Preheating water by running pipes through attic?

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wrote:

I hope the copper pipe was protected. Plastic pipe would be better, all in one large coil.
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Chuck wrote:

Heh! That's a great idea. Sort of a poor man's geothermal power station.
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HeyBub wrote:

Cute idea, but up north here in frost heave country, those copper pipes wouldn't make it through one winter. PEX, maybe. And you'd have to fill with antifreeze and use a heat exchanger setup, to keep them from freezing solid, unless you put them so deep that it was residual ground heat you were sucking instead of solar.
When I lived in southern Indiana, with abandoned water-filled limestone quarries all over the place, I had a dream of buying one, and dropping a heat exchanger on the bottom to get free cooling for a/c. Of course, I was a broke student at the time, so it stayed in the dream stage.
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That reminds me of a funny story I guy once told me. He had lived for a while in a trailer park in southern Arizona. The service lines to the trailers were only buried about 6 inches deep, in ground that baked in the sun all day, so the water supply that came into the trailer was HOT. This was a problem in that you could not take a shower without getting scalded -- no cold water to blend in with the hot. Finally his neighbors clued him in -- the solution was to turn off your water heater. Then the water in it would cool down to your air-conditioned indoor temperature and be your cold water supply. -- H
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snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

When I read the subject I had to laugh. No one around here would contemplate the idea. Something about sub-zero temperatures for a couple of month a year...
But I suppose if freezing is never a concern (even Florida gets an occasional frost), then go for it.
daestrom
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There is something disturbing about making something that gives you an incentive to continue to have poor attic ventilation, or even to make your attic ventilation worse in order to raise the efficiency of the water heating system. That is like a government basing its budget on having a tax on prostitution.
Robert Scott Ypsilanti, Michigan
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On Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:51:02 GMT ---@---.--- (Robert Scott) wrote:

    Why ? What's so good about ventilating an attic rather than using it as a heat trap.

    Everywhere prostitution is legal it is taxed just like any other income. I don't think it's a substantial part of any governments income though.
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wrote:

It encourages the formation of ice dams in the winter, which causes snow melt to back up under the shingles and leak into the decking, which rots the decking and rafters, leading to premature roof failure.
Robert Scott Ypsilanti, Michigan
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Steve O'Hara-Smith wrote:

Well, for one thing heat is the enemy of shingles--if you don't have proper ventilation and are in a hot climate they'll very likely fail prematurely.
Then there's elimination of moisture--without adequate ventilation you can get enough moisture buildup in the attic to result in mold on the structure, and where there is mold there is shortly after rot.
Then there are ice dams in winter.
There's a reason that every new roof that goes on in most of the US has a ridge vent, and the reason is not that it looks snarfy or makes big profits for the roofer.

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On Mon, 18 Aug 2008 13:04:54 -0400

    Hmm good point - I'm too used to slate.

    Not seen that happen in unventilated lofts but it makes sense.

    Also too used to mild winters where below freezing is rare.
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wrote:

OK, for people in your type of climate, the reason against using the attic to pre-heat domestic water is to limit air-conditioning costs. The money you save on hot water by using the attic to pre-heat it is more than cancelled out by the extra money you spend on AC, as compared to what you could have saved by passively venting your attic.
Robert Scott Ypsilanti, Michigan
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On Tue, 19 Aug 2008 15:15:13 GMT ---@---.--- (Robert Scott) wrote:

    It might be if air conditioning were common here - which it isn't. Round here the temperature gets below 0 C or above 25 C maybe two or three times a year - almost a perfect climate, apart from the rain.

    What we do in these parts usually is put insulation in the loft so as to thermally isolate it from the house. In summer it gets hot up there and in winter it gets cold (range perhaps 5-40 C).
    It does strike me that it may well be reasonable to use the loft as a solar collector here.
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wrote:

Where is "here" exactly?
OK, so if ice dams and air conditioning costs are not an issue with you, then look at the cost/benefit ratio. You can't run potable water directly through an automotive radiator, so you are probably stuck with a large number of home heating-type fin tubes. Without active air circulation, they are going to be very inefficient, so you will need lots and lots of them just to erase maybe 1/4 of your domestic water heating bill. What do you pay now for water heating? $15 a month? So you might save $4 a month with your inside attic collector. If the fin tubes plus installation cost you $1000, then you will just break even after 20 years.
On the other hand, if you installed a real solar collector outside the roof, a much smaller unit could deliver more heat, and it could deliver that heat year-round, instead of just in the summer, as with your in-attic collector. Most of the heat the falls on your roof gets conducted away by the wind. What remains has to travel through the insulating properties of the wood sheathing. Then it has to transfer to air without the benefit of active circulation, then it has to transfer again into your "collector". A collector on the roof prevents much of the wind-conducted losses and avoids two air-to-solid heat transfers. About the only benefit to the inside collector, as was pointed out by earlier posters in this thread, would be to disguise the collector for appearance sake.
Robert Scott Ypsilanti, Michigan
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On Wed, 20 Aug 2008 11:46:46 GMT ---@---.--- (Robert Scott) wrote:

    Western Ireland.

    Or a heat exchanger between water running through a car radiator and potable water, perhaps a second coil in the tank.

    I was wondering about cheaply glazing the roof.

    What wood sheathing ? Roofs round here are tiles on felt on wood frame.

    It may well not work out as feasible - but it's an interesting possibility to explore a bit.
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It was in Storey County, Nevada until the feds shut down Joe Conforte's Mustang Ranch a few years ago.
Don

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RVer Don wrote:

It still is in Storey County, Nevada. In fact the branch of the Feds that shut it down was the IRS and the charge was tax evasion and the IRS continued to run it for a while. There was even a "60 minutes" story on it while it was being run by the IRS (I suspect that the embarrassment of finding that the US government was running a bordello had something to do with its being shut down).
And Mustang Ranch is back in operation under new ownership--the land it was on belongs to the Bureau of Land Management now so the new owners moved the buildings about 5 miles down the road.

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You might try a few numbers for a draindown system like this in your neck of the woods...
Nick
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One issue, if you live in high humidity areas is that you may get condensation which could cause all sorts of damage.
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I live in Fl. I had my home replumbed a few yrs ago and the pipes are in the attic. They wrapped the "cold" water pipe with foam rubber in case of condensation.
I have to wait FOREVER to get cold water to flow, because the water sitting in that "cold" water plastic pipe (I assume it's PEX) even with the foam wrapped around it heats up and gets VERY hot.
I would NEVER purposely plumb a home like that. Hell, I can't even wash clothes with cold water!
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Ron wrote:

Geeze. I am also in Fl and the water from the underground pipe is close to 80 in the summer.
Lou
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