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Country Discussion Topics
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How much electricity to heat water?
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tinker    Posted 01-20-2004 at 12:03:43       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Anyone have a formula to figure watts to heat gallons of
water. Mulling over building a windgenerator to pre
heat hot water going into my electric hot water heater.
Wondering what the water temperature rise might be if
mill ran continuously, just warming up well water in a
separate additional electric water heater. Appreciate
you help.

Willy-N    Posted 01-20-2004 at 16:28:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
Just to give you a idea a normal element is 4,000 watt 240 volt AC aprox. If I rememember right Wind Generators are around 400 watts at 24 volts. So if you wanted to run your normal hot water heater with a small wind generator you would need at least 10 to produce 4000 watts at 24 volts and 100 of them to make 4000 watts at 240 volts. It would be better to pre heat your water with the sun instead. Mark H.

Tinker    Posted 01-20-2004 at 16:50:59       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thanks everyone for interesting discussion/facts. I
suspect any alternate-energy scheme means that I will
pay many years in advance on the hot water bill and
then have to be attentive to maintenance to get my
money back! Like going to Sam's Club and paying for
the priveledge of "saving money"! I was trying to size
up the possibility of a simple system taking up the bulk
of the cost of heating water. Solar systems in northern
Iowa probably needs to be an antifreeze loop
connected to a heat exchanger. while risk low of cross
pollution, the resulting effects would be disasterous to
health. also need pumps with seals to maintain, roof top
traffic and shingle sealing. Thought simple,
uncontrolled windcharger might work without the
hassel of grid interconnects, etc. Solar is simple but
windcharger could be simple too. Hey thanks alot

Jim in Minn.    Posted 01-20-2004 at 15:44:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hey Tinker, try this. years ago I built a very small greenhouse on the South side of my home and placed the inside of a water heater tank, painted black and ran pipes from my water line, prior to my present water heater to that black tank and back to the water heater in use. I was able to preheat well water to a "warm" stage prior to it being super heated by my gas tank. Not sure how much I saved, but my gas bill did go down. lots of factors including amount used and weather.

deadcarp    Posted 01-20-2004 at 14:35:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
there are some things that do some things better than other things okay? why is that? - cuz every step that causes friction or resistance robs you of some of the useful power of the whole process. that's important too. that's one reason they don't drag jumbo jets around with model cars.

wind is a giant step from heating anything, so if you want to heat water with wind, maybe hook the windmill direct to a paint mixer and let the friction warm it up.

for comparison, getcha a $13 100-ft coil of that 1-inch plastic irrigation pipe, flop it on your garage roof and fill it with a garden hose. after the sun shines on it about 1/2 hour, open the faucet and you'll find the water will be too hot to handle. if that doesn't convince you solar is better at heating water, nuthin will. :)

Ludwig    Posted 01-20-2004 at 13:08:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
For preheating your water look into solar. I've read where in most temparate climates like you'd find in the lower 48 US states solar hot water will yield a 3 year return on investment.
I have a friend who has it and if its sunny out the water in the tank will be hot, doesn't matter how cold it is outside.

Bob    Posted 01-20-2004 at 12:28:19       [Reply]  [No Email]
1 BTU is needed to rise the temp of one pound of water 1 degree F.. There are about 8 pounds of water in a gallon. A current of 1 watt applied to a resistive load produces 3.412 BTU's perhour.


1 watt will raise the temperature of 1 gallon of water .43 degrees F. each hour.

C'mon, guys check out my math!

Tinker    Posted 01-20-2004 at 13:07:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]
So if I supply 400watts/hr from a windgenerator, then
400 watts X .43 F rise would equal 172 F total rise / hr
for one gallon. If standard 80 gallona water heater, then
172 F/80 equals 2.15 degree rise/ hour, Or if I want 50 F
well water raised to 120 F then 120-50 =70 F rise
required divided by 2.15 F / hr = 32.6 hours for the 80
gallons. I think a system that just feeds a pre water
heater and maybe a dump to electric baseboard might
keep the complexity of controls, AC vs DC, varying
wattage and frequency to a minimum. Thanks

Bob    Posted 01-20-2004 at 17:03:33       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sounds good to me, but I was hoping someone would challenge my numbers! I've had a bone crunching headache all afternoon, and Lord only knows whatI came up with!

Red Dave    Posted 01-20-2004 at 12:15:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
1 Kilowatt = 3412 BTU's

Here's a website with a lot of conversion calculators, may have more of what you are looking for.

Tinker    Posted 01-20-2004 at 12:28:13       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thanks. Now I can get a toe hold on this figuring.

bill b va    Posted 01-20-2004 at 12:53:46       [Reply]  [No Email]

you may be first should check out the availability of wind you are planning on using . you can't just order it up like a pizza . course with elections heating up there should be a lot of hot air for a while but knowing polititians who knows when it will blow from another direction

Tinker    Posted 01-20-2004 at 13:09:02       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I could always skip a bath or two if I get into cold water!

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