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rocket mass heaters and leaks

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15053
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
So I get this question:

if it's not sealed correctly couldn't you essentially poison everyone in the house?


Which I ignore.  But the poster then pesters me to answer the question.

I suspect that if you try, you can come up with a thousand ways to poison everybody in the house.

And, for rocket mass heaters, I think that if you are really fucking stupid, and you really fuck it up, and you actually make it so bad that you basically have a fire in the middle of your house - you should open a window. I have yet to see one that was this bad.

I suppose if you tried to make a home made conventional fireplace or wood stove and you fucked it up just as bad, the result would be far worse, because there would be about five times more wood/paper/fuel. Oh wait, people forget to open the flue all the fucking time. So I guess you could say that people in the house are poisoned. And, they usually just open a window and survive to see another day.


And then I choose to add some more replies.

Dear Paul,

If I'm driving my car, and go over the speed limit, and then steer it into a tree, couldn't you essentially poison everyone in the car?


That's a good question Paul. Yes. Yes you could. You could poison everyone in the car with poison hemlock. Note that the word "poison" was put right there in the name of the plant, for your poisoning convenience.


Dear Paul,

I read a book about underground houses, and I've decided to build one. I have a massive track hoe to dig a big hole. And I have a cardboard box to be the interior of the new home. couldn't you essentially poison everyone in the house?


Great question Paul.

Many people have managed to build an underground home and live in them, comfortably, for years. I think you should write a book on how to poison those people and put it up on the internet.


The inside of the combustion chamber is the hottest. And that is where the powerful draw is happening. So at the bottom, there is a lot of pull into the combustion chamber. At the top there is a lot of push. Any danger would be after the push - and yet the smoke has been burned rather completely. Very little danger even if there are lots of leaks.

And remember, this design is based on rocket stoves which are designed for indoor wood cooking with no exhaust to the outside other than an open door/window.

Just to cover my ass: nobody should ever build one of these because they will probably die from somebody in their family jabbing them with a hypodermic needle full of poison. Stab stab stab.

As another bonus: I have already had way too many people sharing some seriously bad designs - that were so bad that it would end up as nothing more than a fire in the middle of the house. Darwin's theory at work i guess.

I want my rocket mass heaters to have a good seal. Although I think if it were super leaky, i would be more concerned with inefficiency and odor. I'm also the kind of person that thinks that having a gas stove is a bad idea because that exhaust is typically not vented to the outside. But it seems people aren't generally as worried about that as I am.


The OP is all pissy and nasty.  Apparently, the OP expected me to write an accurate book on the topic.

So I say

The answer is huge and complicated. And if anybody asks this question they will never be satisfied by any answer I can come up with. So it is wise to skip the question.

Here is the question: "If I fuck it all up, will anybody be poisoned?"

People are poisoned the moment you close the door in any house with a seal. They start breathing in their own farts and burning up the oxygen.

"If I strap dynamite to the exhaust on my car, will people die?" How much dynamite are we talking about?  Will you ever drive the car?  Will you drive it far enough that it could get hot enough?  Did you put insulation between the dynamite and the exhaust?

The question is way, way, way too vague. And the answer is about 47 flavors of "it depends". And the overall answer is "you probably cannot fuck it up so bad that anybody would get hurt" but the fact that you have to ask the question reminds me of the people with ideas like a horizontal "heat riser". Well, yeah, you are playing with fire here. It is possible for people to set their house on fire and have everybody die. It's also possible for the same people to put rat poison in the kool aid.

If the rocket mass heater was working perfectly but just had a small leak. I think it would be about 20 times cleaner than if you had a conventional wood stove with a leak.


Basically, I think fools will ask foolish questions and should not be encouraged to play with fire. 

As I sit here and think about it, I think I could fill a few books just on what i know.  And Ernie could probably fill 40 books.  And it still would not be answered completely. 





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Michael Newby


Joined: Apr 06, 2011
Posts: 139
Location: Mount Shasta, CA Zone 8a Mediterranean climate
    
    7








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paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15053
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Important points:

1)  this is a land of law made by lawyers who want to make money suing you.  therefore you should never do anything.  In fact, the only way to avoid a lawsuit is if you die instantly right now.

