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Heat Dissipation Via Your Home Cold Water Pipes

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April 3, 2010 10:02:55 AM

Hello,
I would really like to cool an i7 computer without having the resulting system sound like an airplane taking off. I have read some about radiator systems, etc - but the problem is that the heat is released into your house... i.e., a limited size "sink" for the heat.
The water lines that come into most houses have run for a long distance through a relatively shallow depth of ground, which means they are naturally cooled and represent a BIG heat sink. Has anyone tried something as simple as wrapping copper tubing around their incoming cold water line to dissipate their system heat? I admit it might be troublesome to set up, but heat transfer is based on the heat differential and the size of the sink. I have this sneaking suspicion (as a Physics teacher) that you could prevent significant rises in system temperature by running a slow pump through a long coil around your water line. What do you think?
a b K Overclocking
April 3, 2010 10:49:16 AM

The easiest way is to buy a cheap watercooling setup and stick the radiator outside. That's what I learned from a guy on YouTube.
a b K Overclocking
April 3, 2010 11:43:35 AM

I think the biggest problem I see is that most people don't have a computer near the pipe? Other problems include no easy access to the pipe, and getting a good connection will be a problem. Finally, as soon as you hit a section of PVC your going to have problems.
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April 3, 2010 11:44:14 AM

Get a quality case, power supply and cpu cooler - like coolermaster 690 case, one of theirs silent brand PSUs and noctua 12cm cpu cooler. You'll hardly notice its on, as its barely more audible than no fans working at all.

While extremely good, this bummed me out at first. Computer makes noises even no fans are working. Either I have very good hearing or hearing electricity run is a normal thing (or whatever can be heard when there are no fans working).

Either way, its cheaper and safer in the long run than risking liquid spill over your components. In fact, it can be even more quiet than some liquid cooling solutions while giving superb cooling results. I have my c2q 6600 @ 3ghz idling at 32c/load 54c. My 4850 gpu idle at 35c and load at 56c while barely more audible than no fans working at all- i replaced the gpu cooler with a strap on 12cm one.
a b K Overclocking
April 3, 2010 6:00:53 PM

Just saw this over at bit tech: http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=185169

Perhaps that's what you need.

@eodeo: WCing is fine as long as it's done RIGHT. I'v built over 14 different loops so far cor people and non of them have problems.
April 3, 2010 7:23:34 PM

I wasnt trying to imply that water cooling is bad or wrong, just that air is potentially safer while not necessarily louder/hotter. In my case its the opposite... but i have 7 12cm and 2 14cm fans in my case...

silence is golden.
a b K Overclocking
April 3, 2010 11:29:22 PM

I'm not sure this is water cooling, at least as I understand his idea. Your simply attaching the sink to the pipe. Water flows through pipe, cooling as it goes. No chance for leaks. I just don't see how you'd attach the sink to the pipe.
April 3, 2010 11:39:04 PM

I think you dont. You merely coil the tubes around the home pipes- instant heat transfer. Its rather brilliant.
a b K Overclocking
April 4, 2010 4:00:15 AM

and as I said, I don't think thats going to be thermally good enough for heat transfer. More so if you consider the distance that will be involved.

Best solution

a c 86 K Overclocking
April 4, 2010 4:04:26 AM
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Coiling the tubes around the pipes. Put insulation around the coil around the house water pipe. Might even get good heat transfer. Right......

Umm what happens when the house water circuit has no demand for 3-4 hours? No one uses the sink, showers etc. No water flow. The PC will happily heat that water up in the house pipes and the PC will slowly choke.

Unless you have constant waterflow of cooler water AND AND AND awesome heat transfer charecteristics, it's a fail......

But this would work. Doing your homework and having a clue is a a great thing.

Pull 20 feet of pipe out of the house system, wrap $300 of 1/2 ID copper pipe around it, braze it with a $50 propane torch for proper heat transfer, another $60 of right insulation. Hope your skillz are up to it. And unless you are a environment killer, letting the water flow, or your soon to be massive water bills might cut the idea short.

