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How Long

Wayco Wayne_2Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,472
is my pipe? Sorry for the double entendre. This is a tangential subject to my thread on radiant cooling. I have an existing 1 1/4 pipe of Polyethelene tubing that runs out of the basement of a nature center. Runs underground to a lake and loops around the bottom of the lake. It used to be connected to a geo thermal heat pump, but someone got rid of it when it turned 25 years old and replaced with residential air source heat pump. ( what a maroon.) I now have two stubs of the tubing sticking out of the basement wall. How can I figure the length and usefulness of this pipe? I would like to use it to supplement the existing cooling which is not cutting the mustard. Thanks


  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,123
    Unknown pipe length

    Can you put a funnel on one side, and then fill the pipe with a 5 gallon bucket, to find its volume?

    Then it should be a simple matter to determine its length.

    Figuring out its depth underground before it enters the lake, would prevent freeze ups in winter as well.--NBC
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 5,732
    Food color

    I think NBC has the right plan.

    If the tube is presently full of water, you could put some food coloring in the new water so you can tell where you started.

    If you have access to a utility locator, you can run a wire or a fish tape through the pipe and clamp the locator to that to determine the depth.

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited July 2014

    It would be easier to adapt pipe fittings to the two ends and fill the pipe with water (to be sure that it is full. Then with a standard portable air compressor Like they sell for air tools like nailers, to adapt to the pipe fittings on the poly pipe, and blow the water back into 5 gallon buckets and compute the volume of water. If you know the inside diameter of the PE pipe, it's an easy conversion to how long the pipe is based on how much water fits inside of a 10' length of the Poly Pipe. While at it, you can also test the pipe for tightness. You can also make flow tests to see how fast the water runs through the pipe and clean the pipe. You can also measure the temperature of the water going IN to the pipe before it goes into the lake, and what it is when it comes out. If you can accurately vary the flow, you might even be able to get an "estimate" of the available Delta T of the lake water circuit. All kinds of fun stuff. Something some environmental engineering company wouldn't figure out how to do but would charge big $$$$$ to do. And you'll do for nothing because they expect you to do it for free.

    Adding dye can be problematic because the dye starts mixing and you never know where to stop measuring from. Ask how I know.
  • I Would

    I would hook up a hose, run water through it, pressure test it, then with the water running measure the water temp going to lake, and temp coming up from lake. I have 56 degree water here that I use for cooling, but I have heard of a similar cooling system, maybe a hundred years old that uses water from our historic canals to cool an old mill, the temps must be 70 during late summer, but a plumber told me that it still worked pretty good in the summer.

    Thanks, Bob Gagnon
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,843
    Reverse calculation for head...

    1. Pressure test to confirm vessel integrity.

    2. Connect a steep curved pump to the pipe with pressure gauges before and after the pump.

    3. Read pressure differential across pump with pump running wide open and free.

    4. Take manufacturers performance curve and figure out how many guppies per minute (GPM) you are currently moving.

    5. Take pressure drop chart for the pipe you are connected to, and knowing (from initial differential test) how many GPM you are moving, and knowing the pressure drop of the pipe per foot per GPM, divide known overall circuit pressure drop by the pressure drop per foot (or one hundred feet what ever your chart reads) and calculate length.

    The problem with air purging is that unless you have a substantial CFM availability (thinking tow behind compressor here), chances of getting a good and complete purge into buckets or drums is slim. And once you start flowing water out, you can not stop until it stops itself. Could get a little (lot) messy if you are not prepared.

    Don't forget to compensate for fluid temperature in your calculations.

    My assumption is that there are no obstructions or kinks in the pipe. Otherwise, all bets are off.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Water removal by air:

    ME, some of us didn't have access to expensive State of the Art equipment, We had to use the third world methodology.

    You have no idea how effective compressed air is at removing water from pipes unless you have been blowing out pipes with air for winterization of houses. For the last 15+ years, I drained over 100 houses per year using $200.00 portable hot dog air compressors.

    If you can purge the air out of a heating system by using standard procedures and practices, you can purge all the water from a system using air. The secret is that the air is turbulent. The turbulent air will swirl and pick up water/moisture and continue to pick up more moisture. When the air at the other end comes out with no water vapor, the pipe will be dry. I found when I started draining houses with air, that there were large amounts of water left in the systems at low points that developed after time. Nothing broke. Then, there are modern installers that think that "pitch" is a musical term, "Low Points" are a bad time in your life and "Drips" are something that comes out of a faucet in need of repair or an old time slang term for someone who is stupid or a little "Ta-Ta".

    A little warning about testing old PE pipe. Be sure to find some pressure rating of the pipe. Whatever the working pressure of the pipe is, test it to no more than that. Less is safer and better. Nothing excessive. If it is connected to a boiler that has a 30# relief system pressure, test it to 30#. If the pipe is 100' down, don't worry because the outside water pressure will be higher on the outside of the pipe than the inside. If you exceed the rated pressure of the poly pipe, it can split. There is a lot of 30-40 year old Poly pipe that is defective and will split with cracks so small, you can't see the cracks.

