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DIY Heater, build your own 2000 watt heater for $20 ***DONT USE COPPER OR NICKEL ELEMENTS!

submersible virsion... http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/forum/topics/diy-heater-sub... ...this how-to has the link for the stainless elements.

After many variations, this is the simplest heater I've been able to build. I had to come up with this last year while waiting for my $600 heater to be built and delivered. when it finally arrived, I just left it in the box and continued to use the home built unit.

DO NOT USE THE COPPER ELEMENT FROM HOME DEPOT!  YOU MUST ORDER A STAINLESS STEEEL ELEMENT.   ....This is a 2000 watt element from Home Depot, a 1-1/2" to 1" reducer, a 1-1/2" uniseal, and a fitting with net pots to keep the fish off the element. I found that a heavy duty timer works for a thermostat. I run it for 15 mins on the hour to keep my 150 gallon tank toasty. this would be adjusted according to your needs. i have used this on as much as 600 gallons, but would recommend going to the 240 volt, 4000 watt for anything over 400 gallon. Note - the 2" net pots slip right onto a male threaded 1-1/2" nipple.

The top pipe is optional, i like to keep it as tall as the water level will allow. This will create a convective flow of water across the element. Works great!

here is the newer version...

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Craig, im not sure what they use.. but "they" dont apear too concerned with the human safetyness of drinking water... im sure they would argue that hot water is tipically not for drinking.

submersible heater

 

I think they have some deccent retrofittable thermostates at GrowersSupply,com Tons of other neat gadgets for aquaponics as well. But you can't beat The AP Sources prices for what they carry. Very fair in my opinion.

   PS. Use caution with PVC and heat!! There is a risk of chemical release. I think they sell a special hot water PVC for this type of usage?

Peter Shaw said:

looks great,

 

hate to think I am going to have to drain the tank to make one, 

 

submersible one would be great ..... 

 

2000 watts at 110 will be expensive to run, a 220 version might be better

 

I will have a look

 

dont you think there is some way to install a thermostat?

 

peter

That's a 10-4 Rob...I think it was you that called it to my attention some time ago, and I had also discovered it at the same time in the kitchen when I test fired it for the first time.  I noticed the bubbles and the need to keep it as horizontal as possible. (My element is totally exposed to the water - there is no pvc around the element except at the threaded bass, and that's only about 3/4" where the PVC kind of encompasses the element.

In the sump tank floating support I made the steel element itselt is about 12" long with the "loop" end lowered about 3" lower than the "wire connection" end.  so pretty close to horizontal.  (In fact the only reason I didn't make it completely horizontal (flat level) is because I wanted the power cord coming out of the tube enclosure to be out of the water {just to make sure that if the seal around the cord ever loosened up water wouldn't run down into the tube enclosure where the wires were terminated.

Rob Nash said:

Bradly, keep an eye on the element at the top... when the heater runs, it will create tiny air bubbles, which will collect in the PVC fitting and burn out the element.(it only takes about 1/2" air space to burn)   i advise folks to be sure and keep a little bit of tilt to avoid the bubbles collecting.

Matt

Actually a watt is a watt to the power company.  It isn't really any cheaper to run a 220v item than a 120v item... except that the higher the voltage allows you to run smaller wire.  

To the power company- if you use 1700 watts for an hour, (no matter whether it's with 1 hot wire {120v} or with 2 hot wires {220v} )  you're going to get billed for 1700 watts for an hour.

With a heating element like this... (resistance inside the element creates the heat) ...there isn't even a surge when it starts to be concerned with.     [for example when your air conditioner starts up it pulls a surge of power when starting so you don't want it turning on and off all the time because it uses more juice in those surges].  These little heating elements don't do that, they don't really surge at start up.

Matt T. said:

I think they have some deccent retrofittable thermostates at GrowersSupply,com Tons of other neat gadgets for aquaponics as well. But you can't beat The AP Sources prices for what they carry. Very fair in my opinion.

   PS. Use caution with PVC and heat!! There is a risk of chemical release. I think they sell a special hot water PVC for this type of usage?

Peter Shaw said:

looks great,

 

hate to think I am going to have to drain the tank to make one, 

 

submersible one would be great ..... 

 

2000 watts at 110 will be expensive to run, a 220 version might be better

 

I will have a look

 

dont you think there is some way to install a thermostat?

 

peter

http://www.pexsupply.com/Temperature-Controllers-12741000

here is the temp controller i use, its 0nly $50. it works with the 240 or 120 volt set up.

Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC) for use at temperatures up to and including 200°F. Make sure it's National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certified. Regular PVC good up to 140 degrees F

Regular is fine. Prob better to use. CPVS has added chemicals

Sorry Craig. I should have said there may be a risk of chemical release with PVC. I heard something about that during an aquaponic class in Milwaukee. After researching on line however, I found nothing to support that statement. Just something about thermal expansion, which probably isn't an issue when the heater is submerged in water, keeping it cool. My bad.

Lead is no longer used in home plumbing.  Many brass connectors are no longer available and have been replaced with stainless steel due to the lead in brass.  This has added significantly to the cost of some of my plumbing jobs.

PVC and CPVC will both burn with noxious chemical release if fluid is not flowing.  If the water flows as intended, the temperatures will remain safely below 100F.   My feeling is that metal pipes are safe. Most homes are plumbed with either copper or galvanized pipe and yet people continue to keep aquariums.  I built my heater out of galvanized pipe.

The reason you will often hear people say 220 Volts saves money is two fold.  First a less heavy gauge of wire can be used for the same Wattage device thereby saving material costs.  Long term the wires will waste less energy due less Amperes flowing through them. 

This brings up one more point.  Make good solid connections.  You will often notice plugs get hot at the outlet due to the resistance of the connection .  Unless you count the heat as a bonus because it helps to warm the room it is a waste of energy.  This is why  bolt down connections are often used on high current devices.

Lead isn't used in home plumbing, but depending on the product it may have lead in it... Some people do crazy stuff like use a car radiator as a heat exchanger. Full of lead. Your water and fish and plants will be full of lead.  :)

I disagree with ya on copper and galvanized. Your animals will die. I been breeding saltwater fish for some time now... I'll say it again - They will all die. :)

Any time a plastic is used their is leaching. But what can we do? Make everything out of glass? I believe the chemical was di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP). I just read a new university study about it. I'll try to find it. We can only do so much I guess...

Matt T. said:

Sorry Craig. I should have said there may be a risk of chemical release with PVC. I heard something about that during an aquaponic class in Milwaukee. After researching on line however, I found nothing to support that statement. Just something about thermal expansion, which probably isn't an issue when the heater is submerged in water, keeping it cool. My bad.

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