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Thread: hot water heater elements

  1. #1
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    Default hot water heater elements

    I have kinda a crazy question. I am needing to heat about 200 cal of water to between 80-90 degrees. the tanks right now are the plastic poly tanks like farmers keep chemicals in. I have an old hot water heater with electric elements but i curious do the thread on the elements get hot. I would like to drill a hole in the side of the tank and buy a nut and use a gasket on the inside and outside of the elements to seal it. But i am afraid that it might melt the plastic. I will probable end up having to run 3-4 4500 watt elements b/c this water will not stay hot over night just during the day so it would have to be heated up daily or if i knew i was going to use it over a day or 2 span i could leave it on. The tanks will be very well insulated on the outside with a cover for when not in use? Any ideas..
    Thank you very much.
    Oh and this is for nothing illegal lol making some temporary hydro graphics dipping tanks lol..

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    There are some WH that have plastic tanks. I do not know if they use special heating elements, but it's probably possible. Having the element surrounded by water would limit the temperature rise. Now, I'm not sure a standard WH thermostat can go that low, so that may complicate things.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Any heating of a closed system or tank is going to need thermostats, and pressure relief at the least. As water is heated, it expands. I'm not liking the idea.

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    I guess i need to put a little more info up here. the tank will not have a top. It would be only for heating. Doing some testing with hydrographics and need a dipping tank. Want to test before i spend 4-5k on a stainless tank.

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    Yes it will also be thermostatically controlled

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The typical water heater elements do NOT have sufficient thread length to accomodate a lock nut on the inside of the tank. You would need some type of 1" female "boss", or "bulkhead fitting", attached to the tank, then the element screwed into it.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  7. #7
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by altereddezignz View Post
    I guess i need to put a little more info up here. the tank will not have a top...
    If it is open, why not just hang an immersion heater?


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    The reason for not using a submersion heater is i really need to heat the water from the bottom with circulating water so it is more efficient. If i have a submersion heater then i have to heat the top an push the water down to the bottom.
    I dont have anything against using a submersion heater since i was in the begging looking at using 4 300 watt fish tank heaters but it would take forever to heat up.
    One more reason i am trying not to use submersible heaters is b/c whatever heater element i use now i would like to be able to transfer it over to my stainless steel tank when ever i build it.
    I have even been thinking about running 4-6 4500 watt elements and making them all kick on with initial heat but only 1-2 run when just keeping the water warm. Since this tank will not be used everyday i would be able to heat the water within a very short time since the ambient air temp would hardly ever be below 50 even in the winter and it needs to only be heater to 90 degrees.

    I guess i could always use one of the 4 bolt water heater elements.


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  9. #9
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    Also on the subject of heating the water would anyone be able to help me on trying to figure out how long it would take to heat the water to a specific temp at a specific start temp with a specific amount of wattage for a required gallon?

    I can figure how many watts needed to heat it in an hour using this

    KW= Gal X Temp Rise F
    ------------------------
    375 x heat time HR

    KW= 200 X 50
    ----------------
    375 x 1

    KW= 10000
    -----
    375

    KW= 26.66
    1 kw= 1000Watts need 26600 watts

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