A few years ago, we made a Rocket Mass Heater in our living room. There wasn’t much space, so the design had to be fairly compact, but it still worked great. We can light a fire in the evening for a couple of hours, and the thermal mass will still be warm in the morning. The only thing we regret is that we hadn’t known about the concept of an RMH before we started building, so that we could have put a larger one into the house design.
The town house, on the other hand, has plenty of room, mainly because we don’t actually live there. So, we figured we’d use some of the space in its living room to try out a larger design. It is now finished, and turned out really beautifully.
It has the wood part in the corner, with an ash box under it. The riser is made out of firebricks and perlite, and it is contained within a 55 gallon barrel, which acts as a very efficient heat exchanger. The heat then travels through 8″ stove pipe all the way to the other end of the room and back. This length of pipe is contained within sand under a bench.
We’ve only run it for an hour or two so far, as it hasn’t been that cold. It heats up the room fine in that time, but hasn’t yet been able to warm up the whole bench. Although neither of us likes the cold, we’re kind of hoping for a front to move in, just so we try out our new butt-warmer.
Check out the full flickr set for a better idea of how it was all put together.