What Is A Wood Burning Water Heater?

As the name suggests, a wood burning water heater uses wood to heat water instead of the more commonly used fuels such as electricity or gas . Wood fired water heaters can also heat water using coal, oil, or kerosene as an alternate fuel source. While many people believe that a wood fired hot water heater is an energy efficient unit because they use lesser energy than the traditional water heaters that use between 25% to 50% of energy, the fact is that wood burning water heater uses a depleting source of energy to do the needful, thus harming the environment.

It’s true that wood water heaters are energy efficient as they work on an ‘as and when’ required basis; they are not very commonly used in America.

Where Are Wood Burning Water Heaters Used?

Since wood, as a source of fuel, is easily available even in the remotest locations in the US, wood burning water heaters can be used produce hot water in the absence of electricity. So, if you live in some remote part of the country and long for a hot tub bath on a frequent basis, wood fired hot water heaters are your best bet. If you have an energy source such as woodlands etc, then you can even create a wood burning water heater for your use. In fact, many people build this type of water heating solution by themselves as it’s cheaper than a regular electric or oil fueled water heater.

How Does A Wood Fired Water Heater Operate?

Despite having lower popularity, wood fired heating units are the pioneering technology for hot water. Though simple to understand and easy to build yourself, understanding how a wood fired water heater works can help you in times of need or repair.

Most wood burning water heaters have four main parts and these are:

1.    A fire chamber
2.    A fire box
3.    An ash chamber
4.    A water tank

Fire chamber is the combustion chamber and it is insulated with fireproof materials like bricks and then covered in high grade stainless steel to ensure the heat doesn’t escape easily. Since stainless steel heats up, the entire surface of a wood fired water heater becomes a heat transferring medium and heats up the surrounding air.

As hot air rises up, it circulates the water with a pumping action thus excluding a need for another part, the circulating pump. Since a wood hot water heater produces dangerous and high flames, it has a flue or a direct vent pipe that opens into the atmosphere and releases waste gases into it. There are two broad types of wood burning water heaters – outdoor and indoor units. Indoor units can also be used as a source of heat during winter months.

Top 2 Wood Burning Water Heater Models

Chofu CHS Wood-Fired Water Heater

Price: N/A


1.    Precision built wood fired water heater for hot tubs
2.    Doesn’t require separate circulating pump
3.    Made from high grade SS (316)
4.    Firebox also of SS
5.    Heavy cast iron door and grates
6.    Vent collar for waste gases and emissions
7.    Heat exchanger present
8.    Double walled, thick water jacket
9.    Neoprene tubes, SS pipes and wall tub ports
10.    Wood size required is 17 x 1 1/2 x 1 ½ inches wood/every 45 mins.
11.    Heating Schedule: 55ºF to 105ºF
12.    Dimensions: 16 (w) X 23 (l) x 18 (h)

Heating rate depends on how dry the wood is and how frequently it is fed into the burner. Therefore, Chofu CHS average heat output can be around 32,000 BTU. For ex: a 200-gallon water tub can be heated at an estimated 20ºF/hour.

Greenwood Aspen 175 Outdoor Wood Burning Water Heaters

Price: N/A


1.    Burns wood cleanly with very little smoke/ash
2.    Consumes less wood to produce more amount of heat
3.    Reduces over all heating costs
4.    Adheres to UL & CSA Safe Operation Standards
5.    Low Maintenance
6.    Simple design for easy maintenance
7.    EPA Qualified
8.    Digital control panel
9.    Plug-and-run operation
10.    Secure & easy to lock door
11.    Built-in exhaust curtain
12.    Fixed night light
13.    Easy-to-access rear panel
14.    8-hr confirmed output
15.    110,000 BTUH/hr
16.    10 years internal furnace parts limited warranty components
17.    1 year components warranty

Manufactured by one of the top 3 manufacturers of Wood burning water heaters, the Aspen series is an excellent replacement for traditional outdoor and now banned wood boilers. This high energy efficiency water heater can help cut down your heating bills by almost 70%.

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