North Hatfield

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since Feb 27, 2009
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Recent posts by North Hatfield

Actually yes they are quite insulative.

After about 15-20 minutes (in winter) of burn time on a regular ash filled metal can type of rocket stove i can no longer touch the outer can.

The cinder block type is still "just warm" after the same amount of time.

Although i still pack cob around it to get every last bit of useful heat out of it.

Waste not - want not.

13 years ago
Yes that's the cinder block/brick one i was referring to.

It should be noted that like the fox stove you need rocks, long nails, or pieces of steel/iron to lift the pot up off the top of the cinder block to let the smoke out.

The diagram does not say what  the three stones are for.

In reality, any kind of stone or metal pot stand will do.

As for photos of a fox stove , that would be a No.  I will have to wait until the ground is unfrozen to make one.

13 years ago
Rocket stoves were originally called (Western name given) "Fox stoves" .

A fox stove is a "J" shaped hole/home a fox (vulpine) makes.

You dig two holes (beside each other) to the same depth and about 3 inches or so apart.

The at the bottom you dig out a small hole between the two holes.

You then take the earth you dug out and pack it around one of the holes to make it taller and become a kind of chimney.

Add a few rocks to the top of the chimney to hold your pot above the rim and let  the smoke out.

You put the sticks in the lower hole and light it.

Voila a fox stove.

The fox stove is probably the oldest concealed flame stove.  Used well before any type of fired clay/brick was invented.
13 years ago

Smaller (large can)coffee can rocket stoves are not as efficient as the larger home or camp style version .  The same coffee can rockets stoves are also very bulky to carry around and while they are quite solid they do get dinged up quite a bit, and loose their ashes easily.

The rocket stove with vertically fed fire boxs (like the bread maker above) are better due to the fact that they have better protection from the wind, and are positive pressure types for even burning.

The simple cinder brick/block stove found at weblife is remarkably efficient.

I've built several of vavreks large oil can rocket stoves, and i have not heard any complaints as yet.

My own version is made from a an old used water tank.  It already had feet, and it was easier  to shape the thicker/stronger metal to the flu shape with a simple round file.
13 years ago
Rocket stoves can heat hotter than most propane stoves. Depending on flu height and such.

Vavrek's / weblife / Aprovecho's rocket stove is a more efficent design than the normal large coffee can rocket stove.

There are two considerations when choosing a pot.

#1: Will you be making/using a tall pot skirt ?

#2: No pot skirt?

If you will be using a pot skirt a thin walled/sided pot is perfect. Therefore a stainless steel  pot is more than adiquate.

If you are open cooking then you need a pot that has some thickness on the sides to provide at least a bit of insulative properties.

I bought the stainless pots with copper bottoms.

Also you need  good insulative lids for your pots. To optimize you cooking time.

You can use dish soap or smear on a thin layer or mud to slow the soot deposits.

Both will help with later cleaning.

The rocket stove design has been around for about 3000 years originating in India.

A rocket stove is a downdraft or pressure stove. The fuel only burns at its tips.

The rocket stove pushes the smoke out the chimney instead of a draft pulling the smoke.

The smoke that comes form a rocket stove is mostly steam and  minute amounts of CO.

The rocket stove is the most efficient wood fueled cooking/heating stove/heater

That last link has a really good HOW TO book for 13$.

Some has even started using rocket stoves to make Hydrogen fuel. Since the exhaust form the rocket stove is quite clean . It is diverted into a electrolosys device .

A commercial  greenhouse not to far from here takes their rocket furnace steam and condenses it into water and feeds its plants.

Any tighter and the greenhouse would be its own independent biosphere.

As for the rocket stove designs. For cooking purposes that max size/height would be  about 18-20 inches tall.

Any higher and the flu would cause a large draft and all you will get is smoke and your fire will go out.

The cook stove requires the gases to burn as they go up  the flu. Therefore you can't make it easy for the gases to escape.

A Rocket heater has a large metal tank over the flu and the exhaust pipe is down at the floor/ground level . This is what provides the pressure.

Here is something else that might interest you as well.

It's very efficient as well.
13 years ago
Actually my region goes on average form +40c to -40c give or take a couple degrees during the year.

Makes one find ways to fix current eco friendly ideas and fix not so eco friendly stuff.

Stuff like the ECONEST homes that were never designed for such large shifts in temperature.

Good luck with your electricity problems.
13 years ago
@Leah Sattler.

Well i doubt i could make it. It's -35c here right now, the car won't even start. 


