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Solar/Battery power to run heat tape in my basement

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  • Solar/Battery power to run heat tape in my basement

    Sorry, it was not a good idea lol.
    Last edited by C_Heath; 02-28-2018, 03:03 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by C_Heath View Post
    Forgive me for thinking out loud but here it goes. I'm purchasing a new heat pump water heater to go in my basement to replace a 22 year old Electric Dinosaur. I want to further expand on the possibilities of saving money by thinking this out.

    for reference:

    I live in the east, southernish, the ground temps avg 55 all year so its not an issue where my water is freezing but I just want to try to pre heat the water before it goes into the tank to be heated by it. Yes, its minuscule, but I love solar and gadgets and I don't play golf lol. My thinking is instead of installing some type of heat exchanger like a eco drain or power pipe that will cost $1000 installed and have a 6.5 year break in ROI then lets try a small panel and 2 batteries and some heat tape. I wont do it unless the tape can run 100% off the batteries/panel.

    Does anyone have any experience or know of someone or even have a link?

    Thanks!
    Outloud Thinker.
    NC
    First off what is the expected daily watt hour usage of that heat tape? Only after that is determined will you be able to size your solar/battery system.

    Another thing to think about is that most small solar/battery systems can cost about $2000 just to deliver 1kWh a day. That is not much power for a lot of money.

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    • #3
      If you think 6.5 years is too long of a ROI you'll really be bummed when you finally figure out the ROI time for batteries.

      No, I haven't looked into an idea like this because I know that any system that uses batteries will be more expensive than grid power.

      WWW

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      • #4
        Provided it's done in a safe way, experimenting is a good way to learn stuff. Done it lots. But having done it a lot, I've learned that it's more informative and more rewarding (for me anyway and only) when I learn first and then practice what I learned rather than learn by practicing. That's part of why I became an engineer. Been where you are with fond memories. I wound up designing industrial power and process equipment, including a lot of heat transfer equipment. Do as you want and have fun, but while your having fun, know that using heat tape as you describe will mostly be a waste. I'd respectfully suggest you consider the benefits of spending your initial efforts on learning why. You'll have more fun that way. Been there. Done that. A lot.

        At least now when I put my genius ideas under some (hopefully more) informed scrutiny, the brain spoor is easier to spot.

        Until I learned more about heat generation, loss, heat transfer and something about process economics, I'd take what some advertising information from someone with skin in the game had to say about ROI with a large salt lick.

        Welcome to the neighborhood.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post
          Provided it's done in a safe way, experimenting is a good way to learn stuff. Done it lots. But having done it a lot, I've learned that it's more informative and more rewarding (for me anyway and only) when I learn first and then practice what I learned rather than learn by practicing. That's part of why I became an engineer. Been where you are with fond memories. I wound up designing industrial power and process equipment, including a lot of heat transfer equipment. Do as you want and have fun, but while your having fun, know that using heat tape as you describe will mostly be a waste. I'd respectfully suggest you consider the benefits of spending your initial efforts on learning why. You'll have more fun that way. Been there. Done that. A lot.

          At least now when I put my genius ideas under some (hopefully more) informed scrutiny, the brain spoor is easier to spot.

          Until I learned more about heat generation, loss, heat transfer and something about process economics, I'd take what some advertising information from someone with skin in the game had to say about ROI with a large salt lick.

          Welcome to the neighborhood.
          +1, very fun and cool to learn this stuff. To the OP: just know that it is not mathmatically possible to take one energy source (solar PV heat tape), and use it to save money by reducing the amount of temperature gain your electric HP water heater needs to heat the water. Equal results to the search for perpetual motion.

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          • #6
            Heat pump water heaters operate by removing heat from the ambient air and adding it to the water. The end result of this is that the ambient air temperature drops and keeps dropping while the unit is running ( air conditioning and dehumidification for the basement), depending on the size of your basement and the run time of the HP water heater the temperature in the basement may get uncomfortable in the winter time.
            The lower the ambient air temperature the lower the COP of the heat pump and the more electric resistance heat is used to get the water temp to setpoint.
            What I'm trying to say is that HP water heaters work great in the summer but not so great in the winter unless you live in the southern part of the country and are able to keep them "outside".

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