The devils rice crispies treats (cheap insulation for ceramic/earthen homes )

Discussion in 'Homesteading' started by GingerBeardMan, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. GingerBeardMan

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    I've been trying to figure out what are the best ways of insulating a small woods house/cabin. My preference would be a brick house, rammed earth bale house, or some kind of greener structure that I can take advantage of the clay that available. I have ceramics experience and I've built brick kilns a couple times, so it would play to my strengths. Only problem is i dont know Jack about insulation. I know reflective materials help with thermoregulation, and I know what R values are suggested for the Rockies, but after that I'm afloat with no paddle. I know a dead air space between the inside and outside with a reflective surface on one side is good. I know that using rock wool or perlite fill or a perlite concrete wall sealed by sodium silicate can add insulation, and that one of the best means of limiting the difficulty of heating or cooling a structure is to simply keep it small.

    Ideally my homestead could be heated by one rocket stove, and I'd love to bury it slightly or have a decent portion if the space be under ground/basement to make use the root cellar effect to kind of keep it comfortable, and as the land I'm looking at is mountainous high desert that should be fine as far as drainage and moisture goes. I dont have a hookup for rockwool but I do have a connection that can get me perlite for about $150-180 a ton so that could be very nice for building up those r values.

    I made something in the past as an experiment that was perlite and slightly thinned glue (I want to say elmer's but it might have been something waterpoof) that was remarkably sturdy and had a decent insulation value (close to loose perlite, but safer when it comes to dust and could be kind of applied directly to a surface or formed into brick/panels with the aid of chalk dust. Downside is the glue looses perlite's benefit of being fireproof, but that's about it. Let's call it DRCT (The devil's rice crispies treat).

    Anyway, so, outside-in, brick wall, then DCRT at 3-4 inches thick, reflective material, 2-3 inch dead airspace, reflective material, inch of the DCRT and then interior walls, be they paneling or drywall or whatever. By my calculation I lose a fair amount of living space, but that averages out at around R-32 in a room with no windows and one average quality door. Assuming I understand how that works ( I probably dont).

    So, what do you think? Am I nuts and this wont work, or is this an ok idea?
     
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  2. 1066vik

    1066vik Supporter Supporter

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    google "sirewall" -- basically it's a pair of 8-10"walls made from rammed earth that's got a 10% portland content with 4" of rigid foam between them for a thermal break -- so similar to your 5-layer wall without the pearlite induced lung disease.
    stucco the outside, make your foam insert out of foil faced and regular structural foam (the pink or blue stuff), plank the inside, and Bob's your uncle!

    you mght also look into "hempcrete" -- which is similar to hypertufa, only using chopped hemp stems -- which are a byproduct of CBD and hemp fiber processing.
     
  3. GingerBeardMan

    GingerBeardMan Tracker

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    I would like to avoid the long disease. my hope would be that glue would seal it up enough, but lord knows that's a gamble.

    I'll check it out! Thank you!
     
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  4. haunted

    haunted Guide

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    i hear ex peta type room mates make great insulation when stuffed in the wall
     
  5. Wasp

    Wasp DOWN IN DIXIE Supporter

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    Have you looked at Bale Houses? Hay bales? Doesn't suit me but my mom used to have several plans and wanted to do it. Besides insulation the other cool part is the architectural possibilities are about endless.

    Of course when I think of it it makes me think of the three little pigs, but hey...its your house.

    See what I did there?
     
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  6. Young Blacksmith

    Young Blacksmith Supporter Supporter

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    If you're mountainous high desert, look into the "$50 and Up Underground House Book". Depending on your terrain, could be a great start. Bales of something, with clay plaster on the outside and inside, would be awesome. Combining the two could give you a unique, well insulated structure that would last your lifetime in the desert. Another option is the earthship idea of rammed earth in tires, glazed fronts facing South. Mostly built around the Taos, NM area.

    Having clay available, adobe is a great option as well. Small adobe structures are easy to keep heated, and the 8"-12" walls insulate nicely.
     
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  7. GingerBeardMan

    GingerBeardMan Tracker

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    I did see Haha. I only have one thing about bale houses and that is I am allergic to hay. I think once it's in the walls it doesnt matter so much, but boy would construction be roooooouuuuugh.

    I am gonna get that book. I've encountered the guy before and he is a character.

    Some good ideas. Ive heard of earth ships before, I'll dig more into it!


