Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wood Fired Water Heater

For about 5 years we have had a propane on-demand water heat for all our hot water needs. Last year we had the chance to get a second hand wood fired water heater. It ain’t pretty, but it sure does the job.

We tapped into the hot and cold lines of our on-demand water heater and plumbed in the wood fired one and connected valves so that we can isolate one or the other.

Since there is no way to regulate the temperature of the water, we piped the pressure relief valve into an old copper water heater (which had belonged to my great-grand parents) that we use as a holding tank. This way if the water gets too hot and blows off it goes into the extra tank (instead of all over the wall….this actually happened and was quite a wake up call). We then can drain the copper tank into a bucket, there is a valve at the bottom that we attached a short hose to, and once it has cooled it can be used to water animals or plants.

One thing that I really love about the wood fired water heater is that we can burn sticks and all sorts of small scrap pieces of wood. The tank holds about 5 to 6 gallons of water, plenty for a nice hot shower. In fact, it works so well that we shut off the propane water heater last winter and it hasn’t been on since!

Wood Fired Water Heater

The copper holding tank is situated behind the chimney so I can't show a picture of it. The plumbing goes in behind the chimney.
Close Up

Picture of water heater with door removed to show the fire box. We have the heater up on a metal stand to make using it easier.
Water Heater With Fire

9 comments:

  1. AHHH! I need to know how to do this! I have two fireplaces and am still on the oil beast for water and heat. I want to get as much off-grid as possible, using one fireplace for hot water and the other for heat if possible.

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  2. It is a nice feeling not to be too dependent to oil/propane! A little at a time.....it's the best anyone can do.

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  3. We had one of theese when I was growing up in Leeds, Maine. I think my Dad found out about it at the Common Ground Fair. Water was fantastically hot! We loved it! (This was back in the early 80's)

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  4. Ours needs to be replaced now (it was used when we got it) and I am just starting to research where to get one.

    Ah....the Common Ground Fair, we love it!

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