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Thread: Measuring electrical useage

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Rysis's Avatar
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    Default Measuring electrical useage

    Hello,

    I was wondering if there was a device or gadget available that I could wire in before my hot water heater to see how much power it is drawing. My reasoning for this is that I have seen some simple hot water reclaiming ideas that would work with my wood stove. Is it really worth the effort and cost to reclaim that heat to the water heater to save on electricity?

    Thanks!

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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Not wanting to sound like a butt hole but I donít see any reason to have an appliance to heat hot water. If the water is already hot why would one want to heat it even more?

    It is a water heater or if an adjective is used to describe the appliance it would be a cold water heater. The appliance heats cold water not hot water.

    Now just what does the entire above have to do with the question? Nothing, I was just bored and wanted to practice my typing skills.

    There are several devices on the market today that can be used to measure the kilowatt per hour usage of just about any appliance. They can be programed to the amount you are charged per KWH and show just what that appliance cost a month. It takes about a week of use to get an accurate amount of cost.

    I have a friend that several years back installed a coil on their wood stove to preheat the water before it entered the water heater. The installation cost around a thousand dollars and it was inspected to ensure its safety. According to him the utility bill did not reflect any difference for a period of one year and if anything the bill was slightly higher.

    In order for this type of installation to work there will need to be a circulating pump installed as well as all sorts of relief valves to keep the water from getting above the 125 degrees or the scald point of the human body. The amount of power usage saved on the water heater will be offset by the pump or pumps depending on the type of system installed.

    In my personal opinion you would be better served by insulating the water heater and maybe installing a time clock to control its usage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    If the water is already hot why would one want to heat it even more?
    To make the water hotter. Thats an easy one.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    In order for this type of installation to work there will need to be a circulating pump installed as well as all sorts of relief valves to keep the water from getting above the 125 degrees or the scald point of the human body. The amount of power usage saved on the water heater will be offset by the pump or pumps depending on the type of system installed.
    jwelectric
    That was my first thought.
    Heating a section of pipe leading into a water heater doesn't do anything unless it is circulated. Using a pump to do that is adding to the electrical cost.

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    DIY Junior Member Rysis's Avatar
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    Thanks Terry, I see a lot of stuff like this out there but when you add the setup costs involved it sometimes doesn't seem worth all the effort. Also, that creates another system that needs to be maintained. Thanks again for your response.

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    You dont need a circulating pump if you install the system to work without a pump. Hot water rises and cooler water falls. Thermosiphon.

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    DIY Junior Member Rysis's Avatar
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    JW, the idea is that you can use another heat source like a wood stove to maintain the temperature of the water heater. Thus the water heater runs less often and requires less energy. Everyone is pushing the issue about going green but in many cases I don’t find it to be a viable solution, at least not yet.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    • You dont need a circulating pump if you install the system to work without a pump. Hot water rises and cooler water falls. Thermosiphon.
      Hackney



    I could see that happening, installed in a loop. Are you thinking that the wood stove input would be at the lower part of the tank, maybe lifting the tank higher then the wood stove?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    I could see that happening, installed in a loop. Are you thinking that the wood stove input would be at the lower part of the tank, maybe lifting the tank higher then the wood stove?
    Yes the tank would have to be higher than the stove and preferably not more than 10' from side to side. Basically you want the tank directly above the stove for the best results.

    This type stuff interests me,I love the discussion. I do not have any experience with these set ups and do not want anyone to mistake and think I'm pulling from personal experiences.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    I'm a little worried about pipes passing through a fire box and getting too hot. I haven't seen this done either.

    I did have a customer years ago in Carnation out near the foothills that had a wood burning furnace for his home, and Lama's in the pasture.
    I can't remember what I did for the water heating.

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    DIY Senior Member Chad Schloss's Avatar
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    This was in a sauna in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where we stayed a few years back. it was a loop system. Fire box in front to heat the loop, old keg with the top cut off. fill with cold water, cold water flows thru loop and comes out hot. Same type of system i would think. Was able to dip hot water out of keg and soak your feet or add some cold water and bathe with it.
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    Last edited by Chad Schloss; 03-05-2012 at 11:06 AM.

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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    What we must keep in mind here is the temperature of the water that will be used by people. It is not as simple as heating water with fossil fuel such as wood and letting this heated water somehow flow through the water heater for potable use.

    The one set up that I am familiar with had circulating pumps that pushed non-potable water through coils in the water heater not the potable water in the water heater through the remote heating device.

    If one was looking at any type of external heat to support their potable water supply I would suggest solar water heater. This is the only Green setup I am aware of. Using fossil fuel for hot water is not Green Technology but the direct opposite. Green Technology is to get away from fossil fuel such as burning wood. The carbon foot print left by burning wood is far from the same carbon foot print used to produce the electrical energy for the water heater.

    Here is a link to one type of solar water heater
    http://www.rheem.com/products/solar_water_heating/
    There are several thousand different units that one could choose from and without a doubt the expense will be less than using a wood stove setup after the tax deductions one can benefit from.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    What we must keep in mind here is the temperature of the water that will be used by people. It is not as simple as heating water with fossil fuel such as wood and letting this heated water somehow flow through the water heater for potable use.

    The one set up that I am familiar with had circulating pumps that pushed non-potable water through coils in the water heater not the potable water in the water heater through the remote heating device.

    If one was looking at any type of external heat to support their potable water supply I would suggest solar water heater. This is the only Green setup I am aware of. Using fossil fuel for hot water is not Green Technology but the direct opposite. Green Technology is to get away from fossil fuel such as burning wood. The carbon foot print left by burning wood is far from the same carbon foot print used to produce the electrical energy for the water heater.

    Here is a link to one type of solar water heater
    http://www.rheem.com/products/solar_water_heating/
    There are several thousand different units that one could choose from and without a doubt the expense will be less than using a wood stove setup after the tax deductions one can benefit from.
    Alot of people who are "green" use both solar and a wood fired stove or boiler. The problem with solar is the sun is not always enough to supply the demand for various reasons.

    Tempering valves can be installed control water temp to the fixtures.

  14. #14
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hackney plumbing View Post
    Alot of people who are "green" use both solar and a wood fired stove or boiler. The problem with solar is the sun is not always enough to supply the demand for various reasons.

    Tempering valves can be installed control water temp to the fixtures.
    I am sorry my friend but those items in red above is not Green Tech.

    Green Tech means that there is no fossil fuel being used.

    My wall paper in Green Technology came from NC State University.
    Green Technology is partly about the carbon foot print released into the atmosphere. Fossil fuel such as burning wood leaves a very large carbon foot print therefore it is not Green Technology.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    I am sorry my friend but those items in red above is not Green Tech.

    Green Tech means that there is no fossil fuel being used.

    My wall paper in Green Technology came from NC State University.
    Green Technology is partly about the carbon foot print released into the atmosphere. Fossil fuel such as burning wood leaves a very large carbon foot print therefore it is not Green Technology.
    You can only be so "green" my friend when you live off grid in the woods.

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