2)  All law has a strong focus on "do not innovate".  Innovation is for the lawyers-that-hire-innovators only.  And mad scientists that are above the law.  And you are neither, so therefore, you must stop thinking about anything other than standard consumerism.  Your function is to earn money, spend money and watch sports on television.

3)  Your home is riddled with sharp things, Laurel and Hardy, explosive chemicals, fools, and matches.  The best way to make absolutely certain that you don't hurt yourself or others is to die instantly right now.

4)  You are too fucking stupid to do anything.  At all.  Ever.  You are a potential threat to all living things including yourself.  The only things you are allowed to do are things that have been discussed by thousands of lawyers and thoroughly documented as resulting only in minor lawsuits.  And you are permitted to do this just so you can be sued - then you must stop.  or you will be sued.

5)  This is a land built on innovation and bravery.  But we are done doing that, so don't do that.

6)  If you get an idea for innovation, don't do it.  Instead, send the idea to lawyers-that-pay-innovators and then destroy any evidence that you ever had the idea.  It would be helpful if you died.

7)  Rocket mass heaters, wofati, permaculture and other crazed notions can save the world, eliminate wars, feed the hungry, reverse global warming and provide safety and abundance to families.  But until lawyers-that-pay-innovators can figure out how to monetize it, you must stop.


paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15053
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
If you utterly and completely seal the house. And then build a fire on the living room floor, eventually all of the oxygen in the house will be consumed and everybody will die. 

If you have a leaky house, and you have a leaky natural gas heater (professionally installed), people in the house will be poisoned and will need medical attention. 

If you have a leaky house, and you have a lame rocket mass heater, I think it is possible that you can create a situation where people might get smoke poisoning.  Just like when somebody burns a steak in the kitchen.  But the fuel is not toxic in its natural state like natural gas is.  So rather than dribbling poisons into the house 24x7, it would be limited to during the burn.  And if the thing is smoky every time you use it, wouldn't that be super annoying and so you would stop using it?



paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15053
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
If a person farts, do they poison everybody in the house?
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15053
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
By talking to myself, I'm coming up with a better answer.

if it's not sealed correctly couldn't you essentially poison everyone in the house?


If you read the book by Ianto Evans, it says right on the title "superefficient wood stoves you can build".  I think you need to refer to that book about how much poisoning you might experience.

Personally, I think that if you live in a ziplock bag, and you fart, you are poisoning everyone in the house with tiny particles of poop loaded with pathogens that stick to the inside of people's noses. 

I also think that if you build a rocket mass heater and your home is not a ziplock bag, then whenever you have a fire, it will suck your farts into the woodstove, burn your farts and exhaust your burned farts to the great outdoors.



Len Ovens


Joined: Aug 26, 2010
Posts: 1279
Location: Vancouver Island
    
  15
paul wheaton wrote:
If a person farts, do they poison everybody in the house?


Only those who are sleeping, the rest are outside   (even those with a walker)
                      


Joined: Jan 08, 2011
Posts: 31
Hmmm.......I think the op's happy pills are no longer working!!
Kirk Mobert


Joined: Jan 07, 2011
Posts: 129
Location: Point Arena, Ca
    
    2
AWESOME!

Sweet diatribe, Paul! I REALLY feel you, mate!

I actually did an experiment that can help ACTUALLY answer the question.
Check out the link: http://donkey32.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=experiment&action=display&thread=716


Build it yourself, make it small, occupy it.
Matt Carkhuff


Joined: Dec 21, 2012
Posts: 13
Location: Iron Range, Minnesota
paul wheaton wrote:So I get this question:

if it's not sealed correctly couldn't you essentially poison everyone in the house?



It sounds like paul is really battling this question: "so if I'm an idiot, how will I know if I'm stupid??"

One of the most dangerous things this world has is stupid people that don't know they are stupid. I get along fine with the stupid people that are willing to admit there are stupid...just saying..


Oh and the post just above this one Kirk has a pretty sweet half bell bench setup... I wonder if Donkey has any video of that stove??
Kirk Mobert


Joined: Jan 07, 2011
Posts: 129
Location: Point Arena, Ca
    
    2
Matt Carkhuff wrote:
paul wheaton wrote:Oh and the post just above this one Kirk has a pretty sweet half bell bench setup... I wonder if Donkey has any video of that stove??


No, I don't.. (yep, K is D)
Nothing really to see, it would be just another video of a rocket stove, chugging happily along.
 
 
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