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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm interested in using gas hot water heater to heat my tank. Obviously the heating coil that comes in contact with the salt water would have to be titanium. Because I'm under the impression that it is cheaper to heat water with gas than electricity my ultimate goal is to reduce my electric bill.

Comments, suggestions

David
 

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use pex tubing.. WAY cheaper than titanium and works very well ... it will majorly reduce your electric bill and then you dont have to rely on the crappy bound to fail electric heaters...

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
alternate heating

What is pex tubing and where can I get some? Are you curring utilizing this? How do you control/automate the temp, other than the valve?

David
 

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home depot.. PEX is a flexable plastic.. they use it in new homes instead of copper or CPVC. they have it in White, Red, Or Blue.. its normally in the plumbing isle, you can get fittings to hook it to male or female or copper or cpvc, or whatever your house plumbing is made out of.

this is what i am useing in my system currently
 

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Jarrod, How much are all the parts, total cost? I am thinking about running a frag tank in the basement and I am worried about heating cost. It stays about 50 degrees down there. Is it easy to install?
 

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very easy to install.. I paid around 100 for the recirc heat pump off ebay.. its a little giant one. then depending on how much plumbing you have to do and what type it is to get from your hot water tank over to your sump, the controller is like 80 a ranco good one. and the pex coil is like 30 bucks i think.. not too bad.. I was running 1500 watts of heaters last year keeping my tank at 76 max.. my electric bill dropped over 125 bucks the next month...so it paid for it self in a month..
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
alternate heating

How many feet of tubing is your pump pushing? How did you determine how much head/GPH you will need? How many feet of pex tubing did you buy for your heat exchanger? Sorry for all the questions?

David
 

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i just bought a pump.. didnt have any head since its a closed loop. i they are all around the same flow since they are used for the instant hotwater systems in homes.. I used 50' of 1/2 inch pex..cause its all i could find at the time. you can get more sizes now.. i would like to maybe up mine to around 100' but 50' seems to be working fine. there is probaly 20 feet of pipe to and from the heat coil.. actually maybe around 30 feet each way.. its all run in 3/4 cpvc. with insulation around it.
 

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Jarrod,

If I was to put too much tube in the sump, would it raise my water too high after the recirc pump turned off?

Right now I have a 1000watt and a 400watt running darn near all day. My electric/gas last month was 395.
 

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david said:
Would a mag 12 do the job?

Thanks

David
No Mag pumps will not work.

The pump in the system circulates hot water from your hot water heater through tubing to keep the tubing hot and you put the tubing in your aquarium water to heat the saltwater. You can turn on and off the circulation pump to regulate the temp in the aquarium.

Mag pumps won't work because the water that is circulated is water that would normally go to say your shower and is under at least 35 psi of pressure. Mag pumps can't take that much pressure.

You need to use something like a Groundfos pump that is normally used to circulate water for a boiler. Something like a grundfos PN: UP 15-42F would be plenty. I would also recommend the stainless steel version because drinking water will be going through it and the cast iron ones will rust. I have used both cast iron and stainless pumps with no problems though.

Also the on-demand hot waters heater will not work for this. I can explain why if someone wants to know. You will have to have a tank type hot water heater.
 

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Very good info, although I haven't seen it mentioned. How does one regulate the temperature? Is there some sort of thermastat you can buy for the recirc pump or something? This sounds really promising for when I am able to get a big tank :)
 

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NewBostonConst said:
No Mag pumps will not work.

Mag pumps won't work because the water that is circulated is water that would normally go to say your shower and is under at least 35 psi of pressure. Mag pumps can't take that much pressure.

You need to use something like a Groundfos pump that is normally used to circulate water for a boiler. Something like a grundfos PN: UP 15-42F would be plenty. I would also recommend the stainless steel version because drinking water will be going through it and the cast iron ones will rust. I have used both cast iron and stainless pumps with no problems.
I am setting this up as well and have all my supplies. I went to Jock and Meldrum for my pump. I bought the smallest boiler pump they had. But mine is a bronze housing. I do not recommend a cast iron housing. It will rust and end up in the drinking, showering, washing water.

Another mod to Jerrod's design is the addition of a check valve. I have concerns of convection water movement. I plumbed a boiler in my last house and read about a heat trap. It is a "u" plumbed into the copper just outside the hot out of the water heater. It prevents the heat from creeping along the copper tube. It worked very well as a thermo break.
 

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Bsbarton said:
I am setting this up as well and have all my supplies. I went to Jock and Meldrum for my pump. I bought the smallest boiler pump they had. But mine is a bronze housing. I do not recommend a cast iron housing. It will rust and end up in the drinking, showering, washing water.

Another mod to Jerrod's design is the addition of a check valve. I have concerns of convection water movement. I plumbed a boiler in my last house and read about a heat trap. It is a "u" plumbed into the copper just outside the hot out of the water heater. It prevents the heat from creeping along the copper tube. It worked very well as a thermo break.
The check valve keeps the water for moving through the tube. I know allot of the new grundfos pumps have built-in checks. I wouldn't worry about the convection current thing, it will only happen if you have a large vertical run near the heater. If you do get convection currents the hot water is circulated frequently to the aquarium and you probably won't even notice.

As far a controller goes, I think you can use any regular aquarium heater controller and plug the pump into the controller instead of the heater. The pumps are small and should be under 85 watts which is way smaller then a normal aquarium heater.
 

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I have a Taco pump and it pulls .52 amps, converted to watts is 57.2 @110V.

The Taco I have does not have a built in check valve. Agreed with the over kill on the check valve.
 

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I use the Ranco Controller for its known reliablility. All it does is turn the pump on and off to heat the coil. when the pump is off i dont notice any added heat or anything to the aquarium from convection or anything. but for saftey a check valve would not hurt. The only problem I have run into is i have a smaller Hot water tank for my house. and when my wife wants to take a hot bath it empties the hot water tank.. now if this happens when the take is calling for heat.. it wont do anything since there is no hot water.. it normally doesnt take that long for the hot water to build back up.. but just saying.. that is the only problem i have run into.
 

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Frozn said:
Very good info, although I haven't seen it mentioned. How does one regulate the temperature? Is there some sort of thermastat you can buy for the recirc pump or something? This sounds really promising for when I am able to get a big tank :)
as far as regulating temperature of the heat coil thats done by setting the temp on your hot water tank..... I turned mine up a bit because like i said i have too small of tank for my house. to regulate the temp in the aquarium you just use a normal heater controller like a ranco single stage controller...
 

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Taco's are good pumps.

Has anyone tried putting the tubes in their sand bed and let it heat the aquarium that way.

I do heated floor work and with 1/2" tubing we put about 1 foot of tube for 1 square of flooring. So in an aquarium it sound everyone is going way over kill. If you had a 48x24x24 (120 gallon) tank then the surface area would be 8 square feet. Double or triple that you shouldn't need more then 25' feet of tubing. How much are you guys putting in the tank?

Another note that I have always though about is that if your heater is running allot why not add power heads to move the water and create heat that way instead. An electric heater is very inefficient and the energy used for a pump all turns to heat eventually anyway. So just add more or bigger pumps and turn them off if the tank gets to hot. Also external pumps won't heat the water as much.
 

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Under the sand would be a cool idea... might work. Mine is just a coil in the sump though.. heating 1200 gallons of water is just not an option for me with electric heaters no matter how much flow i had going past them.... I have a 50' coil in my sump....of 1/2 inch pex
 

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I considered the sand bed. I have concerns that the sand would hold some heat and possible harm bacteria or make regulating the heat a little more difficult.

Wrapped or coiled with water passing by would transfer the heat more efficiently.
 
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