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Old 11-24-2012, 08:08 PM   #1
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Hot Water Heater use in emergency


During a recent power outage, It dawned on me that while I lose the heat and a/c in my central air system, I have a seperate pilot lit hot water heater - 40,000 btu , 40 gal nat gas that will still operate during such power outages.

Other than turning on the water heater to 150 degrees and then turning on hot water to steam out the faucets -wasting so much water and heat- I was thinking that there has to be a way to create a emergency type of hot water radiator type of setup - and I hoping the experts here perhaps already know of something that exists instead of me creating one from scratch.

Ok - here is my idea, in a winter electric power outage where I have no heat, I would turn up the water heater to 150-160, wait till it shuts off to temperature, then hook up a radiator type of contraption to the kitchen faucet - turn on the hot water to the run into the radiator, and have it radiate the heat - and perhaps every 15 min or so, release some of the cooled water down the drain while refilling the radiating coils with more hot water.

This might sound dumb, but in a very cold winter and no heat, this might be enough to heat the one room, but I dont know where to begin on figuring out what materials to use - ie copper pipe, aluminum fins, shark bite fittings (no soldering) and a hose connection to hook up to the faucet threading and valve to release the cold water out of the device after cool down.

Any suggestions that anyone might have, perhaps something like this might already exist , I just dont know where to begin so any help is greatly appreciated.

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Old 11-24-2012, 08:20 PM   #2
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Hot Water Heater use in emergency


why don't you use the money to invest in a generator if the concern is loss of power.

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Old 11-24-2012, 08:45 PM   #3
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Hot Water Heater use in emergency


Thanks for the idea, but I live in a townhouse community (on town supplied water BTW) and the noise from them is not tolerated here, so I long ruled that out as a option for me So I am back to my request in my previous post for a emergency type of short term heating from the hot water heater.

And I guess I should have to mention that I could always leave and go to a hotel room out of town, assuming of course the winter weather that caused outage is not bad enough to shut down all the roads-therefore I will like to just keep to my senerio of me heating one room with the existing setup I described. Thanks.
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:50 PM   #4
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Hot Water Heater use in emergency


Might be easier to by a couple of extra blankets or those heat things you stick in your boots.
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:53 PM   #5
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Hot Water Heater use in emergency


there are a number of ways to heat a space w/o electricity, the highest maintenance, the highest initial cost, and the highest operating cost is what you are going to end up with.
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:06 PM   #6
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Hot Water Heater use in emergency


I like your idea. It may take some experimentation.

I assume that your water heater is below the main floor of your dwelling. We know hot water will rise and cool water will fall. So perhaps there is a way of gaving a couple of "emergency" radiatiors in a room, hooked up in a loop with your water heater.

Power goes out and it gets cold. You, with a reassuring grin on your face, open the valve leading to the radiators. All the cold water falls out of them and is also forced out by the warm water rushing in.

This is the general idea. You'll need to make a loop from the hot water out to the radiators and back to the cold water in. You'll need a shut-off valve here and there to turn the system on and activate the return.

Let me know how you make out.
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:09 PM   #7
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Hot Water Heater use in emergency


you would need a giant radiator in order to radiate enough heat to make up, even minimally, for a lost furnace. Biggest waste of time ever.
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:26 PM   #8
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Hot Water Heater use in emergency


I think he is wanting to heat a room. One can warm up a basement bedroom in a hurry with one of those oil-filled electric radiators, so I suspect he could do just fine with two radiators in a 12x12 room. I think the problem will be to get the hot water to flow naturally.

Maybe you can help out and tell us how to do that.
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:35 PM   #9
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Hot Water Heater use in emergency


Cleveman, thank you -yes the water heater is in the basement. I did think of that type of setup straight off the water heater , but it seemed kind of complicated for my novice self ).

So that is why I thought "smaller" -such as heating one small room, not the whole house and definetly not as a furnace replacement. I believe the setup of the using the existing faucet and just letting the "cold" water drain out of the radiator contraption down the sink -either manually or perhaps if there is a valve that will open when a temperature gets below say 80 degrees and just flushes the cold water down as the new hot water enters and temperature goes back up above 80 or 100 and valve closes. I dont know if that exists, this is just a idea - .

Anyway - this is just a thought in case of emergency only - to keep warm for a day to a few days , even if in a small room. Any further ideas on how to procede, I am open and would like to hear them - thanks all
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:07 AM   #10
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Hot Water Heater use in emergency


Quote:
Anyway - this is just a thought in case of emergency only - to keep warm for a day to a few days , even if in a small room. Any further ideas on how to procede, I am open and would like to hear them - thanks all
Ayuh,.... Drop that Idea, 'n get a Gas Stove for the kitchen, 'n you can heat atleast the kitchen....
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:38 AM   #11
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Hot Water Heater use in emergency


a wall mount-ventless will be cheaper and more effective.
http://www.kotulas.com/deals/Product...p:OrderItemAdd

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Old 11-25-2012, 09:00 AM   #12
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Hot Water Heater use in emergency


Those suggestions of unvented gas appliances are valid. This can be done. I once heated a small house up to about 95 F while curing some epoxy grout. I did it with an unvented furnace and a kitchen stove. My carbon monoxide detector didn't go off until the temp was in the mid-80's and it was a tight house.

But any child can do this.

We're talking about 2 radiators in a room, fed by a water heater below in the basement.

I'm suggesting supplying them off the hot water supply, with a shut-off valve for when they are not being used. I don't think a shut-off for the rest of the hot water supply for the house would be useful or necessary.

The return off the radiators would go directly into the cold water supply for the water heater, again with a shut-off to stop the municipal supply.

The idea is that as the water in the radiators would cool and return to the water heater, thus circulating. The radiators would become an extension of the hot water storage tank.

First problem I see is that when someone calls for hot water at a fixture, the municipal is shut off, so there will be no pressure. So the municipal supply needs to come on when hot water is called for at a fixture. This would probably require electronics, so maybe there won't be any hot water available at fixtures while the radiators are running, then the shut-off can be manually opened when someone wants to shower? Any other solution?
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:10 AM   #13
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Hot Water Heater use in emergency


Roll out a couple hundred feet of garden hose --that will do it---if the hose leaks you are in trouble---but it would warn up a room or two
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:35 AM   #14
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I didnt know it was even possible to have a ventless nat gas heater. If these in fact dont put off alot of CO, then that is a very nice option of possibly heating more than one room very cleanly and effienctly during a emergency. I would however have to get a plumber in to run my nat gas lines to the right spot (s). So I assume it would be a nice chunk of upfront change to do, but it is a more permanant way to combat power outages during cold weather -thanks nine 0.

I also like clevemans idea of the water heater using the radiators in a closed loop thus creating a extention of the heater itself - but I am unclear how that would work with regard to actually doing the hook up and possibly any safety issue with pressures it might put on the water heater, if any - etc.

Which brings me to the 100 foot hose Oh mike idea. I dont know if that was meant to be funny ) - or if actually would work as I thought a hose would be to insulated to effectively let go of the heat. But I never had tried, so I dont know and think that since its so cheap to try it, and it does kind of fit what I set out to do, work off the kitchen faucet, and then send cold water down the drain, heating a small room- I might try this, and see how well it does.

Thanks for all the ideas -
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:40 AM   #15
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Hot Water Heater use in emergency


Under the slab hydronic systems use PEX piping--a glorified garden hose----it would work as long as the heat didn't damage the garden hose..

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