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j sigs

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since Oct 19, 2015
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Recent posts by j sigs

Here's a screenshot I took of David's data.  I wish it was a bit clearer, sorry!  The vertical lines represent one day and I assume it's 12am to 12am.

But from what I can tell, after about 15-20 days (I'm okay with the lag) the peak temps are at noon or shortly after and peak at about 150-160 deg F.  They seem to bottom out around 110-130 (again, after 15-20ish days) somewhere in the early hours of the morning.  

Keep in mind, David's barrel is outside.  I can only imagine getting smoother curves at higher temps when the barrel is placed in my basement.  Even at 110, it's still just sitting there radiating heat, right?

I hear you when you guys are saying one barrel may not be enough. And yes, 3 panels in parallel is my plan.  

John, I rent this flat, so I'm not switching to gas.  I'd love to know what type of electric pump you use to push the hot water around in your HWS system.  I've been thinking about something like that for a while now.

I'm not sure I'm even going to bother with a thermostat.  I would like to place a fuse inline though.  No batteries, no controllers, simple, cheap.

And I know what you all are going to say, "try it and let us know!"  haha, that's what I love about this site!

Thanks All!
3 months ago

John C Daley wrote:Couple of questions;
- What is a basement apartment
- What is delta
-  What temperature do you actually want?
- If the thermostat is set at 55, why is the room 62?


It might be a slight language barrier here, I see you are from Australia. Do Australians call apartments "flats" like the British do?  A basement apartment is a flat in the lowest level of a single family home.  Built in the foundation of the home.  I hope that helps.

Delta is a fancy way of saying "change" or "difference",  commonly used in the sciences.  ex.  67-62=5; therefore the delta is 5.

I'd like the temp to be somewhere around 67 deg Faranheit

The room naturally stays a bit warmer due to it being embedded in the ground. The heat will come on if the temp drops below 55.  62 is bearable, but 67 is much more comfortable.  The goal is to be more comfortable.

Hope this helps!
3 months ago
Hi all,

 First off, may apologies. I didn't know where to post this.  Also, I always try to do some research before I post so I don't post redundantly but I couldn't find anything.

I live in a basement apartment in Connecticut (Zone 6).  It's about 8400 cuft (30*40*7) of open studio space.  We have oil heat here with baseboard hydronic and I'm trying to reduce the oil bill and mostly, be warmer.  The thermostat hangs out around 60-62 during the day.  It's set at 55.  So naturally, it's about 62 down here.  66-67 is super comfortable down here.  I'm only looking for a Delta of about 4-7 degrees.

If you are familiar with David Poz on Youtube he did a comparison of PV vs. Solar Thermal a few years ago.  He uses both technologies to heat their respective 55 gallon barrels with about 50 gals of water in them.  For the PV he wires direct to a DC 48v 1500 watt water heater element. WIth direct wiring the heating element only gets powered when the panels are generating enough voltage to power the element.  Both of the barrels are outside in February behind his solar array.  He insulates both barrels with some foil faced insulation, I didn't catch the R value, sorry.  After a few days he's getting temps in the 150-160 range with the PV system.  Keep in mind, these are outdoors, in February in Massachuesetts.

Here's a link to one of the videos in the series he does about PV vs. Solar Thermal:

My thoughts are this.  I basically want to do the same thing but the barrel will be inside.  I'm not going to insulate the barrel.  I might put a fan lightly blowing some of the heat that radiates from the barrel off of it.  The water temp should get  higher seeing the barrel is indoors.  I realize the barrel temp dips when there's less sun.

But am I wrong to think that this will raise the temp of my apartment?  I'm just trying to think this through.

Thanks in advance!

3 months ago

 I live in a rented home in Connecticut.  We have oil heat.  The home is approximately 2600 sq ft.  It was built in 1986.  I would love to build a rocket mass heater indoors but its not really feasible seeing I don't own the home.  Putting a few holes in an exterior wall to run PEX or copper pipe would be acceptable. We do have a fireplace but its mostly aesthetic and I'm under the impression you would need to pull permits to have a wood stove or fireplace insert installed.  I would like to avoid pulling permits.   I am currently considering a parabolic trough to heat water that would then be pumped inside and then run through a heat exchanger.  I am also considering buying an older wood boiler and burning outside and running the plumbing in and also through a heat exchanger.  My thoughts are that I could use the parabolic trough to supplement my heat on nice sunny winter days.  And then use the wood boiler at nights or on cloudy days.  I'm just in the beginning phases of putting a plan together and wondering if any New Englanders would chime in about there experiences.  Thanks in advance!  -John
1 year ago
I'm looking for ceramic fiber board. I live in the Greater Hartford area and am more than willing to travel through the Greater New England area.  Any thoughts are appreciated.


