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Home Forums General Discussion WANTED: Wood-Burning Domestic Hot Water Heater

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    Hello alternative energy folks,

    I have an off the grid cabin/property in southern Oregon, a property that runs on hydroelectric and photovoltaic power. In the past I have heated my domestic hot water with a wood-burning hot water heater (made in Mexico and named Dual Megamex. ) I cannot seem to find any such wood-burning hot water heater. If any of you have any sources, or suggestions, I certainly would like to hear from you. Thanks for your time, Bob


    Do you have wood burning stoves in Oregon? If so, you should be able to fit a back boiler (wet back) to the stove and connect it to your house pipes. If you choose a stove with a flat top you can also cook a lot of your meals on it and keep a kettle of hot water on it.

    I live in Wales, so I can’t advise you what is available in Oregon. However, wood burning stoves are easily obtained here, and most manufacturers can supply a back boiler to give you the hot water you want. Alternatively, if you can find a stove without a back boiler, you could find a small engineering workshop to make a back boiler (preferably made from stainless steel) to fit your stove.


    Dear Cyclopath,

    Thank you for your response. I have checked everywhere and cannot find a wood burning hot water heater for sale in the United States. I’m wondering if you have any links to suppliers in Wales. Perhaps I could contact them to see if they have distributors in the United States. By the way, I’m not sure what a “back boiler” is.

    Once again, thank you. Bob


    I think that a back boiler means that the front of the fire heats the room it is in and the back of the fire heats the hot water which then travels around the pipes in the home.

    I am also looking for a woodburning flat-top heater-and-fire, so will let you know what I find, but the cost of bringing it to the US from Wales might be high as they are heavy.


    Hi, I am also in Wales, and have beeb looking without success for a wood burning water heater. I have seen pictures of a megamex on the internet, but no sign of anyone selling anything like it.

    a back boiler in a stove, or a water jacket or a boiler, is a good thing , it provides a hot water outlet to heat the tank. But with a normal wood burning stove the ratio of radiant heat to hot water output is small. Our stove is small 3 – 6 kW radiant output, but only one quater to one half kW hot water output, which is fine during the winter when the stove is lit most of the day, we have enough water for washing dishes etc in the day and by by the end of the day we have a hot tank. But if the weather is warmer, stove not lit, no hot water unles its sunny enough for the solar pannels. In wales we get a lot of cloudy days, solar panels will prewarm the water to at least 20 or 30 deg C on most days, but not hot enough for a shower unless its sunny.

    And even when its sunny, with a family you need a good supply of hot water. An efficient wood burning water heater would be great.

    There are big American systems on the market, like the Greenwood hydronic wood furnace, looks very efficient, but far too big for what we need.

    In UK there is a company that sells wood burning water heaters for heating hot tubs, look at , but I have never seen one and I don’t know how efficient they are.

    One of the issues about trying to live a low carbon lifestyle is that we musn’t get fooled into thinking burning wood is fully carbon neutral, the best it can be is very nearly carbon neutral, if it is felled by hand, (no chainsaws) extracted from the forest by hand or by horse? and delivered by hand or by horse? and then burned very efficiently. Burning wood always produces some other products of combustion like NO2 & CH4, Partial combustion in a bad stove is worse.

    So I wouldn’t be interested in one of these hottub heaters unless I was convinced about its efficiency, which by the look of the design I am not.

    Please let me know if you find out any more about the megamex.

    I am working on a design to build something similar. Need to do a bit more research yet.




    Hello bobdorsett,

    Here is the website for the Magamex wood burning hot water heaters made in Mexico. Hope this helps!



    Randy, thanks for getting back to me. I went to their website, and it is all in Spanish, which I don’t comprehend. I tried phoning their phone numbers but was unable to get through because they are 800 numbers unavailable to the United States. I did e-mail all of their available e-mail addresses, so we’ll see what happens! If you have any further information, please feel free to contact me. Thanks much, Bob


    Here are a few websites.. Not sure if you have seen em or not but they sorta match what you say you want. These systems seem to need electricity, though I am not usre how much and you do say you have hydro.


    Hi Bob

    If you’re still interested, a friend of mine has just started manufacturing a wood burning hot water heater. It’s a complete unit that can be fitted by simply raising your flue, putting it in place, then dropping the flue back into the top. There’s no soldering or welding involved as all connections are designed for ‘olive fittings’ from your local hardware. If the hot water exit on your tank is higher than the exit on the unit — you don’t need a pump either. They’re not even on the market yet, but email me if you want more details:


    Bob Dorsett you say you live on a property partially powered by micro hydro and some PV solar. In other words you have some electricity for powering draft fans. There are many wood burning ‘boilers’ not heaters. The distinction being they improve efficiency by using forced draft fans. Perhaps the terminology prevented you from getting hits on you google search. I work with one dealer of wood burning hot water boilers so I am not going to post links and seem like I was promoting a commercial site.

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