What is a Rocket Mass Heater?

The experts on all things rocket mass heaters, Ernie and Erica Wisner, are back with their latest book on rocket mass heaters.

The Rocket Mass Heater Builder’s Guide will show you from start to finish how to build a rocket mass heater. This book details all of the ins and outs of the rocket mass heater design that Ernie and Erica have perfected, and shows how the most cost effective and efficient wood burning stove design works.

What’s so great about a rocket mass heater anyway?

For those that are unfamiliar with rocket mass heaters, here’s what all of the hullabaloo is about – these stoves utilize a cheap and often free energy source, wood, for heat and cooking, and do so with a design that enables drastically less input and much more efficiency in terms of heat output.

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Typically these stoves take advantage of the heat that is concentrated, but often wasted, in the exhaust pipe of a typical wood burning stove. Rather than have this exhaust pip go immediately up and out of a structure, one of the first ways a rocket mass heater turns up the heat efficiency is by winding that exhaust pipe through as much of the surrounding structure as possible, often within a thermal mass, like a nice cob bench.

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The result is that that exhaust has much further to travel, and all of that heat is put out into the room or the thermal mass, before a very minimal amount of smoke finally exits the pipe outside. Additionally, the design of the chamber makes it so that small, kindling sized amounts of wood can be used instead of arm loads of firewood.

In short, less wood input, less pollution, and way more energy output.

From the cover:

Heating with wood is often considered a natural and economical alternative to electricity or fossil fuels. However, even with a fairly new and efficient woodstove, many cords of wood are required for burning over the course of a single winter, and incomplete combustion can contribute to poor air quality. A rocket mass heater is an earthen masonry heating system which provides clean, safe, and efficient warmth for your home, all while using 70 to 90 percent less fuel than a traditional woodstove.

These unique and beautiful installations provide luxurious comfort year round. In cold weather a few hours of clean, hot burning can provide twenty or more hours of steady warmth, while the unit’s large thermal mass acts as a heat sink, cooling your home on sizzling summer days. Packed with hard-to-find information, The Rocket Mass Heater Builder’s Guide includes:

Comprehensive design, construction, and installation instructions combined with detailed maintenance and troubleshooting advice

Brick-by-brick layouts, diagrams, and architectural plans augmented with detailed parts drawings and photographs for clarity

Relevant and up-to-date code information and standards to help you navigate the approval process with local building departments

Earthen masonry heating systems are well-suited for natural and conventional builders alike. A super-efficient, wood-burning, rocket mass heater can help you dramatically reduce your energy costs while enhancing the beauty, value, and comfort of your home.

Erica Wisner and Ernie Wisner have built over seven hundred super-efficient, clean-burning masonry stoves. They are dedicated to the search for sustainable solutions and the hands-on teaching of creative, ecological, and practical skills.

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This 400 page book is available in both paperback and ebook version for Kindle. What started out a Kickstarter to push this into production became a roaring success when they surpassed their goal by over $20,000 on Kickstarter, raking in support from around the world for their project, and funding several new ones to boot. Our community is wildly excited about this newest addition to the literary world, and we hope you’ll pick up a copy and start your rocket mass heater education here.

For more information or to get the book, please click here.


  1. I watched Ernie and Erica Wisners rocket mass heater interview . I found it very revealing. The nice full shape of the central focus was quite titillating. I would love to do a hands on inspection

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