    When the pipe is in operation with (say) a 12# operating pressure, the internal pressure of the pipe will be much higher than 12# at 100' below the surface, but it will only be 12# higher than the outside pressure. Whatever test pressure you choose, leave it full of air for 24 to 48 hours. If the pressure drops appreciably, you probably have a leak. It may go up or down because of temperature changes. Just be very careful to not over pressurize it. If per chance it is 100# pipe, it is very easy to blow it. Irrigation installers use 80# poly pipe. That stuff REALLY blows.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Pressure Testing with water:

    If you try to use water only to pressure test, you run the risk of over pressurization or contraction due to thermal expansion. You're way better off using compressed air for testing. Because water/liquids aren't compressible, I always figured that in Hydraulics, the difference between 0# pressure and 1,000+#, was a drop of liquid. You can compress a gas into a liquid but you can't compress a liquid into a gas. You can only decompress it into a gas.
  • Harvey RamerHarvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,214
    Long Pipe

    I would make sure I got paid to do these calcs. An engineer would, why shouldn't you?

    I have found the method that Mark described to be quite effective in the past. If you want to take it a step further, grab a cheap electric boiler, spa heater, or something of that sort. Hook it up and monitor the supply and return temps. You already figured out the flow rate so it is an easy matter, at this point to accurately calculate the btu dissipation rate from the loop. It will give you a good point to start. You would have to extrapolate to compensate for seasonal changes and heat saturation.

    Ramer Mechanical
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Wayco Wayne_2Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,472
    next question

    Let's say I have a viable pipe that holds pressure and gives me cool water. What distribution method should I use. I have an existing ducted heat pump & Air handler. What if I put a water coil on the return duct just before the air handler, to pre condition the air. What would the outcome be?
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Livin' In The Third World:

    That may be so.

    I had a electronic thermometer with three test leads. You could test three things at once. Just not all at once. Where I worked, having Shade Tree mechanical abilities could be a must. I once had some ME/Rep tell me that I was incapable of changing the shaft seal on a booster pump. But he would come down with a mechanic (2 people) and change it. Minimum charge of 8 hours at $150.00 each, plus the part. I told him that unless he was born before 1943, I had probably been changing pump seals before he knew what a pump was. I changed it in 2 hours.

    Engineers were the same.

    In some varying form, I would have put a garden hose into a 5 gallon bucket, with my handy pump pumping in to the PE lake loop. With a 5 gallon bucket on the outlet. I would time the filling of the 5 gallon outlet bucket and determine how many GPM/GPH it was filling the bucket and computed how many # of water flowed into the bucket. I would have measured the sill cock water temperature going into the first bucket and the temperature of the water coming out of the lake to determine the differential. A third world calculation to figure out how many cooling BTU's are available. You could probably cool and de-humidify the building with the lake water for a large part of the year. Its my experience with engineers that if you have done your homework well, the engineer will take your figures, agree with your methodology, and get someone else to do the job so they can get a big cut out of the job. Leaving you watching someone else make a mess out of what you had carefully planned.

    That Rep/ME? He had installed the booster pump system. The street pressure in the building going in to the pumps was 67#. It was boosted up to 135#. The whole potable water system in the public building was running at 135#, no matter what was run. The pumps were installed without a service by-pass so you could take the whole system out of the loop. With the pumps turned off, there was no pressure drop in the building and it still maintained over 60# flowing pressure THROUGH THE RESTRICTION OF THE PUMPS.

    Those of us who learned to keep our tools out of the hot sun and in the shade of the tree, would never do that. That's not even code.
  • Harvey RamerHarvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,214
    Not so hot.

    The outcome of placing the coil in the return duct would more than likely reduce the but output of the AC unit. If you have abnormally high return air Temps and the coil doesn't bring the temp below 70, it would be viable. Parallel would be better, but only if the duct supports the increased air volume which it probably doesn't. Another option would be to use remote terminal units. They make some to use with water that look just like a wall mount minisplit head. Strategically placed, these could prove to be the cats pajamas, in your situation.

    Ramer Mechanical
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Long & Short:

    Just for thoughts because I know not about such things.

    If the HX for the lake cooled water was in the return duct, before the AH, which I am assuming is a heat/AC AH, the A-Coil would provide some restriction (bad) but could collect condensation if it was forming from the cooler air stream (good). But my main point is that if you get sufficient cooling from the lake in the Spring and fall, you may not even need to run the normal AC because the lake might give you enough cooling BTU's. You could cool the whole building with the lake. How cool (no pun intended) would that be?  People put hot air duct boosters from wood stoves to heat. Why not the same with cold air?

    If there are no records, trot/row out on the lake now and find out the surface temperature at the top of the lake and the bottom of the kale. It will be colder at the bottom at this time of year. In a month or so, the water temperature will be rapidly cooling. It is still colder at the bottom. When ice forms and the entire lake is covered with ice, the bottom of the lake will be 39 degrees. If it isn't, the lake isn't on the earth we live on. If you or someone does all this, you can have a pretty good idea of the amount of available cooling water in the lake loop.

    If you can pull it off, they will gather at your feet for your words of wisdom after reading about your accomplishments in some Green Technology magazine.

