Monday, March 28, 2016

Approval for heaters in USA, Europe and Canada

We had a lovely, brief email exchange this past winter with Pat Amos, who was gearing up for his W.E.T.T. inspection in BC, Canada.
He passed!
Owner-built masonry stove in Canada
His home-built heater is based on a Vortex stove.  Not a rocket as such, but a DIY-friendly, smaller masonry heater design, set into a non-combustible brick enclosure (from a previous fireplace or stove, I believe) and finished with a lovely earthen plaster.
The original design was discussed here: 
and Pat's variant here:

The Batch-Box and Sidewinder rocket designers are turning out some interesting bells, benches, and cooktop masonry cubes, as I showed toward the end of the October 2015 post, "Pyronauts in Montana."

We know of a handful of classic rocket mass heaters (J-style firebox, barrel and all) passing inspection, and plenty of other DIY masonry heaters as well - reports filtering in from Oregon, Georgia, New York, Michigan, BC, Ontario, Vermont... the precedent is mounting.

For the present, however, the vast majority of DIY builders are choosing the path of least resistance, and not asking permission.  That's a risky path for people who have a mortgage, and may be obliged to maintain home insurance.  Some will build in an outbuilding or greenhouse instead of the main house, losing much of the people-warming efficiency that we're after.

Let's encourage each other with success stories.
If your DIY masonry heater was approved, please tell! 
If you've had a productive conversation with local officials, that stopped short of official approval, or led to a different design choice, we'd like to hear about that too.
(We've had at least 4 after-the-fact inspectors give an unofficial response of, "Cool.  I have no problem with this," and no further action taken, even if they weren't quite clear on the legal process for official approval.)

Let's address any obstacles together, above and beyond the clearance and code info that's already in our Builder's Guide.

Builder's Guide Update (order your copy now!):

April Fools!  The North American first edition of our new book is going to print this weekend, the first of April, a full week before the Kickstarter actually closes.  Please pre-order your copy on Kickstarter ASAP!  (Click here.)

We would love to sell 1000 copies by April 1, and get our per-book costs way down for this first edition printing.

We are looking forward to signing and hand-delivering these first-edition books to our backers in the Pacific Northwest, and around the world.

If you're interested in helping us, please spread the word.  Consider signing up as a booster to receive a referral bonus with every pledge you send our way.  We did the math; the per-book cost makes a bigger difference to our budget than the referral incentive - so please sell books and claim the bounty!

Calling EU, Commonwealth, and International Builders

Adiel Shnior came from Israel to study with us,
then took the skills back to his local team,
with great results.
We have an opportunity to write an EU appendix for our book - but it needs to be turned around FAST!

Physics works the same across most of the world, but building materials and local regulations can be very different.

If you are a builder or future builder from the UK, Europe, Australia, or New Zealand (or anywhere outside North America),

please take a moment this week to tell us about your experiences.

Portrait of a heater completed using Bonny 8" plans
If you purchased our plans and previous books, have they been easy to use? 

What else should we know about? 

Any obstacles to overcome?
Moroccan project
with improvised perlite-adobe bricks
(local low- fired brick
proved unsuitable for the hot, clean firebox conditions.)

Thanks again for everyone's support for our Kickstarter for the new book.
Please keep sharing it with your friends - we appreciate every new pledge, in any amount.

Permanent Press says we may have preliminary cost data for distribution in the UK, EU, Australia, and New Zealand, by the end of this week.

Erica and Ernie Wisner

More brainstorming questions below.






Other questions for local builders everywhere:

Have you noticed any differences in available materials, or building terminology?

Any situations with local authorities that make it easier or harder to build a masonry heater?

Who needs to give the green light?
(Building inspectors, chimney sweeps, local councils, or just keep the family and neighbors happy?) 

Any useful exemptions that you've found locally?
- regulatory tolerance for owners building in their own home, or outbuildings vs. occupied residences, or rural v.s. urban codes,
- encouragement for projects that emphasize efficiency, local materials, or local labor?
- "humanitarian" exemptions - if it's your only way to heat or cook.
- special exemptions for "antiques" or historic value?

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