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Heating large tanks with your gas hot water heater. Save 40% on energy cost!

mdc860

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So what are the fittings on the titanium evaporator coil? How did people get the titanium coil to mesh with PEX or copper lines from water heater?
 
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Blue Carbon Reefing

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So what are the fittings on the titanium evaporator coil? How did people get the titanium coil to mesh with PEX or copper lines from water heater?
You can buy fittings that screw right into the titanium heat exchanger and connect to Pex on the other end.
 

Blue Carbon Reefing

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Curious if anyone has done this for cooling as I’d be quite happy to dispense with my chiller. I use a well and incoming water is around 50 degrees with very little variation between Summer and Winter. Easy enough to get to the cold water, but where does it circulate back to?
I would just run the return back to the cold water line further down the the line where you are taking it from. I don't see why it wouldn't work to cool down a tank. The only difference with using it from the hot water is you want to take the hot water coming out of the hot water tank to run through the titanium heat exchanger and then return the slightly cooled hot water back to the intake of the hot water tank to be heated back up again.

In your case you would be taking cold water and running it through the titanium heat exchanger and returning it to the cold water line. There wouldn't be anything further to cool down the water other than normally running your cold water to take the slightly warmed cold water out of the lines and replace it with fresh cold water from what ever water source you have. I doubt you would have a problem unless you were on vacation for a while and no one was running your cold water to replace what had been warmed. Even then I doubt it would be a problem.
 

ca1ore

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Unconvinced that would work (complicated because my well pump fills a bladder tank that sits in a warm basement). I'll have to noodle it through a bit more.
 

pluikens

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I've added a loop from my hot water supply through a Taco brand circulation pump to push water through 100' of 1/2" PEX sitting in my sump then back to the water heater through the drain valve. I was previously running two 500 watt Finnex titanium heaters. One was plugged directly into an EB832 outlet to run 24x7 and the other was plugged into a controller to maintain temperature between 77-78 degrees. I now have the circulation pump plugged into the controller. Below are screenshots of my power usage for the two outlets. Only one outlet is used now as I don't have a backup electric heater plugged in.

Screenshot_20190216-180401.png Screenshot_20190228-140705.png

Using the weekly time frame, my average cost for electric heat was $65 a month. Using the water heater, my electric cost is less than $1 month. I have yet to see the gas costs but I'm anticipating just a small increase in usage. The circulation pump comes on about ten times a day for less than ten minutes each time. So far I am very happy with heating my tanks with gas!
 

Dubs83

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I've added a loop from my hot water supply through a Taco brand circulation pump to push water through 100' of 1/2" PEX sitting in my sump then back to the water heater through the drain valve. I was previously running two 500 watt Finnex titanium heaters. One was plugged directly into an EB832 outlet to run 24x7 and the other was plugged into a controller to maintain temperature between 77-78 degrees. I now have the circulation pump plugged into the controller. Below are screenshots of my power usage for the two outlets. Only one outlet is used now as I don't have a backup electric heater plugged in.

Screenshot_20190216-180401.png Screenshot_20190228-140705.png

Using the weekly time frame, my average cost for electric heat was $65 a month. Using the water heater, my electric cost is less than $1 month. I have yet to see the gas costs but I'm anticipating just a small increase in usage. The circulation pump comes on about ten times a day for less than ten minutes each time. So far I am very happy with heating my tanks with gas!
I got similar results with mine. Mine runs once every hour it seems like for a about 6 minutes each time. I guess The residual heat in the heat exchanger keeps the temp from dropping too quickly. My sump sits in a 55 degree basement during the winter and this thing keeps it at temp without breaking a sweat. I do have a virtual outlet set up to cycle the system on once every 4 hours to flush the line with house water to avoid bacteria growth in the pipe due to stagnation.

I also have an electric heater on back up and have the apex run it once a day for 5 minutes with power monitoring / alerting set up on that outlet to make sure it actually works.

 

pluikens

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Here’s a screen shot with outside temps dropping below 10

Nice! My sump sits on my concrete basement floor in Minnesota. The unfinished side of the basement never drops below 60 degrees air temp but the concrete gets cold. I haven't considered flushing the system with my Apex since the pump has a rating of 0-10 gpm and 100' of 1/2 PEX holds less than a gallon. The water in the plumbing just gets pushed back into the water heater to mix with new water and gets used throughout the house.
 

Dubs83

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Nice! My sump sits on my concrete basement floor in Minnesota. The unfinished side of the basement never drops below 60 degrees air temp but the concrete gets cold. I haven't considered flushing the system with my Apex since the pump has a rating of 0-10 gpm and 100' of 1/2 PEX holds less than a gallon. The water in the plumbing just gets pushed back into the water heater to mix with new water and gets used throughout the house.
Yes, the problem is the summer. My heater use is non existent during the summer months and PEX can grow some nasty bacteria if the water is allowed to stagnate for a long period of time. Considering the water is the same water we drink, I’d rather flush the line every 4 hours then risk it. The virtual outlet will cancel the recirculation if the heater outlet was on within the 4 hours, btw.

