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Get Powered Up! Certified Energy Manager Jeff Yago answers your alternative energy questions

Wondering about a great new energy-saving device
you found on the Internet? Then CLICK HERE!

Sorry. Jeff no longer answers questions online.
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resource for all BHM website visitors.

Archive for the ‘Wood-fired heater’ Category


Woodstove/fireplace with a water jacket for hydronic floor

Thursday, May 14th, 2009


I am looking at replacing a traditional fireplace with a wood stove insert that can be used in a hydronic floor system.

I looked over your article on the fireplace you installed in your home and have spoke to and web searched for wood stoves that circulate water for heated floors and find only the “long burners” for outside or commercial “furnaces”, nothing that would be appropriate for a great room/ranch application.  Can you point me toward manufacturers that have this type of product?

Thank you.

Mark J. Bechtel


As I mentioned in answers to similar questions to this web site, most of these manufacturers have gone out of business due to not being able to meet new regulations and codes related to wood-fired boilers. There are several web sites that describe how to build your own, but installers are switching to the outdoor models for safety.

I feel our hydronic fireplace system is very safe, but I have included both a temperature and a separate pressure relief valve, and a way to keep the pump working if there is a power outage.  Many of these early systems were well made but the piping systems were poorly designed and installed.

Hope this helps,

Jeff Yago


Wood fired hot water

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

We have a wood fired boiler… it is for hot water only – it needs to be replaced. Any idea where I can get a new one? The one we have is about 20 years old… it has a fire box, then the water reservoir on top. It is not used for anything other than heating water.




I addressed this question several weeks ago and I am afraid the answer has not changed. Wood-fired domestic hot water heaters are very popular in Mexico but as far as I know, none of these meet our plumbing and boiler codes for safety. I am not saying they are not safe, but there are very strict regulations on the construction, testing, and quality control that must be met and I do not believe any of these have gone through this certification process for (legal) sale in the US. I visited a manufacturer located in Eureka, California about 10 years ago who was making a really good unit, but he moved his operation to Mexico years ago.

The following is a link to unit hand-made by the Amish, but pay attention to the disclaimer note on the ad:

Hope this helps.

Jeff Yago


Wood-fired hot water

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Hi Jeff.

I have a small cabin and I want to build some kind of hot water shower fired by wood, something very simple CAn you lead me in the right direction? It is in the summer only that I will be using it.

Thank you.



All of these wood-fired small hot-water heaters are now only made in Mexico and are hard to import because they do not meet our plumbing and boiler codes. Up until a few years ago there was one small company in Eureka, California that was making these by hand and they were really well built. However, they went out of business in the US and the last I heard they were trying to set up production in Mexico.

Several companies make a small wood-fired hot-water heater to heat an outdoor hot tub and you may be able to use one of these if you can’t find a way to import the model from Mexico. There are many of these wood-fired hot water heaters used in less developed countries.

Good Luck,

Jeff Yago



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