Need to figure out heat loss as water passes thru a pipe....

In summary, the speaker lives in a hot area and wants to use a trenching system to cool their home using the cool water from their tap. They are seeking advice on the best materials and depth for the piping and whether there are alternative transfer liquids besides water. They also mention the possibility of using geothermal heat/cooling and ask for input and advice on their idea.
  • #1
ThaSatelliteGuy
But not for the reason or application you might think...lol

I live in SE Texas, just south of Houston. It is hot as balls here in the summer. (Which accounts for three of our seasons here) My neighborhood is on a "community well" type water system, and the well is in the back of the neighborhood, about 1/2 mile away. My water comes out of the tap noticeably cool. I am also on a .99 acre lot, so I have plenty of room to play with, and I'm outside the city limits, so there's also no one to tell me I can't. My theory is that if I could get my hands on a trencher and create a more or less closed circulatory system underground that I could bleed off enough heat from the water to actually cool my home. And if not cool it completely, at least take significant load off of the A/C, and therefor, the light bill. Also, I would like to eventually go solar and this would eliminate a very demanding system, removing a big hurdle toward that end.

What I need to be able to figure out is what kind of transfer I would get with different materials for the piping so I can determine how many linear feet of field I would need for a given material. Also, depth would be a consideration, but my plan there would be to just go as deep as the machine would dig and go from there. Also, would the dirt be the best primary contact material to the piping as far as heat transfer out of the pipe is concerned, or is there some sort intermediate material that I could backfill the trench with first that would help facilitate the transfer from the pipe into the ground. There is also the consideration of how fast the Earth itself can wick the heat away from the area. It won't do me any good to saturate the ground with heat energy as it would cause my contraption to cool very well for a short time, but then peter out as the ground warmed up.

I don't know if this will even work or not. I have to believe that as cold as the water is coming from my tap, even on the hottest of days, that if I could get enough water back underground for a long enough period of time, that I could relocate enough heat directly into the ground to actually cool my home. Any useful input would be very welcome! ie:pipe material suggestions, or alternatives to water as a transfer liquid, etc.

Thanks for entertaining my "pipe dream"!"I don't think outside the box. I simply refuse to acknowledge existence of said box."
"Boxes? We don't need no stinking boxes!"
 
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  • #2
Yes that's possible, but you may need to dig much deeper. This Wikipedia article may help.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_heating said:
In regions without any high temperature geothermal resources, a ground-source heat pump (GSHP) can provide space heating and space cooling. Like a refrigerator or air conditioner, these systems use a heat pump to force the transfer of heat from the ground to the building. Heat can be extracted from any source, no matter how cold, but a warmer source allows higher efficiency. A ground-source heat pump uses the shallow ground or ground water (typically starting at 10–12 °C or 50–54 °F) as a source of heat, thus taking advantage of its seasonally moderate temperatures.[11] In contrast, an air-source heat pump draws heat from the air (colder outside air) and thus requires more energy.

In most areas of the country, geothermal heat/cooling has already been tried or researched. Ask around locally. Local heating contractors may know.
 
  • #3
Some countries/state even pay you to do this sort of thing.
 

Related to Need to figure out heat loss as water passes thru a pipe....

What is heat loss and why is it important to calculate?

Heat loss is the transfer of thermal energy from a higher temperature to a lower temperature. In the context of water passing through a pipe, heat loss refers to the amount of thermal energy that is lost as the water travels through the pipe. It is important to calculate heat loss in order to determine the efficiency of the pipe system and to make necessary adjustments to reduce energy waste and save costs.

What factors affect heat loss in a pipe system?

There are several factors that can affect heat loss in a pipe system, including the material and thickness of the pipe, the temperature difference between the water and the surrounding environment, the flow rate of the water, and the insulation of the pipe.

How do you calculate heat loss in a pipe system?

The most common method for calculating heat loss in a pipe system is using the heat transfer coefficient, which takes into account the surface area, thermal conductivity of the pipe material, and the temperature difference between the water and the surroundings. This can be calculated using the formula Q = U x A x ΔT, where Q is the heat loss, U is the heat transfer coefficient, A is the surface area, and ΔT is the temperature difference.

What are some ways to reduce heat loss in a pipe system?

One way to reduce heat loss in a pipe system is to insulate the pipes with materials that have a low thermal conductivity, such as fiberglass or foam. Additionally, reducing the flow rate of the water or increasing the thickness of the pipes can also help to decrease heat loss. Proper maintenance and repair of any leaks or damaged sections of the pipe can also prevent heat loss.

How can the calculation of heat loss be applied in real-world scenarios?

The calculation of heat loss in a pipe system is important for various industries, such as HVAC, plumbing, and oil and gas, where efficient and accurate heat transfer is crucial. It can also be used in building design to determine the amount of insulation needed for pipes to maintain a desired temperature. Furthermore, understanding heat loss can help in the development of more sustainable and energy-efficient systems.

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