How to Heat Water without Gas or Electricity? (7 Methods)

After reading this article, you will be able to heat water without gas or electricity easily.

Heating water without gas or electricity might seem like a hassle, but it doesn’t have to be. There are several ways you can get the job done without either. 

The methods we describe here make use of seven alternative ways of generating heat: using firewood, charcoal, candles, sunlight, other renewable energy sources, stored gas, and hexamine tablets.

I will also tell you what you will require to use each of them, their suitability and downsides (or advantages and disadvantages), and offer advice.

Different Ways of Heating Water

Besides consuming your gas or mains electricity supply, you can also heat water in your home by using any of the following methods:

  • Using firewood to light a fire in a wood stove, rocket stove, fireplace, or an outside fire pit
  • Using charcoal to light a fire in your fireplace, an outside pit, or your BBQ grill
  • Using candles to light the fire
  • Using sunlight (solar energy) directed at a water tank or pot, or a solar shower bag
  • Using another renewable energy source (wind, water, etc.)
  • Using an external (stored) gas source, such as butane or propane in a camp stove
  • Using hexamine tablets that burn for a short period

All the above methods provide an alternative source of heat or fuel, so you still need to generate heat energy in some way or another to heat the water.

The method you choose will depend on which fuel sources and equipment you have available and which you can easily arrange.

Steps to Heating Water

Here are the general steps to heating water using one of the alternative fuel sources. You may need to adjust them according to which source is used.

  • Gather all the required items listed
  • Fill the pot with water
  • Place the pot into position
  • Turn on the alternative fuel source or put it in place
  • Light the alternative fuel source using matches or a lighter
  • Wait for the water to boil
  • Turn off the source, and remove the pot

Heating Water without Gas or Electricity

Here, we describe in more detail what you need to do to heat the water according to what you have available.

If a pot is being used, we assume you have filled it with the water to be heated. Also, use a thick cloth or mitts when the pot is hot. A traditional kettle can be used instead.

Using Firewood


  • Firewood, twigs, or wooden sticks
  • Wood chippings or cardboard pieces for kindling
  • Matches or a lighter
  • A pot or kettle.
  • A place to heat the pot, such as a wood/rocket stove, fireplace, or fire pit.

Suitability: A time-tested, traditional, and quick method that will heat the surrounding area. The rocket stove, in particular, is an efficient method.

Downsides: It may produce soot on the outside of the pot.

Advice: Covering the pot will prevent the water from smelling smoky, and using an old pot may be suitable because of the soot that will be produced.

cooking in a skillet over a fire pit
Cooking in a skillet over a fire pit (which can also be used to heat water)
heating water on a rocket stove
Heating water on a rocket stove

Using Charcoal

Required: Charcoal, and a place to burn it, such as a fireplace, fire pit, or BBQ grill.

Suitability: Ideal for holding a steady temperature for a long period.

Downsides: Not suitable for heating water indoors due to the smoke and toxic gases produced.

Advice: Only use this method outdoors, or else ensure the area is well-ventilated to prevent the build-up of carbon monoxide.

Cooking over a BBQ grill (which can also be used to heat water)
Video | naziya khans Kitchen
heating water over candles
Heating water over candles
Video | Rogue Preparedness

Using Candles

Required: Candles, something to hold them or a place to set them, lighter/matches, and a pot.

Suitability: A cheap and easy method.

Downsides: Heating the water may take longer compared to the other methods.

Advice: You can place the candles under the grill of your cooker.

Using Sunlight

Required: Ample sunlight, and either a solar cooker, solar shower bag, or a solar panel and hot-water tank.

Suitability: Free to apply, except for the initial set-up costs. Ideal in areas that get plenty of sunshine.

Downsides: Only possible while there is sunlight unless the energy is stored. The solar panel, shower bag, or solar cooker can only be placed outdoors in direct sunlight. The solar panel and hot-water tank set-up will cost the most.

Advice: If you live in an area that receives plenty of sunshine, this can be a greater way for permanent solution to heating water regularly.

a solar cooker for heating water
A solar cooker for heating water
5 gallons camp shower
A solar shower bag for heating water

Using Wind Power

Required: Ample wind blowing, a water tank or pot.

Suitability: Free to apply, except for the initial set-up costs.

Downsides: Only possible during windy periods unless the energy is stored.

Using Stored Gas

Required: A gas tank or canister with butane or propane gas, matches or a lighter, a pot, and either a burner, stove, or BBQ grill.

Advantages: You can place the gas tank wherever you want.

Downsides: You need to assure safety, and it could be expensive.

Advice: Make sure the tank is placed at a safe distance from the pot using a long gas pipe, tested for having no leaks.

heating water using a gas tank
Heating water using a gas tank
heating water using hexamine tablets on a hexamine stove
Heating water using hexamine tablets on a hexamine stove

Using Tablets

Required: Hexamine tablets, matches or lighter, a pot, and a hexamine stove.

Suitability: Cheap, light easily, and no smoke is produced.

Downsides: They might not be easily available and only work for a short period (around 10 minutes).

Wrapping Up

We set out to describe seven different ways you can heat water in case you are unable to or otherwise want to avoid using the gas or electricity connections supplied to your home. The options available include using firewood, charcoal, candles, sunlight, wind power (or other renewable sources), stored gas, and hexamine tablets.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

Video References

naziya khans Kitchen

Rogue Preparedness

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About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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