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DIY submersible water heater, build your own water heater

***Be sure to use a GFI plug with this!***

here is a link to the Through-Wall version http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/forum/topics/diy-heater-bui...

 COPPER WARNING! most of the elements are made from nickel plated copper and should not be used!

I have not found stainless elements at Home Depot. Some of the Lowes stores have them.

A quick search on the web will find several types in the 240volt range.

Some links to try:

 1500 watt in the 120 volts stainless steel unit.

http://shop.hardwareandtools.com/search?w=stainless+steel+heater+el...

 

 here are some stainless steel options. they only make them in 4000 watt+ at 240 volts.

http://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Steel-Water-Heater-Element/dp/B000U...

 http://plumbing.hardwarestore.com/51-598-water-heater-elements/stai...

10-18-2013

I've made a few changes to the heater parts list and instructions..

 

1500-5500 watt stainless element

12 awg cord

1-1/2" rubber coupling

1-1/2" reduced to 1" threaded

1-1/2" reduced to 1/2" threaded

1/2" water tight connector

 

Temp controller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

install the element into the 1-1/2" - 1" reducer.

...these are made to be inserted in one direction, so you will need to use a grinding wheel, or improvise, to remove the "stop" portion of the fitting.

some are sold with a round edge (pictured here) and some are squared (pictured above)

after removing the stop, connect the wires and install into the rubber coupler.

  

 

 

 

Here are a couple different

submersible options.

the top one has the wire ran inside the 1/2" irrigation "funny pipe" and fittings.

both work great!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have used a heavy duty timer to control the temp. 15 mins on the hour will keep 300 gallons warm.

pex supply has thermostats    http://www.pexsupply.com/Temperature-Controllers-12741000

Use a GFI plug with this unit!

 

 

 

 

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i'll have to check that.  i didn't buy it yet but it is on my list of things to do.

my heater is doing good, i have it set on a plug in timer in 15 min here and there durring the cold hours of the night untill i get the controller.  the first week i used it i forgot i turned it on to bring the temp up and left it on about 24 hours.  the temp was 60f and when i shut it off it was 82f.  the fish was active and my wife said they looked like they were sweaty.  i learn from my mistakes

MD, i have used the timer with good results. try it every two hours or so.. even 30 mins every 4 hours, just play with it to see what it takes. ...you will love the controller, set it and forget it.  cheers, rob

wow that looks great....does anyone know what temp I need to keep catfish?? So far all I have done is to greenhouse my bed and tank, the sun warms the greenhouse which keeps the tank warm, before adding the greenhouse my water dropped into the 50's.with the greenhouse it is staying 70-75. Not sure how well this set up will do when day time temps fall into the 30's.

the timer is working, but i do like the idea of "set it and forget it",  i still check it every day and adjust as needed for florida weather.

First, Thanks Rob for the idea.

right now 36 degrees outside        greenhouse   50 degrees       fish tank (300 gal)   81 degrees and holding

I do have the element heater (4500 watt connected to 110v) connected to a Ranco ETC-111000 temp controller and it is working better than I had ever hoped.

Hi all - got my version of this heater built (120v 1500w). Tested last week, and after 30min the water in my 300gal+ system was up by 1deg. Then I went to move the heater and felt a slight electrical tingling in the water - pulled the plug right away before the GFI had a chance to trip.

Got a friend more mechancially inclined to assist me in redoing the heater - this time using plumbing sealent, water proof tape, ect. to insure all the seams are water proof. Have not tried again, because despite air temp outside of 38deg. and greenhouse air temp of 40deg. the water temp this morning was still 58deg. ! Excited that my tank is insulated enough to hold this steady - yesterday the water temp was 62deg, so if the weather stays cold I will use the heater to keep the water temp from dropping too cold. My friend tested the heater with his equipment and told me it is drawing 12 amps - evidently it uses quite a lot of power, so I will try to use sparingly. 

Thought you all might like to hear my experience with this heater. May try to hook up to a temp controller in the future.

Daniel, did the rubber boot have water in it when you opened it? (most of the time it is the quick connect... if the wire is not the correct size(3/8") or not pushed in far enough) .... make sure the hose clamps are real tight... use a nut driver or socket, not just a flat head screw driver. 

Now, you should have the green wire inside the rubber boot, and if water toches it, the GFI should trip. if it still shocks a little, you may need to check that the outlet is wired correctly... the problem could be all the way back at the panel. ..i.e. - if you have the ground wire connected to the white side.

be safe

Yes Rob - there was water inside the rubber area, despite it being out of the water for over 24 hours before I opened it up. And yes, I strongly suspect the issue was the quick connect. The one I bought from Lowes had some kind of screw tight mechanism that did not help with my non-conventional use of the connection, so when I reworked the heater, I used a new quickconnect from Home Depot that was one piece construction. Additionally, my friend had some kind of liquid plastic stuff used in plumbing applications and we filled the inside of the quick connect with the plastic and let it harden - now the wires are effectively coming through a solid plastic quick connect.

The green wire is inside the rubber boot still, though checking to see if the outlet is wired correctly would be a good idea. I like the personality of old houses, but they do come with some strange quirks sometimes! (Mine was built about 1940, so not too old...).

Thanks again for posting these instructions!
 
Rob Nash said:

Daniel, did the rubber boot have water in it when you opened it? (most of the time it is the quick connect... if the wire is not the correct size(3/8") or not pushed in far enough) .... make sure the hose clamps are real tight... use a nut driver or socket, not just a flat head screw driver. 

Now, you should have the green wire inside the rubber boot, and if water toches it, the GFI should trip. if it still shocks a little, you may need to check that the outlet is wired correctly... the problem could be all the way back at the panel. ..i.e. - if you have the ground wire connected to the white side.

be safe

i globbed so much caulk over the connections it took two days to dry.  double sealed for the fishes and MY safety

 

this is what i got off ebay for less then $15.  i am not use to celcius.  it is a set and forget.  diffecult to install, but should be well worth it.

 I like your system how is it working what to put it on a 300 gal tote having problems with the wed sights also running a 100 gal reservoir tank

 

i wanted enough fish to eat with some vegtables.  i have since upgraded, but haven't uploaded pix
 
John Guyer said:

 I like your system how is it working what to put it on a 300 gal tote having problems with the wed sights also running a 100 gal reservoir tank

 

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