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PREP Cold Water in/out on Water Heater?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    A Multi-Demensional Quantum Environment.
    Posts
    52,664

    5 Cold Water in/out on Water Heater?

    Picked up a defunct water heater today. Electric went out so they replaced it otherwise it is in good condition as far as the tank and outside.

    We have a new-ish heater under the house-bout a 40 gallon but still run low on hot water most times.

    Got to thinking-have a perfect spot out back maybe eight feet from the house next to the shed-from Noon til 7pm in the Summer is is bright Sunshine there and the side of the shed is reflective white.

    Hmmm...why not build a stand, put the tank on it and use it as a solar hot water collector?

    Maybe run the Cold water line from under the house where it connects to the inside water heater then run the hot line from the outside tank to the cold inpout on the inside tank-a bypass valve so, in real cold weather I can turn off the outside water and run strictly on electric but, in the case of hurricane or other problems it would be great to have hot water plus the extra 40 gallons as storage.

    Here's the thing. I have run plenty of water pipe inside structures and outside for irrigation-not a prob but I am reading the cold water goes in the BOTTON of the tank, hot out the top-seems backwards to me.
    "It ain't no secret I didn't get these scars falling over in church."


    "My Shoes are too Tight. But it is ok as I have forgotten how to Dance."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    State of confusion
    Posts
    9,074
    You’re not really going to get much gain from this setup. You’ll need to remove the insulation from the tank to get any heat at all, then it won’t be insulated for night. Even with glass covered panels you get something like a gallon per square foot per day.
    Are you considering hooking to the bottom of the tank for cold input? That is the drain. The “cold” pipe on the top has a dip tube that takes the cold water to the bottom, the cold water does not mix with the hot, but rises when heated, then comes out the “hot” pipe.
    "...Cry 'Havoc' and let slip the cats of war..."
    Itís a real pisser when your belief system gets T-boned by reality.
    Iím not afraid of dying...I just donít want to be there!
    ...sell your cloak, and buy a sword...Second Amendment 1.0

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    3,013
    The tank is too well insulated to get much if any heat gain. Take it to the scrapyard and get a couple bucks for it. If it was pooched enough that they didn't replace the elements than there is probably something more wrong with it.

  4. #4
    With a few good ball valves and the pex pipe and fittings, a old glass 3'◊3' at least and some dark green or black spray paint one could make a direct pre heater in the months it don't freeze.

    Just do the plumbing so that you can easily disconnect and drain your solar water panel and hook back up the cold water supply to the water heater.

    In the summer months useing that old water heater as a storage tank after the water solar panel has heated up the supply water, your never run out of hot water.

    To make it freeze proof, you need circ pumps tube inside a tube exchanger, temp switches, pressure tanks and reliefs, and you can run glycol solution threw the panel, and have a pre heater all year, and would need that extra water heater to use as just a storage tank.

    I muse, the reason your reading about useing the drain as a supply line is because its a good idea to do so on storage water tanks so as to keep things stired up so settlement dont plug the drain, also as return lines from hydronic heating.
    Just make it so you can still drain the tank by installing a T with the extra ball valves and bleed the air out of the solar or circ lines.
    Last edited by West; 02-12-2019 at 06:29 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Southwest (enjoy it!)
    Posts
    4,465
    You’ll need to remove the insulation from the tank
    This ^^
    You are correct that this setup will help with your hot water but only during sunny summer days and only for maybe 6 to 8 hours per day. No down side really plus you would have an additional 40 gallons of clean water storage. Mostly that 2nd tank would be more of a tempering tank than an actual heater.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    S.E. Texas U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,535
    You could also build an outdoor shower stall under the tank platform, and install a shower head for those times there is no grid power. Like after a hurricane.

  7. #7
    I have a similar set up. Replaced my old water heater with a new one, more efficient. I striped everything off my old one painted it flat black. I have it set outside on the south side of the house. I plumbed it with different valves so I can by pass it if I need too. My thinking is if it just preheats the water 20 degrees I won't need as much propane to heat my water. I haven't used it yet because of the winter and have been testing it. On a 90 degree day in the fall with the tank not plumbed but full of water, the tank temperature got to 135 degrees. So I'm still experimenting with it so it doesn't get too hot or doesn't freeze. I hope to get it to working where I don't have to mess with it every day and I can just get some passive heat gain.
    'Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the
    way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes
    the difference.' Edna Ellison

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    North Georgia Mountains
    Posts
    1,223
    I pre-heat my water using an outdoor wood burning furnace. Cold water line goes to the furnace then runs through a coil and then to the hot water heater. Something would be easy to build with a 55 gallon drum and a coil of copper tubings with some fittings.

    For me when taking a shower you can tell when the water has worked its way through the system as you all of a sudden get 'hot' water and need to adjust the hot valve down and the cold water up. I need to install anti scald fittings but since only adults live here I've been to lazy

    tbd

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    tn
    Posts
    2,062
    Play on google or whatever for pictures of water heaters. The pipe length will show how it draws from where.

    As a kid I always figured the vehicle's radiator pulled from the top hose. Nope. Top dumps into radiator and water pump pulls from bottom. But no tubes there to change where it pulls from.
    working on unplugging.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by tnhillbilly View Post
    I have a similar set up. Replaced my old water heater with a new one, more efficient. I striped everything off my old one painted it flat black. I have it set outside on the south side of the house. I plumbed it with different valves so I can by pass it if I need too. My thinking is if it just preheats the water 20 degrees I won't need as much propane to heat my water. I haven't used it yet because of the winter and have been testing it. On a 90 degree day in the fall with the tank not plumbed but full of water, the tank temperature got to 135 degrees. So I'm still experimenting with it so it doesn't get too hot or doesn't freeze. I hope to get it to working where I don't have to mess with it every day and I can just get some passive heat gain.
    Once one gets the solar/wood gained hot water into storage the storage water heater can be made much more efficient if one installs food grade sealed plastic balls filled with salt that takes up about 1/4 the total water volume of storage tank.

    It works really good, here is just some of the basics on this idea....

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_energy_storage

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Behind Enemy Lines
    Posts
    171,517
    You know Sat, you come up with some of the most bizarre ideas I've ever heard. Educate yourself on "solar hot water heaters" first, then decide whether or not it's feasible in your stated case.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    A Multi-Demensional Quantum Environment.
    Posts
    52,664
    The idea of flying was once considered Bizarre as well.
    "It ain't no secret I didn't get these scars falling over in church."


    "My Shoes are too Tight. But it is ok as I have forgotten how to Dance."

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Behind Enemy Lines
    Posts
    171,517
    Yeah, well if you'd been the one designing "flying machines", you'd have been looking at using a barrel attached to bumblebee wings...

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