    The only real reason I was thinking bricks is I know how to make insulated bricks because I did that as a job for a bit, both creating the bricks and laying them out. Also part of it is making a insulatory mortar as well! But, still, might be beyond the scope of it.

    Well, even if I dont use them for the house I can use them to make a kiln and have an endless supply of crockery, tiles and dishes. I wonder how hard it is to make ceramic knives...
     
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  8. Wasp

    Wasp DOWN IN DIXIE Supporter

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    Okay then use bottles or tires? Stick bundling?
     
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  9. GingerBeardMan

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    Rolls of fine Corinthian leather, mayhaps?

    those are solid ideas. I've also heard of snagging the baled paper from furniture stores or baled plastic waste I think. But bailing could definitely work. I wonder how that works with underground or berm houses. To the search engine!
     
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  10. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus Tracker

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    If you were in a forest I would suggest cob (or insulated mortar) and cord wood, but the high desert makes both items hard to come by. If you could make a 5-6" void between the inside and outside walls I would go with cellulose. Downside is high flammability, but there are few houses that will survive a fire anyway. If you are worried about air quality/lung issues stay away from sheetrock/drywall, gypsum dust is horrible and difficult to clean up. The pink and blue foams from known petrochemical companies work well, but have the downside of being nasty foam. That stuff is really bad if it heats up and melts, but if that's happening you probably have bigger issues. What kind of stone do you have available to use where you are? Perhaps stacked stone, dry or mortared, with an air gap filled with cellulose or some other loose fill insulation between the outer and inner stone walls would work. The only downside to the cellulose is the need for a rented machine if you want to DIY dense packed cellulose. If doing medium or loose fill you can just stuff it in as you go. I recently watched a video of a family in a desert making an earth filled bag house using woven poly sandbags filled with the local red dirt. They did not insulate the walls, only the ceiling, and simply covered the outside with stucco I believe. I think any insulated earthen structure would radiate all of your heat to the outside air.

    Do you live near a university? If so maybe the anthropology department could direct you to how native peoples of your area insulated and kept warm in the winter.

    Good luck! My wife and I are planning on building a small cabin for the MIL on our property and are interested in alternative building and insulation techniques.
     
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  11. Young Blacksmith

    Young Blacksmith Supporter Supporter

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    Oh, just remembered another technique, papercrete. My wife and I stayed in a B&B in Marathon, TX, and the room was a papercrete dome. Worked really well, super light bricks.

    If you have experience doing bricks, I'd be tempted to stick with that method, and build on what you know. Adobe is just easy bricks, using thermal mass to insulate and regulate.
     
  12. Silvercreek Farmer

    Silvercreek Farmer Tracker

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    Not sure if it will help your allergies or not, but STRAW bales are used for construction, not hay. Cordwood construction is also pretty interesting.
     
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  13. SpaceBus

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    Adobe and cob can be waterproofed with linseed oil, fyi.
     
  14. GingerBeardMan

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    So what we are looking at is lodgepole pine/aspen forest atop a mountain in central Wyoming) older, rounded mountains, largely granite/quartzite. Wyoming is dense with clay, and as long as you check it for radiation its usually really good building material. Only problem I've seen with using cordwood from those trees is both seem to decay really quickly. If shellacked or oiled they seem to do ok, but we're adding whole other steps very quickly here, going that route. I'm planning on building a solar kiln as they can be built largely from garbage and palette if you know what you are doing, but i was hoping to use that more for wood to be turned into other things, and the scale it would have to be for building purposes is pretty huge. The hoophouse and fan method can work ok for drying it for use as lumber, but this is an off-grid location, so another layer of cost. That's why we are leaning away from wood centric construction if possible, or minimal wood structures like Mike Oehler's underground homes.

    There is a producer of rockwool nearby that I may be able to acquire scraps from without too much expense, so that is another possibility as far as insulation. I have no problem with cellulose, but my only really readily available free source would be native grasses. They would likely do the job, and if i got the cob or adobe route, they will be a vital ingredient. This s a solid idea, i just wish they were less flammable.

    Fire proofing Is a concern. there have been 4 pretty extensive wildfires on this mountain in the last 15 years. If possible, I'd like to make as much and as many of my structures as fireproof as possible. I've been in a house fire and I'd like to minimalize that possibility as much as I can.

