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Any ideas what Im doing wrong? RMH

Carol Morgan


Joined: Apr 20, 2012
Posts: 29
Hello
Well I have collected my fire bricks and set them up outside to do a mock up as suggested in Ianto's book. I havent mortared the bricks die to it being a mock up but they are sitting together quite tight When I first lit it as per instructions in the book, the flames did what they were supposed to do and went along the burn tunnel nicely. Then when the paper i had used to light it went out and the flame had caught the next bit of kindling along, it came up the feed tube instead. I put some longer pieces of fine wood into the feed tube but they caught alight along the length and I have the burn taking place in the feed tube rather than the tunnel. I havent put the drum in place, all I have set up is the feed tube, the burn tunnel and the heat riser, all made up of fire bricks. Would the burn maybe not perform correctly because of not having the drum in place? And yet it happened as it should have, when I first lit it?
My other question is, is there a quicker way of getting the paint off the barrels? The weather in Wales at the moment is showery and I have been trying to light fires in my barrels for a while now, between the showers. Its taking forever as they dont burn that well without any air feed and also, with each burn, only a fraction of the paint comes off. Im trying to prepare them to be ready for when I have got thr burn tunnel etc right. Is there a quicker answer or do I have to be patient?
Roy Clarke


Joined: Feb 05, 2012
Posts: 120
You start a new topic for each question. It would help continuity if you appended the next question to the same topic, then many other people would get the chance to see it and possibly provide some valuable information, having seen all the history.

Sealing up the bricks will make a difference.
The stove will not work correctly without the drum in place.
You could burn the paint off by having the drum on its side then lighting a fire in it. Alternatively make a fire and put the drum over it.Otherwise, as it is outside, don't do either. The paint will come off with use.
Carol Morgan


Joined: Apr 20, 2012
Posts: 29
Hello Thanks for your reply. Meanwhile I increased the length of the riser and decreased the height of the feed tube, as the feed wasnt that much shorter than the riser. Its definitely better but then, shower started so I will get back to it tomorrow. Also, thankyou for the suggestion about the paint, I will try that also next time I get a drt spell. The drum is only outside for a testing, I will be fetching indoors when I get the rest of the stuff I need for the whole thing, clay etc.
I have another question (I will stay on this thread as you suggest). The bricks I bought today were sold to me as fire bricks but when I have searched for fire bricks, none of them look like the ones I purchased. Does anyone know if they are, I will add an attachment (or at least I will attempt to!)
They have a channel running through them, some along the width and some along the length. They are a kind of a double brick I wonder if I am meant to cut them along the channel? They are a heavy brick, much moreso than the other fire bricks I have. Has anyone seen these bricks and are they certainly fire bricks?


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Roy Clarke


Joined: Feb 05, 2012
Posts: 120
They are storage heater bricks. The channels are for the elements to sit in. They will stand the heat, but they are not good insulators. Insulation is a good thing as it will make the stove perform better.

It is best to build a complete stove outside before you try and build one indoors. There is a lot to learn, and it needs hands-on rather than reading.
Carol Morgan


Joined: Apr 20, 2012
Posts: 29
Ahh thanks for identifying the bricks Im building the heater based on the instructions in Ianto Evans book. His design adds insulation around the riser, so I should be OK on that score Im pleased that the materials for this build seem to be coming together now The one component that will hold up the process is the clay. I have searched for a supply locally but have been unlucky as yet. Ive looked all over the forums to find out what folks have used instead of cob as thermal mass, as an alternative. I agree with you that I should get a working model going to assess the whole process first. I was thinking of setting one up in the garage or basement, use it for a while to familiarise myself with the whole process and then maybe move it to a more central position like the living room. Thats also why I am consdering using something else as thermal mass as it would be virtually impossible to move it if I built the attached cob bench. Just the combustion chamber will weigh a ton Im sure I will have more questions again soon. Im so excited about this technology (can I call it that?) I would love to see one in action and reducing my gas bill. I have an humungous supply of small wood, straight thin sticks etc The other thing I think I will be trying on there are conker shells Dried out from last year I have visions of running the heating on the waste that makes the garden look messy!
Roy Clarke


Joined: Feb 05, 2012
Posts: 120
Conker shells will give a lot of ash. You need to be a bit picky about fuel. Small hardwood sticks will work well, as will larger sticks, softwood will give more tar, and waste like conker shells etc, will probably give trouble. The wood needs to be really dry to work well.

Before you build the RMH indoors, you will have to get building control approval, (there's also house insurance to consider). Particularly there are flue requirements they will insist on. The approval will likely not be easy. They will probably have never heard of a RMH. That is one benefit of building an outdoor one first, hopefully you could get them round to see it working, and have a gas analyser running to demonstrate the combustion emissions.
Carol Morgan


Joined: Apr 20, 2012
Posts: 29
Oh thats taken the wind out of my sales! All my excitement seems to have disappeared! I was kind of hoping for the heat thats generated from this to be inside as I feel its a bit, well, wasted outdoors. So the ones that are online, up and running, and indoors, are they all in countries that can get the approval? I dont think approval is mentioned in the book is it, and its something I didnt think of. Because its a very diverse system, I assumed that people would just build them and be discreet about them. Where did I read it that people in cities are using them, so do they not have the approval? Do you have one inside and if so, was it difficult to get approved? I think you said you live in the UK dont you? Sorry for my rantings, everyone seems so positive about these heaters, my sole aim was to warm up my house, which I thought was the objective here Now I feel stupid
Roy Clarke


Joined: Feb 05, 2012
Posts: 120
You feel stupid? Welcome to the club Everyone starts off with loads more enthusiasm than knowledge, then this transforms into hard work and dogged determination (with any luck). The idea of building a stove outside is to learn by playing with one in a safe place.Trying your first one indoors could be a short term venture if things go badly. The RMH is relatively quick to build and modify, and a good example is http://www.permies.com/t/14115/stoves/Multifunction-outdoor-rocket-system

Read through lots of posts on this forum, particularly noting those by Erica and Ernie Wisner. They have done lots..

