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  1. #1
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    Jul 2004
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    Default DIY cappings melter

    I'm planning to build a cappings melter out of a stainless steel sink, a coil of copper tube, and a hot water source.

    The plan is to uncap directly into the sink, onto the hot flat coil of copper tube, where the liquified honey and wax could quickly flow away from the heat source, out the bottom of the sink and into a honey/wax separator. The hope is that this would minimize degradation of the honey while promptly dealing with cappings wax.

    I'm still looking for a small hot water circulating pump. Any ideas? If anyone has a commerical model and would report the Make/Model of the hot water circulating pump they use, that would be greatly appreciated.

    Anyone see problems with this plan. Suggestions?
    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Jul 2006
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    South San Ysidro, NM
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    503

    Default

    My first thought for a hot water pump was a recirculation pump, the kind used for instant hot water plumbing. They are rated for temps at or over 220F but they do tend to start around $200.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2004
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    The Hudson Valley, NY
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    Default

    Thanks, Ardilla. That's the idea, but I'd like to find a small model. The common domestic plumbing models are designed for larger plumbing and higher flow rates than I need. At least that is my guess. There are no engineering specs, I'm just hoping to find a reasonably close fit that is reasonably cheap and available.

  4. #4
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    Feb 2006
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    Orlando, FL
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    Default

    I am in the planning stages of building a new house, so I am looking at all sorts of things. One item that I seriously looked at is the how water recirculating pump for residential use.

    It is a tiny little pump and motor. 30 Watts if I recall. It is probably pretty expensive, but it is designed to move the hot water slowly, but nearly continuously for years. This might be just the thing.

    On another note - Richard Taylor's "How to do it Book of Beekeeping" He mentions using steam to do this. I would think steam would be even better as it does not require a pump at all.
    Troy

  5. #5
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    May 2007
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    Hays, Kansas, USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Troy View Post
    I am in the planning stages of building a new house, so I am looking at all sorts of things. One item that I seriously looked at is the how water recirculating pump for residential use.

    It is a tiny little pump and motor. 30 Watts if I recall. It is probably pretty expensive, but it is designed to move the hot water slowly, but nearly continuously for years. This might be just the thing.

    On another note - Richard Taylor's "How to do it Book of Beekeeping" He mentions using steam to do this. I would think steam would be even better as it does not require a pump at all.
    If you go this route, make certain the circulator is on a timer or other control. Constant circualtion hot water systems use up to three times the energy of stagnant hot water plumbing. Consider instead point of use water heating or other controls of circulating systems. The only advantage of circulating systems is more or less 'instant' hot water at appliances far from the water heating source. This convenience comes with a potentially high energy cost attached to it.

    Steam doesn't need a circulator, but the Btu cost to change the state of hot water to steam comes at a premium energy cost, also. It takes an additional approximately 970 Btu/lb. of 212F water to make it turn to steam, not conting the Btu's it took to get it hot in the first place. Latent heat of vaporization is the term to turn extremely hot water into steam. My advice is hot water instead of steam due to energy costs. We're advising some commercial/industrial building managers to convert to hot water from steam heat if the systems are piped appropriately to do this. The Btu savings can be amazing, therefore the energy costs are greatly reduced.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2005
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    Troupsburg, NY
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    "Constant circualtion hot water systems use up to three times the energy of stagnant hot water plumbing."

    I have two of these pumps on my outdoor woodstove, plus 3 freezers an all the other stuff, an my electic bill is right around $100 per month. Don't know if you consider that high or not, but I don't(well, not as high as some).
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    berkshire county MA
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    1,474

    Default local plumbers a source?

    Our gas furnace has a large circulator for the second floor and a very small one for the first floor. If something that size would work you may be able to get one from a plumber that did a replacement furnace.

  8. #8
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    May 2007
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    James (Pegjam) what I was referring to is the constant hot water circulating systems often installed on domestic hot water (DHW) piping. I think the original poster was talking about DWH and that's what I based my response on. For example, a gas fired water heater is fitted with a return pipe placed in front of the bottom drain valve. This pipe has a circulating pump which moves water through out the entire hot water piping of a home. The plan here is to have readily available hot water at the fixture no matter how far from the water heater it is. Yours is an exception to the majority of homes by having an outside wood fired heating appliance. I can count the ones I've seen on one finger in the area I work in. Is your system for DHW or household space heating? Or both? I'm not too familiar with outdoor wood appliances, but did some trouble shooting with an outdoor corn boiler once.

    Look at the circulator motors rating label plate and convert the amp or watt load stated on it to kWh, multiplied by what you pay for a kWh and you will end up with the operating cost of your circulator(s). That portion of your electric bill goes toward heating, just as a warm air furnace blower motor is part of the heating cost of a forced air furnace. Fortunately, I am blessed with software that calculates that portion of the power load for me, then I can digest utility billings to determine actual heating or air conditioning costs of a home vs.lighting and appliance loads.