    Was that video done by kind of a goofy Family with 3 teenagers, and they were buidling a kind of compound? I think i watched the same one!

    Another possibility for out structures is aerocrete domes. A lot of folks claim that you can build structures out of that stuff for under $9 per sq foot, cheaper if you can find some of the materials. They've got a really good R-value (3-6 PER INCH!!!!) and are about as strong per cubic inch as most lumber, higher if you mix in light-weight high tensile fibers. They can be cast monolithicly and the molds work really well if you use coroplastic and duct tape. We are planning on doing the above ground swimming pool method of fish farming, possibly the figure 8 model, so a highly insulated structure that can help us maintain that high water temp is vital. Plus that water is amazing for growing crops or greenhouse bamboo (i've got a friend in Montana's banana belt that does the bamboo/fish farmin combo, and i've got to say, bamboo is a freaking miracle plant, and having access to even small amounts of it would be huge.)

    We'll also need chicken coops, and it'll have to be insulated some due to the nature of that environment, but the cold hardy dominiques I've got scoped out are pretty sturdy little beasties and dont need much to thrive on that mountain. Might do a couple goats for wool and milk as well, I know some folks on the mountain who ranch goats and I bet i could barter for ram rental once a year and sell the kids.

    I'm inclined to agree. What I dont know about is underground brick structures. I know that its been done because of London's Victorian age sewers system for the Thames, but more research is required. Also i'm trying to figure out an easy coring system to make perforated bricks and cut down on material costs and weight for transport. I'm thinking adapting the adobe style ladder molds basic principles but make them vertical layout instead and just shove 3 sharpened steel tubes through the side long ways. I imagine i could probably do 24 king sized perforated bricks per mold at a time this way, and i could build the molds out of palettes easily enough. My GF and I each be responsible for filling 5 molds each morning, doing it in a ventilated pvc hoopouse for the greenhouse/solar kiln effect, and then loose them from the molds in the afternoon and let them dry. 240 brick production a day at only a couple hours of work adds up quickly, and pit firing them in chimney stacks in a hole in the ground works surpisingly well, IME. Probably get away with firing them in batches of 800 (16 stacks of 50 bricks in chimney formation in a 5 foot deep 15 x 15 hole in the ground) without all that much fuel if we are willing to produce our own charcoal or biochar and run a generator and fan. Plus the hole already has to be dug to make the material, so very efficient process. I've read that 1000 square feet of a single floor up to modern code structure is usually ~4700 common bricks or ~3600 king size bricks. That's 15 days of slug-slow easy production to make the bricks, and only about 4.5 firings, rounded up to 5 to account for partially fired bricks. These will likely be impregnated with either cearmic fiber or perlite or both to increase their insulation value. If we go that route :18:

    It might, despite my demi-country upbringing we didnt mess with either. Maybe straw would be perfect.

    Ive heard of this, do you know if it has to be boiled or not?

    Also, in reply to no one, but something that came to mind: one dude I've talked to on one of the homesteading websites used moving blankets as a kind of tapestry/wall hanging to help insulate year round, and sewed little sticks every foot or so to make a dead airspace between them and the wall. He may have mylared the back side, or that might just have been an idea I had thinking about it later.

    He said his wife loved it because hanging of photos and art and stuff was done with a safety pin instead of nails.

    Do you think that would work? I know it would definitely cut down on acoustic reverberation which would be kinda nice.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
  15. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus Tracker

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    We definitely watched the same thing!

    I do not think the straw mixed in with cob is a fire risk as long as you coat the outside in a layer of clay so no cellulose is visible. There won't be any oxygen in the walls for ignition to occur. A few months ago I read about the linseed oil waterproofing but can't find the magazine. A couple built an off grid cabin almost entirely out of cob in Georgia. They also sealed the floor with the linseed oil. Unfortunately linseed oil stinks, like really stinks. Perhaps you could use the local pines to distill pine tar, it should work and it won't stink as bad. I like your idea of bricks as well. What if you got a gas powered cement mixer and made cob bricks on site? I wouldn't mess with any perlite due to the health hazards. Rockwool is much safer and non-reactive and can be used as a loose fill if you take it apart with gloves on (I did this around a new window install). What's the cost on ceramic fiber? My only experience is the baffle insulation in my wood stove.

    We moved into our house just last november and found large rotten areas of framing/wall and basically stuffed the hole with pink R19 and moving blankets. The moving blankets helped a ton and do work, but I don't think they are cheap. I kind of stole ours as they were rented with our Uhaul...

