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Can one person build a RMH?

 
master pollinator
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I had a big planning session with my wife last weekend. We’re buying a place next year and I have dozens of projects planned for the next five years. I’m educating and planning in advance. Early on is a RMH if possible. My wife rightly asked me how I intended to build one after I showed her some of Paul’s youtube videos explaining what an RMH is. Every video had lots of people working together, which I totally embrace. However, I have to be realistic. I’m moving to a place where I know no-one and getting help on a project like a RHM requires trust and understanding. My wife is very happy for me to build stuff, she supports me financially and emotionally - that’s her contribution. She won’t be physically helping. So, can an RMH heater be built by one person? Has anyone done it themselves?
 
pollinator
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Absolutely. I did. Those "lots of people working together" videos are great, and they can make a project go together quick. But they're usually executing a thorough plan and have at least one person that really knows what they're doing already.
Those of us with less experience actually benefit from a slower build IMO, because we will run into issues and questions that we have time to answer and work out without the pressure of maximizing the use of a groups time. Matt Walker points this out quite a bit and does his builds primarily solo.  
 
Edward Norton
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Thanks Matt, great reply.
 
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Hi,  If I were going to build an RMH into a new build or retrofit,  I would actually build one today in my backyard, I would need the practice of my first experimental one.  Erica Wisner describes some RMH as the flaming dragon of death.  Better to have a good one running first than attempt the experimental one in the new house.
 
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Yes, you absolutely can build one by yourself!
I built both of mine with no help.
J tube builds in particular are super easy.
Batchbox builds are easy as well, but do require some metal fabrication.
 
Edward Norton
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Arthur Angaran wrote:Hi,  If I were going to build an RMH into a new build or retrofit,  I would actually build one today in my backyard, I would need the practice of my first experimental one.  Erica Wisner describes some RMH as the flaming dragon of death.  Better to have a good one running first than attempt the experimental one in the new house.



Good point. The grand plan has a heated greenhouse so that could be a good place for a first attempt. I could build and test before building a green house over it.
 
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Edward Norton wrote:
Good point. The grand plan has a heated greenhouse so that could be a good place for a first attempt. I could build and test before building a green house over it.



That's a really good plan. That way you're not threatening anything important incase it goes wrong. Which it probably won't but you are setting fire to stuff. The advice I've been given for RMHs in greenhouses is build it big. Greenhouses have very little (if any) insulation so you're basically heating the world with your RMH :D

Good luck!
 
pollinator
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I think you can manage it, but there are also people around who may be willing to help out plus paying an expert to run things could be well worth it.  I was just privileged to be part of a build here in MA, and the paid labor numbers the host shared with me were very reasonable ($300/day), plus the money goes to people who are awesome.  I don't want to promise that's someone's rate, I was just told that was for this particular build.  

And a bunch of other people volunteered too.  I would consider shipping out to NJ even, that's about the farthest I am willing to travel, but I do really want to build these.  The ones we built were a super-pretty funky one and a more plain one, and a really basic plain one would have been much less work.  

There are always curveballs.  I definitely found some things in the book were not spelled out enough for my dumbing-down city slicker needs, so being at a real build with actual pro's was worth a lot.

Getting the badge bit for building it would be an incentive for volunteers to come help too!

 
Destiny's powerful hand has made the bed of my future. And this tiny ad:
Rocket Mass Heater Manual - now free for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/8/rmhman
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