We have just started a new system in central Oklahoma that I would really like to use year round but I am stuck on the heating. I have read all of the post on the DIY element tank heaters and agree that they definitely work but it seems that it would be like running several hot water tanks. It could get pretty expensive on the electric bill. I have also looked into rocket mass heaters and I like the radiant heat concept but am not sure how warm it would keep the water. Does any one have any other ideas/experience/advice?
Good to hear. The good news for wood heat is that it is always growing. On our 7 acres we have not cut a tree yet that was not in need of cutting due to location, disease, old age in 5 years here. And the rest just keep growing. We propagate the most valuable ones and plant groves of locust, etc.
In our GH gasifier stove I will even burn pine that we would not burn in the main houses. Lots of BTU there. So you may have more good firewood than you think. AND it is the best way to take care of your trees however many you have. I see no lack of wood for the future and we only have about 4 acres in forest.
As to RMHs you should probably plan on a draft inducer blower for start ups. They are notoriously dirty at start up and will smoke you out of the GH until the flue gets hot enough to create a draft which can take 10 min or more. Slight redesign could fix the problems they have that people are reluctant to talk about. (occasionally I see an honest post on this) I have yet to hear how they are cleaned of creosote after a few years (and every wood stove WILL create some I guarantee it) with all that flue that is underground in a good MASS heater.
The new commercial wood gasifier boilers are far easier to maintain but run $8 - 12K. But you can heat your house and a garage and a GH and a shop simply by running underground pipes. We had a standard "Classic" outdoor boiler and I am here to say it was the dirties stove I have ever seen. I had to call the local fire dept and let them know where all that smoke was coming from before they sent out the troops. So stay away from the cheaper boilers. The gasifier models came out a few years later at double the cost and I can't justify the payback time. So I have gone back to my own designs that I can make for about $200.00 with some scrounging. A back yard design won second place in a national clean stove bake off last year so don't dismiss backyard innovations.
Michael Mansur said:
yes sir, plenty of wood here. i probably have enough on my place to last several years. That's really why I thinking Rocket Mass Heater. Plenty of wood and it just looks like fun to build!
BTW that Chinese GH design is great but I would definitely add a partition between the grow room and the fish room as we have. Unless you plan on raising Tilapia there should be a way of maintaining cool in the FTs while keeping the hothouse hot. I seldom see that done and I don't get it. Here is a take off on the Chinese design by Friendly AP out of Hawaii and TN:This baby is just dying for a N side fish room. Only thing missing IMHO.
Here is my design which should be completed by this Fall. The below grade cement block wall in front of the barrelponics is holding things up a bit. The fish room is insulated from the hot house. The reason I use so many methods of GBs is that I sell a lot of bell siphons all over the planet and I like to test all sizes I sell: