Mid December 2016 our miniature 12,5cm / 4.9inch CSA (cross sectional area) Rocket Mass Heater got finally finished and we could switch off the stinking gas heater, that was bridging us through November, waiting for our RMH construction to begin. It must be said, that this is our first experience with heating with wood, as we come from a life with central (gas) heating including a digital appliance on the wall to input the desired temperature. Yet, ever since the RMH is completed, our dragon is the only heat source in the house, except a radiator for the bathroom. It gets fired roughly twice a day (morning / night) and keeps us warm even through the exceptional days around freezing temperature, that we had in our usually mild mediterranean, warm temperate climate.
Later in September 2016: With the help of a dear, heavily mechanized friend, the dead pine branch harvest for our first Rocket Mass Heater winter season got intensified via chainsaw. In an exhausting day of work, we harvested roughly a cubic meter of RMH-ready trimmed and cleaned wood. On our RMH that would be enough to heat approximately 25 days through our mild mediterranean mid winter.
In September 2016: In preparation to fire our Rocket Mass Heater I started to cut the dead branches of our Stone Pines (pinus pinea) with a dear friend in mid September 2016. Now, being almost through our first heating period I can say that I love this pines wood for its furious burns, as it is loaded with rasin. But I can not recommend burning only pine, as too many volatiles are discharged, so that even the Rocket Mass Heater innards get covered in soot and can not transform a pure Stone Pine fire into a clean burn. But as a mixing wood it acompanies hard, slow burning woods like oak really well and the burn stays rockety clean, yet have this extra power to them. In general I discovered, that a “polycultural” burn makes the best fire in our RMH… what else would one expect, right 😉