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Heating His Home with Compost?

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Meet Our Friend Rob Frost from the Milwaukee, WI Area

Back in the 1970s, a Frenchman by the name of Jean Pain of built a compost pile from woodchips about the size of a garage. Inside the pile he had coiled around a single, very long hose that he could run clean water through. In the very center of the pile was a very large-sealed-tank holding a slurry of cow manure.

Once the pile started to heat up he was able to run water through the hose at will and extract some of the heat. He had all the hot running water he needed for bathing, washing, and get this…for heating his home…for 18 months…!!! And from the manure tank in the center he extracted enought methane to provide gas to his stove and oven but more impressively, he compressed it into tanks and ran his automobiles from it. And when he was all done, he had a pile of fantastic compost for his gardens.

Our friend Rob Frost is attempting a mini version of this for his suburban home. 
Thanks for the inspiration Rob!



Rob’s Home Heating Experiment

3 thoughts on “Heating His Home with Compost?”

  1. Great article.
    Jere, there are numerous projects done next to homes, workshops and barns, just search the net “heat my home with compost” for dozens of sources.
    I have read several accounts in composting books and magazines as well.

  2. Was wondering if anybody has ever built a pile next to or behind a house, run 4″ corrugated flexible non-perforated drainline through pile and heated by hot air rising or using “muffin” fan to force air through at 100 CFM or so, elimating water piping, biggest concern is condensation of moisture inside hot air discharge pipe into house, figure should be very well insulated, looking at 30-60kbtu/hr, mentioned this idea to neighbor and brother, brother built pile to heat garage,said it kept garage at 70f, but had smell, turns out he used perforated pipe, DDUUHHHH

    1. We haven’t heard of doing it with hot air before. There’s many ways to do things, that sounds like another good way to approach it. Every different solution has it’s ups and downs. What’s nice about water is the amount of energy it can store vs. air.

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