When [Ronald Walters] was building a new house, he decided he didn’t want to shovel snow anymore. So he built a snow melt system under his new driveway. He knew the system would be expensive to operate, but he reasoned it was cheaper than back surgery and much cheaper than having a heart attack.
The system uses PEX pipe on rebar and insulation that is all set down before the concrete in the driveway. An instant-on water heater produces the heat that melts the snow and ice off [Ronald’s] driveway with no shoveling required. The working fluid includes anti-freeze, of course, and there is a set of pumps, flow valves, and flow meters to keep everything flowing when the system is in operation.
Continue reading “Don’t Shovel Snow; Build An Epic Melt System!”
Some households have water supplies that contain higher than desired levels of minerals. This condition is called hard water. There is nothing harmful about hard water but it does leave mineral deposits on pipes and appliances and makes cleaning a little bit more difficult. The solution is to have a water softener system which is basically a tank filled with salt that the household water passes through. This tank has to be refilled about every month and [David] was catching a little flak from his wife because he kept forgetting to fill it. He then set out to do what any great husband would do and built a Water Softener Monitor that reports the quantity of salt in the basement tank up to the living quarters.
[David] started thinking that he should test the salinity of the water to determine if salt needed to be added but after thinking about it for a while decided against it because any metal in that salty water would surely corrode. A non-contact approach would be to use an IR distance sensor mounted to the top of the tank and measure the distance to the pile of salt that slowly lowers as it dissolves into the water. In this case, he used a Sharp GP2D12 that can measure accurately from 10 to 80cm.
Continue reading “Water Softener Level Detector Keeps You Out Of Trouble With Wife”
[Stephen] doesn’t have the luxury of readily available hot water in his apartment, and since he’s just renting he didn’t want to buy one of those instant powered units, so he decided to go ahead and build his own!
He’s using a submersible 1000W immersion heater in a 2.5 gallon water container which has been mounted high up in his bathroom to let gravity do the work for actual shower. It’s not quite an instant shower unit as the water needs to heat up like a kettle before being used — this takes about 4 minutes to hit the optimum temperature.
The current shower head installed drains the tank in about 2.5 minutes, which might not seem like much time for a shower, but let’s be honest — we could all probably cut back our shower time and save some water for the environment! Something one of our Hack a Day Prize entries is hoping to solve through music!
Continue reading “Homemade Hot Water Shower Might Shock You”
This home is heated by a wood stove in the winter, which also produces hot water. But the other three seasons it’s an electric water heater that does the work. This latest hack is a solar collector meant to take over the hot water production work for the house. it uses basic building materials and rudimentary construction skills, making it much more approachable than trying to make electricity from the sun.
It’s really just a wood box with a glass lid. The inside has been painted black, and the black tubing that snakes through it holds the water. A three-way valve lets the homeowner patch into the hot water reservoir. The collector is lower than the reservoir, so the heated water makes its way back into the tank as cooler water takes its place. Not bad for an entirely passive system!