I can buy a rad and pump for a CPU for $150 max, but it's only quiet, no silent like the above. Or almost silent. You still need fans on the mobo and hard drives.

Only if we all had a subterranium water river 5' under our house at 55F. Watercooling would be easy and quiet.

I let this thread develop, hoping some would see the major flaw. Guess not.

Toms does have a clue. Gotta wait for the answer.

a b K Overclocking
April 4, 2010 6:47:51 AM

I would argue one person knew. He spoke out about it several times...
April 4, 2010 8:04:05 PM

If you are a Physics teacher you should apologize to your Thermodynamics prof. You must have slept through his class.
April 5, 2010 9:07:49 PM

Well if he had or has a swimming pool the o.p. could use a heat exchanger and pump the heat into the swimming pool. The most major drawback would be that a very powerful pump would be needed and all the plumbing required to do it. Lots of plumbing. But he would have a huge heatsump to rely on.
a c 86 K Overclocking
April 6, 2010 12:20:04 AM

I dunno about the pool idea. I live in Vegas. The pool temp can get to 87F in the summer when it's 85F at night at 110F during the day. When the air temp in the house is 78F.

Most places don't have this issue, but I remeber floating in my pool in early April (water was still in the LOW 70s using a pool cover at night) and my Bro in law calling from Montana. He was shoveling feet of snow off his roof, the heavy spring snow. I was in my pool drinking a beer.

You win some, you lose some.
April 6, 2010 5:45:26 PM

True that it depends on where you live and what the outside temps are like. But a pool is still a huge heatsump.

Imagine if you will that the user lives in the Ohio River Valley. During the winter he would get very low temps thanks to the heat exchanger, and during the summer he would get temps below the outside ambient air temps since pools tend to stay cooler than the outside air. Plus he would be able to pump alot of thermal energy out of his computer without raising the temperature of the pool by more than a couple degrees.

The only thing I would worry about is protecting the system from condensation. As the coolant would be below then ambient air temps in the room where the systems are located.
a b K Overclocking
April 6, 2010 5:57:12 PM

Well I know arthur one of the mods runs a wc set up that he has a cpu block attached to a hose that he runs cool water from the pump threw it. This will not be what you want but it uses a similar concept with out have the problem of the water not moving and choking the cpu. He said it costs him about 10 bucks more on water bills and you just have to keep the block cleaned do the fact your running non distilled water threw it. That will bring your temps lower then room temp hopefully.
a c 86 K Overclocking
April 7, 2010 3:36:00 AM

mattidallama said:
Well I know arthur one of the mods runs a wc set up that he has a cpu block attached to a hose that he runs cool water from the pump threw it. This will not be what you want but it uses a similar concept with out have the problem of the water not moving and choking the cpu. He said it costs him about 10 bucks more on water bills and you just have to keep the block cleaned do the fact your running non distilled water threw it. That will bring your temps lower then room temp hopefully.



You watercool? Or air cool? Nuff said...........
April 7, 2010 4:55:07 AM

Thanks, conundrum;
And thanks to all who have commented so far.

In answer to one criticism, my college Thermo professor gave an average of -19 on the first test, and wound up flunking 95% of his class. He didn't care, didn't make it interesting OR understandable. Not the kind of teacher I want to be. He was fired that year.

I do know that heat transfers by conduction, convection, and radiation. And that it flows from hot reservoirs to cold ones at a rate that is proportional to the temperature differential.

I can see that the water in the pipes of the house is usually not circulating, which means our transfer out of the house via convection would be minimal. However, the pipes are all interconnected with that of the city water supply's, so you should still have a large sink via conduction. Maybe the "gotcha" you are talking about is that city water pipes aren't metallic anymore? I don't know. This is just food for thought...

I appreciated the link to the under-floor cooling system :)  That was quite impressive. I am still ruminating... Want to get the heat out of the house, and not just out of the computer. As cheaply as possible, and quietly as possible. Getting it out of the house might not be as important to some, but I live in Texas, where the average heat is close to 100F 60% of the year.

