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Solar Hot Water & Structured Plumbing


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2007 Merit Award Winner

Dale's Forum Posts: 380
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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 5/31/2006


Have been recently going thru a mentoring project. Object of project is to save money, water and energy.

Recent studies by the Dept of Energy for the State of California show that major benefits are possible with minimal expense. 2 to 3 year payback of cost for the average homeowner.

How? managing your hot water thru demand systems and structured plumbing.

want to know more? ask questions and we'll explore this on-line but some things will be very project specific.

If you have a home you are designing/ready to build and want advice be prepared to have a .pdf or .dwf of your floor plan and sections if multi-story.

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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 6/10/2006


What is demand hot water? Well, its far more energy efficient than a recirculation system or a non-circulated hot water piping. Saves water and energy

Too often we forget that it takes energy to get water to our tap. It comes from a well or surface source, is pumped, processed and then distributed to our homes. If you have your own well some of these steps and expenses are more obvious.

The State of California recently calculated that if they switched all of their buildings, office, storage, residential and government over to demand hot water systems they would save about a BILLION DOLLARS a year in water and energy. With a return on investment of under three years. And that doesn't even consider the homes, offices and factories where their 50 some million people live and work.

Every home owner can apply the same ideas and generate similar savings, subject to your lifestyle and number of people in the household.

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By Keith in Tucson, AZ on 6/11/2006


Dale - read your coments on demand hot water. I like the idea, but not completely sure if I know specifically how it's done. Could you please provide more info and what equipment is needed? I'm planning my specific plumbing design this week and submitting it for bid to subs. This would help me get it done right.


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 6/11/2006


This was one of my first designs. it was later simplified and the plans will be updated during the permit process.

what you want to do is optimize the trunk run with your branch lines no more than 6'. the demand pump is located at or just after the last fixture. that way you have only cups of cool water between the trunk line and each fixture.. Trunk is sized per IRC for total fixture units on system. Branch lines are sized as required for that fixture. However it cheaper to buy only 2 sizes of tubing and fittings..

You could set it up so the trunk was closer to the fixtures without branch lines but the cost of installation and amount of work the pump does is the trade off. Every 90 adds turbulence and slows the flow. Also you want to minimize the fittings, so where applicable use, 2 or 3 port manifolds rather than multiple Tee's

the attached example is a large two story house where I broke it into two hot water systems. Most of the system is located in the floor/ceiling so the trunk line is relatively flat with short branches up and down. On the east system I had to put the pump hear the water heater rather than at the last fixture because the last two fixtures are  pedestal sinks.

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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 6/11/2006


this is the attachment for the previous post

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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 2/1/2007


Are many integrating solar into hot water systems?

There has been some questions regarding solar water heating in one of the other sections and I thought we might be able to explore the topic.

Any ideas or questions?

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By P in North, FL on 2/1/2007


We are seriously considering a solar hot water heater. We have done some research, but not as much as we would like, before we make a decision.

I would appreciate any information that anyone has on the pros and cons of using one.

 


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 2/1/2007


Solar hot water can be done on the cheap or with expensive off-the-shelf systems.

I have seen systems that were constructed of old water heater tanks, painted black in something that looked like a cold frame. Then there are the sun-tracking systems that are very high tech.

There are tax credits available at many levels. Some communities will give you up to a $1,000 off your building permit. Compared to many "moneysavers" the payback is quick to be noticed on your utility bills and the payback period is relatively short.

Over the next several days I will put together a link list for everyone.

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By Adrienne in Kalamazoo, MI on 9/8/2007


I was wondering if these links were ever posted.  We are in the planning phase now and are researching combining solar hot water with radiant heat.  I'm uncertain on how this could be structured--Radiantec says that their system is connected to the household hot water supply and can be integrated with solar hot water.  But I wonder if it wouldn't be better to have the household and heating systems separate, with a boiler for the heating system and on-demand for the household system, with solar pre-heating the water for both.  This method would also eliminate long runs between the on-demand system and point-of-use, as you are discussing.  Has anyone else integrated these systems in this way?

Thanks,
Adrienne

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By Jenee in Katy, TX on 10/30/2007


Good site for solar info:

findsolar.com

also, a link to a forum discussing the differences in solar energy (two major varieties)

fatwallet.com/forums/messageview

All credit goes to EricGo07 at fatwallet. I am just passing it on for others. :)


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