"Why don't you heat with a rocket stove?"
you looked into permies.com and the rocket mass stove that is advocated
there? They talk about how damping a fire down makes the stove
less efficient. And their design lets it burn hot but slowly
release the heat."
--- Phil, in response to
We actually get this
question a lot, so I thought I'd answer in a post so I can point later
readers here. For those who aren't familiar with rocket stoves, they were developed as an
efficient cook stove for countries where folks still largely heat their
food with wood. The design channels all of a fire's heat into a
very specific area around a pot and uses preheating
of the combustion air and insulation to achieve high efficiency
with low cost materials. One of these days, we may build a rocket
stove for summer cooking, but since I spend so much time processing all
of our homegrown produce, I don't think I'd have the patience to use a
higher work stove at the moment.
course, that's not what Phil was talking about --- he wanted to know
why we don't heat our home with a rocket stove. While I don't
have the data to back this up, I suspect that our scientifically
efficiency wood stove
is a more effective space heater than any homemade rocket stove we
could come up with. Our little Jotul uses the same preheating and
insulation concepts as the rocket stove, and I can attest to the fact
that the smoke coming out the chimney is usually completely clear as
long as I'm burning dry wood. We also burn a fraction of the wood
our neighbors do.
On the other hand, Phil
is completely correct that you get more efficiency from any fire if you
burn it hot rather than damping it down --- that's why we chose a small
wood stove that fits
our small space and burns little chunks of wood on "high" all
day. However, heating with a wood stove overnight requires you to
damp the stove down (unless you buy a pellet stove, which doesn't seem
very sustainable to me). A rocket stove would be a very bad
option for overnight heating since the ones I've seen require you to
feed small pieces of wood into the stove very frequently --- I prefer
to damp her down and sleep.
make sense for overnight wood heating is adding more thermal mass
around any kind of stove. This is how the rocket mass stove (the
heating version) works --- a huge mass of masonry stores heat while the
stove is running during the day, then radiates that warmth back into
the room when the stove burns down. Our trailer has weight
restrictions, so we can't go overboard with massive cob-type stove
surrounds the way some folks do, but one of these days I do plan to
tile the living room floor to capture the great passive solar heat
coming in our south-facing windows on winter days. Our slow but
sure progress on insulating our space will also help.
Our chicken waterer is the POOP-free alternative
to traditional, filthy waterers.
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