Wood Vs. Propane – Endless Hot Water for Cabins or Tiny Houses

Wood fired hot water












VIDEO: Luxury Off Grid Hot Water – Instant Hot Water Heater For Off-Grid Application

Portable Tankless Water Heater and Outdoor Shower

Wow! I just looked up portable instant hotwater heaters and the price has really come down on these! This Eccotemp L5 Portable Tankless Water Heater and Outdoor Shower UnitĀ  is only $104 and rated 4 and half stars on Amazon. I know I couldn’t build the wood heated version for that with all the copper and check valves involved, not to mention the small water tank. See below for 2 videos on the wood fired version of instant hot water.

You’d have to decide which is more important to you. Would the convince of instant propane heated water be more worth buying theĀ  propane? For my wife probably yes! For me I just love the idea of make a system that is totally self sufficient and can run off wood and no electricity.

I have to admit at this price, I may just buy this for the NOW and tinker with the wood system in the meantime. What do you think?

Launch Small Cabin Gear Site

VIDEO: Endless hot water from a wood stove without power!

Wood Fired Hot Water from a Copper Coil on Stove

I’ve been talking about doing something similar to the above video for sometime… Years actually. I’d love to have this system running from a coil on our wood stove inside the sauna so you could have a hot private shower in a warm room any time of year. Outdoor showers would be fine for the summer but that’s about it in Washington. My friends cabin on Sinclair island has this hot water system he made with a tiny water tank in his attic and it does work well.

Handmade Hot Water SystemsYou can read about how to make this system for your cabin or cottage in this old book from 1978 called “HandMade Hot Water Systems“. I’ve owned it for several years now and it has more practical knowledge than I’ve seen anywhere else.

It has part lists, sizes and all the practical information to actually make several systems. It seems like minded people are just now figuring out what our fathers and grandfathers knew about heating water passively with no power or pumps.





wood stove hot water diagramHere is a diagram on how you could heat water with your wood stove in your house or cabin.
This system could be added to a regular water system using a water heater.






VIDEO: RUSTIC hot water from a campfire – same thermo-siphon concept.

Yes you can make hot water from a campfire. I wonder how fast copper tubing would melt if it doesn’t have water in it.

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2 Responses

  1. Peter Ratner says:

    I’ve had experience with home made water heaters, and there are 2 important things to remember: 1 – Make sure you install a pressure relief valve and test it regularly, and 2 – check your stovepipe for creosote build up regularly as well. The heat removed from the pipe to heat the water may cause your pipe to run too cool, causing creosote buildup.

  2. I’d get the hot water on demand for your spouse (and you). When my Dad came up to give me a hand with projects, he said do anything that makes your spouse comfortable, and will make your life a whole lot easier. Then you can tinker in the garage or have a guys weekend at the cabin.