    Trust me. The Greenie Weenies have dreams at night to have the chance at a job with a big lake beside it to play with.
  • Wayco Wayne_2Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,472
    me too.

    I've been wanting a lake to play with for a long time. :) 
  • Wayco Wayne_2Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,472
    edited July 2014
    orange tubing

    This is one of the pre-existing pipes coming in through the block wall. Does anyone know what the heck it is? I was expecting black polyethylene tubing. Orange? I dunno. The pipe is at least 25 years old.
  • Wayco Wayne_2Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,472
    A plumber

    at work said it looked like a fusion joint. Anyone have any experience here?
  • hot_rodhot_rod Member Posts: 13,182
    Almost looks like

    Someone tried to glue an electrical PVC ell onto it. The tube exposed to sun or UV for that long may not be in good shape,
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Fusion Welds:

    It doesn't look like any fusion weld I've ever seen. But I haven't seen everything.

    Take some PVC CLEAR cleaner and see if it softens the pipe. See if it softens the Ell that looks like a Sch. 40 PVC ell. Is there any of the orange pipe inside? Try the PVC Cleaner inside on that.

    The Phone Company uses some orange conduit to run their fiber-optic cable. But I always thought it was Polyethylene (PE) pipe. Try taking a really sharp edge knife and scraping it on the pipe and the fitting. PE pipe usually scrapes off in sheets. PVC doesn't. Its possible that the OD of the orange pipe fit tightly inside the ell socket and someone glued it in. If it is Poly pipe, and the fitting is glued, tug and twist the ell and see if it comes loose. As far as I know, there are no socket welded PE pipe and fitting assemblies.

    Are there no marks on anything?

    It's also possible that the orange tube is "CTS" (Copper Tube Size) so the piece or orange pipe, see if it fits a standard CTS fitting. Like a 1" copper fitting. If that is the case, you can use standard CTS compression fittings on the Plly Pipe.
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Sure looks like HDPE from here

    That cut and the color (if accurate) is all wrong for CPVC fire sprinkler pipe.

    Orange is the standard color code for fiber and comms and they make a LOT of it.  Nothing fundamentally wrong with using it for nonpotable water -- it's the same resin extruded on the same machines using the same dies, just using different colored pellets.

    Once you verify (as explained above) that it's HDPE, I'd probably look for a local geothermal guy to terminate it properly.  Barring that, you could have pretty much any underground utility contractor fuse transition fittings on it and handle the rest yourself.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Air testing:

    FWIW, is why I suggested trying to test it with air before you did any long term planning. I've never played with HDPE before but that orange stuff was used by fiber optic users for underground. conduit. You could fish/pull fiber optic cable in it by sucking a proper sized ball of cotton with a piece of poly string tied on and suck it through. It was stupid cheap and there were a lot of 5 finger discounts given. If you have access to a supplier that deals in supplying water service fittings to municipal water companies. take a piece the orange pipe and see if they have a line of fittings that fit the OUTSIDE diameter of the pipe. You just need a compression sleeve for the inside. If you can find a mechanical fitting to fit it, it will be far more convenient than trying to line up someone to come and do a fusion weld.

    That's just my opinion on the subject.
  • hot_rodhot_rod Member Posts: 13,182
    GEO grip

    is a fitting developed for PE tube that does not require heat fusion. Available as brass or plastic, many configurations. Most often these are CTS as ice mentioned.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    My concern there

    was the amount of material protruding from the face of the block wall.  If it were my job, I'd pay for a fusion splice before I decided to relieve the customer's wall with my demo hammer.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Fusion Welds:

    Even if you got that orange tube out of the PVC ell, I haven't seen a fusion welder that would fit between the wall and the weld. It might be nice to have it fusion welded. MILLIONS of compression fittings are in the ground all over the world. As long as you use the internal SS compression sleeve and tighten the outside SS bolt, it won't ever come off. Even if you hook on to it with a back hoe.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited July 2014

    If you have a fitting like this, and someone forgets to tighten the stainless steel bolt, like this:

    And the pipe is like this with a stainless steel compression sleeve inside like this:

    It can look like this:

    When it should have looked like this:

    And it looked like this when it was found. The darker colored concrete blocks show the high tide mark. So always be sure to tighten the bolt AFTER you tighten the clamp.
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Compression and compression

    Just to recap, the compression fittings being discussed here (and shown in the photos above) used by the waterworks and geothermal trades.  They are quite different than the stuff you find on the shelf at the big box stores.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Big Box as opposed to:

    Big Box stores as opposed to your well stocked Plumbing and heating wholesale company with many stores. Standard items in most FW Webb, Plumber's Supply Stores. Then, there's Sumner & Dunbar. Bought out by I don't know who.

    That will be (in the end) a tedious rig. I'd want to have the most positively secure connection available. The one I showed you would never have come apart if the bolt had been tightened. It stayed together for ten or more years. I didn't install it. I only fixed it.

    As far as the orange pipe. if you can find a mechanical fitting that fits that orange pipe, and make a good solid connection, it doesn't matter if you tie the rest of it up with duct tape, As long as it is tight.
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