Off-the-grid Hot Tub Heating
Q: I also posted this at alt.rural but thought that the metal professionals might have some good ideas and/or experience. Does anyone have any good ideas regarding heating a hot tub with some kind of wood-fired stove? I have seen a submersible wood burning aluminum stove from Snorkle Stoves (which I will probably end up buying) and a wood-fired heater called "Thermofire" both of which will work but are both well over $600. Are there any good do-it-yourself ideas? Or maybe an idea that I might take to a metal shop to do a proto?
A: Reminds me of a funny story. A friend of mine, a halibut fisherman, wanted a wood-fired hot tub. He and another of my friends cobbled up a massive structure made of concrete and steel. They did a test fire with a full tub. They loaded up the firebox with wood, started a nice fire, and settled down to watch a football game. Some time later they looked out the window and the entire tub was *boiling*. They never did figure out how to control the heat. He wound up scrapping it and building a sauna instead. Hope your thermodynamics are better than his! This is how my father in law built his wood fired hot tub. He went down to Snorkle and asked a lot of questions and got brochures. He then went to Boeing Surplus and bought an 4 X 8' sheet of 1/8 6061 AL. He reversed a carbide blade in his skill saw and cut out the shapes. While he was cutting his friend used his mig to weld up the stove. Once finished he filled the strove with water and marked the one or two leaks. The stove has been used for the last 15 years. Warning do not let the water level get low when the stove is still burning. His has drunken looking sag to it now.
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