    The aerocrete sounds really interesting, I'll have to look into it more. We plan on building more outbuildings in a few years after we finish the house.
     
  16. GingerBeardMan

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    Specifically these fellas, not an endorsement, just the ones I've found are cheap and serviceable.

    https://www.harborfreight.com/72-inch-x-80-inch-movers-blanket-66537.html

    I gotta do some research about the rest of what you said.

    Ceramic fiber is cheapest in the welding blanket form IME, you just need a respirator, goggles and patience to unravel it. Its remarkably good for making fire bricks. To my safety training, perlite is bad news when loose, but when mixed into an inert substance like clay (this how most folks make fire brick btw, perlite and ash and the right kind of Portland cement) it's dangers are only prevalent again if you grind down the brick. My mentor said needing to cut bricks was a sign of a lack planning and that you should always pre make fractional bricks before firing. I'm inclined to agree, as doing it with wet clay requires a piece of wire and doing it with baked clay requires power tools.

    At the end of the day though, there really is no part of any stone or ceramic work that you should be doing without at least a dust mask and paint suit anyway, if we want to be frank about it. Down the other road lies itching skin and airways, skin, lung and throat cancer, and copd at best. It's bad news. Ceramics and pyrotechnology are our roots, for sure, but they are cruel mistresses that will kill you if you dont respect the tiny individual but massive cumulative dangers that they represent.
     
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  17. TheGeoSquirrel

    TheGeoSquirrel Supporter Supporter

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    You dont use hay. Hay is subject to spontanious combustion. You use straw bales instead. Straw does not have the same risk. Two different things altogether. You may be allergic to the hay but not the straw.
    Sorry dident read the whole thread before posting. Several folks already gave you the same info.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
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  18. riverjoe

    riverjoe Supporter Supporter

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    Following
     
  19. riverjoe

    riverjoe Supporter Supporter

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    Straw bale construction would seem
    So easy . One thing I’d want to know is the binder being used . I’d prefer wire if it were available . R value must be fantastic , all those little air traps . That defines insulation .


    Form a plaster over it would make it fire proof and sanitary .
    I have tried to burn straw in bail form
    and it is a real pain . Even after you break up the bale not easy .

    I’d make a road trip to the Great Plains and rent me a huge trailer or two at wheat harvest time .
     
  20. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker LB 42 Supporter

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    Oh, that is both mean and funny. Really, what that roommate of yours did was just so rotten!

    Well, all the old palaces and castles in Europe used tapestries for warmth.... so yeah!
     
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  21. riverjoe

    riverjoe Supporter Supporter

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    Those moving blankets are mostly fiberglass so don’t think they’re cozy or any thing .
     
  22. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker LB 42 Supporter

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    I have never seen them, or even heard of the for that matter.
    It's rather amazing to me that the tapestry idea has come back....
     
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  23. riverjoe

    riverjoe Supporter Supporter

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    OMG No Harbor Freight in Poland .
    Guys been using them for under insulation on top their ground pads and
    Stuff . I’m no fan ,too much fiberglass for me . I’d rather use the under slab insulation bubble wrap pvc on one side aluminum on the other . I have actually used that as an effective fire reflector one time we built a sort of fire place out of snow . It worked great and kept us warm in a big snow fort we built on a winter camp trip one time .
    I also draped it all over a basement in a house that had hot water heat . I didn’t want to drain Down
    all the pipes so I sealed up the basement with it and left some high wattage light bulbs burn in the basement . Worked fine even tho temps dipped below zero a few times .
     
  24. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Wool makes a great insulator.
     
  25. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker LB 42 Supporter

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    A bench thread invasion!
     
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  26. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus Tracker

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    They say Otzi the Iceman (the Neolithic man found in the alps) had straw insulated boots and clothes that outperformed modern technology. There is something to say for straw, humans didn't domesticated it for nothing.
     
  27. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker LB 42 Supporter

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    Traditional Japanese winter boots were also all natural, straw.
     
  28. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus Tracker

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    I have serious doubts about using rocket stoves as well. With your skills consider building a masonry heater instead. I have seen several videos and threads about building rocket stoves, but I never read threads or see videos about how much folks love their rocket stoves after years of use.
     
