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Combining 200 feet of pex with a Sand battery. Starting my first tests and progress so far.

many people build boxes out of wood lined with some water proof material-
A bit over 20 years ago I built a 1,200 gallon tank in the corner of my basement using ICF blocks. It's main purpose is to store hot water that comes from my wood gasification boiler for use in my radiant in-floor heating system.

Since it was new construction I only had to build 2 sides since the other sides were part of my basement walls. Inside of that tank I have two heat exchangers, one is to collect the heat from my wood boiler and the other one to heat my DHW. 12 years ago we added a ground source heat pump with desuperheater so in the summer I get "free" hot water from that using the same heat exchanger coil. I never did get around to adding the solar thermal components in spite of having dozens of flat plate collectors. Opted to cover the roof and patios in PV.

Here's the thread where I talk about it. Collecting and moving heat with water is a thing of beauty.
Water that just sits can get bacteria to multiply in in which can cause problems if you are bathing in it or taking a shower in it.
The water in my 20+ year old storage tank is crystal clear and totally sanitary because I regularly get it above 150f.
 
A bit over 20 years ago I built a 1,200 gallon tank in the corner of my basement using ICF blocks. It's main purpose is to store hot water that comes from my wood gasification boiler for use in my radiant in-floor heating system.

Since it was new construction I only had to build 2 sides since the other sides were part of my basement walls. Inside of that tank I have two heat exchangers, one is to collect the heat from my wood boiler and the other one to heat my DHW. 12 years ago we added a ground source heat pump with desuperheater so in the summer I get "free" hot water from that using the same heat exchanger coil. I never did get around to adding the solar thermal components in spite of having dozens of flat plate collectors. Opted to cover the roof and patios in PV.

Here's the thread where I talk about it. Collecting and moving heat with water is a thing of beauty.

The water in my 20+ year old storage tank is crystal clear and totally sanitary because I regularly get it above 150f.

It is very hard to beat radiant heat for heating a home.... I have been looking into using a mini split to heat water as it just makes sense to use the energy to cool to also heat water. The concept of using solar panels to move heat instead of creating heat has caught my attention, and I am just testing various methods of doing so. 1,200 is a large amount of water and having it in the basement means that you are not going to loose heat once it is stored as it will rise and heat the home.

I so love not having to buy propane as much now that the sun is heating my showers.
 
Good read


Thanks for that. $4,300 in that system..... interesting.


I loved the comment section, lots of questions and answers, but adding a heat pump together with this solar system does catch my attention.

I have $200.00 in my system for the pump, pipe, and shark bite connectors.


The more I play with this, the more I like used solar panels.. I have been getting used solar panels that produce 220 Watts of power for $60.00 When I look at the power two of those working together with a water heater element....... It is far more easy to maintain than pumps and pex.....
 
Copper pipe. Wort chiller.


We think alike, Only thing is mine is stainless steel, I have boiled water on top of my rocket stove, and put this coil in a pot on top, then with a pump, I heated the water for a shower.

 
This reminds me of the convection copper coil I wrapped around a wood stove flue pipe connected to a old hot water tank.
Our only heat for the house was the wood stove
I was raising dairy calves and needed plenty of hot water for their formula
It worked flawlessly
UNTIL:
Had to go away for a week and a friend swore he'd keep the fire going and the house warm
No such thing happened
On my return I found the house water lines frozen and the coil ruptured
I surmise he never did feed the fire nor fed the calves (4 dead others near dead)
Just waited until our expected arrival to start a fire

I let it pass but after other stupid things he managed to do he is no longer allowed in my presence

Note:
I have a maple syrup arch lined with firebrick. Works great at storing heat, I can let the fire go out and keep a boil for a couple hours
another option is ceramic blanket, it won't store heat but does insulate well
 
This reminds me of the convection copper coil I wrapped around a wood stove flue pipe connected to a old hot water tank.
Our only heat for the house was the wood stove
I was raising dairy calves and needed plenty of hot water for their formula
It worked flawlessly
UNTIL:
Had to go away for a week and a friend swore he'd keep the fire going and the house warm
No such thing happened
On my return I found the house water lines frozen and the coil ruptured
I surmise he never did feed the fire nor fed the calves (4 dead others near dead)
Just waited until our expected arrival to start a fire

