What are the Benefits of a Wood Burning Water Heater?

Donn Saylor

Enhanced energy efficiency, stronger heat output, and increased financial savings are among the many benefits of using a wood burning water heater. Wood burning water heaters can be implemented either indoors or outdoors and derive their energy from the burning of wood as opposed to more traditional models that use natural gas or electricity. Though concerns have emerged over possible pollution emitted from wood burning water heaters, filtration devices have been developed that help control the output of smoke from most units.

Fuel for a wood-burning water heater is easily obtained.
Fuel for a wood-burning water heater is easily obtained.

There are three main parts of a wood burning water heater. The fire chamber is the area of the device into which the wood is fed and the flames are contained. The ash chamber collects the ashes produced by the burnt wood. The water pump is the section of the wood burning water heater where the water cycles and heats.

Wood burning water heaters can be incredibly energy efficient alternative heating solutions. It is estimated that traditional electric or gas heaters devour 25–50% of an average home's energy consumption. With a wood burning water heater, the small tank capacity allows less water to be cycling through the unit at any given time. While traditional water heaters store up and heat large quantities of water, a wood burning option creates less hot water and lessens the need for a higher amount of fuel supplies.

The heated water put out by a wood burning water heater typically runs hotter than more standard varieties. Since the tank of the heater is usually fairly small, it doesn't take an inordinate amount of time to heat the water, and a constant stream of wood is not necessary to maintain the temperature. The materials used to construct wood burning water heaters — fireproof substances like brick and stone enclosed with stainless steel — allow the reserved water temperatures to stay hot.

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One of the drawbacks of using wood burning heaters to heat an entire home is the constant need to continually feed more and more wood into the device. With a wood burning water heater, this need is drastically reduced. This greatly impacts the operating cost of the water heater and saves the homeowner a considerable amount of money. Wood burning water heaters also save on water costs since far less water cycles through the device.

A wood burning water heater can be installed as a primary or secondary heat source for a home. Opponents often suggest that wood heaters of any kind release a damaging amount of pollution into the environment. To combat this, most wood heater manufacturers have designed special filtration attachments that significantly reduce any environmental damage that may occur.

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