We are getting prepared for the winter, Tim is amazing at how much wood he can chop in one day. See the tire in the second picture, he loads that up with rounds and chops away with is axe and the logs stay put. Much easier than the old put a chunk of wood on top of another chunk of wood, and have to keep putting back with each chop.
Tim finished chopping wood and we have us quite a pile! We even went and salvaged a bunch of trim boards in a friend’s burn pile to break up into kindling. We think we have over a cord of wood here ready for winter. The pile is the right dimensions to qualify as a cord, but I think we have more than a cord here, as Tim cut the wood MUCH smaller than most cords are cut in order to fit into the RMH feed tube, so there is much less airspace in our pile. Praying this will last through the winter. As going out and cutting wood with snow on the ground SAWKS! lol
So after our last post we found that our RMH needed an overhaul. Too much smoke-back, it seemed to be choking, the pull of the draft was weak, so we went back to the drawing board… actually we just pulled off the barrel, put on a couple more layers of brick to the heat riser, insulated it, then tore down the ash-pit/manifold where the barrel releases the gasses into the duct work to make the transition smoother. The way we had it, the gasses had to make a 90º turn, than another sharp turn into the ducts. So we fixed these two things and sealed it all back up, and fired it up at nearly midnight on 2013-12-28, we were so very pleased with the results! Then yesterday we made some changes to the duct work outside where the exhaust/smoke comes out of the enclosure. We eventually want to build a little room around where the ductwork comes out of the enclosure and make a little “seedling” room and use the heat to nurture plants, while also protecting the end of the exhaust from wind blow back. Well, so we don’t have to worry about building the seedling room till closer to spring we redirected the duct work strait up and put a chimney cap on it. This made the system run even better doing it this way, so we just might leave it. We’ll see 🙂
This project has been one we have anticipated with much excitement, enthusiasm and desire for years now, as a big way for us to live more sustainably on our farm! My husband learned about Rocket Mass Heaters a few years back on http://www.permies.com, and since then we have been researching the topic and seeing how others are building theirs, as we wanted to build one here on our farm. A Rocket Mass Heater has many desirable benefits that we cannot wait to enjoy. Such as, using up to 1/10th the wood compared to conventional wood burning stoves, making it super efficient and sustainable. Plus less work in the long run because you can heat with just the sticks that die and fall off our trees on our land. Also most of the heat from this style of heater is retained in a cob mass and is conductive heat energy, meaning we can actually sit on the mass that holds the heat. Also the core of the heater is very rockety and cool. For more info on Rocket Mass Heaters here: http://www.richsoil.com/rocket-stove-mass-heater.jsp
Here is a series of pictures from our creative journey.
So far, we fired it up tonight, and it’s not quite rockety enough. Smoke is coming out the feed tube and the draft seems to be choking. So tomorrow we will take off the barrel, give it about another inch or so lift and seal it back up. Will keep ya’ll updated as things progress. After this fix we plan to begin cobbing in the duct to make our mass/couch. ♥
WE HAVE SUCCESS!!! Tonight’s burn went amazingly well. We took off the barrel, put in some pieces of patio blocks around an inch thick to support the base of the barrel giving it the desired lift, in hopes it would make it more rockety and burn better with out any smoke backing up into our living space. IT WORKED! It is a bit smokey getting the fire going, and getting the whole system warmed up, but after she gets going it works amazingly. We’ll take it 🙂