NO thinking is stupid, if it leads to learning. It is easier to steer a car in motion than one that is parked, and it is easier to guide thoughts down the correct path if there is some thinking going on in the first place.

Thanks again,
jpinkerton
April 7, 2010 4:57:12 AM

Best answer selected by jpinkerton.
a b K Overclocking
April 7, 2010 5:06:50 AM

I still think the biggest problem with this idea is how to get the heat from the CPU to the pipe. I don't think just wrapping a tube around the pipe will work/well. And as conumdrum pointed out, it will end up costing more then high end air or water cooling loops. Interesting idea, but not a good one.
April 7, 2010 6:13:41 PM

jpinkerton,

Does your house have basement?

If so then you could try getting a 55gallon plastic drum, and build it as a heat sump for cooling your system. Usually basements can be as much as 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the house. And if you use the drum as a reservoir and then have a couple large (3 x 120mm at least ) radiators your system will run nice and cool.

You could even use the drum as a heat sump that the coolant in it is separate from your primary loop, and just drop a radiator ( or a coiled loop of 1/2" copper tubing ) that is connected to your primary loop into the drum. Then you could use a powerful AC pump (like this one: http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Prod... ) to pump the water inside the drum through a radiator of some kind. You could even use a large radiator like a brass car radiator with a box fan on it to cool the liquid in the drum down. With a powerful pump ( like this one: http://www.dangerden.com/store/eheim-1250.html#tabs or something similar with a decent max head height ) to pump the liquid in your primary loop from the submerged rad or coil back to your system. You could even go so far as to actually use copper tubing to carry the water from the pc down to the drum in your basement. that will give you more surface area for the heat to dissipate through.

You could even go another way with the drum and have it connected to a "Bong"cooler ( http://www.wc101.com/guides/bongs ), and not need a radiator. And to keep the drum filled to capacity use a ball float valve like that in a toilet tank hooked up to the water line in your house. That way when the water gets to a preset point the ball float valve will open and refill the drum to another point you have set. That way will give you semi sub-ambient temps in the drum, and will need an extremely low amount of maintainence.

-ouch1
a b K Overclocking
April 7, 2010 9:41:23 PM

^ lol yeah. I have most of my PCs in my basement (only draw back is it's carpeted, not hardwood,etc so there's a hell of a lot of dust) and on average, my ambient in the basement right now is 65F :lol:  (Outside temps currently ~85F).

@ouch1: With a system like that(above post) you will run in to a BIG mixed metal situation. AFAIK, most drums are steel or aluminum.
April 7, 2010 10:03:48 PM

Shadow703793 said:
@ouch1: With a system like that(above post) you will run in to a BIG mixed metal situation. AFAIK, most drums are steel or aluminum.


Umm you can by plastic ones like this one here for a reasonable price. The one I linked sells them for $18 plus shipping.

And by going with plastic you can bypass most of the mixed metal issues. Since the primary loop ( the one that connects to the pc ) is all copper. And the loop with the drum will have copper, abs ( if you go with a bong setup ), brass ( if you go with the automotive radiator setup. BTW brass does not react with copper ), and maybe some chrome or nickel. But the loop with the drum in it will be mainly plastics; especially if you go with the bong setup. The only possible parts that may cause galvanic corrosion will possibly be the hose clamps, and if you use nylon or plastic ones instead you will be golden.

As for galvanic compatability check out this Link

-ouch1
June 29, 2010 9:34:08 AM

jpinkerton said:
Hello,
I would really like to cool an i7 computer without having the resulting system sound like an airplane taking off. I have read some about radiator systems, etc - but the problem is that the heat is released into your house... i.e., a limited size "sink" for the heat.
The water lines that come into most houses have run for a long distance through a relatively shallow depth of ground, which means they are naturally cooled and represent a BIG heat sink. Has anyone tried something as simple as wrapping copper tubing around their incoming cold water line to dissipate their system heat? I admit it might be troublesome to set up, but heat transfer is based on the heat differential and the size of the sink. I have this sneaking suspicion (as a Physics teacher) that you could prevent significant rises in system temperature by running a slow pump through a long coil around your water line. What do you think?


