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Water Circulation

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Water Circulation

Postby NineInchNails » Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:48 pm

I am about to start modifying a 55 gal plastic drum for water circulation. I have a 560 l/h aquarium pump on hand so I thought I'd give that a try and see how it goes. I have a larger pump too, but it's much larger.

I've read a lot about water circulation, but didn't recall seeing a drawing or diagram. Drawing a plan and comparing different thoughts help me to finalize a plan. It may very well change before its completely done, but this what I have so far.

Image

I had a thought of incorporating a homemade copper thermowell (copper tubing & compression fitting) inline with the exiting water in order to easily measure the temp of the outgoing water. I thought about adding another homemade thermowell to be able to easily measure the temp of the returning water too, but anything like this could be added afterward if I feel like it.

I thought about incorporating a drain with valve through the bottom/side, but that might be more of a pain than it's worth.

I'd like to construct a 2x4 frame with plywood top and casters/wheels so I can move the drum around easily. I'll waterproof the wood once it's constructed too.

If for some reason a 55 gallon drum proves to be too small … I do have a 250 gallon plastic tote I can use. That would complicate things more than I would like, but I’ll only go that route as a last resort.

I have yet to finalize hose size. My reflux coil is 5/16” double wound copper tubing. My Liebig is approx 4’ long and is 1” over 3/4" copper pipe. I’m thinkin on it, but will likely work out the water circulation drum before finalizing the hoses.

Any thoughts, improvements or ideas would be appreciated.
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Re: Water Circulation

Postby kiwi » Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:43 pm

I found that I needed a radiator and fan to do long spirit runs. Cheap automotive radiator from an old V8, broken household fan, and a cardboard box with holes cut in it to work as ducting, and some duct tape... It's a temporary solution that worked so well I've never got around to making it permenant. I have my reservoir out side the shed window, lines just run through there. I use bog standard garden hose for running the lines, they've given me no problems, are plenty big enough and are dirt cheap.
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Re: Water Circulation

Postby dutchmancreek » Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:19 pm

I use garden hose to run the water,with quick connects to attach it as necessary depending on what I'm running. Make sure your pump will push the water high enough for your condenser...some will pump fine but capacity goes way down as the lift increases.

The movable drum is a good idea. My 55 gallon drum sits on a heavy wooden platform with casters. You can roll it where ever you want. It'll be heavy so be sure to make it sturdy enough.

Oh...you don't need a drain. If you want to change the water just use the hose and pump it out.
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Re: Water Circulation

Postby Hammers » Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:20 pm

NIN - put the pump pick-up in the center of the bottom and angle your return line to give the tank some "swirl." I use an enameled canning kettle on the countertop and I've measured the temps all through the kettle when it's hot. Swirling the water allows some stratification of the water, so that the pump is always pulling the coolest water in the tank and the hottest works it's way to the top of the tank. Because there's not much turbulence in the tank the temps stratify rather than mixing.

I've been playing with numbers and schematics for something like what Kiwi's talking about, using two radiators and a couple of valves. That way I can pump heat into the shop air for heat in the winter and dump it outside in the summer. That would also allow me to chill the tank with night time temps even in the summer. Of course, like solar hot water systems you have freezing issues in the winter, but I think putting the radiators above tank level, like in the rafters and hanging off the soffit and setting them up to drain out when the pump(s) are off will work.
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Re: Water Circulation

Postby SMiTH » Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:19 pm

Kiwi, do you have pics of this setup posted somewhere? I'd be keen to have a geez
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Re: Water Circulation

Postby Harry » Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:04 pm

VLM-Recirc.PNG
VLM-Recirc.PNG (210.1 KiB) Viewed 13148 times
.


Slainte!
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Re: Water Circulation

Postby NineInchNails » Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:16 pm

kiwi wrote:I found that I needed a radiator and fan to do long spirit runs. Cheap automotive radiator from an old V8, broken household fan, and a cardboard box with holes cut in it to work as ducting, and some duct tape... It's a temporary solution that worked so well I've never got around to making it permenant. I have my reservoir out side the shed window, lines just run through there. I use bog standard garden hose for running the lines, they've given me no problems, are plenty big enough and are dirt cheap.


I will definitely consider seeking out a smallish radiator before switching to a 250 gal tote.

