Tuesday, October 20, 2015

We have loved having this pool heater available to boost the pool temps a bit in the spring and fall. It has worked great although over the last year and a half has lost some efficiency. Taking the advice of some great feedback on the first build I am going to try a few new ideas with this and see if I can't get a more efficient heat transfer and boost the temps up even more!

The most common feedback I received was "Why don't you wrap the copper tubing around the outside of the barrel?" This is a great idea and one that I had considered before I started the first version of the pool heater. I ended up deciding to put the tubing on the inside of the barrel because I wanted it to be engulfed in the flame with no tubing exposed to the outside air and I also didn't like the look of the tubing on the outside. In the end this is what I have found...

The coil on the inside is much more efficient at absorbing the heat; however, it does not hold up as well over time since it collects soot and creosote over time and becomes less efficient. Overall this is the best approach but you will need to take the coil out each year and clean it up.

The second approach was to wrap the coil around the outside of the barrel. This also works very well but in order for it to be most efficient it will need to be covered in some sort of insulation to keep the heat around the tubing. I noticed that the outside area of the tubing is actually working like a heat sink and cooling the outer side. With good insulation wrapped around the barrel with the tubing in between the heat would be trapped and provide the best heat exchange to the water. I am currently looking for some good outdoor insulation that I can use for this application.

In the meantime I have both the coil on the outside and the one on the inside in use and the temps I am getting are fairly close to what I had when I first started the project last year.

This has been such a fun project to work on and experiment with and I am excited for the winter season so I can test it's use heating my garage again! Stay tuned for updates on that and thanks for stopping by!

Soldering equipment -

Spark start torch head - http://amzn.to/1BMl54f
Mapp Gas cylinder - http://amzn.to/14G5DdF
1/2"-3/4" pipe and fitting cleaner combo tool - http://amzn.to/1BSy2ao
Tight spaces pipe cutter - http://amzn.to/1y0INKD
Pipe cutter - http://amzn.to/1xP2qDj
Lead free solder - http://amzn.to/1wGPqvL
Flux - http://amzn.to/1yPxXqA

The Vogelzang single barrel kit can be purchased here - http://tinyurl.com/onurub9

Fiskars X27 splitting axe - http://amzn.to/1QEOfrG

All of these products and more recommended items from the SSL Family are available at the Simple Suburban Living General Store

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  1. I was inspired by your video to create a wood fired hot tub. I wrapped the coils on the outside of the barrel stove but I'm not getting much hot water production. For sure not enough to heat up a 300 gallon tub. Any suggestions? If I can send you a picture of what I've done maybe you'll see something obvious i've missed...thanks

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