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Summary

Paul calls Jen Richardson up to talk about the rocket mass heater in the tipi, its history, potential improvements, and possibly either a rebuilding it, or building a whole new tipi and RMH.


Built seven years ago to prove that they heat in a different way, it can make the tipi feel like 50F while it’s -26F outside, even when the fire went out eight hours ago.  Five years ago, they had the idea for a stratification chamber – have a small exhaust coming off of the lower part of a large chamber so that it keeps the hot air in longer and the cooler air is exhausted.  Three years ago the RMH started to show much less draw, so Ernie took it apart and found that the core had mostly dissolved due to the perlite melting.  The core was rebuilt with orange firebrick, but had to be shaved down two years later to improve airflow.

Theory is that with a stratification chamber in the tipi RMH, you could further reduce fuel consumption by half, however this seems to require further improvements to the core and remove the three-minute-riser and burn tunnel with moulded ceramic versions.  

Cold plugs happen when the outside air is warmer than the inside air and are characterised by being harder to light and smoking inside after a couple of minutes.  Cold plugs are common in the tipi due to it being uninsulated.  They can be helped by putting the vertical exhaust close to the barrel so that it heats up earlier and makes a full draw sooner.

Paul goes on a tangent regarding well digging and the problems he’s currently facing with getting one along with taxmen.


Relevant Threads

Tipi RMH thread

Cob forum
Rocket Mass Heater forum

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COMMENTS:
 
pollinator
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Regarding the cold plug in the RMH, has anyone tried wrapping a wire rope or some other conductive material from the barrel to the exhaust?  This would transfer more heat to the exhaust when the system is cold, and you could take it off when it's warmer(as in the next morning when its safe to handle the wire rope) and start putting that heat into your mass.
 
steward
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That has not been tried!  Maybe the next time you are out here?
 
Kyle Bob
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I'm in!
 
pollinator
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I finally get the cold plug thing, but can't you just open the door until the indoor air warms up? am I missing something really obvious?
 
Kyle Bob
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:I finally get the cold plug thing, but can't you just open the door until the indoor air warms up? am I missing something really obvious?


The tipi is uninsulated so unless the heater has been run, the inside and outside temperatures are essentially the same
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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OK, so the cold plug happens if the temperatures are the same or if the outside is colder than the inside, is that accurate?  I just have a sense there's an easier workaround, the problem is the solution and all.  In this case, the problem is literally that it's too warm inside on a cold day.  

I'm going to finish listening to the podcast now, maybe it'll all get clearer.  

Kyle Bob wrote:

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:I finally get the cold plug thing, but can't you just open the door until the indoor air warms up? am I missing something really obvious?


The tipi is uninsulated so unless the heater has been run, the inside and outside temperatures are essentially the same

 
pioneer
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I think that running the exhaust through an earth tube could work if it goes downhill. As the heat is released the air should fall. This would eliminate the need to reheat the cooled exhaust.

I posted this idea months ago here earth tube exhaust and it did not get any responses
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Rocket Mass Heater Plans: Annex 6" L-shaped Bench by Ernie and Erica
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