    By saying these can cost up to three times the energy, I'm referring to the wasted heat energy that the DHW water piping gives off from the hot water that flows through it constantly. This waste heat loss causes the water heater to run much more than if left as a stagnant tank non-circulating system. It also adds a factor to air conditioning costs in summer. Now, if someone has gone through the pains to thoroughly insulate the domestic hot water piping throughout a home, this waste heat loss is lessened but some heat is still lost, none the less. I have yet to see a DHW piping system thoroughly insulated, let alone insulated much at all. I inspect couple hundred homes and/or apartments a year through energy audits I do throughout our utility service territory. These range from brand new to 100+ year old homes so I get to see some really strange things at times.

    There are controlled circulating methods available for circulating domestic hot water systems using automated timers or even manual switches. That way only when hot water is needed does it circulate, reducing heat losses from the domestic hot water system. Your system is a horse of a different color all together.

    Now, if that's not the system the original poster mentioned, I just wasted a lot of typing for nothing. If it is, I hope he is now considering some type of control in order to save energy.

    Birkshire- there are furnaces and then there are boilers. Furnaces heat air and move it by blowers or convenction. Boilers heat water or turn it into steam depending on the system. It sounds to me as though you have a boiler and you are right, these type of circulators are what I was referring to. The problem is if the circulators are too large- they waste electricity and move too much water reducing the efficiency of the heat transfer that Patrick is after. He will probably want a small water flow to get optimal heat transfer and may have to experiment until he gets exactly what he's after. My hat's off to his experiment... I like solar water heating systems and especially hydronic systems because water is a wonderful means to transport heat - if it's all done correctly. A Taco 005 is a pricey little circulator, but he may find a free one from a junked out Lennox Complete Heat.

    Troy - for your new home, you may want to consider radiant hydronic heating, especially the in-floor systems. If your feet are warm, you are too! These are the simply best way to heat a structure (again if done correctly). Especially if you plan on high ceilings and lots of glass. Forced air takes a back seat to a well designed hydronic system any time hands down.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Atchison, Kansas
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    69

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    Patrick you may not need a pump at all. If done right you can make a closed loop system by pulling the hot water off the heater (normal spot) at return it to the drain at the bottom. The heater must be below the coils. This is how my uncle heated one room of his house for years, he used a 20 gal hotwater heater.

  10. #10
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    Jan 2003
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    Kiel WI, USA
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    Default

    Thermosiphon?

  11. #11
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    May 2007
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    Hays, Kansas, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcross View Post
    Thermosiphon?
    Exactly. Another means to do constant cirulation is thermosiophon. It works & no circulator needed, but again this wastes some DHW energy. The problem is, there is no control on it. I'm not a control freak, but when it comes to HVAC, DHW or similar things and saving energy, I'm a 'controls' freak.

  12. #12
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    Jan 2003
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    Kiel WI, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swobee View Post
    when it comes to HVAC, DHW or similar things and saving energy, I'm a 'controls' freak.
    But in this case, it's a device that'll run for at most a week or so every year? Efficiency just isn't as crucial as it is in HVAC, etc.

  13. #13
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    dcross, I would agree with you except for one thing. The following long winded statements should explain my opinion on the matter. The last paragraph explains my statement that you quoted. I guess I failed to explain that I was not referring to the wax melting in that statement but domestic hot water thermosiphon systems instead.

    Wax needs about 150F + to melt, I believe. A modern domestic water heater will at best only crank out a 160F max. water temp. OK, I could alter the gas valve and maybe bypass the thermostat since I have a little more than basic familiarity with them. But, that's potentially not very safe. A commercial water heater will heat 180 water, but who has one of those just lying around? Also, they cost $$$$. But you will need more than 150F water to melt wax (if that's the correct melting temp. of wax). Remember, efficiency means more than just saving energy- it also can mean working effectively, aka getting the job done in a reasonable time and cost. If you let me change my word from efficient to effective it might make more sense now.

    In my opinion, I can't see how the gentle thermosiphon action of non cirulcator-forced hot water will get the Btu's needed to the wax in order to melt it effectively. You will want to force water at a very high temp. to the wax instead. A reasonably substantial Btu exchange from the water heating source to the wax is needed. It might work, but I am betting the other way. Now, if you force 160F+ water through tubing that is wrapped around the wax container or immerse a coil within the wax melter like a beer wort chiller, you've got a different melting animal.

    Thermosiphon action in the case of a wax melter, just probably won't cut the mustard and be a dissapointment. The commercially available units use water heater elements in a double walled tank. There's a reason they use them- quick heat up, effective, efficient, cheap, readily available. Electricity for a heating element is 100% efficient, less some loss through the heat exchange medium (water jacket) and external losses. A standard domestic gas water heater is around 56% efficient instead. Compare electrical costs vs. your fuel options. If you use LPG, at today's prices electricity will probably cost less to operate depending on local rates. That makes the fuels of choice- nat. gas or wood. Corn costs too much these days to be considered as a fuel. Free wood isn't really "free" either- been there, done that.

    Now, back to my earlier statement on a thermosiphon domestic hot water circulation system in a home setting. They work, in that they get hot water readily available to a remote faucet in without a long wait for it. They still waste household water heating energy, period. That is what I meant this morning.

