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Wood burning water heater?

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by jtp07, Nov 18, 2011.

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  1. jtp07

    jtp07 New Member

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    During the summer I work at a camp in New Mexico. Many of the cabins at the camp have wood burning stove but the cabin I lived in also had a wood burning water heater for the shower house. I have always wonder what the type of heater was called an who made it. It is a dome shape made of cast iron. I have posted links to some pictures, sorry I am new and I haven't figured out how to put the pictures on here. Marking on one side says "water 125 lbs" and the other side has something like "ASME, STB, MAX W.P." The heater is also connected to a 100 gallon tank. As far as I know this heater was placed here in the 60s or 70s, the door to cover the whole is missing so a shovel head is used but fits perfectly.

    I hope someone will be able to identify this water heater.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/39566619@N07/6356900317/in/photostream

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/39566619@N07/6356896063/in/photostream

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/39566619@N07/6356891203/in/photostream

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/39566619@N07/6356887223/in/photostream/

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum Sawmill Man.

    Not sure about that water heater but it surely would be nice to heat the water with wood heat. I've sort of been entertaining the idea as of late.

    As for posting pictures, when you start a new thread like you did it is easy. You'll see a Picture Icon. Click on that and paste the address into it. Or when answering someone using a quote, that icon is there. Or clicking on Post Reply rather than Fast Reply gets you that icon.
  3. certified106

    certified106 Minister of Fire

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    Wow, never saw anything quite like that before but it's pretty cool! Is that single wall pipe running right up the side of that cabin?
  4. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Well, ASME is American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Sounds like it had a maximum working pressure cast into it at one time. Looks like many years and weather has taken their toll on most of the markings. I'm sure somebody has seen something like it.

    Dennis, this is an old article from Mother Earth News
    http://www.motherearthnews.com/Modern-Homesteading/1979-05-01/Wood-burning-Water-Heater.aspx
    Apparently, they're still in production http://magamex.com.mx/productos.php?linea=1 but my Spanish is a little rusty (ok, non-existent). Would be interesting.
  5. jtp07

    jtp07 New Member

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    Yes that is a single pipe running vertically, it then makes in L bend and goes into the top of the water tank, there is also a pipe running horizontally behind the heater that goes into the bottom of the water tank. It is a simple system, the bottom pipe flows the cold water flows into the heater then push to the top of the tank until all the water is hot. The second vertical pipe in the background is the water pipe that feeds the water tank. I can draw a diagram if you would like. As far as I know the heater's dome shape also has an inner dome in which the water is heated between the two domes.
  6. SteveKG

    SteveKG Minister of Fire

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    We've been heating our water for about 5 yr. with an AguaHeater I bought new back in the mid 80s. At that time, I got it from a dealer here in Colorado who said they were made here, but I think she may have been wrong and they were made in Mexico. Just a guess.

    I have tried to get another one for a long, long time. Many hours spent researching. What I have found, so far, is that there are no wood-fired dedicated water heaters of this type sold or made in the US. I've also been told that one cannot import one, though I don't know that is accurate, someone just told me that recently and I haven't been able to find out otherwise.

    There was a small co. in Oregon making a beautifully designed one a few years ago, but they went out of business [financial problems they say] before I could get my hands on one.

    I keep finding references to some models made in Scandinavia, etc., but haven't been able to zero in on any.

    There are a few models made and/or available in the US, one from Japan that is really slick for hot tubs and the Amish-made one a previous poster mentioned. The problem with them is that they are designed for unpressurized water heating, circulating hot water into a hot tub or other unpressurized vessel. For a home system, for showers and general hot-water use, this presents more hassle. You can heat water just great, but then you have to have a way to get the water into your house pressurized water system or have a dedicated shower line to run the hot water to the tub or stall. This means another pump, more controls, another water line, etc.

    Our heater does not significantly heat up the room it's in [our kitchen]. The add-on coils, etc., for heating water in one's existing wood stove requires that stove to be burning pretty hot to work. Summers, who wants a cookstove or heat stove roaring.... The stovepipe heat recovery systems such as coils of copper pipe that surround the stovepipe ditto: the stove must be heating for it to work, plus those systems remove heat from the gases in the stovepipe and thus can lead to both draft and creosote-deposit problems.

    If anyone has any more info', I'd be glad to read about it.....
  7. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Those things were used on small ships to run cast iron radiators for standby heat.
    I don't think it is nearly as new as you think it is, as I havn't seen one in decades.
    The last one I found was in a junkyard in the great seaport of New Beford Mass.
    Like an idiot, I threw away the top half (water jacket) and kept the bottom,
    refractory lined firepot and made it into a solid fuel forge for blacksmith work.
    My father who had been a merchant marine from just after WWII and sailed on a lot of old ships recognized it.
    As I typed this I remembered seeing a similar shaped, only much larger version at the same junkyard years later, so it may have been a common form of boiler at one time.

    Anywho, most anyone with a woodstove can make their own hot water simply, safely and cheaply; http://www.hilkoil.com/

    Before I found out about hilkoils, I built my own. I saved no money doing so, in fact, the steel unit I built from gas pipe and weld 90s cost me MORE than a stainless steel hilkiol.
    I can testify to the performance however.
  8. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    There was a startup woodstove company in Mass last year claiming to have conquered all the testing and insurance requirements needed to sell living space boilers in this crazy mixed up country of ours.

    I contacted then a couple times, received very little response, I wonder if they are still in business.
  9. curber

    curber Feeling the Heat

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    A neibor of ours at our cabin property made one out of and old gas water heater. It sets outside and he heats the water for his shower house with it. I think all he did was use the tank inside and took all the gas burrner thing out of the bottom. The smoke goes rite up threw the center of the tank. Pat
  10. jtp07

    jtp07 New Member

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    I looking to see if anyone knows where this type of heater would have come from or who would have made it. It is used to heat water at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. The heater works great and is able to heat 100 gallons of water in an hour to a hour and a half. I am looking to find historical facts about it since it is obviously very old.
  11. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Look up a couple of posts to Mr Dune's first reply.
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