Thanks!
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Re: Water Circulation

Postby NineInchNails » Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:18 pm

Hammers wrote:NIN - put the pump pick-up in the center of the bottom and angle your return line to give the tank some "swirl." I use an enameled canning kettle on the countertop and I've measured the temps all through the kettle when it's hot. Swirling the water allows some stratification of the water, so that the pump is always pulling the coolest water in the tank and the hottest works it's way to the top of the tank. Because there's not much turbulence in the tank the temps stratify rather than mixing.

I've been playing with numbers and schematics for something like what Kiwi's talking about, using two radiators and a couple of valves. That way I can pump heat into the shop air for heat in the winter and dump it outside in the summer. That would also allow me to chill the tank with night time temps even in the summer. Of course, like solar hot water systems you have freezing issues in the winter, but I think putting the radiators above tank level, like in the rafters and hanging off the soffit and setting them up to drain out when the pump(s) are off will work.


I'll definitely do that! It couldn't hurt and it's only an additional fitting or two that I already have.
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Re: Water Circulation

Postby kiwi » Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:14 pm

SMiTH wrote:Kiwi, do you have pics of this setup posted somewhere? I'd be keen to have a geez

Not much focusing on it specificially but these might help - 'scuse the mess... http://imgur.com/dmf8i http://imgur.com/ycEA1

Hammers wrote:NIN - put the pump pick-up in the center of the bottom and angle your return line to give the tank some "swirl.


Why would you want to do that? I try to have mine with as little disturbance as possible, to enable stratification. I would have thought that a swirl would be counter productive, please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Re: Water Circulation

Postby NineInchNails » Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:21 pm

dutchmancreek wrote:I use garden hose to run the water,with quick connects to attach it as necessary depending on what I'm running. Make sure your pump will push the water high enough for your condenser...some will pump fine but capacity goes way down as the lift increases.

The movable drum is a good idea. My 55 gallon drum sits on a heavy wooden platform with casters. You can roll it where ever you want. It'll be heavy so be sure to make it sturdy enough.

Oh...you don't need a drain. If you want to change the water just use the hose and pump it out.


Hopefully one of the two pumps that I have will work adequately. Right now I'm plumbing the smallest of the two. If that doesn't work I'll try the bigger one.

I was thinking of using PEX because the enormous selection of fittings. Easy on, easy off. Someone I know already has a crimper and a bunch of the crimps/rings or whatever you call them. I haven't given hose all that much thought though. Garden hose sounds simple enough, but I imagine I'd need quite a few barbed fittings & hose clamps.

I'm sure you're absolutely right about a bottom drain. The thing is ... the smaller of the 2 pumps is rated for 560 l/h (148 g/h). At max rate it would likely take approx 22 minutes. That’s a long time to monitor a pump to ensure that it doesn’t run dry. A bottom drain would not need attended to :lol: It's not a big deal though because I could always siphon the majority out.
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Re: Water Circulation

Postby NineInchNails » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:28 am

I started working on it last night and found that was out of PVC glue. The drum should be finished today.

I'll go to work on the hoses next and see if the pump needs replaced.

Image
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Re: Water Circulation

Postby NineInchNails » Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:05 am

So far so good! Right now the pump is on full bypass and it's just recirculating water in the drum.

Image

Image

Right now the return pipe is about 12" long and I have a 45 just stuck to the end. I haven't decided if I want to do anything with that portion yet.
Image

I couldn't find a 1/2" PVC ball valve that was slip on one end and threaded on the other so I just drilled out a plug most of the way, glued it into the ball valve, drilled it out the rest of the way then threaded the interior. They don't make 1/2" slip x 1/2" female threaded bushings so this worked out great and eliminated the bulk of additional fittings.

Image
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Re: Water Circulation

Postby dutchmancreek » Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:35 am

Good looking set up. Puts my open topped blue barrel with garden hoses running in and out to shame.
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Re: Water Circulation

Postby NineInchNails » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:12 pm

dutchmancreek wrote:Good looking set up. Puts my open topped blue barrel with garden hoses running in and out to shame.


Thanks for the compliment dutchmancreek!
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Re: Water Circulation

Postby NineInchNails » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:16 pm

Right now I have a 12' length of garden hose attached. It runs all the way to the ceiling and back down to the drum. Water is running just fine and it seems to provide a decent amount of pressure too.

One trip to Lowes and the water circulation should be done :!:
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