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 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater

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Trashtosser



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PostSubject: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Wed May 18, 2016 6:48 pm

We have 1 season on the new heater.

We have a round tank that measures 75" in dia. X 11' long x 3/16". Unless noted otherwise, all steel parts described are 1/4" thickness. The fire box/heat exchanger combo box is 21" wide x 51" high x 43"deep. There is a removable divider wall from top to bottom that divides the firebox from the heat exchanger.

the tank lays on it's side and was cut to slide the firebox/heat exchanger into the tank. The firebox/heat exchanger was placed with the bottom of it 6" above the bottom of the tank.The heat exchanger has heat sink fins that are 1/8" x 1 1/2" steel flat stock welded vertically to the inside walls and top.

at the bottom back side of the heat exchanger are 3 - 5" exhaust exit tubes. they are about 6"7" long and go at a 1"/12" rise to the other end of the tank opposite the firebox. They end in a box that is 22" wide x 12" high x 14" deep.

This box is welded to the inside end of the tank, and the end panel of the tank was cut out to slide the box into the tank. the box has a removable panel to allow for cleanout and maintenance.

There is an 8" pipe that exits out of the top of the box and then goes out the top of the tank about 4". We installed a damper at this point. We used 8" inside dia. clay flue liners for the rocket. Though they were still working and intact, they were cracked in many places. We found some stainless steel baskets that were used to commercially cook seafood in. they were used to line the sides and top of the firebox.

We used 1" ceramic wool behind the stainless basket material to insulate the firebox. The tank was built on skids that hold it up off the ground, and that made transporting to it's final resting place much easier.

We wrapped the tank with *' fiberglas batts, then built a building around it. It is at a vacation home that gets used about every 2 to 3 weeks. When they leave they try to have the water at 205 farenheit. When they return 2+ weeks later it is still around 150. That's with temps at night from 20 to 0. Not too bad.

We think that it is using about 1/2 the wood that the old heater used. The water is used to heat: domestic hot water, air(heat exchanger in furnace), dryer heat, and of course, the hot tub.

There are 3 different 1" copper circuits that go from one end of the tank to the other and back. We intend to do a cast riser (again! :( ) for a morepermanent riser.

I say again because I did one in October, let I sit for about a month in a shop building that never got below 50Farenheit, then transported it to the cabin. I just took the form off a week ago and it completely crumbled. I think it still had enough water in it tofreeze when taken to the cold climate. Bummer!
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gadily
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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Wed May 18, 2016 9:09 pm

sounds an interesting build there for a rocket water heater

have you any pictures of your build to show your design of the system
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Trashtosser



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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Wed May 25, 2016 5:58 pm

OK. I,ve been trying to figure out this whole picture thing. Lets see if this works.



























Unfortunately the text didn't come over with the pictures for some reason.
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gadily
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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Wed May 25, 2016 7:03 pm

id like to say oh wow that is one up scale to the rocket stove and half with using the clay system that you havent used the vortex within a rocket stove unknown if it would have an effect on your exhaust pipes through the water heater but would have an effect on those 3 pipes at burner part

from my knowledge alone you have used the main heat tubes using thermal dynamics to rotate the heat within the water tank by thermal cycle

? how long does it take to heat that up

also would i be right in saying that system is only with the riser part across the top via the exhaust tubes then out through the top

nice large firebox do you use a push on the system to push down the flames

query here now do you use secondary burn to further reduce wood consumption
edit found it :



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Trashtosser



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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Thu May 26, 2016 4:56 pm

When we first fired it off, the water was about 45 degrees F. It didn't want to draw. We used a propane torch to heat the stainless stack, which helped a lot, but quickly decided we needed to do something about the draft. This is not our first home built boiler, so we knew from the others that until the water warms up, it doesn't want to draw very good. The other problem we had at first was the volume of black water coming out the ash pan door. We didn't know if we had a leak somewhere or not, but it turned out to be condensation. Once we got up to temperature, no more problem.