2 years ago
Hey Everybody!

 I'm not to vocal on this site but I've been a massive stalker for several years since I first heard about RMH's and fell in love with them.  Thank you all for the information!

Here's my dilemna.  I'm in a rental home with 4 other roommates.  I'm a biochemist and I have 3 engineers and a math teacher for roommates.  We all find RMH's super interesting and would love to start experimenting.  We cant just build an out-of-code RMH in the basement of a fairly nice rental home in the suburbs of Central Connecticut.  We've built a great test rocket out of cinder blocks(I know, not exactly heat resistant) to demonstrate to ourselves and validate the concept.  

For for the piece of mind of everyone in the house I think we all agree that we would be willing to move forward if we could burn outside and somehow pump the heat in.  Can this be done?  I'm not asking anyone to do all the research for me, but filtering and navigating through the immense amount of data contained on this website can be challenging.  

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Thanks in advance!!!

3 years ago
Glenn- There is a roof over the 1st floor on one side of the house. Would this be acceptable? I have a hard time imaging how I would get above the second floor without tying in to the existing chimney(which I don't think is recommended?). I'm in a pretty residential area as well and it might look "funny" running a two story chimney from a window? Or is there a way you can create a box around the chimney to block wind?

As far as keeping the tires from getting initial plan was to line the deck and sides of the cart with durock. But now that I'm thinking of it I'm not sure that durock "reflects" heat like I initially imagined it would... any experience with durock or anything else that might reflect the heat away from the tires?

Floors seemed to pass the bounce test...

5 years ago
Glenn- Thanks for the response! Yes, this place is definitely drafty. I think I might go into the basement and use Great Stuff to fill in any cracks. I'm thinking about using the frost king plastic on both the outside and inside of these old windows? There's an old wooden bulkhead which I am sure isn't doing much. I have been toying with the idea of putting straw bales around the foundation to block some of the draft. Although, some say it's a nice nest for mice which are already an issue in the winter.

As far as the floors, it's an old house. The hard wood floor sag a bit but are in much better shape than some other houses ive lived in. I wouldn't know how to gauge the strength of the floor itself? The foundation of the house itself is brick.

There is no seperate chimney. I was hoping to use a window? These heavy duty utility carts I see for sale at the big box stores have ratings between say 400-1000lbs. Would that be enough to hold the weight of the RMH?
5 years ago
Hi everyone!

I've been scouring these forums on and off for maybe 2 years now since I was first introduced to RMH's. Everyone is nice and so knowledgeable, give yourselves a round of applause!

Short story: I want to start doing my homework here and I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of a remote rocket mass heater (in a garage 40ft from the house) that could heat my home (1500sq ft) via copper coils on the heat riser, pex off a manifold, and radiator/heat exchangers inside the house.

Long story: So I'm a newbie and considering my first rocket mass heater build. I'll probably make one or two concrete ones in the back yard just to get a feel for it first. I live in a friends house that is being foreclosed on. They moved out to be closer to work but their real estate agent suggested that they have someone live at the house so squatters don't settle in, pipes don't freeze, they property is maintained, etc. That's me, I prefer to refer to myself as the curator. It's a pretty good gig. I've had a free house to live in for just over a year. I only pay the utilities. That's where the problem lies. The owners have installed a new gas furnace the year before i moved in (this house was built in 1890 by the way) and I thought "great! super easy gas bill!" I ended up paying about $2400 in gas bills from November to April give or take. I thought if I could build a system and fuel it with wood for a fraction of the cost and gain experience in building and running a system like this it would be great. The bank may be getting involved soon as there was a lis pendens served in August. Which means I could have real estate or bank visitors soon. Obviously, it's not my house so I wouldn't build a giant cob bench in the living room. Given the circumstances, my thoughts were this... build a small (30gal drum for the riser) RMH in the garage, just outside of the house with durock concrete board surrounding the RMH, or possibly a small RMH on a heavy duty utility wagon that could be rolled in and out of the house? I would like to use copper coils around the heat riser to capture the heat. The hot water would then run through +/-40ft of pex tubing from the garage to the house (insulate the pex somehow?) and into some type of radiator or heat exchanger ssytem? Keep in mind, I may be having visitors from a bank soon who may decide my fate in my free house, meaning they might let me continue to curate during what could be a lengthy foreclosure process or the might give me a definite amount of time to vacate...pissing these people off with not so legal RMH's and pex and radiators around the house when they come to inspect is not what I want... So I'd like to keep the system portable if you know what I mean...hence the wagon idea...

Anyhow.... Am I crazy?, hahaha

Nice to meet you all

5 years ago