These days  stable power is far more important. With electronics now in the Nano size and running at billions and trillions of Hertz. It takes so little instability  in power to send things wacky. Some newer computer motherboards now use 8 phase power systems in order to help with bad household power.

Homes that run on wind/solar/geothermal, all use battery to inverter power systems.  Electrical appliances last years longer on these "off the grid" power supplies.


Your welcome.

Good luck.
13 years ago

Yes i do check my wiring, and check my appliances, wall outlets, e.t.c.

There is no reason to see an increase of 100% or more . The only possible things i can think of are the following.

A: Faulty Meter

B: Faulty meter installation (hardware wise)

C: Faulty meter programing (software wise). Bad firmware.

D: Faulty power lines when they hooked up the new digital system at the distribution node nearest you.

If your willing to make the attempt.

If it's cold in your area then i would wait until it gets warmer to try the following.

If you can turn off  (unplug) your sensitive electronics, and high drain appliances, and turn off the fuel (gas) heating. Then turn off your main breaker.

Wait 2 minutes then go look at your meter and see if there is still a significant power drain.

There is always a minor amount of cycling power through the grid, and the meter is designed to take that into consideration.

Something like 0.05watts. Depending on your electricity provider.

It usually takes about 2 minutes for the meter to run the cycle, after that you can check it, take notes then restore your power.

For testing purposes there are usually three meters i use. The "accutest" outlet tester that tests everything in an outlet, six light readout multi-mode.

The 10$ ones from radio shack won't give you much in accuracy. However they will tell you if you have reversed HOT/NEUT or no ground.  They won't tell you if you have a Neut/gdn short.

A voltage/amps/Freq meter.

Lastly an in-line watts meter that is like an extension cord (with a computer/meter) that goes between the  appliance and the wall outlet.  They are available at the local hardware stores. They are used to monitor and record how much kw/h the  appliance uses.

Since your on gas for heating.  You could check the clothes dryer with a HV loop amp meter, your hubby should have one. However i doubt that it's the dryer unless your running a cleaning service.

Other than that i can't think of anything else at the moment that would cause such a dramatic increase. The old meters were never off more than 10-15%.

Which is what you should be seeing in a difference in power consumption.
13 years ago

I would be wise to  have your electrical wiring checked.

I have seen so many places (very similar to your description) with bad wiring such as inverted Hot/Neutral, shorts between neutral and ground, e.t.c.

It cost them a fortune per month until i told them to check their wiring. They were at 300+ $ a month, after that they dropped to about 96$/m on average.

Things like Neut/gdn shorts play havoc on sensitive electronics such as computers. Significantly shortening their life span.

Not to mention feeding electricity into the ground (earth).

If you have the cheap surge protection bars. You should check those as well. Often then are more dangerous than then actual wall outlet.

Bring your (electric or gass) water heater down to 110 deg.  Unless you living as far north as i  the 140 deg standard is rather rediculous. Even i leave it at 100-110 deg.

Using a wood furnace the heat your water is a very good way to save on energy. The only down side is space. Since a wood water heating system heat so much your need an additional tempering (cooling) tank 1/2 height of the main hot water tank higher than the main hot water tank.

If you don't  have a tempering tank. It gets so hot you can cook noodles just by running them under the tap for about 30 seconds. It's that hot, not to mention dangerous.  Fastest cup of coffee you'll ever make.

I install solar/wind kits in chalets. Rocket heaters with integrated water heater.

I find it to be the best match for a climate such as mine where the ground is frozen solid for 8 months at a time.

We have the digital hydro meters here with RF. The meter maid only has to get within about 6 feet to get the reading. 

Our prices went up as well last year. However we barely saw any difference in the bill.

However i did fix my wiring as the so called professional electrician did a worthless job.

Some other tips:

Keep electronics clean of dust and residue

Get a better fridge, or

Empty out your fridge, unplug and let it dry out (24 hours) and vacuum any dust form the mechanics and radiator, then restart it. Make certain you have plenty of cool air flow at the back of the fridge and at the top.

Same for a freezer.

Check your heating filters to see if they need changing.

Clean any dust form your heating system, including the air intakes on the furnace.

Find leaks and insulate them. Insulate your hot water pipes.

Install plastic (winterize) over your windows in winter.

Lastly i never recommend those outdoor water front wood furnaces.

Based of years of local research. Those outdoor wood furnaces consume 253% (at best) more wood than an equivalent indoor wood furnace. This includes buying the top of the line piping, fittings, rads and insulation, as well as being buried 6 feet deep.

Best of luck.

13 years ago