The reason approval is needed is because it is a notifiable service, and particularly it is solid fuel, and they kill more people than gas through carbon monoxide poisoning. In the UK the flue has to exit above the roof, and for normal appliances ideally above the ridge.

I don't like all the bureaucracy any more than anyone else, but when the system collapses and people are freezing with not enough fuel, with the knowledge and materials I will have accumulated, I can build a heater, and in those circumstances no one will care. However, I still don't want it to kill me.

Carol Morgan


Joined: Apr 20, 2012
Posts: 29
It was my intention to build one outdoors before an indoor one As you say I think I would need to familiarise myself with the process One of the things that appealed to me about this system is that people arent afraid to try things I think sometimes that if we consider all the details of everything then it could immobilise us and we end up stagnating, and afraid to explore possibilities. I felt there was a large element of freedom in this system, and I see the potential completely. Thinking about getting this approved has certainly put the brakes on any plans. Anything a bit different is extremely likely to get turned down in the area I live in, so I think I need to refer to plan B!
Carol Morgan


Joined: Apr 20, 2012
Posts: 29
Incidentally, Im glad you pointed this out to me before my vision was put into action. It would have been much more disappointing if I had gone through the process, only to discover the approval process at the end! Thank you
Roy Clarke


Joined: Feb 05, 2012
Posts: 120
Building control people are usually helpful if you approach them for help. If you took Ianto's book along, and if you had some photos of your outdoor model to show them and asked what you would need to do for approval, that would be a useful step. The things they will look for will include a non-combustible area round the fire pit, no leaks in the system and for the build to have integrity in this respect, possibly some way of shutting off the air supply to close down the heater (though open fires don't have this) and a flue exit above the roof line.
Carol Morgan


Joined: Apr 20, 2012
Posts: 29
Can I ask have you built a RMH?
Carol Morgan


Joined: Apr 20, 2012
Posts: 29
I was just thinking that, I had intended to place the RMH in an existing fireplace and exit the gases through an existing chimney. Currently it is a large open fireplace in the centre of a room, which we occasionally light, but which, as we know, is extremely ineffective at warming the room up. So the only thing that would be changing is the RMH set-up. Would that still require approval? As very little change would be taking place
Roy Clarke


Joined: Feb 05, 2012
Posts: 120
I've built part of one outside.

Any change to the configuration of a combustion needs approval. If you only added a standard wood burning stove, it would require approval.

You could look at Russian fires and bell stoves.
Carol Morgan


Joined: Apr 20, 2012
Posts: 29
Just thinking about the outdoor set-up. My long term plan was to perfect the technique outdoors over the next few months and then maybe, by the time the weather gets even colder, I will have got past the approval stage and be ready to get things going undoors. However, the weather in Wales is atrocious at the moment (as Im sure you have noticed!) and is set to be the same for a while yet. Maybe I could do the trial run in the garage? Its a big garage with nothing much else in there. It also has a down-pipe coming through the flat roof which is obselete now. My thoughts were that I could remove the downpipe and replace by a metal chimney from the RMH. Also, we are very much out of the way of other people so nobody asking questions really
Roy Clarke


Joined: Feb 05, 2012
Posts: 120
I wish we were ot of the way, too many people round here, but other people have it much worse. I would build one in the garage and have the flue going out at low level to start with. Putting a flue through the roof will add quite a few £s. If you build the one in the garage so it could be in a permanent position, you could leave it in place if it suits. You should have approval for the one in the garage, but you can have too much of a good thing.
Carol Morgan


Joined: Apr 20, 2012
Posts: 29
I went back to the drawing board! Instead of running around headless-chicken style, I decided to use what is at my disposal. I quite like the idea of the masonry heaters. I stumbled across a site where they make a masonry heater from used slabs, turned out great and very stylish! So Im trying to work out where I can get some slabs from and I happen to go down into the cellar. There, looking straight at me are some huge slabs! The house was a farmhouse previously, many years ago, and I believe the slabs are what made up the cold area. They are built by brickwork at either side, and have a big slab spanning the gap. There are 4 areas of different sizes down there. Could they be used as the shell for a masonry/bell stove? The back wall is the actual wall of the cellar. The slabs are roughly 2 inches thick. I think they would be very useful as thermal mass?? My idea was maybe to turn the area underneath into a heater by making a RMH and then channelling the warmth to the space underneath. Does anyone have any ideas/brainwaves about a set-up? I have lots of stone in the garden (boulders/slate) I can get drums fairly easily, cob being a bit more difficult.


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Roy Clarke


Joined: Feb 05, 2012
Posts: 120
Wow, these are nice slabs. I would keep them as they are since they are useful for food storage, and you don't need a fridge then. I would use brick sized bits to build a stove (but not in a cellar if that's what you were thinking) as they are easier to come by, and they can expand and contract without splitting. Those big slabs could crack with the temperature swing, and it seems a pity to destroy something so useful, esp for an experiment.
 
 
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