Rocket Stove Demonstration
CANTON, NY -- A St. Lawrence County project aims to show how heating a home, business, or greenhouse with wood can be accomplished much more economically and safely than with conventional wood stoves. Most wood stoves deposit hazardous creosote that cause dangerous house fires, especially if unseasoned wood is used.
Home heating in the North Country is accomplished in many ways, but few are more interesting than the Local Living Venture's Rocket Stove Mass Heater Demonstration Project. Build almost entirely with local materials such as clay soil, straw, sand, and stones and supplemented with materials that are readily available as scrap, such as discarded stove pipe and brick, this is a do-it-yourselfer's dream project that will continue to pay dividends in comfort and safety for years to come.
"It hardly costs a thing to build this kind of heating system and have the benefits of the stove warming you for many more hours than usual, using just a small amount of wood." states project organizer Chelle S. Lindahl, adding: "This is not just a standard tour however, it is a special demonstration where we will open up the entire system, inspect it for fly ash and damage, and really get a good look at the 'innards.' Then we'll fire it up for the first burn of the season! This is not an opportunity that comes around often."
The tour and demonstration will take place on Sunday, October 18 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. near Canton, NY, with an optional tour of the rest of this off-grid home to follow, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Local craftsmen such as Mark Seymour of RadiantHearth.com and other rocket stove and mass heater enthusiasts will be on hand to share information as well.
Several local homes have been featured on other Local Living Venture tours. Some use mass masonry heaters with traditional burn chambers. Others use rocket stove burner technology purely for cooking and water heating, but the Demonstration Project home to be toured combines the two features into one large, efficient unit for warming the home and more.
This style of heater sounds complicated when described, with it's vertical burn chamber and high-efficiency positive draft or "convection heat pump" baffle system, but is actually a very simple concept that creates complete combustion of wood and wood gases with zero creosote build-up for a safer, warmer house. It includes a warming bench (the "mass" part of mass heater) that provides long-lasting radiant heat.
Once the heat from the stove heats up the cob masonry mass heater (cob is the mixture of clay soil, sand, and straw) it radiates the heat created by the stove back into the room for hours or days after the fire is out, not just when the stove is going. This means the stove can be fired less often and it creates a much more even heating atmosphere in the home, both things that many wood stove users will appreciate.
Last Winter's chilly and prolonged season saw this well-insulated 1100 square foot "camp" use only seven or eight face cords of split firewood for the entire heating season. Claims seem to be proving true that the average home would use between 50-90% less wood when combining the simple rocket stove burning technology design with the mass heater component.
The cost of using less wood is a positive feature, translating into much less expense for the homeowner. Since much less wood need be burned there is also the benefit of not having to haul and stack as much wood, though the wood does require finer splitting than the traditional large logs that get tossed in to smolder all night. Because of this, however, there is virtually no possibility of dangerous creosote build-up which is the top cause of house fires due to burning with wood.
Attendance is limited to twenty guests, so attendees need to sign up for the exact location of the event, about ten miles from Canton near West Pierrepont. To register contact LocalLivingVenture@gmail.com or (315) 347-4223 with your name(s), phone numbers, and number in party, and indicating their interest in the carpooling option.
There is a suggested free-will donation of $10 per person to benefit future Local Living Venture workshop creation. More details can be found on the web at the site bit.ly/RocketStoveTour.
The Local Living Venture (LLV) coordinates year-round Resourceful Living Skills workshops promoting traditional rural and simple living skills for a more capable community, with the motto "Sharing Knowledge from the Past - Building Skills for the Future." Listings of many more upcoming workshops and events are on the "Full Events Schedule" page at www.LocalLivingVenture.org.
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PHOTO CREDIT: Local Living Venture
Finishing off the "cob" exterior of the Local Living Venture's Rocket Mass Heater Demonstration Project. The benefits of wood heating using a vertical burn chamber and positive convection baffle system, built using almost entirely free materials, will be featured in the upcoming tour and demonstration of the heater on Sunday, October 18 near West Pierrepont/Canton, NY. This method creates complete combustion of wood with zero creosote for a safer, warmer house and includes a warming bench (the "mass" part of mass heater) that radiates heat into the room for many hours after the fire has gone out as well. Another benefit is that much less wood need be burned, translating into much less labor and expense for the homeowner. A tour of the unit will be featured for twenty attendees from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. that day. An additional tour of the rest of this off-grid homestead will follow, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. On the web at: bit.ly/RocketStoveTour.