  29. GingerBeardMan

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    I think a lot of folks like to impale strawbales on rebar hammered into the ground close enough that each bale has two rods in it. Makes sense to me! That's good that it is relatively fire retardant. Where we are looking at is an intersection of several mining areas and agricultural ones, I could probably get a few hundred strawbales no trouble and as much plaster or Portland cement as I want with only driving a n hour or so.

    Fiberglass can be pretty damn insulatory, but these guys dont have any fiberglass in them, from what their labels say, anyway. Only says polycotton blend. But no matter, if there is something weird or chemical in them I'd prefer just not use them. I have a surplus store near me that I can get huge wool blankets from for around the same price.

    That was honestly what got me thinking. Tapestries were mostly functional before they were decorative. Seems like a good idea to me!

    That's where my mind went too. Wool blankets, cheapo army ones! some woolite, some lanolin, some grommets, instant tapestry.

    Is there a book or movie about this fella? I keep seeing him mentioned but I never remember to search for it later.

    I've heard of straw insulation in close before. we were actually considering woven mats stuffed with straw as floor coverings (coil rugs basically). It could at the very least be space fill. I know that stuff is terrible at thermal bridging.

    Yeah, straw boots and cloaks were something I had read about a while back! I never would have come up with that one.

    I've got none. My best friends cabin from growing up has a rockstar stove thermal mass heater and that place can get uncomfortable fast. There are a lot of things called rocket stoves that seem to have super different designs, and personally I find it irritating and confusing.

    The kind I am discussing is the gasifying rocket stove that runs on charcoal, bio char, or wood. They get *hot* fast and with little fuel, especially when used with charcoal.

    I think a masonry heater operates in the exact same principle as how a rocket stove for heating works, fire is used to heat up a large thermal mass and then it just radiates the heat back out slowly over time. I've never seen a rocket stove heater that does anything different. I have seen cooking ones.

    A rocket stove for cooking wouldnt provide much long term heat radiant heat at all, but then again, they arent supposed to. They're just meant to heat the bottom of one pan or pot or kettle very quickly.

    That's why the ambiguation of these very different items that have totally different purposes but all get lumped under the same name irritates me so much.

    I actually did some work with a guy who had plans for a 30 gallon water heater heated by a rocket stove that only burns 2-3 lbs of wood to do it with the heavy use of reflective and insulating surfaces and many many many coils of copper pipe. I wonder if he ever got it working?

    Either way, the mass wall that ing long to put the rocket stove inside? It will probably be masonry, so in a lot of ways I'll still be following your advice!

    edit: mistyped on my little numpad keyboard thing. 30 gallons, not 90.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
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  30. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I didn't have time to elaborate on the wool insulation. :) Now I do.

    I build energy efficient structures. Beyond what is commonly called efficient. One of the things I looked at was using raw wool fleece as wall insulation. I won't get into the depth of it here, because there is a ton of info out there about it, but wool is one of the best insulators there is if used properly. It's also naturally fire resistant.

    We used it for wall insulation in a porch that we turned into living space. It's amazing. :)
     
  31. 1066vik

    1066vik Supporter Supporter

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    I use the blue harbor freight packing blankets as slip covers so the dogs don't tear up the couch & loveseat.
    the other one they sell only has fabric on one side and they don't last.
     
  32. GingerBeardMan

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    If you feel like elaborating or sharing your techniques, be it here or in a private message at some point that would be awesome. My goal for the homestead's main building is R 45 minimum and if possible earth based thermo-regulation for at least half of its space. I am obsessed with the idea of building a cheap building I have to spend very little fuel keep warm and have to do very little to keep cool, so I am very interested.
     
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  33. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus Tracker

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    I think folks with rocket stoves are misleading about how much fuel they use. A rocket stove is just a tiny wide open EPA approved wood stove. It has no variable burn rates, just wide open. This can be efficient, but you won't heat 90 gallons of water with a few lbs of wood, it's impossible. BTUs are BTUs are BTUs. It would require 43,000+ BTU to raise 90 gallons of water at 60f to 120f (normal water heater temp). Assuming a 80% efficiency (unlikely) you might be able to do it with 11.5 lbs of wood if you could get the wood to release every single BTU at one time. This is assuming you can direct every single BTU right at the water. You also have to take into account standby losses as it is very dangerous to use an insulated vessel for hot water heated by wood or any other solid fuel for that matter. For an occasional use item I think rocket mass heaters have a place.

