DIY inline heater question - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-08-2010, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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DIY inline heater question

I'm considering incorporating a Snazzy style heater module into a PVC manifold that will return water from my filters back to my tank. Is there any reason why the heater can't be mounted horizontally?

Here's a rough diagram of how it would be set up. Does anyone see any problems/potential improvements in the design?

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-08-2010, 11:03 PM
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I've seen heaters mounted horizontally in quite a few pictures. Don't see why it would cause any problems.


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-08-2010, 11:30 PM
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The only issue that I see is that an air bubble "might" form at the top of the horizontal pipe. I really don't see that actually happeining but it is a possibility.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-17-2010, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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Are there particular brands of heater that work well for this application? Are there brands where the thermostat might not be able to detect water temp?
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-22-2010, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Another question - would it matter if this setup was just sitting on the bottom of my stand or does it need to be mounted higher off the ground? Just trying to figure out how all the plumbing should fit together. Seems like having it just rest on the bottom would make it easier to manipulate it to install/remove the heater and turn it to help shake air bubbles out.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-22-2010, 06:18 PM
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Just make it at a slight incline, not perfectly level. This will eliminate bubbles.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-22-2010, 08:08 PM
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I would also get a solidstate heater not the typical glass heater. This way you have less of on opportunity for it to get too warm if an air bubble occurred. They also tend to be slimmer.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-22-2010, 09:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by over_stocked View Post
Just make it at a slight incline, not perfectly level. This will eliminate bubbles.
I concurr.
If its perfectly flat you may have a problem with a bubble trap at the thermostat end of the heater causing a malfunction. if you tip it signifigantly this should not be a problem. if its barely tipped water force may still hold a bubble in place. so IMO the tilt should be signifigantly not "just off from level" but at like a 20-30 degree angle or so. I am no expert in hydrodynamics, but backwash can do some weird things.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-23-2010, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. Having it operate constantly at an angle might be a little difficult because it would throw off the orientation of the manifold, but I could certainly tip it at a steep angle during initial startup and waterchanges to help clear out any bubbles that build up.

I'm going to be using a 2" PVC tube for the heater portion. I anticipate that the large diameter tube should help to prevent bubbles from causing a problem. I'm also going to be pushing a good deal of flow through this thing (pressure rated pump putting out 850gph @ 0' head) so that should also help to force out bubbles.

Any thoughts about whether it would be ok for this to sit on the bottom of the stand? The plumbing would really fit together best that way.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-23-2010, 03:11 AM
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You can have 2 tubes, 1 housing the heater and another the manifolds and use a 45 degree angle connector.

Too much pressure won't allow the water to be in contact with the heater for long and will slow down the heating process. I do not see any issue with it being inside the stand. However less the distance from the heater to the outflow, less heat lost in transit. Not a big deal, but just a thought.

I see 3 outlets in your diagram. All going to the same tank?
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-23-2010, 04:26 AM
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Quote:
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Are there particular brands of heater that work well for this application? Are there brands where the thermostat might not be able to detect water temp?
If you don't already have the heater, maybe you should consider the hydor inline heaters. They aren't designed for horizontal use but I'm sure you will have some sort of vertical run where the heater can be placed.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-23-2010, 07:47 AM Thread Starter
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I've thought about the 300W Hydor ETH. In many ways it would make things a lot easier but I'm worried that the 5/8" tubing will be too restrictive to my flow rate.

All three outlet go back to the same tank. The setup is a paludarium. Outlet 1 will handle the majority of the flow and leads to a submerged return in the aquatic portion of the tank. Outlets 2 and 3 feed dripwalls in the emersed portion.

If I was to use a Hydor I'd probably have to switch things around a bit and plumb it downstream of outlet 1 so that only the water returning directly to the aquatic portion was heated (the dripwalls don't really need warm water).



Hmm... I'd dismissed the Hydor at one point but it's starting to seem appealing again. The only real downside would be potential loss of flow, but given that my pump is pressure rated and only a portion of the flow will be passing through the Hydor I don't know if this is a valid concern. Any thoughts? Pros and cons of either setup?
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