This was written by Silver and I, Riven have posted it for Him.
A couple years ago
we were given a gas fired water heater. Upon inspection it was
apparent that the entire burner assembly was useless. So a week or
so later I removed all of the burner and the insulation from the
bottom foot or so, at first thinking the tank might be useful. About
that time I watched a couple videos on using wood fired water heaters
and decided to see what I could do with it.
Other than keeping
the heat shield used to hold the burner assembly, I found a old
unused steel tire rim that the shield fit into snuggly. The lower
half I filled with dirt and gravel to help keep it in place. The
opening in the shield where the gas burner had entered I opened a bit
and used for the wood feed.
Given the fear of
over pressure and possible explosion fed by all the warnings we had
seen on the net, I only filled the tank with water and left the lines
unattached. After filling the “fire box” and lighting it using
small branches and kindling, we found that to heat the initial forty
gallons took approximately a hour. After, it took less time,
refilling the used water, keeping the fire running with only small
pieces of fire wood.
At the time we did
not have a water heater so it was a godsend for us. Much easer than
heating the water on the stove or a fire a gallon at the time. Some
time later we were given an electric water heater that with some
parts worked and so we stopped using the wood fired one. Given the
setting up of our outdoor kitchen I moved it to that location and am
setting it up once again for use there. This time I will not have any
fear of running it under pressure as it is fairly easy to tell when
it is getting hot enough and the pressure relief valve is attached.
Given the fire box is less than a cubic foot does not hold enough for
a long burn time.
One last thing the
warnings online also mentioned the chimney being too small to work
accurately. We had no trouble with it on ours nor do we expect to. My
guess on others experiences is they were trying to have to big a fire
going in it. As we were not in a hurry to have the water heat up we
did not over feed it.
I hope this helps
any that are interested to try there hand at it though only if you
feel comfortable with attempting it.
Silver has said if anyone has questions feel free to post them and He’ll do His best to answer them.