Brilliant DIY Off-Grid Water Heater Using a Rocket Stove – No Propane!

This is a brilliant DIY hack for creating an off-grid water heater with just a simple handmade rocket stove, water barrel, and copper pipes! No pump! No propane!

It was built by a couple of incredible people we met last summer, Sebastien and Isabelle. They’re passionate about reconnecting with the earth and finding sustainable ways to live. One of their hobbies is experimenting with rocket stoves and making them function as a cooktop, a heat source, and sometimes even as a hot water heater.

A rocket stove is a simple stove with 3 openings: the one at the bottom for building your fire, the middle one is to feed wood to the fire, and the one at the top is a chimney. By winding copper pipes inside the cob walls of the chimney, water in the pipes is heated up and circulated from the water barrel, around the rocket stove, and back into the barrel by a process called: thermosiphon.

According to Wikipedia, a thermo syphon “is a method of passive heat exchange, based on natural convection, which circulates a fluid without the necessity of a mechanical pump.”

Our minds were blown when we learned about this passive heat exchange that didn’t require electricity or propane!

This is their first prototype and they’re hoping to refine the system this year. Now that they know it works, they’re hoping to use an insulated hot water tank that will keep the water warm for longer (and avoid using a plastic barrel to heat water). This will eventually be an outdoor shower for them.

Sebastien and Isabelle from La Nature à l’État Pur are creating some incredible living spaces, and are offering opportunities for people to come relax in nature and to learn off-grid living techniques. Check out their website to find out more:

And check out the video we created about their SuperAdobe Eco Dome Home here:

Thanks for watching!

Mat & Danielle



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Music & Song Credits:

All music in this video was composed, performed, and recorded by Mat of Exploring Alternatives.

Editing Credits:
Mat and Danielle of Exploring Alternatives

Filming Credits:
Mat of Exploring Alternatives

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45 Replies to “Brilliant DIY Off-Grid Water Heater Using a Rocket Stove – No Propane!”

  1. CllConnie

    The wood contains only a certain amount of energy, no matter where or how you burn it, you will only get that amount of energy, so your rocket is not creating heat at all.

  2. Cerberus

    I'd like to have known the ingredients for his adobe mix and how close the surface his copper piping is. Maybe the copper is exposed to the fire who knows?

  3. Offgrid Secrets

    I built this and it works amazing! It took me 3 days and i documented it for sharing. If you want to see it come down. Our water gets to 140f or 60c and stays hot for hours! This video inspired me. Thank you!

  4. John Coulbourn

    I would think that the cover tubing would quickly become coated with soot and become inefficient at absorbing the heat from the fire. What about encasing the tubing in a large amount of thermal mass?

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