Our next trip we brought an inline draft inducing fan. Very slick! You just cut a rectangular hole out of the stack and bolt the unit in place. The fan paddles protrude into the stack about 1 1/2". It doesn't seem like it would work, but it works great. We have it on a timer and use it to get the fire going, and when we reload the firebox. Here's a link to the fans.

http://www.tjernlund.com/draftinducer.htm

For the doors we were able to get 2 matching cast iron woodstove doors with windows in them. We ende up breaking the upperwindow closing it on a piece of wood. We replaced the glass with steel plate in both doors, but put a smaller 5" x 5" ceramic glass window in each for safety. At times, we had hot coals half way up the bottom door. If the large window were to break then, we would have a major problem.
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T2H
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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Sun May 29, 2016 5:10 pm

Sorry I missed this post, amazing project you have going here, can I ask why the need for so much hot water?
No problem if you do not want to tell:>)
I figured I better post my thoughts on this here as well, instead of on the thread to your question as to the heat riser material.

Now that is a water heater!
I see an issue if indeed this is a water heater with the stove stuck into the tank.

Now I have zero engineering background as well minimal education 12th grade:>)
So take my thoughts with a grain of salt.

If water surrounds the stove it will rob the stoves ability to keep consistent high temps reducing efficiency in combustion.
Now if I am  viewing this incorrectly never mind my thoughts.

So here is what I see, if indeed it is inset and surrounded by water it will struggle to maintain an efficient burn as the loads are spent and temps start to come down.

The water temps as well are going to fluctuate causing a tug of war on the system.

Again if I am getting this wrong how you have built this and its function pay no attention.

If it is my understanding it is inset and surrounded by the water, what I would do would be to have the main stove body outside the tank, insulate that, have the stove exhaust into another box that is set inside the tank.

This is quite an impressive scale you fellas have done this in.

By having the stove outside the tank well insulated you can maintain consistent temps needed to keep it running efficiently.
You could build a flue box that is inset into the tank with heat sink fins like you did on your original design.
That box could be designed in a way to create the natural drafting needed.
I would put heat sink fins inside the secondary box and outside it that the flue gases pass through.

I can see where you could have the flames exiting into the secondary box and done in such a way it does not rob the high temps needed to keep the stove running efficiently.
If done right you could have a roaring flame passing through the entire heat exchanger box.

You may want to consider building another firebox and attach it to the one you have built do it in such a way that the flames and gases pass from the next firebox you build into the heat exchanger, doing so by having the fire box outside the water tank and insulate it well, the entire firebox.


I can do a simple drawing up if you think what I have presented is worth considering.

Think of having the stove outside the tank and the flames and flue gases pass through the heat exchanger that is inside the tank.

Now if I just did not get what you are doing with this design I apologize.

I can see where you could attach a suction fan at the end of the chimney to produce high velocities of air for initial start up, the Japanese and Koreans are doing this.
They have come up with a flue suction fan that does not impede the natural flow when turned off.

Or one could just add a fan inline something like an upside down Y where the fan would push the gases up the flue pipe when opened up and turned on creating much higher velocities in the intake of the stove.

This should in theory generate much higher temps and get the system heated up more quickly.
I am betting one could use a 12 volt car heater fan and run it in a off grid system.

No doubt would need a substantial solar power system and battery bank to handle the demand you would need.

I can do a drawing  up on the fan idea if you think this would be helpful.

Not saying I have anything here on the idea nor tooting any horn but I have been following a bio mass company for about four years.

After putting out my pellet burner basket design I found a few months later they had redesigned their biomass basket and looked like to me they either came up with a twist of the same idea or saw one of my videos.

I have also given some thought to the way the fire wood load would behave when loading large quantities of wood for long burn times.

By loading numerous large logs onto each other if there is not some sort of spacing between them, this as well could cause them to burn inefficiently.

I thought about creating some sort of lattice a grid system that would allow you to load logs into a lattice that would look like how wine bottles are stored.

You could create a rack with spacing so the logs could be slid into the lattice spacing creating open air gaps allowing the flow of air to flow between the logs.

As they burn and break down they will naturally crumble and fall down between the lattice still providing air gaps.

One should be able to load new fuel at intervals once the cycle is figured out for its maximum efficiency.

Just random general thoughts for now, no specifics.

Sorry if I was not able to convey what I am describing well enough for you to understand.


