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Old 05-18-20, 08:29 AM   #71
menaus2
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Never too late to start again! I like how this project is half Marie Kondo half Engineer.

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Old 05-25-20, 08:28 AM   #72
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I've been working on this project a little bit here and there. I ordered the EPDM tank liner. 90 lbs of rubber! It'll be fun wrangling that thing around haha.

I'm also starting to think about how I want to do the heat exchangers on this thing. I'm going to need 3 different loops. The first loop will be to put heat into the tank from the solar panels. The second will be for domestic hot water. The third will be for heating purposes. I like the idea of a big PEX heat exchanger like I've seen on build it solar for DHW setups. However, I'm not sure that'll work for the other two loops. Do you guys have any suggestions?
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Old 05-25-20, 09:44 AM   #73
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I've been impressed with how copper heat exchangers have worked on my tank. You can always buy copper wort chillers on Amazon if you want something premade that will look nice. They can be run in parallel if necessary. Running your space heating on an open loop using tank water directly would be 100% efficient & save exchanger space, provided you aren't worried about it freezing.
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Old 05-25-20, 06:38 PM   #74
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The material you use for heat transfer makes a massive difference. Copper pipe is the king when you consider raw heat transfer and time lag versus dollars . Pex is about 6 times worse per surface area than copper at heat transfer, and also introduces lag. If you have the volume, pex will work (best for slab heating and ground loops). For domestic hot water, and other high drain, not so steady-state processes (quick, high dT/dt pulses), copper pipe is the cool kid.

Rule of thumb for copper is 100 feet of 1 inch will reliably move 100k btu per hour with a dT above 25 degF, steadily, forever. Two parallel runs of 3/4 inch, four runs of half inch, move equivalent amounts of heat. With PEX or poly pipe, the bigger the diameter, the worse the heat transfer. So if you push your luck, half inch might have a factor of 4 or 5 times less effective.

The 1 inch and larger diameter poly pipe has a much, much thicker wall. This thermal resistance and slow flow isn't insignificant. A 1000 foot spool of 1 inch poly pipe will not let you take a 15 minute hot shower with a 150 degF thermal store. Once the stagnant water in the pipe runs out, the water comes out lukewarm. I'm not talking about an eco low flow, locker room showerhead, and a crispy cool shower here.

If you need fast, high density, compact heat transfer, it's hard to beat a brazed plate heat exchanger. If you're thinking about a beer chilling thingy, they work great for sea water. Both are pricey compared to a roll of copper tubing for the raw BTU capacity.

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