Use the fire box to heat water

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by cheech, May 14, 2009.

  1. cheech

    cheech Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I am building a new rig and would like to use the firebox to heat up water for my sink etc.

    If I wrap the outside with copper tubing will that work?
    Will there be an issue of creating steam if it is a closed system?

  2. graybeard

    graybeard Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I like the idea of being green with this but I need more details on your idea. The obvious is the heat temp. The box will be about 400 to 500+ degrees which will make plenty of steam ( which you don't want) . I'm guessing 50 feet maybe 100 feet of tubing to get you some hot running water. The amount of contact would regulate your temp..Are you planning on using regular water pressure?beard
  3. cheech

    cheech Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The concept was not necessary to be green however that is great that it is, the idea was to make it so that I can place the rig anywhere and be self contained when there is no water/electric available.

    I would like the water to be hot enough so that I can wash dishes etc.

    There would likely be a holding tank somewhere or possibly a recirculating pump. The problem is that I am not an engineer and only half the ideas are in my head.
  4. I used a similar idea to heat water in my hunt camp Cheech. Using a steel pail, I ran a length of copper tubing from a fitting I added to the bottom of the bucket. Then I made several turns around the first pipe above the stove. The tubing then came back to the bucket and attached to a fitting I added near the top. As long as the tubing is kept below the level of the water in the bucket, it would circulate for me. if I lowered the bucket, or if the top fitting was above the water level it didn't flow. Also, I often found I needed to "prime" it by heating the top part of the tubing to begin it circulating. pics though.
  5. cheech

    cheech Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think I got it. I also am trying to figure out how to mount three water tanks on the trailer and not have them in the way. I figure I will need one hot, one fresh and one grey water tanks.

    It will be interesting not matter how I do it. Once I get it set I will post pictures.
  6. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I remember Grandma using a wood burning range when I was little. Even though Grandma had a natural gas water heater, she also had a water tank that fit on the back of the stove/fire box. The heat from the fire box would be conducted to the water tank were it would heat up during the day. At the bottom of the tank was a tap that would allow water to be drawn off and more water would then be poured into the tank to keep it full. I remember my dad calling the water tank a water jacket.

    Maybe you can fashion a steel tank that can be mounted on the side of the firebox.
  7. azrocker

    azrocker Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

  8. tn_bbq

    tn_bbq Smoking Fanatic

    Pot o water and a ladel to dip water.

    I think something similar to a jockey box is what you'd want. That's basically where you heat a pot of water and coil your pipe in the pot. You can do an ice water version of this for kegs of beer.
  9. jdt

    jdt Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    the only one I have ever seen was a coil that dropped into the stack, he had a car battery and universal fuel pump constantly circutlating into a 75 gallon add on gas tank like you would find at a farm store, his was not presurized, the original vent hole for the gas tank was slowly leaking a bit of steam the whole time.
  10. garlic

    garlic Fire Starter

    This is what we use, a 15 gallon aluminum pot on the fire box. It will take about an hour to get real hot, when we use some from it we add more to it. This meets all of the health codes for hot water for use as dish washing and hand washing (seperate containers of course). The top of the box when the unit is up to temp is about 500* to 650* where we have it placed. The fire box has a 2" air gap (sealed) between the 3/8" plate inner box and the 1/4" outter skin so it buffers the temp some, It sure works well for doing a BIG pot of beans too. We have built a dome to bake cakes on the top of the box as well. The mobile kitchen has on board hot water for the hand washing inside and light cleaning.
  11. pinkmeat

    pinkmeat Smoking Fanatic

    5 gallon or 15? If that's 15 you could fit a truckload of mexicans in your firebox.
  12. em21701

    em21701 Newbie

    If you put a valve before the firebox from your freshwater tank it would work like a tankless hot water heater if there are enough coils in the box. Also, if you mount the fresh water tank above the level of the sink you won't need any kind of pump.
  13. garlic

    garlic Fire Starter

    It is a 15 gallon pot, not 5. I do have a problem with the BBQ beans though, The grate spacing is too far apart and they keep falling through. (LOL) Yes the fire box is huge, it measures 3' wide X 3' deep X 2.5' tall and the initial load of wood is about 75 pounds and 1 - 20 pound bag of charcoal. But there is so much steel in it once it comes up to temp (about 30 minutes) it will recover very quickly and the spikes in temp are not noticable. 500,000 BTU weed burner makes a great log lighter and preheater.

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