Last edited by T2H on Sun May 29, 2016 5:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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T2H
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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Sun May 29, 2016 5:12 pm

Trashtosser wrote:
When we first fired it off, the water was about 45 degrees F. It didn't want to draw. We used a propane torch to heat the stainless stack, which helped a lot, but quickly decided we needed to do something about the draft. This is not our first home built boiler, so we knew from the others that until the water warms up, it doesn't want to draw very good. The other problem we had at first was the volume of black water coming out the ash pan door. We didn't know if we had a leak somewhere or not, but it turned out to be condensation. Once we got up to temperature, no more problem.

Our next trip we brought an inline draft inducing fan. Very slick! You just cut a rectangular hole out of the stack and bolt the unit in place. The fan paddles protrude into the stack about 1 1/2". It doesn't seem like it would work, but it works great. We have it on a timer and use it to get the fire going, and when we reload the firebox. Here's a link to the fans.

http://www.tjernlund.com/draftinducer.htm

For the doors we were able to get 2 matching cast iron woodstove doors with windows in them. We ende up breaking the upperwindow closing it on a piece of wood. We replaced the glass with steel plate in both doors, but put a smaller 5" x 5" ceramic glass window in each for safety. At times, we had hot coals half way up the bottom door. If the large window were to break then, we would have a major problem.
Too funny I guess I made a comment on adding a fan before reading this:>)
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T2H
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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Sun May 29, 2016 5:14 pm

Concerning the way the coals build up to about half way to the top of the door.
You might want to consider doing a split door.

That way you could open the top half and keep the load going and not have to wait till it burns down.
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ROACH

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PostSubject: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater    Tue May 31, 2016 3:15 am

it looks to me you need to switch to a temperture controlled system most firetube boiler have a force draft fan to come on as the demand as needed ,i know i sound like preaching but it is very improtant for safety, if the water tempurture goes to high it can go boom one pound of steam = 8.54cf of space i think i dont see any safetys installed any pressure gages installed it is nice build good job
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ROACH

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PostSubject: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Tue May 31, 2016 3:44 am

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T2H
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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Wed Jun 01, 2016 4:49 pm

Point well taken Roach and I cannot emphasize the need to bring up safety, no doubt these guys have traveled this road for sometime and are aware of the safety issues.

But others who may see this may not be aware of them.

I plan on building a wood fired water heating system but it will be an open system, an open system will not explode just boil over and steam.
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gadily
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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Thu Jun 02, 2016 9:30 am

with the events of cctv more an more is being caught on camera



this one is for advisement



however theres would take some heating but if it ever did hit critical mass it would be bad

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Trashtosser



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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:01 am

I'll answer a few of the questions.
We need a large amount of hot water to be able to maintain a reasonable temp while away weeks at a time during sub freezing weather ( sometimes sub zero). The building is not heated during this vacancy.

Because of the large volume, we are able to keep track of and manage the temperature quite easily regarding any danger of explosion. We also have a 1" pipe vent from the air space top of the water chamber directly into the firebox. we keep the water level about 6" from the top[ of the tank. if it were to start boiling, it would start to blow steam into the firebox and quench the fire. The boiling point is 206 at our elevation. We4 try to have it at 200 to 204 when we leave.

The firebox has 1" ceramic wool insulation around it behind the stainless screen material, so there is no problem with the firebox temp.

We have been using wood water heaters for about 30 years, so we are very conscious of safety.
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ROACH

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PostSubject: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Thu Jun 02, 2016 2:30 pm

does the 1 inch line always vent to the firebox and do you pump water to the house or use gravity and how do you fill the water tank
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Trashtosser



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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Thu Jun 02, 2016 3:25 pm

Roach,
Yes, the 1" pipe is installed vertically and welded permanently from the top of the firebox up into the water tank and stops about 1 1/2" from the top of the tank, leaving space for any steam to escape down the open pipe into the firebox.

We use circulating pumps to move the water through the copper pipe circuits inside the water tank. There are 3 circuits:

1. for domestic hot water

2. for the furnace and the heat source for the clothes dryer. They both have heat exchanger to pull the heat out of the water. This circuit has antifreeze in it so we don't have to blow the line when leaving. The other 2 circuits and the house plumbing all have to be blown out when leaving, and antifreeze placed in the toilets.

