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Old 03-28-2010, 05:36 PM   #1
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sending dry heat through copper


Copper is such a great heat conductor, I was wondering if there is a way to safely send electrical heat through a copper towel rack I am making. I know a little about electricity.

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Old 03-28-2010, 05:38 PM   #2
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sending dry heat through copper


What do you mean by electric heat ?
What are you sending thru the copper?

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Old 03-28-2010, 06:26 PM   #3
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sending dry heat through copper


You would need some sort of heat source inside the copper tube. Hot water or hot air blown though from a heater.
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Old 03-28-2010, 07:54 PM   #4
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If you are thinking of heating up the copper rack by passing electricity through it, there are numerous issues.

1. The supply voltage cannot be more than about 12 volts (about that of a model train track) without the copper rack's being a shock hazard. To produce a meaningful amount of heat at that voltage, many amperes are needed necessitating a fairly stout transformer. Incidentally putting ten racks in series and feeding them 120 volts (12 volts apiece) is not safe.

2. While copper is an excellent conductor of heat and also electricity, you generate heat from electricity by passing it through a poor conductor (of electricity).

3. You would need a lot of electrical engineering know-how to choose materials and metal thicknesses (for the rack) and voltage to be sure the rack does not get to an uncomfortably let alone dangerously high temperature.
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Old 03-28-2010, 11:19 PM   #5
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sending dry heat through copper


@ Scuba, I'm not sending anything through it. I was hoping to do it just with electricity alone. I was hoping it was not as complicated as I was making it in my own head but maybe it is.
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Old 03-28-2010, 11:26 PM   #6
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Not only complicated but incredibly dangerous. No inspector in his right mind would ever allow it. Electrical devices and appliances must be tested and listed by UL or other underwriting agencies to make sure they're safe for use.

Do yourself a favor and abandon this unsafe idea.

There are lots of commercially made heated towel racks on the market, perhaps you can find one you like.
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Old 03-29-2010, 12:20 AM   #7
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Suggest that you submit your design to Underwriters Laboratories and get their feed back. Don't feel bad if it comes back in the form of uncontrollable laughter!

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

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Old 03-29-2010, 08:09 AM   #8
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Thanks to all of you. I was just hoping there was a simple way to do what I was making out to be a big deal. But it turns out my gut instincts were right, it is a big deal and of course I was thinking of all the obvious safty issues. I wanted to run it by my fav experts before abandoning completely. I though maybe someone would have some sort of creative idea like running heat tape on the INSIDE of the pipe or something simple like that. I find that experienced trades-people know alot of little tricks and thats what I was fishing for. Again thanks to all of you AND your safety concerns.
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:41 PM   #9
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sending dry heat through copper


If they can come up with heated toilet seats, why not a heated towel rack. Maybe you have a new invention? The rack would dry the towels and keep them nice and warm.
I would not attempt this myself, nor should you.
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:08 PM   #10
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Sorry I din think of it first but it has already been invented and I really don't know what the heat source is. But they're not copper.
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Old 03-30-2010, 05:10 PM   #11
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To make the heated toilet seat or even a heated towel rack, heating elements consisting of resistance wire in an insulated sheath are used. The elements are similar to roof heating cables or wires in electric blankets.

A towel rack intended to hold several towels one on each of several bars is not going to get any one towel really warm.
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Old 03-30-2010, 06:13 PM   #12
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We bought a 600w towel heater - Zehnder is the Mfg, saw it at a home show
It puts out a lot more heat then most towel bars you find in sores
Our 2nd floor bathroom does not have heat
So it was easier to install this then run a radiator

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Old 03-31-2010, 10:24 AM   #13
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Hey Scub D, tha's nice, how is it heated? Electric? I wish it were that easy but my client is aware of those towel warmers but wants copper so they can't have heat too. Oh well, it wasn't at the top of their priority list, i just thought i'd give it to them if I could. Thanks
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Old 03-31-2010, 11:27 AM   #14
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Yes, fed with electric
Another option is they have hot water fed systems for forced hot water heat

They make many different colors of these, some might be copper looking
Just looked, Zehnder doesn't make s copper color, but has others:
http://www.zehnder.co.uk/retail/Colour-Range,67.html
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:22 PM   #15
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Hot water ones are a great idea! my client was more interested in the coloration work I'm doing on the copper peice than warming towels. It's an art peice to them. But i wouldn't mind having one for my bath. Thats my next project. Thanks for the link.

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