Fire and Water.

Posted by on Jun 15, 2007 in Building a Home | 4 Comments
Fire and Water.

These two fundamental elements to life have both been welcomed into our house this winter.

At 7:45am this morning, we got a phonecall from Kyogle, “the truck’s about to leave – is there anything you want from the shop?”

The idea that hatched into a plan, which moved into research followed by an investigation.

When the results were confirmed, in triplicate – we were ready to organise the installation of our stoves wetback.

And it’s legal! We made everything to spec and it works well.

I’ve learned so much since my last experimentation with hot water. I feel I know our system.

There were a few physical obstacles.

The tank was going in the attic. IMG_1505

Team work IMG_1519


Frank was awesome.



Oxy torches get the job done well.


It’s been a long day – we just finished cleaning the house at it is 11pm.

And now after it all we can have steaming hot showers in our house!

Very Rewarding!


Thanks to everyone that has helped along the way, Mum and Dad – your support has been invaluable!



We want to share it now!


  1. Ann
    June 16, 2007

    Dear Guy and Kirrah
    Well Done! After all your planning and researching, you have a beautiful warm house with hot showers. The stove looks wonderful, so strong and sturdy, but warm and glowing. It will be a lovely spot to sit and read and relax when it is cold and wet outside. We can’t wait to visit nest time and see everything and cook in you new oven.
    Love Ann, Ed and Jo

  2. Jay Kirkland
    November 2, 2007

    Myself and my young family in New Zealand are in the process of creating a similar lifestyle to the one you lead.

    I am interested in information regarding the setup of your wetback hot water system. Could you please let us know the brand of the stove and the brand of the hotwater cylinder. I have had trouble sourcing a suitable hot water cylinder myself, although i already have a woodburner and a small block of sustainable firewood.

    glad to hear the good news regarding your rain and water storage, wise words to refer to it as treasure. Kind regards J Kirkland (NZ)

  3. [email protected]
    July 4, 2008

    Our brand of stove is the Nectre Bakers Oven;

    I know of another brand for larger homes, the Metal Dynamics Gourmet Cooker;

    Here is a product from New Zealand that I saw an ad for on our recent holiday there;

    The brand of the hot water tank is Beazley. It is a salvaged unit from a solar hot water system that was damaged by hail. We got it cheap from a local solar hot water supplier that did the replacement job.

    Installing a hot water system is a job that I first attempted myself. I failed several times to get it working to my satisfaction. I redesigned the system and got a qualified plumber to come for the day with all the tools, parts and experience we needed.
    I got several quotes for the work once I knew what needed to be done and a rough estimate of the lengths of pipe etc.

    When designing a system and it’s placement there are several key principles.

    1: The distance between the solar hotwater panels or the wetback on the stove must be as short as is possible.

    2: This connection needs to be a continuous (rise for hot; fall for cold) with minimum bends. This prevents any airlocks forming and a freeflow of the thermosyphon.

    3: There must be a way for pressure to vent to the atmosphere.
    If you are on mains or pump pressure you will need a special valve that is specific to the pressure capacity of the tank, the heating unit and the water pressure. If you gravity feed the water, a shepard’s Crook that rises higher than the source will allow the any steam to escape. This prevents pressure build up to the point of an explosion.

    4: There is a definite order in the vertical placement of the elements.
    In our gravity system;
    The vent is at the top,
    Then it is the main header tank,
    Then it is the hot water tank,
    Then it is the solar panels or wetback.
    The outlets must be below the hot water tank.

    5: Run a short a length as is possible from the tank to the hot water outlets. This prevents the wasting of water while someone stands in the shower waiting for it to warm up. It is only three meters from our hot water tank to the shower rose.

  4. Wholistic » Blog Archive » House Water System
    November 27, 2008

    […] So 292L a week. A shower uses 6.66L/m. We have only recently fitted a good shower complete with hotwater plumbed into the woodfire. So the data is still being collected. Today Kirrah showered for 6 minutes and 15 seconds. I […]