3. for the hot tub - the hot tub pump moves the water in this circuit.
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Trashtosser



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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Thu Jun 02, 2016 3:39 pm

Roach,
I forgot, there is a hose bib from the house water supply right next to the firebox end of the water heater. There is a clear plastic tube that is used as a sight glass to monitor the water level. We installed a hose bib on the water heater a few inches from the top. When the heater needs more water, we attach a hose between the 2 hose bibs and open the valves.
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ROACH

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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:11 pm

i hope i did not offend you it is a nice build a lot of work
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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:45 pm

I apologize for the question on why you needed such a large amount of hot water.
I had not read over your description but had gone off of your initial question as to why it would create toxic smoke at intervals.

So I had skipped your initial description of the build and went straight to the photos and realized later you had already answered my questions in your description.

Really quite impressive, I think that if the cycle of it creating toxic smoke became too much you could just build another firebox attach it to what you already have inset into the tank and insulate the added firebox.

It may be that if you take a look at trying some sort of lattice system that I described for creating air space between the logs after loaded up may help reduce and possibly eliminate the times when the system struggles to burn efficiently.

The main issue I see is since you are keeping temp around 200 F, this really taxes the efficiency of the stove combustion process.

I would be interested in knowing what the drafting is like once the system is up to the desired temps.

With the length of your flue it should be more than enough to create quite an impressive flow of flames through the heat exchanger if you added an addition to the current firebox configuration and have it extend out away from the tank and well insulated to enable it to maintain temps needed for efficient combustion.

It would just be a matter of well placed constrictions in the exit port of the firebox to create a rocket of flames to jet through and over the heat exchanger.

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Trashtosser



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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:08 am

Roach and T2H,
No offense taken here whatever! Scrutiny benefits us all.

I don't recall saying anything about toxic smoke, however I did mention black water coming out the ash pan door when the water was still cold (45 degrees F.) at initial startup. Generally, even with continued sub-feezing temps outside, after being away for up to 3 weeks, the water temp is around 150 when we arrive. This means we have hot water immediately upon arriving, and can start heating the house.

As far as smoke and draft, we are pretty pleased with how it is working. We only use the draft inducer fan when initially starting the fire when we have been away and also when we open the upper door for refueling, just to reduce the amount of smoke that escapes out the open door.

If the water temp is around 140-150 when we arrive, it has a natural draft when we open the damper, so the draft inducer isn't absolutely necessary. But if the water is cold, it is an easy solution. One thing we tried that doesn't work is trying to Blow air into the intake. It didn't increase the draft. It forced the smoke out around the door seals and any where else it could find to escape.

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ROACH

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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:07 pm

if you blew air into the exit side of the exhaust it would have made a draft or had a small fire on the exit side pipe it would draft that one inch pipe comming out of the top into the fire box do ever have water comming out of it like condensate
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Trashtosser



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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Fri Jun 03, 2016 4:44 pm

Roach,
We haven't noticed any water coming into the firebox from the steam vent pipe.
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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Sat Jun 04, 2016 5:28 pm

Sorry about that, I thought for some reason you had said it would belch black smoke at times, I had misunderstood what you were saying.

Pretty darn impressive hot water system!
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Trashtosser



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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:53 am

T2h,
Thanks. It was pretty scary jumping in with both feet on this. Since we couldn't find anything close to what we wanted, a whole bunch of assumptions had to be made,many of which were not easily changed. Fortunately,it seems to work pretty well.
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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:21 am

Well it looks like to me you set a precedence, to be able to bring it up to temps and then leave for a week and come back with 125 degree temps is quite impressive.
Will be keeping this in mind for sure but on a much smaller scale.

What got me involved with all this in the beginning was looking at large rocket stove systems and no one was really doing anything on a small scale.

I like the idea of having a back up emergency traveling shelter that is self sustainable.

The challenge is to economically and safely scale down what you have done here as well others with the large rocket mass heating stove systems.

This really is quite thrilling to see what you guys have done, really appreciate you taking time to share your work.
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PostSubject: Re: 2,600 Gallon Rocket Water Heater   Thu Jan 19, 2017 6:37 am

Trashtosser, wow, what a wonderful build.  

You sure did put the M in Rocket Mass Heater.  

I am amazed that it provides heat for so many things.  I would never have thought it could be used for a clothes dryer. I am also amazed it only drops @ 50 degrees over 2 weeks. 

Again, amazing project.
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