Do you want to know how to get endless amounts of hot water without using any electricity? Knowing how to create hot water quickly and without electricity is very important for disaster survival. Hot water can be used for taking a shower, cleaning dishes, boiling food, and many other things.
Most preppers understand the value of being able to create hot water, but they usually rely on solar power methods to do so. While solar does work for creating hot water, you’re also entirely dependent on how much sunlight you get.
There’s another method for creating endless volumes of hot water that doesn’t require solar power or electricity, and that is the topic of this video by Engineer775.
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For this project, you will need:
- A rocket stove with a chimney
- Plenty of wood to fuel a fire
- A large container to hold your water (an old water heater would work for this purpose)
- Water pipes and valves
- Some copper coil
What you need to do is connect the bottom of your water container (which should be filled up with water) to your stove with the pipes and valves.
The pipes will need to run into your stove and connect to your copper coil, which will run through your stove before exiting out to provide you with flowing hot water. You can control the flow of the water with your valves.
With this set up, operation is simple. Just fill up your container with cold water, get a fire going in your stove until the temperature rises to around 500 degrees F. Then, permit the flow of water by twisting the valves.
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The water will then travel down your pipes and enter into the copper coil in your stove to become heated, before exiting out for you to pour into another container.
It’s worth noting that if you are going to use any of this hot water for food preparation or cleaning purposes, it’s important to purify it before using it.
For more information and a visual demonstration of how this process works, be sure to check out the video by Engineer775 below.
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Sumer Foster says
All fine and well but…if you can burn a fire, can’t you just boil the water? Easier, cheaper.
Anne-Marie Foster says
I wondered that myself. Boiling water, then cooling, handles most of the purification as well. The idea is solid, but takes more work than the simple boiling method.
Running tubing inside a hot compost bin can heat water too.
If still not hot enough, take that outlet and attach it to your copper coil. Compost bin will at least preheat the water.
I built a Hugel Garden one year.
Used 17 tons of material (5 tons were coffee grounds, the rest wood chips).
8″ below the surface it was a whopping 130F! Some points over 165F.
I can imagine how hot the core was.
Had to water daily to keep temps down and prevent a fire.
It stayed pretty hot for 1/2 year or more.
If you have a BIG compost pile, look at it in the winter when snow falls.
If you have snow, it isn’t hot enough.
If no snow, you KNOW it is generating lots of wasted heat.
The beauty of it is that come spring time when it cools off, you have black gold to use for your garden.
My dad had a stainless tank suspended above a wood stove in the basement. The heat was directed by a tube to hear the tank. All the hot water plumbing came from the tank in the basement. You want a bath, you go and fire up the woodburner. We didn’t have a hot water heater until my mom bought a dishwasher. I was in high school. We only took one bath a week. Washed up at the bathroom sink during the week.
Could you hook this up to an old cast iron radiator or would there not be enough water flow?
Scott Hunter says
Thank Tim, appreciate your effort and knowledge. It gives hope and joy to those of us who find these issues very important. For those who desire to condemn it in some way, if we cross paths during a crisis and you need something to eat because you are starving, or maybe some hot water to bathe, follow me and I will give you rest. I’ll share some things Tim showed me so you also may have hope and joy to keep yourself sane. Give, and it shall be given.
Anne-Marie Foster says
Nobody is condemning him, but this isn’t the most efficient way to get hot water. It won’t store hot, not even in a sealed water tank, so you’re wasting more energy in a crisis trying his method when a pot on the stove works just as well (or keeping a covered pot BY the fire – as the old folks did – for at least warm water. As a child, before our well started producing & our septic tank was dug, we had to “rough it” with coffee can toilets & hot water from the stove method. I assure you, the less work you have to do to ensure you’ve got what you need is of paramount importance, as there is a ton of work to do AFTER you perform your ablutions or wash things. This method would work well to operate a mechanical washing machine, but for daily use, it isn’t terribly practical.
Any and everyway to heat water is a good idea. One never knows when the time(s) come when the knowledge to perform this task will be required, emergency or not. We in today’s society get to use to just having it available without remembering how this task is accomplished, actions and efforts made.
Barbara Pilkey says
I built an outdoor woodstove and put copper tubing i the firebox. I have water coming from a creek through a hose gravity feed. I can barely get the water hot enough to have a bath in my homemade tub. What am I doing wrong? Would the coil get hotter in the chimney than the firebox? Do i need more coil so the water has more chance to get hot?
Slow down the water flow to allow the water to heat up.
Adding more copper coils can help. So would a hotter fire.
Insulating the discharge pipe from the copper coil can help a lot.
If you are using a storage tank for the hot water, it needs to be above the hot water discharge line from the coil.
You could use a 3/4″ inlet to the copper coil and a 3/8″ outlet from the copper coil.
Cold water in at the bottom of the coil and hot water out from the top of the coil.
Horizontal run coils probably aren’t going to help you. They need to be vertical.
Did you know that long ago, people used to build a fire UNDER their bathtubs to make hot water?
this is a good idea of using excess heat going up the wood stove pipe to also heat up some water using the same amount of fuel you are already using for ambient heat / cooking. You don’t even have to run it into a hot water tank, just have the flow go to a metal bucket you can then use to wash dishes, wash clothes, sponge baths, etc. Think of this type of system to use when your “roughing it” like in a cabin with little or no electricity, or after SHTF and living conditions become a lot more primitive.
Response to the people worried about it boiling over… The heat capacity of water is very high. The amount of energy contained in one load of the fuel (wood) that fits in that stove is insufficient to boil the volume of water in that tank.
If the water was not free to flow, it would boil the water in the copper coil, which could cause problems. However, convection should be sufficient to keep the water moving through the coil.