    A masonry heater is a wood stove inside of a large mass of stone, ceramic, etc. Usually folks like soapstone for this. They also go by the name Russian Fireplace.

    You also have to consider the inherent danger in a rocket stove or any mass heater. The flue gasses will have a long journey and lose a lot of heat. Creosote condenses on anything less than 250f. You must design anything with cleaning and serviceability. There are certain metals and coatings that are toxic when heated as well.
     
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  34. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus Tracker

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    I am hopefully adopting an Alpaca soon...
     
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  35. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    You can get a lot of fleece off of one critter, and it has many uses. :)
     
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  36. GingerBeardMan

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    No you called it, and I typed wrong it was supposed to be 30 gallons (it's weird I know but my fingers always want the 123 and 789 rows to be switched on a numpad) and to be fair, I'm still looking into how all of this works. That dude was on his 40th design of rocket/gassifying stoves and was whatever kind of engineer deals with high heat applications and fire so I am not going to try to defend his design with my grab bag of knowledge of high heat application metallurgy or combustion chambers. I know that you have to design any stove with the materials you want to use as fuel and the application it is intended for. Gassifying stoves especially.

    As far as cleaning out rocket stoves goes, you and I are in agreement. If it doesn't get disassembled, it has to be cleanable, easily and often. Besides, creosote is a valuable substance in it's own right. I've met plenty of folks who are rocket stove proponents who say stuff like "you dont have to clean them as much" and I shudder. All solid fuels leave solid residue, its just a question of how much, and how quickly it builds up. I think cleaning the chimney is gonna be a frequent task, hopefully not every day but probably at least a couple times a week. My primary goal is to have an efficiently insulated, reflective, thermal mass combo to have a house that heating isnt that big of a deal or a constant requirement. Luckily we are full of the blood of the yeti, my GF and I, and we're comfortable in a house that is hovering around 60 degrees. We got by a lot of last winter with a couple of safety minded flowerpot candle heaters and our apartment isnt insulated worth spit.

    Actually, we'll probably be using some of those as well. I know a lot of folks dont like them or think that they're dangerous, but in my experience that is because they built them in a foolish way or are trying to get them to go beyond their limits. Also, no sand?! Madness. If you want to briefly increase the heat in a small area to give yourself the illusion of being warmer, itll do that. I'm also abig fan of the brick in the oven for an hour and then taken out and put on a safe surface near my feet.

    I also have the pup 20190809_195558.jpg
    and let me tell you, this dog gets WARM. If she sleeps at the foot of the bed nobody is having cold feet!

    Nice! we are trying to decide if we want goats for wool or alpacas or both?
     
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  37. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I may have missed if you posted this or not, but do you have land to build this on?
     
  38. GingerBeardMan

    GingerBeardMan Tracker

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    We are in the process of buying it. We're at the step of having a friend go out and do some surveying, soil and radon tests and some other stuff, fact finding mostly. Gotta appreciate a fella who will barter.

    He actually thinks he might have found a small artesian well, and if he has, hot dang!

    At this point I'm mostly waiting for his results and my folks to make up their mind if they want to split it with us, as its more land than we particularly need, and we could build them a little cabin for them to easycamp in once in a while in no time. My dad loves hexayurts and other ultralight super cheap structures, so, it should be a matter of a couple days of work to get them set up.
     
  39. Naphtali

    Naphtali Tracker

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    Consideration given for using used/discarded or unused railroad ties? Much air trapped with not very dense softwood. Essentially immune from deterioration during a lifetime. Known dimensions. Easily transportable and easy for one person to use in building and/or improving an out building. Because of odor when newly manufactured, more palatable use might be as outside insulation??


    Just some thoughts.
     
  40. GingerBeardMan

    GingerBeardMan Tracker

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    That's a good call! The guy we are talking to about getting goats at some point was showing us his original... stable? goat hutch? I dont know what those are called honestly. But he said that they made a really good structure and he put a dead air space between the inside and outside and the goats stayed toasty as anything.

    Where I grew up people love using them as landscaping timbers. I would like to use some if I can find some that havent been in the dirt and are half punk.
     
