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Thread: DIY Wood burning pool heater?

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    DIY Wood burning pool heater?

    Has anyone here built their own wood burning pool heater?

    This is something I have considered over the last few years as I already have a bricked in wood burning BBQ pit / smoker just a few feet from my pump room. So I am contemplating adding in a stainless steel heat exchanger to the existing fire box that way when there is no cooking going on it can be used to add some extra heat to the pool in the spring and fall to extend the swim season.

    Ike
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: DIY Wood burning pool heater?

    I have seen a couple vids on youtube with people using wood fires to heat their pools. If you've got all day to stoke the fire and you have an exchanger that wont contanminate the water it seems doable to me. Keep us updated with lots of pics and results.
    11,872 Gallon IG Shotcrete play pool
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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Wood burning pool heater?

    I will, it seems like an easy enough project, I already have the fire box and it is only about 20 feet or so from the pool pump, I don't know if it will add a meaningful number of BTU's, but it along with updating the solar heat panels (having new roof put on right now) should extend the swim season a reasonable amount.

    Ike
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: DIY Wood burning pool heater?

    Let's see my pool heater, (for a pool much smaller than yours and here in Tucson) is rated at 400,000 btu. To produce 400,000 btu will require burning 57 pounds of wood per hour. You are going to need a lot of wood.

    They had to put in a larger gas meter and run a 2 inch gas line to feed the heater, and it still only raises the temp by 1 or 2 degrees per hour. You would need a very big burner and you will burn a forest trying to heat a 36,000 gallon pool. To raise it by 10 degrees wil take 2,880,000 btu. That will require burning about 500 pounds of wood. Of course that assumes perfect heat transfer and no heat loss what so ever from the pool.
    chiefwej
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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Wood burning pool heater?

    Well it is an indoor pool, also my goal is just to supplement the solar heat, and every extra degree or two counts.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: DIY Wood burning pool heater?

    There are a couple of us here on the forum that have tried this (I am one of them) and I can tell you you have a better chance of winning the lottery. I often hear, "well, if it even helps just a little, I'm ok with that". Sounds good enough until you look at the practical math as chiefwej has done partially above. The REAL impracticality is when you take in the heat loss of the pool surface through evaporation and radiation and you realize as I did that you will need to burn down your State's forests to have much impact on your pool

    That said, it was a good exercise for me in recognizing the vast differences in heating air and water. I was humbled by my lack of understanding.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: DIY Wood burning pool heater?

    I know it might not apply to this situation, but a neighbor down the street did this a few years ago, as he is a talented welder.

    He was promptly shut down by the city after the Los Angeles-type smog he was producing. I have seen a few posts about the subject, and most who want to try this are in rural areas.

    This guy has a 38K gallon pool, and while he had his furnace running, he mentioned it didn't put a dent in his pool temp.
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