I had almost the same idea independently. I thought about it for awhile then googled the idea to see if anyone else had thought about it and that's how I found this thread.
My idea didn't have the heat transfer problem though. I already have a water-cooled i7, but I never liked that all the heat the PC gives off just being thrown into the house, so....
I'm considering re-routing my incoming cold water-pipe from the hot water heater through the wall of the closet it is in and into the bedroom closet behind it (I'm a construction electrician, so this wouldn't be a problem for me). Then, keeping the pipe insulated up until it runs vertically through a clear plastic coolant reservoir I build around the pipe. The closet the pipe and reservoir are in is behind the wall my PC is located against. My water-cooled system would still use the same radiator and pump I have now, but now the reservoir would be a 4 or 5 gallon heat exchanger in the closet rather than the one quart reservoir I now use.
This would not only help cool the coolant (radiator would still do most of that), but then my PC's wattage would cut down on the hotwater heater's bill....slightly.
a b K Overclocking
June 29, 2010 12:02:55 PM

You'd still have cooling problems wouldn't you? I don't imagine your rad will get good cooling stuck in a wall. And as mentioned you'll still need flow through the pipe so the water doesn't heat. I'm also not sure a "clear plastic coolant reservoir I build around the pipe" is the best way to transfer heat to the pipe.
June 30, 2010 12:53:56 AM

4745454b said:
You'd still have cooling problems wouldn't you? I don't imagine your rad will get good cooling stuck in a wall. And as mentioned you'll still need flow through the pipe so the water doesn't heat. I'm also not sure a "clear plastic coolant reservoir I build around the pipe" is the best way to transfer heat to the pipe.


Maybe I wasn't clear enough on the details. My WC'd PC has in it the waterblocks and tubing, the pump, the 320 radiator, and a one quart reservoir. I would just remove the existing reservoir and add length to tubing out the back of the PC, through the wall and into and back from the new huge reservoir in the closet. This huge reservoir has the house's cold waterpipe running vertically through it. Think of the reservoir as 4" wide, 4" deep, and 40" tall so it'd hold 640 cubic inches of coolant that would be in direct contact with the copper pipe. If the water inside the pipe wasn't flowing, it wouldn't matter as I'd still have the radiator (in the PC, not in the wall [der]).

This reservoir would just replace the existing one in my loop. The coolant is cooled enough in the radiator, but if I route the loop to hit the reservoir before the radiator then any additional cooling would just be gravy.

* I'm basically just taking an existing (working) WC PC which has a reservoir and re-routing the house's cold waterpipe to run through the reservoir in direct contact with the coolant.
June 30, 2010 1:29:35 AM

Here a quick drawing of what I mean:

a b K Overclocking
June 30, 2010 4:36:40 AM

Your second post made it a lot more clear. The big issue I see with this is wouldn't you need a mondo pump? If your going to be moving that much water, I don't think you can use a little one. I also wonder what happens if the hot water heater kicks its pump on. When it goes to fill the tank, would it suck so much water in so fast that the computer pump gets air bubbles? I'm not sure how a water heater works so this might not be the case. Finally, and less of a success problem, you'll need to keep those tubes going to the reservoir as short as possible and insulated. Don't want that heat getting dumped into the room.
June 30, 2010 9:26:47 PM

twistedspark,

From what I can tell you are going to use the res you build as a heat exchanger to dump heat into the cold water pipe leading to your hot water heater. If that is so why not just wrap 12' of 1/2" ID flexible copper pipe tightly around the cold water pipe, and then sweat it to the pipe. In doing so you will make a homemade heat exchanger. Then you can have a seperate rad for the loop and use the heat exchanger as a radiator replacement. That will cut down on the amount of components in the loop.