I let it pass but after other stupid things he managed to do he is no longer allowed in my presence

Note:
I have a maple syrup arch lined with firebrick. Works great at storing heat, I can let the fire go out and keep a boil for a couple hours
another option is ceramic blanket, it won't store heat but does insulate well
I define those as "former friends"... :) I run a group for rocket stoves over on MeWe, I adore playing with fire. Ever since I saw the kelly kettle I was hooked on the speed of which one can heat water, and at what cost.

Here is one of my recent videos playing with the Kelly Kettle.



I always loved playing with fire :)
 
It is very hard to beat radiant heat for heating a home.... I have been looking into using a mini split to heat water as it just makes sense to use the energy to cool to also heat water. The concept of using solar panels to move heat instead of creating heat has caught my attention, and I am just testing various methods of doing so. 1,200 is a large amount of water and having it in the basement means that you are not going to loose heat once it is stored as it will rise and heat the home.

I so love not having to buy propane as much now that the sun is heating my showers.
It's really nice! We keep the house around 62f in the winter and are quite comfortable. If air temps get over 64f it's actually a too warm.

The tank is pretty well sealed but not perfect so the water that does evaporate out adds humidity to my house when it's needed in the winter. I have to add about 20 gallons a month.
 
Well.. I switched from having hot water heat the sand to just using a hot water heater element in the sand to heat about 5 five gal buckets of sand.....

Well the temp is now staying between 140 to 153 deg F I have not had a clear sunny day yet it has been mostly cloudy days and it is keeping this temp with two used 260 Watt panels in series. ( they normally give 220 watts of power each )

I am amazed that I have that much mass at that heat level with two panels on cloudy days, when I get a sunny day I will then test extracting heat with the pex pipe I have in the sand..... But for it to keep above 140 degree temps for over 24 hours is very very impressive to me on cloudy days...
 

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I have been following Mike for some time, he has been living without a battery set with his solar for years, he just recently got some batteries... But I am taking notes of how he uses direct to solar panels to do work for him.

 
can you take a shower with sand???

and how much bacteria do you have growing in your water heater right now?
Chickens sure do take sand baths, but I would not advise it...

The bacteria are not a factor as I am only using the water as a heat exchange. If I hooked this up to my home water system indeed it would be a factor one would consider.
 
This is my latest experiment.....

2 1/2 gal pot filled with sand.

On top of this is a stove top heating element powered by 3 260 watt solar panels in series.

On top of this is a dutch oven about 1/2 gal of sand and a rail road rail about 12 inches long.

all of this is in a trashcan lined with fiberglass insulation.

Per my thermocoupler I am hitting over 500 degrees F for over 10 hours peak around 820 deg F.
 

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Are you pulling that heat out and putting it to use in any way? Or is the drop to 250°f all lost heat energy?
 
Are you pulling that heat out and putting it to use in any way? Or is the drop to 250°f all lost heat energy?

Short answer it is lost heat at the moment, but I have run some tests with using it.

I have used it to dry out wet wood before I put ifiber glass nsulation in, I put kindling on top of it that was when the temps were between 200 - 350 deg for like 6 hours.... so drying worked great.

After put fiberglass insulation in and was reaching over 800 deg I took 2.5 gal of water in a pot at 60 degrees and sat it on top. The temp went up to 180 degrees. and slowly went down but it was not covered very well...

I left the pot on and the next day it boiled the pot about noon and the sand battery was over 400 degrees. I had to yank it off as the steam was putting moisture into the fiberglass insulation.... So I do see this viable for heat retention cooking....... as the temp does a slow drop over time.


So... It would of boiled the water if I would of had half the amount of water I do believe...


That said, I do have an idea to make a dry distiller to capture methonol and syngas with say a paint can in the top with a pipe coming out to a coil to cool.


One day as I was playing with this I set the lid of the dutch oven on the ground.... when I went to lift it up this is what I saw... that is what 800 deg will do :)
 

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