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  41. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus Tracker

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    30 gallons is much more manageable, and I plan on doing something similar very soon, but not with a rocket stove. I'm also not surprised to hear he is on the Nth version of his design. Every time I read about these things they are very finicky and if the heated mass cools down (which can happen super fast when it's below freezing) you are playing catchup. Perhaps with such an insulated home it will be a non issue. The way a rocket stove burns means it needs a constant fuel supply. Some kind of hopper would greatly improve upon the reliability of the heater, but also increase complexity. What does the forestry situation look like on the property? A small EPA wood stove is probably the easiest way to go about this. Your house should be a large heat mass once you are done.

    Also keep in mind that one appliance cannot efficiently burn multiple fuel types. I investigated this for months and gave up.
     
  42. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus Tracker

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    Those are usually toxic, but perhaps when they are old it's a non issue.
     
  43. GingerBeardMan

    GingerBeardMan Tracker

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    Are they really? I thought they were treated with coal tar creosote. Once that stuff dried and cured I thought it was pretty inert. Good to know.

    Man, every time I think I got a grip on this angle I find out there's more to learn. I could get an apa stove or do a masonry one, but at this point pretty much no matter what I think I'm gonna have to have someone come out to the property and set it up.

    My thought as far as fuels was to make a couple rocket stoves in the same pillar in the middle of the house, one for biochar and one for wood. I've got ready access to a bunch of ammo boxes of various sizes and I understood they are a good base to work from. That said, maybe I'm getting to big for my britches on the fire based heating thing. I've built a bunch of draft kilns and the like and I thought the princie was relatively similar. More research to be done, clearly.
     
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  44. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus Tracker

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    Maybe I'm wrong about the railroad ties then. If so, then I might look into them again.
     
  45. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus Tracker

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    You could absolutely set up your own fire based heat, you just have to do it safely. There aren't many heaters that can burn bio mass without electricity, except for cordwood of course. I looked into this a while back and the best thing I could find is the Sedore stove from Canada. Allegedly it can efficiently burn anything with a downdraft design. It doubles as a cooking appliance, aside from baking, in the winter. If it weren't so ugly and they made smaller UL certified versions for the US we might have gotten one. As it stands we have a wood stove and soon to have a wood cook stove as well.
     
  46. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus Tracker

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    My wife and I watched several videos on air Crete yesterday and we are impressed. I'm not sure if I trust the material for anything other than an outbuilding, but it does look promising.
     
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  47. GingerBeardMan

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    Its fascinating stuff. I helped a friend build a test structure out of it. It's really lightweight for concrete but in practice is kinda like hardwood. We cut it with a miter hand saw, although it dulled the hell out of the blade quickly. It's got an amazing potential for insulation, and you would not believe how quiet it is inside it.
     
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  48. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus Tracker

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    I like it for the insulating value. I've seen a few videos where it has been pumped into wall cavities, and I think that's the best application. We want to build a recording studio and aircete sounds awesome.

    If you could create a cavity in your masonry/ceramic walls and fill it with even five inches of aircrete you would be well set for insulation.
     
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  49. OrienM

    OrienM Guide

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    I'll add my 2 cents to the straw-bale chorus...my parents were early experimenters with the technique (late 1980's) and I still live in a house made of bales.

    Baled straw (NOT hay) is cheap, easy to work with, and has serious R-value; the walls in my house are something like R-40. Essentially you stack the bales like bricks, then peg them together with wooden stakes or rebar. I prefer buildings with a pole frame infilled with bales; we found load bearing bale walls worked tolerably only in very small, shed-sized buildings. Door and window openings need serious reinforcement due to the 'soft' walls; box-jointed 2x10 boards work well.

    Yes, some folks get allergies working with straw, and allergy-causing molds can occur, also. The climate here is dry, so mold is not a major issue here...once the walls are plastered any hay-fever symptoms should go away.

    My house is small by design, about 750sq. ft....makes it much easier to heat and clean, plus my wife and I are fairly 'mimimalist' about belongings. We heat with wood, using a small, potbellied cast-iron stove, and burn far less than the average household due to the super-insulated structure.
     
  50. riverjoe

    riverjoe Supporter Supporter

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    I wonder if your house will be built into the side of a hill .
    If so ,one could use hot water gravity heat with a small stove low and the heating pipes either feeding radiators or tubing serpentined in the floor.
    Actually a gravity air system could be designed as well based on the old Holland heart of the home coal furnaces .
    I suppose you could also do similar to a wood fired kiln climbing up a hill but then you’d have flue gasses condensing under your floor . Better to use a heat exchanger .
     
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