Plus by pumping the (hopefully cold coolant) throught a radiator it will work up to ambient air temps, and possibly cause condensation to build on the radiator. Which would be bad if its mounted above your pc's components. What you would need to do is buy a neoprene insualtion kit (like this one) to make sure that no condnesation reachs your cpu.

-ouch1
June 30, 2010 10:47:03 PM

Your second post made it a lot more clear. The big issue I see with this is wouldn't you need a mondo pump? If your going to be moving that much water, I don't think you can use a little one. I also wonder what happens if the hot water heater kicks its pump on. When it goes to fill the tank, would it suck so much water in so fast that the computer pump gets air bubbles? I'm not sure how a water heater works so this might not be the case. Finally, and less of a success problem, you'll need to keep those tubes going to the reservoir as short as possible and insulated. Don't want that heat getting dumped into the room.


I wouldn't need a mondo water pump because it wouldn't be moving greater amounts of water. Just increasing the reservoir size doesn't equate to more strain on the pump. You could use an olympic sized swimming pool as a reservoir and the pump would still be moving the same amount of water per second that it does with no reservoir at all.
Water heaters have no pump. The water is forced into the water heater by the water pressure in the incoming cold waterpipe. Water then flows through the pipe (that would be encased in the reservoir) when hot water is flowing in the house's tap(s). ie: shower, sink, etc, from the hot water tank.

Ouch1, your heat exchanger idea is far more complex than my idea. In my plan, I could easily remove my PC from the house if need be. Nothing welded together. Plus, the cooling added by the waterpipe in my idea would be supplemental to the radiator. If I used your heat exchanger idea the exchanger would be the only cooling. If the cold waterpipe wasn't flowing, my PC wouldn't be cooled at all.
Condensation isn't an issue when dealing with WC PCs. Only if you add something colder than ambient to the loop would condensation form. My system would be removing some of the excess heat, true, but unless this cooled my radiator to less than 20ºC (65ºF) or so, it wouldn't be an issue. My CPU currently idles at 32ºC with the NB at 44ºC and GPUs ≈63ºC (not WC; how do you WC 2-9800gx2's?)
July 2, 2010 11:51:20 PM

twistedspark said:
Ouch1, your heat exchanger idea is far more complex than my idea. In my plan, I could easily remove my PC from the house if need be. Nothing welded together. Plus, the cooling added by the waterpipe in my idea would be supplemental to the radiator. If I used your heat exchanger idea the exchanger would be the only cooling. If the cold waterpipe wasn't flowing, my PC wouldn't be cooled at all.
Condensation isn't an issue when dealing with WC PCs. Only if you add something colder than ambient to the loop would condensation form. My system would be removing some of the excess heat, true, but unless this cooled my radiator to less than 20ºC (65ºF) or so, it wouldn't be an issue. My CPU currently idles at 32ºC with the NB at 44ºC and GPUs ≈63ºC (not WC; how do you WC 2-9800gx2's?)


Even a couple degree's below ambient will cause condensation. It all depends on the local humidity. By cooling the water in your homemade res/ heat exchanger and then running it through the rad will warm the water to near ambient air temps. By pumping the slightly below ambient temp water through the rad you will run the risk of condensation forming on the rad (yes it is possible since the air blowing across the rad will be warmer than the coolant). The reason I say this is that usually water in the pipes in my area is cooler than ambient air temps since the pipes are under ground.

As for cooling a pair of 9800GX2's I would setup a sceond loop with a large rad (at least a 4X120mm) in a push-pull config with a good solid pump and a pair of DD - 9800GX2 Block's (I know they are pricey at $209 each) for the video cards. That should lower the gpu temps nicely.

-ouch1
December 30, 2013 11:30:52 PM

Drainage is the real worry for home owners now a days. For drainage extra material of ribber can be used to keep the things safe from the heat.
http://water-heater-installation.net/ can help you to get an idea about the heating up of water.
a c 205 K Overclocking
December 31, 2013 1:57:56 AM

This thread is over 3 years old Carterjames, and so is the information in it.
!