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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    oregon
    Posts
    139

    using sewer system as geo thermal as heat transfer

    Does anyone know if anyone has ever tried to use a sewer system as the source for transferring energy just like a river?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    East Coast FL
    Posts
    1,056
    Interesting concept.

    There may be several issues to overcome.

    -municipalities would probably reject the idea
    -septic tanks are not large enough for the required footage of pipe
    -piping could cause blockage of sewer flow

    However the idea could be efficient , considering the gray water flow at a consistant temperature. Dont think the sludge would be a problem either , as it would probably aid in heat transfer , coating and surrounding the pipe , mixed with water.

    Service on the loop could be bad though.

    Dont know if this would be going "green" or going brown.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    AZ
    Posts
    637
    Give it a try and let us all know how it works out. I know I will not be installing the loop.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    oregon
    Posts
    139
    Airesearch thanks for your ththoughts. As far as the municipality is concerned I think the biggest problem will be making contact with the right person who is open to new ideas. As far as plugging the line at this point I am not to concerned with that problem right now. I would be looking at using larger diameter pipe to keep a larger GPM flowing over the loop so should be plenty of room. I figure the number crunching as to pipe size and required GPM would come later depending how receptive people are to the idea.

    Dijit lol. I make my living working in or around sewage. Let me tell ya for the most part it is not bad then probably just like other jobs there are days you can't take enough showers.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    AZ
    Posts
    637
    What kind of sewer temps are we talking?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    oregon
    Posts
    139
    There are variables to temp but for the most part in my area 55 would be average. It has been a while since I have looked at temps for I usually am looking at depth and velocity. I can get solid numbers this week if you would like.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Virginia Beach VA
    Posts
    44
    One issue with using your sewage system as a heat source - removing too much heat could lead to an increase in viscosity of the sewage, interfering with flow and ultimately making it easier for the system to have freeze problems.

    Not being familiar with sewers or septic, I also wonder if reduced temperatures in a septic system could interfere with the natural bacterial processes that break down the organic materials in the sludge (or whatever you call it).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    East Coast FL
    Posts
    1,056
    Dont think you could fit 3,400 ft of poly pipe in a septic tank.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    oregon
    Posts
    139
    I was thinking of using the main lines of the municipality. Is there a rough rule of thunbas to how much pipe you would need per a ton of heating or cooling.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    7,748
    There were some studies and actually homes modified so that all of the waste heat from the drains were tied into a heat exchanger that preheated the water going into the hot water heater and it really saved a bit of money/energy.

    But the costs for installation were pretty high. Still, one heat exchanger located inside the home at the main outlet of the home sure would extract some heat from all that hot water going down the drain, I would think. That would elimanate all contact with the local sewer authorities but would bring you face to face with plumbing inspectors.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the public's own money.
    - Alexis de Toqueville, 1835

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    354
    i'd just throw this out there. with all that crap and crud on the pipes, i'd wonder about longevity of the piping system, just a thought, but interesting idea!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    1,339
    Try to get the pipes coming out of City Hall, I am sure you will get the right amount of excrement you need to heat the planet.......
    Never give up; Never surrender!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    7,748
    Quote Originally Posted by trouble time View Post
    Try to get the pipes coming out of City Hall, I am sure you will get the right amount of excrement you need to heat the planet.......
    Not anymore. I think it's all backed up these days.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the public's own money.
    - Alexis de Toqueville, 1835

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