A cheaper way to heat your tank.

Discussion in 'I made this!' started by dngspot, Apr 24, 2010.

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  1. dngspot

    dngspot Spaghetti Worm

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    Wichita KS
    Last year when I moved the Sump into my down stairs fish room I struggled with keeping my tank temp warm, especially in the winter. I was using three 250 watt Marineland Stealth Heaters, That converts to 750 watts. Yep a steady 750 watts of electricity being pulled from our service 24/7, and the tank was still dropping temp from 80 to 72 degrees at night. To solve this I bought a 800 watt heater and that did the trick. Now I had 1350 watts heating my tank and they cycled on and off. The following month we got a bill that trough us back into our chairs. Normally in the winter we see electric bill from $80.00 to $100. Decembers was $350.00 and the rest of the winter months have been in the $250.00 range. We began to fear what the summer months are going to be at with the AC cooling the house and the heaters heating the Sump . The reason the December bill was so high was I had a pump that was failing but the rest of the months the heaters were responsible.
    To put all of this into perspective, I use two Hammer Head pumps in my system. One is to push water up into my 210g and the other drives a dual beckett head skimmer. The pumps pull 230 watts each. I could add 5 more large pumps in my system, if I removed my heaters and still would not see a increase in our bill.

    So the solution, I was polking around RC and found a thread by Zachtos. He heated his tank with his hot water tank and reduced the cost of heating his tank to 10 bucks a month, and he has a 500 gallon system. My system is about 400g total. I do understand that regional electric prices are different and so are ambient temps. Our gas bill is about $30 bucks a months so lets see if we can save a few bucks by installing a natural gas heating system.

    These are the items that I am going to use.

    [​IMG]

    The copper work is finished. I installed a Tee on the hot water side then soldered in the rest of the fittings and the pump.
    The pump is a Taco bronze 1/40 hp pump. It will circulate the water in the Pex and the Pex will be coiled in the Sump . A Ranco controller will turn the pump on and off when heating is needed. The Ranco is in current service controlling all of the electric heaters. All of the plumbing is 3/4 inch including the Pex.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The pump I am using is a continuous duty pump. It uses very little power and is designed to move hot water. It is also used to recirculate hot water from hot water heaters. I bought the pump on ebay. It was $82.00 shipped. The rest of the plumbing was $80.00. The pumps retail for twice what I bought it for. It is a Model 006-B6-11F
    I struggled with the coil of pex. I managed to break my light over the scrubber and stressed all the PVC in the Sump, I also managed to crack my skimmer and now it leaks. A project to fix later.
    The little pump has to be the quietest one I have own. I have to feel it to tell if it is running.

    This was the mess. Water is flowing through the red coil in this pic

    [​IMG]

    The solution to the PIA coil is zip ties. Gail, my wife and I took it to the drive way and stretched it out then coiled it until we could not hold on to it anymore and zip tied it still. We continued to do this until it was in a coil that would fit in the sump. I am 6'2" tall and weigh 240 lbs and still could not manage that thing by myself. It still is not safe to call it finished I have a small leak at a new valve. I am going to take it back and get a better one and I need and extension cord to attach the pump to the Ranco also.

    Here are the pics.

    In this pic is the lower plumbing. This is the return back into the heater. I installed a tee and valve for future hot water tank draining. This is the problem valve, now I have to wait for the heater to drain again.

    [​IMG]

    This is the upper plumbing. The pump is on the left and the PVC valve is the return line. I still need to insulate the lines.

    [​IMG]

    The lines over head. If you look closely you can see that I converted the coper to PVC. I did not run PVC closer to the exhaust stack of the hot water heater because I have seen PVC turn yellow from the heat. That is probably not a good thing. The lines then travel about 10 feet until they are above the sump.

    [​IMG]

    Here is a pic of the attachments from pvc to pex. I used large versions of Gest fittings.

    [​IMG]

    In the last pic is the Pex coil. The black straps is the zip ties. I had to use a plastic file basket to hold the coil down, it wants to float. I guess I should put some rock in the sump.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2010
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  3. bama

    bama Humpback Whale

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    this is incredible. thank you for sharing.
     
  4. Kevin3884

    Kevin3884 Tassled File Fish

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    is using copper pipes circulating water in a reef system a good idea?:-/
     
  5. bama

    bama Humpback Whale

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    the copper comes nowhere close to contacting the water..
     
  6. jonjonwells

    jonjonwells Great Blue Whale

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    Generally, No.... In his case though, it is used in a closed circuit with no way of water transference between the two systems.

    Awesome idea and well thought through. Hope it works well for you. Make sure to keep us posted. I may just have to steal this idea.
     
  7. Kevin3884

    Kevin3884 Tassled File Fish

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    guess i'm just not sure how its working then..lol
     
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  9. mikejrice

    mikejrice 3reef Affiliate

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    Water from the hot water heater is flowing into the large tub. A closed loop is flowing from the marine system into the tubing coiled in the big tub. Heat transfers from the hot water in the tub through tubing into the system water.

    Awesome build!
     
  10. Kevin3884

    Kevin3884 Tassled File Fish

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    ahhh I C now...good idea after all! lol
     
  11. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

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  12. dngspot

    dngspot Spaghetti Worm

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
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    Location:
    Wichita KS
    All of the electrical is finished. Not much to show just a couple of cords connected. The Ranco is located in the same place and the probe is in the same place also. I will post heating results and cost efficiency.

    No place is copper making contact with the water in the sump. You guys picked up on that pretty quick. Thanks.

    The RC link is here http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1561871
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2010