I used a water boiler similar to this in Kenya, but it was not connected to a tank. The water flowed directly from the well into the boiler, and directly from the boiler into the hot water line of the house.
The trick was how long after lighting the fire to open the tap. If you opened it too soon, the water reaching the tap was lukewarm. If you let it sit too long it would boil, and blow steam out the faucets. But it was cooled by the time it got to the faucet. It wasn’t dangerous, just annoying.
Rick Palmer says
This type of water heater is very common in parts of Mexico. Even as close to the U.S. as the north of Sonora. As you said it is quite safe , and any concerns can be eliminated by installing a tee with a standard pressure pop off valve for a tank type water heater. Thanks for the simplified explanation.
Calm down people…
Russell Holding says
I like it, you can also use the copper pipe and that comes in a 50ft to 100 ft roll from the H.D. and put 1 end at the top of a wood box and the other end at the bottom of the box put a glass window pain over it connect a hose to it and let the sun heat up the water as it pumps through the coil, it helps to paint the box black inside first.
You would need some kind of way to control the heat. Thermal expansion by over heating will only blow the temperature/pressure relief valve (assuming it has one). Very dangerous.
Steve says. What about thermal expansion? or heat control? overheating will blow the temp/pressure relief valve. Witch better be on any closed system making hot water. Let alone the potential to burn someone badly! 33 year plumber here. I think it needs a way to move heat from the coil when hot enough, 125 degrees tops!
One question… How does the water move through the pipe? Does it not need a pump run by electricity?
There is this thing called convection it can be very useful in a closed loop system. Flow can also be obtained via a small circulating pump ran off solar power and battery. Can also be done via A gravity feed system. There are many ways to do things once you step outside the box
Daniel Erskine says
Since you are already heating the water..thermoelectric is also an option for producing electricity to move the water.
On the farm we used a donkey to heat water. It was very effective. now living in the city, we are exposed to all types of challenges. High electricity cost, power cuts, water cuts. we are utterly exposed to urban disasters. we need to be prepared.
I want to live off the grid
Then move to California..
With the tubing mounted inside the stovepipe, and the water being exposed to “several hundred degrees”, I’d be very concerned about the water flashing to steam. That last thing you need in a prepping situation is a BOMB that kills your family.
Terrific work, did the same for Hot tub but wit larger copper pipe..
years ago we wrapped soft copper around the exhaust on our jeep used two hose adapters and a cheap fuel pump from auto zone two garden hoses and one water saver shower head and nipple later instant hot shower leave the truck running and it was nice and warm for camping trips
Several years ago, my dad set up a coil like this on our wood burning stove in the basement. Worked great in the winter.
No, hot water flows up and cold water flows down so you use physics to cause the water to flow as you like. No generator needed.
Mike Rue says
Rene and Ron, your comments are rude. The “over-thinking” Rube Goldberg” comments were out of line. Alan was just demonstrating some possibilities for heating water. I for one think his stuff is excellent. Remember, you can always learn something from everyone, even if it’s what not to do.
Mike Rue says
Wow, what rude comments. Alan was just demonstrating some possibilities. Your engineer crack was uncalled for.
Thats not endless hot water. Gou can only heat up whats in the water heater and when you drain water from the system water has to be added. It would be more sensible and efficient to use the wood fire to boil a potf water. Im sure it will be easier in an emergency to find a large pot rather than a water heater and all the pipe and tubing that is used in the video. Typical engineer, by the time they get done overthinking the situation someone has a simple solution. Lol
Use your head for something other than A hat rack. Thid concept is simple and has been around for years and yes it works well. Cold eater flows in gets heated then flows to the insulated water heater tank for storage. Not that complicated for most people. Apparently your not most people.
I think the idea is preparing. If you have it already, no need to scramble when an emergency happens. That’s the concept behind prepping.
On a side not, a pot of water heated causes water loss due to evaporation, this process contains that evaporated water in the water heater, so no water loss. Also the fire could be used for cooking and keeping warm while heating the water.
A tip for those that are not prepared. Your house has all these materials built in, all you’d have to do is dig them out and piece it together. That would be an extreme life and death situation though.
Just food for thought.
Kathlyne Beus says
This brought back old memories. The old sauna. An old, old hot water heater, top cut off. Poured buckets of water into it. On the side of the tank there was plpe that went to the fire and rock barrel (it had a divider in it. Fire in the bottom and rocks on the top) . The plpe went through the side up to the top, out the side, over to the top of the tank and turn into the tank. The facet near the bottom provided the hot water . The cold water bucket with a ladle made the water warm. The cedar branches circulated the blood now a quick dash to the lake for a dip or a good roll in the snow to cool down . Old memories.
You are a dick head Ron.
Go find something to do that will impress us since you consider yourself such an expert. Perhaps cure cancer, then maybe we will consider you as something to recognise.
One advantage to using the hot water would be for insulation value, water would stay hotter longer ! Heated water would naturally flow up and out when super-heated in a closed system ! PT valve on tank would prevent explosion ! So whats the alarm ?
WTF? You’ve got no electricity because of a major storm – so you want to fire up your wood burning L.E.A.F. gasifier generator to run a fuel powered electric generator – but to get the L.E.A.F. generator to fire up and get a good head of heat, you need and electric blower to get it going !?!?!? So where is that power coming from to run the Blower in the beginning? LOL… It’s a RUBE GOLDBERG invention!
It’s called a rocket stove. Has been proven over and over in alternative energy books. You just need to know HOW to incorporate it.
Thanks Tim, it’s difficult to explain physical energy to someone without them having some knowledge of physics!