was glowing last night in the greenhouse, with constant feeding of pine 2x4 scraps. I thought it would be too hot to place the coil right on it.  If not, then forget the 1/2 barrel filled with water and the coil placed inside the water.

I just want assure people that I would never setup this system without the proper pressure release valves, a bit paranoid of that and Legionnaire's disease. Have to do a bit more research on that.  

1 year ago
Has anybody fixed a half drum to the top of the RMH heat riser, in order to heat water in an open pot method?

I am thinking about running some copper coils in the open pot to produce hot water for an aquaponic system.

I have the typical 8" rocket mass heater that I built last year which works very well, now the next step-Hot Water.

Having access to new 55 gallon drums with the removable lid with the heavy duty band, I was thinking I could attach a drum cut in half to the top of the heat riser with that strong band, so it is very secure.

What do people think?

This is the style of drum that I have access to.

Thank you for the answers.

1 year ago
Hello Good Premies People,

I have access to food grade metal and plastic 55 gallon drums.  I am trying to heat a 16 x 18 foot greenhouse, that will be going to running all winter.

Here is the grand idea:

-16x18 foot wooden frame, vinyl windows
-I have a RMHeater already built
-adding a cast iron wood stove for overnight burns
-primary objective is to run an aquaponic system all winters long

-A Jean Pain mound is going to be built outside the greenhouse
-I know I can use the metal drums to circulate the hot water produced from the wood chip compost heater, without major temperature/pressure issues.

I am planning on retrofitting my cast iron stove with a copper coil on top to produce hot water for a radiant system
-This is where the metal drum idea comes in.  Can I use them to store hot water in them, with the proper pressure valves?  These are metal drums that have a removable metal lid with two bung holes.
They have a ring with a large bolt to fasten the lid.  
I have used these drums for the rocket mass heater.

So instead of a hot water tank can I use metal 55 gallon drums to store hot water generated from the wood stove and Jean Pain wood chip pile, with the proper pressure valves?

I will circulate the hot water with a dc pump solar system .

All advice and suggestions are warmly welcomed.
1 year ago
Hello Good Permies People,

I am building my first  small scale wood chip compost heater to spec,  based on the The Compost-Powered Water Heater book.

I was planning to use straw bales for the outside insulating wall but at 75 bales times $3-$4 each equals out of my budget.  This is being built at the high school I work at to heat our small greenhouse (8x12feet).  I have unlimited access to wood chips so I was wondering if anybody has used them instead of straw bales.  I was thinking I could create an inside and outside fence and fill it will wood chips. Would this work?

Also I have not ventured into plumbing planning for inside of the greenhouse yet.  Any good resources out there for this area? I have access to 55 gallon plastic and metal drums.  Can I use these with the proper pressure valves to store heated water?

Solar powered water pumps would be the next thing to ask about.  Any suggestions?
1 year ago
Thanks for all the ideas.

So CC can be used for:

okra, kale, winter squash, luffa, and tomatoes
raspberry and asparagus patches

but not so much for these plants:

delicate flora
hostas, stonecrop sedum, Siberian iris
2 years ago
So what plants do well, living with Charlie? What has worked in the past?
I feel that it is a strong plant and might inhibit grow of some plants. Maybe not.

Thanks for the answer.

2 years ago
Has anybody successfully done this? If I can't beat I might as well use it, to my advantage.  So a patch of CC and say tomatoes growing out of it.  Living mulch.

I am trying to find an living mulch.  Currently I use the 4 to 5 inch wood chip method but finding wood chips for free and on the scale can be challenging.

Creeping Charlie might work?

2 years ago