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Author Topic: Cellar Idea  (Read 1325 times)

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Offline levifunk

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Cellar Idea
« on: June 28, 2011, 02:54:27 PM »
So I got a radiator from a hot water baseboard heater.  Basically its a 8' copper pipe with hundreds of aluminum fins attached to it.  Looks like these:


The city water supply comes in to my house in the same room as my cellar.  I am thinking of cutting off the section of pipe that runs through the room and inserting the radiator in its place.  Any water used by the house (which is a 2 flat), will run through this pipe.  The theory is that by doing this the cellar will stay a more constant temp year round.

Thoughts?
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Offline GatorBeerGeek

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Re: Cellar Idea
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2011, 04:41:46 PM »
Not sure if this will work or not.  If you are wanting it for keeping cool, I would say it would not work too well.  Copper can conduct heat well, but cold not so well.

Since you are in Wisc, maybe this is for more heat, but at the relatively low temps of the water coming into the home, I am not sure how much it would "warm" the cellar up to a higher temp.

Interesting idea, not sure of its practicality.

Offline Lum

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Re: Cellar Idea
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2011, 12:02:18 AM »
I have to agree with GbG.  Your asking the design/principal of the heat exchanger to work basically in reverse.  If you were to run a cooling agent through the system (gas), that would be closer to achieving the results that you are looking for - but again, not practical (it's not designed for gas).  You would best to just running an air conditioner in the room.

Another thing to consider would be condensation from running cold water through that heater - and lot's of it.
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Offline unclejedi

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Re: Cellar Idea
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2011, 01:37:22 AM »
Copper can conduct heat well, but cold not so well.

Thats not really an accurate statement.  In thermodynamics, the convention is that only heat is conducted, same as only negative electrical charges being conducted.  Its a matter of the direction that the heat is being conducted, there is no cold conduction.  In this case the desire is to conduct heat from the air in room into the aluminum, to the copper, then into the water in the summer, and in the winter, heat would be conducted from the water to the copper to the aluminum then to the air in the room.  The real issue is that heat doesn't conduct well across interfaces between materials unless there is a significant drop in temperature across the interface.  The impedance is even greater when the two materials are in different phases.  Since the water temperature is unlikely to be that much different than the air temperature, there won't be that much heat flow.  Furthermore, there would only be consistent heat flow while the water is running through the pipe, unless you run water all of the time.  As stationary water reaches temperature equilibrium with the air the heat flow drops to zero.
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Offline thickfreakness

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Re: Cellar Idea
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2011, 11:26:35 AM »
Copper can conduct heat well, but cold not so well.

Thats not really an accurate statement.  In thermodynamics, the convention is that only heat is conducted, same as only negative electrical charges being conducted.  Its a matter of the direction that the heat is being conducted, there is no cold conduction.  In this case the desire is to conduct heat from the air in room into the aluminum, to the copper, then into the water in the summer, and in the winter, heat would be conducted from the water to the copper to the aluminum then to the air in the room.  The real issue is that heat doesn't conduct well across interfaces between materials unless there is a significant drop in temperature across the interface.  The impedance is even greater when the two materials are in different phases.  Since the water temperature is unlikely to be that much different than the air temperature, there won't be that much heat flow.  Furthermore, there would only be consistent heat flow while the water is running through the pipe, unless you run water all of the time.  As stationary water reaches temperature equilibrium with the air the heat flow drops to zero.
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Offline levifunk

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Re: Cellar Idea
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2011, 12:45:35 PM »
Since you are in Wisc, maybe this is for more heat, but at the relatively low temps of the water coming into the home, I am not sure how much it would "warm" the cellar up to a higher temp.

I guess I'm mostly interested in cooling (or removing heat) from the cellar in the summer.  Nothing serious, just looking to knock it down 5-10 degrees.

Air conditioner would be very difficult to install/maintain given the location and my 1880's era house.  Also, I am intrigued by the more passive approach of this idea.

Might be worth the experiment?  If it works, it would be a cool idea for passively cooling a house.  also, it would "pre-heat" the water before entering the water heater, so there are some side benefits to this.
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Offline flyingbison

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Re: Cellar Idea
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2011, 01:11:22 PM »
Since you are in Wisc, maybe this is for more heat, but at the relatively low temps of the water coming into the home, I am not sure how much it would "warm" the cellar up to a higher temp.

I guess I'm mostly interested in cooling (or removing heat) from the cellar in the summer.  Nothing serious, just looking to knock it down 5-10 degrees.

Air conditioner would be very difficult to install/maintain given the location and my 1880's era house.  Also, I am intrigued by the more passive approach of this idea.

Might be worth the experiment?  If it works, it would be a cool idea for passively cooling a house.  also, it would "pre-heat" the water before entering the water heater, so there are some side benefits to this.

How warm does it get in summer?  How much of the basement wall is above ground level, and is it insulated?

Offline levifunk

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Re: Cellar Idea
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2011, 02:30:54 PM »
How warm does it get in summer?  How much of the basement wall is above ground level, and is it insulated?

It gets to nearly 70 at times in the summer.  Maybe 1' of the basement is above ground level.  Yes, it is insulated, and the basement wall is 3' thick limestone. 
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Offline flyingbison

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Re: Cellar Idea
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2011, 02:34:13 PM »
How warm does it get in summer?  How much of the basement wall is above ground level, and is it insulated?

It gets to nearly 70 at times in the summer.  Maybe 1' of the basement is above ground level.  Yes, it is insulated, and the basement wall is 3' thick limestone.

70 doesn't seem too bad for summer months.  Any windows in the room you can block/insulate?

Offline levifunk

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Re: Cellar Idea
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2011, 02:37:45 PM »
70 doesn't seem too bad for summer months.  Any windows in the room you can block/insulate?

No, 70 isn't bad at all.  this isn't being done out of necessity, rather curiosity ;)

Already blocked out the 1 window in the room.  There is a "doorway" that I plan on installing an insulated door in....which should help a bit as well.
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Offline flyingbison

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Re: Cellar Idea
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2011, 02:42:18 PM »
70 doesn't seem too bad for summer months.  Any windows in the room you can block/insulate?

No, 70 isn't bad at all.  this isn't being done out of necessity, rather curiosity ;)

Already blocked out the 1 window in the room.  There is a "doorway" that I plan on installing an insulated door in....which should help a bit as well.

Sounds a lot like the cellar at my last house.  Certainly can't hurt to give it a try.

I'm assuming the house doesn't have central AC ... otherwise you could run duct work to the room.