Heat exchanger plumber into return and PEX lines.
 

Muttley000

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Yes, the problem is the summer. My heater use is non existent during the summer months and PEX can grow some nasty bacteria if the water is allowed to stagnate for a long period of time. Considering the water is the same water we drink, I’d rather flush the line every 4 hours then risk it. The virtual outlet will cancel the recirculation if the heater outlet was on within the 4 hours, btw.

Heat exchanger plumber into return and PEX lines.
Would you share your code for this?
 

skimjim

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I dont know man....

There's nooooo coming back from a failure cooking my $3,000 worth of corals and fish with a 100degree tank failure. You know a catastrophic failure is looming on any design you have like this.

Cooking $3,000 in the pursuit to save $150. Not logical

Soooooo risky. I'll stick to having three 100w heaters completely controlled by Apex.

If anything, I'd be more interested in investing in SOLAR PANELS to save energy costs covering all operations of the tank AND my whole house AC consumption

Just sayin



.
 
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https://www.omegasea.net/

Dubs83

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I’m interested in using this method to heat my 180. I would also like an update on how this build has held up.
I’m using this on a 300 gallon system with zero issues. Spending roughly .20 cents per month on heating costs in northern NJ. I have redundancies in place such as multiple temp probes to remove heat. A fail to closed valve in case of failure. Leak detectors to detect a leak in the event of a heat exchanger leak. I have additional electric heaters in the sump in case this system fails to open. These heaters are individual turned on for 2 min a day so my APEX can determine if they’re still drawing current and give me an alarm when it’s out of range. I run water through the system once every 12 hours to ensure bacteria doesn’t build in the line and affect my drinking water. I feel incredibly confident in this set up and would say it’s a heck of a lot more reliable then electric heaters alone. I look at it from a different perspective and that’s “why would I trust a $30-50 piece of equipment that’s known to fail to protect $3000 worth of live stock”.

One year in this and it’s been flawless
 

metone914

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I’m using this on a 300 gallon system with zero issues. Spending roughly .20 cents per month on heating costs in northern NJ. I have redundancies in place such as multiple temp probes to remove heat. A fail to closed valve in case of failure. Leak detectors to detect a leak in the event of a heat exchanger leak. I have additional electric heaters in the sump in case this system fails to open. These heaters are individual turned on for 2 min a day so my APEX can determine if they’re still drawing current and give me an alarm when it’s out of range. I run water through the system once every 12 hours to ensure bacteria doesn’t build in the line and affect my drinking water. I feel incredibly confident in this set up and would say it’s a heck of a lot more reliable then electric heaters alone. I look at it from a different perspective and that’s “why would I trust a $30-50 piece of equipment that’s known to fail to protect $3000 worth of live stock”.

One year in this and it’s been flawless
Thanks for the reply. I look at this setup as you do. I feel I can build a more perfect heater than the commercially available ones. The only thing I am worried about is a heat exchanger failure where the fresh tap water could leak directly into tank/sump. I know this is probably unlikely short term but even the best manufactured parts fail eventually. Maybe a 3/5 year preventative maintenance replacement could work?
 

Dubs83

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Thanks for the reply. I look at this setup as you do. I feel I can build a more perfect heater than the commercially available ones. The only thing I am worried about is a heat exchanger failure where the fresh tap water could leak directly into tank/sump. I know this is probably unlikely short term but even the best manufactured parts fail eventually. Maybe a 3/5 year preventative maintenance replacement could work?
It certainly would. I don’t know if people realize these things were built for pools. POOLS! They’re meant to work with water volumes 100s of times that of our tanks. The titanium exchangers are built specifically for salt water pools.

My preventive maintenance is simple, beginning of the summer when there’s no demand for heat and just before there’s a demand for heat, I flush the thing with a pressure washer... that’s it!
 

Blue Carbon Reefing

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I have also been using this for my 1200 gallon system for about a year and a half and it is working flawlessly. I still have electric heaters in my sump to come on if the tank ever gets below 75 degrees as a failsafe. I get alerts on my apex if they are in use. There are multiple fail safes you can build into this to prevent a disaster. I find it far more likely that a $30 heater will fail on and cook a tank before a setup like this will fail on. On a long enough timeline anything can fail.
 

ca1ore

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It certainly would. I don’t know if people realize these things were built for pools. POOLS! They’re meant to work with water volumes 100s of times that of our tanks. The titanium exchangers are built specifically for salt water pools.

My preventive maintenance is simple, beginning of the summer when there’s no demand for heat and just before there’s a demand for heat, I flush the thing with a pressure washer... that’s it!
Haha, yes, that is right. Even the physically small 55K exchanger is broadly equivalent to 15,000 watts of stick heaters. Means layers of redundancy to avoid overheating.
 

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