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Sunday, May 26, 2013

In hot water

So, you're on a well, you can do things. Here's one: put a wye (with gate valve) on the line to the house and pipe some of your water to the inlet pipe of a discarded (but non-leaking) hot water heater. 

The heater has had half its jacket and insulation peeled back and is lying on its side with some unobstructed southern exposure. The pop valve is on the uphill side so it can bleed off some air for more heat efficiency. A box has been constructed round the tank, partially filled with yet more insulation, with a window parked over it, a la solar cooker.

The water from the outlet pipe is then available for whatever. A good shower, much of the year, say (you will need to combine with cold water in the usual way, or risk being thoroughly scalded). Another possibility is to pipe this water pre-heated to your in-home hot water heater. In such a case, add another gate valve so that you can do no-hassle maintenance on either heater or the well.

It can save a lot on the electric. If you're not bothered much with code, and are thinking you can do this with a hose, get a proper contractor's hose, as the garden variety will MELT. As always, Your Mileage May Vary.

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