Many wood or pellet fires, ranges or burner systems can have wetbacks fitted to them. A wetback can work as a valuable supplement to your hot water system.


  • Wetbacks can reduce your hot water heating costs by supplementing your hot water needs.

Keep in mind

  • Adding a wetback means you get less of the fire's heat going into the room. Most existing fires have adequate capacity to do both, but keep it in mind when sizing a new wood or pellet fire.

  • Not all fires and hot water systems are suitable for wetbacks. Check with your fire manufacturer and your plumber to see if a wetback will work for you.

  • There is a limit to how far away a water cylinder can be from the wetback before it ceases to work. Likewise the pipes must be run as directly as possible and include a slope so that the water can naturally circulate through the heat exchanger.
  • Many councils have clean air requirements in place for urban areas. Check what fires and wetbacks you can install with your local city, district or regional council.

How they work

A wetback is a pipe arrangement that fits in the back of the firebox. Water from your hot water cylinder is circulated through these pipes, sometimes by a small pump, and is heated using some of the heat from the fire.