    Have a great rest of your Sunday. I've got some mites to kill. I'm trying a powdered sugar varroa blaster treatment for the first time today. Tomorrow I get to explain to a group of angry developer-investors why their lovely new apartment buildings don't meet energy codes. Now, they don't get their tax credits and I'm the bad guy because I tested, rated and scored the buildings. I guess the architect and builder had nothing to do with designing or building them correctly.

  14. #14
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    Mar 2005
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    Troupsburg, NY
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    "Is your system for DHW or household space heating? Or both? I'm not too familiar with outdoor wood appliances, but did some trouble shooting with an outdoor corn boiler once."

    It is set up for space heating, and DHW heating, although the DWH has been very problematic, and I turned it off because I couldn't get the heat out of it that I thought it should produce.

    Radiant floor heating is the way to go for new buildings. I just don't think you can do better than those...
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  15. #15
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    May 2007
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    Hays, Kansas, USA
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    James,

    What is the DHW problem? Those outdoor wood burners intrigue me, but I haven't seen one up close. Used to see them advertised in Mother Earth News back when I still got that magazine. I promote ground source heat pumps and we have a few people with de-superheaters to pull waste heat from the refrigerant during A-C months. Very efficient and cost effective.

    Amen on the radiant hydronic floor heat!!!!

  16. #16
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    Feb 2006
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    Orlando, FL
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    It's funny to me that everyone talks about hot water for heating. I live in Orlando FL and I can count on my fingers the number of days I use heat in a year.

    Air Conditioning is the primary energy user here.

    For my new home I was concerned about the long distance from the hot water heater to the most distant fixtures. In the new home they are 3 times the distance of my current home and I don't think I've EVER washed my hands in warm water in the Master Bedroom now. It literally takes 2 full minutes for the hot water to reach the MBR, so I always just wash using cold water.

    I thought even though there will be some standing water heat lost due to recirculating the hot water, that overall I would save energy AND have hot water too. I will, of course, make sure the hot water pipes are insulated both to prevent heat loss, but also to prevent the house from a heat gain that the AC unit will then just have to take back out again. All the pipes will be insulated and placed under the slab before it is poured, so the heat loss through the insulation and concrete should be minimal.

    I was also planning on having 2 hot water heaters. One is a smallish normal tank heater that takes care of the recirculating hot water and then upstream of it I would have a whole house tankless unit. This way I will have the best of both. Instant hot water at every fixture AND endless hot water for when we have guests and all 4 showers are running at the same time.
    Troy

  17. #17
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    Mar 2005
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    These outdoor wood stoves work on the heat exchanger idea, where the heat from the water is transfered for other uses through the use of heat exchangers. The people I bought my stove from fixed me up with a package deal, including a heat exchanger used for heating a swimming pool, to use for my DHW. It isn't large enough to do the job, plus it tends to leak around the union fittings, which dispite my best efforts to seal, just don't seem to want to work, so I shut the durn thing off..... At some point I will rework it to see if I can get the thing to work with a larger plate exchanger...but we'll have to wait and see how that will work out.
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  18. #18
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    Apr 2005
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    College Station, Texas
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    Default

    peggjam writes:
    plus it tends to leak around the union fittings, which dispite my best efforts to seal, just don't seem to want to work

    tecumseh replies:
    ah the problems of thermal expansion. perhaps you need to consult a steam fitter rather than a plumber? just out of curiousity, what kind of material (plastic, galvanized or copper) is the system.

    at higher temperatures and long straight runs of pipe (galvanized or copper) thermal expansion can be a significant problem.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    peggjam writes:
    plus it tends to leak around the union fittings, which dispite my best efforts to seal, just don't seem to want to work

    tecumseh replies:
    ah the problems of thermal expansion. perhaps you need to consult a steam fitter rather than a plumber? just out of curiousity, what kind of material (plastic, galvanized or copper) is the system.

    at higher temperatures and long straight runs of pipe (galvanized or copper) thermal expansion can be a significant problem.
    The pipe is what they call PEX tubing, it's some type of plastic. The exchangers are stainless steel, I think. The unions are galvanized.
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  20. #20
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    Troy,

    You are on the right track regarding not wanting to wait for hot water at remote fixtures. It's an inconvenience to say the least. A circulating system will help solve that waiting problem. I recommend a timer controlled circulator that is set to operate at various times of high use and not run at 3:00 AM when hot water may not be needed. These should pay off in energy savings over time.

    A tank type water heater will also help eliminate or reduce some the long wait for hot water, coupled with a circulating system. A long wait for hot water is a common complaint with tankless water heater owners in general. Many folks incorrectly call them 'instant', which they are anything but instant. The other limitation of tankless water heaters is that many models will not handle more than one or two fixtures operating at one time. If you want to be able to handle four showers, make certain to tell your plumbing contractor at plans & product specification time. That way, they can select a model with appropriate capacity. Tankless water heaters do deliver endless supplies of hot water, but they only have so much volume capacity.

    Many of us get to enjoy all four seasons each year and often forget about you in the warmer parts of the US. We end up talking about our own local situations which may not apply to others.

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