Gary Loomis

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since Dec 13, 2019
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Recent posts by Gary Loomis

Thanks for your suggestions. I've realized I may have gotten overly excited about this project and considered biting off more than I can chew. I figure that a less efficient, completed RMH is always better than an incomplete, more efficient one. So I'm thinking of going back to the 6" J-tube RMH designed by Dragon Heaters for now with the intention of possibly upgrading after a couple seasons of experience using it.

With that in mind, Thomas I like your idea of having the Dragon Heater heat riser and first bell situated on the ledge of my fireplace and then hopefully building a smaller bell within the fireplace. I spoke briefly with a woman from Dragon Heaters about the dimensions but ended up a bit confused. She mentioned the benefits of taller bells to better stratify the gases, which makes sense. But I can only build a small bell in the fireplace without major structural changes to the chimney. The secondary bell could be approximately 27" tall, 36" long, and 24" wide. I could have the exhaust pipe exit this bell at floor level. Is this too short to be of any real use as a secondary bell? Thanks again for all your help!
10 months ago
Thanks again for your responses. I've been looking into the batchbox RMH more and it sounds great. It's really encouraging that the p-channel is the only metal fabrication needed. So my entire chimney structure is masonry, and as has been suggested, I would like to retrofit it to be the bell. About half the chimney structure (the fireplace in the picture) is connected to one chimney flue and the back half has two other flues running through, connected to what used to be the furnace and to a fireplace in the basement. I'm uploading another picture with the rough dimensions of the fireplace currently.

So my first question about the batchbox RMH: It sounds like the limiting factor for me might be the available space for the bell. Am I understanding correctly that a 6" batchbox RMH requires 57 sq ft Internal Surface Area for the bell? If so, I need to make some retrofitting adjustments to get to 57 sq ft ISA. Do you think it'd be better to use the fire place space as one large bell or use a smaller bell in the fireplace space and a second bell through the ledge around the chimney structure? The top of the fireplace narrows as it approaches 4 ft so I'd have to work on expanding that if it were to become one single bell.

Thanks again for all your time and wisdom!
10 months ago
Thank you for your responses. Initially I was thinking of purchasing the Dragon Heater and putting it along side the vertical chimney mass and retrofitting the ledge as a bell, but this isn't really a retrofit of the existing mass and seems to have a number of downsides. I've been reading permies threads talking about RMH inserts into existing chimney spaces, whether J tubes or batchbox. The fireplace itself has a relatively large volume, 3 ft long, 2 ft wide, and 28" tall. Are those dimensions feasible for a RMH insert of some sort that would take advantage of the existing thermal mass? If so, do you have any pointers or resources you would point me toward?

Also, it sounds like the batchbox is the second generation of RMH that are much improved, but I really don't have welding or fabrication experience at all. I've assumed this really disqualifies me for for the time being from creating a batchbox system. Is that your perspective?

Thank you very much for your help.
10 months ago
Hi all! I'm looking to build a rocket mass heater in my 1300 sq ft well-insulated house in western Massachusetts. I have a great deal of thermal mass already existing around a fireplace which is in the center of the house. Ideally I'd like to incorporate much of this thermal mass but I have questions about retrofitting it into a bell. The ledge around the fireplace is approximately 11 inches tall, 16 inches wide, and 8 ft long. Would this work as a bell given that the entrance piping would not be much higher than the exit piping? In theory I could expand the ledge to make a better proportioned bell but I'd love to avoid the expense if possible.

The second question I have is about Dragon Heaters. I've read some permies threads that appear to speak well of their six inch Rocket Masonry Heater Castle Build Kit but I'd like to get some more reviews. I'm especially considering their kits because I want avoid a steel drum for esthetic reasons really. Does anyone have personal experience with their kits or have opinions about their specs?

Thank you very much!  
10 months ago