Free Air Conditioning

Picture of Free Air Conditioning
Technically it should be called a heat exchanger, we lovingly call it the water cooler, but it has been providing us with free cold air for more than 20 years now so it definitely does work.
Shortly after moving here (Montana) I noticed that the water from our well is really cold, under 50 degrees. I built this heat exchanger to take advantage of that cold source for use in the house in the summer and as a byproduct it heats up the water going to the garden a bit before it goes on the plants since the plants didn't seem to care to much for the super cold water. Good benefits all the way around and since I would be pumping the water to water outside anyway the only actual cost is the power to run the box fan that moves the air through the copper piping.
How well does it work? We hit a high temperature in July of 112F, hottest that I can remember. The temperature inside was 76F with the cooler running all the time. I almost didn't want to go out to move the sprinkler.
The disadvantages? Well, you have to move the sprinkler a lot, but it does keep the grass green. Also if the humidity gets high, water will condense on the exchanger the same as on a glass of cold water. So I keep towels underneath it to soak up the moisture. If it gets really muggy I have to change the towels several times a day. I just hang the wet set outside in the heat to dry and rotate the dry ones back under the cooler.
It will take some skill to put it together but once done it is maintenance free, except for the time I left it outside before putting it away for the winter and it froze some leftover water in a pipe and broke it. Make sure to get the water out of it and store it where its above freezing.
Another disadvantage, it isn't pretty, but it is unique and truly "green".
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nblender1 month ago

I've done this as well. My well is 10gpm and it comes out of the ground at 8 degrees C. I had a new furnace installed so I asked the installer to put in an evaporator coil while he was at it. It cost me an extra $180. I plumbed a 1/4" solenoid valve in line with the fresh water supply from the well. I insulated the water line leading to the furnace so the water going in is as close to the same temperature as groundwater as I can measure. I hooked the solenoid valve up to the A/C terminals on the furnace, so when the thermostat calls for cooling, it turns on the water and cools the house. The egress for the warm water is a faucet on the outside of the house which has long soaker hoses attached to water the flower beds. The flowers like warm water on a hot day over shockingly cold water anyway... The runoff just goes back into the ground.

The system works fairly well if I can control the solar load by closing curtains on sunny windows or putting out the awnings on the South view windows. If I set the temp to 66F in the morning on an anticipated 'hot day', I can keep the ambient temperatures in the house down to 75F by the time the outside temperature falls at the end of the day. It doesn't work as well as a true A/C system, but it's close enough to free that it pleases me. In preparation for fall/winter, I drain the evaporator coil and run some vinegar through it to clear out any mineralization... Hot air from heat during the winter would cause any solids to come out of solution I think, and eventually clog the evap coil.

The drawback to this system is the coil doesn't get cold enough to cause condensation to pool and run off so there's no net reduction in humidity within the house.

Anyway, that's my story. It was cheap to do and it's hidden from view...

moonshine884 months ago
lived there 6 years and I use this idea w an ice chest and a heater core for my work trk (which in CA w no a/c I'd bad bad bad) and it works well
balconio8 months ago
This is great- I conceived a similar system (not built yet- just in my head) using a heat exchanger and cheap box fan that took this a step further and used an insulated ducting system to deliver the chilled air to multiple rooms and a drip tray under the unit to collect condensate.
Have you thought of returning the water to the well instead of watering the lawn? I think the slight temp differential and the huge body of water in the aquifer would temper the return water back pretty quickly.
shortw3 years ago
You talked about this being a green concept? It is not really green, because you use quite a bit of water from the well. The green part would be to conserve water. Your well pump uses a lot of power. You would be able to run 2-3 5,000 btu air conditioners for the same power consumption as your well pump uses. You created a breeding ground for mosquitoes and fungus that has could have serious health or death issues, both could be deadly.
For Vyger its green because he's using the well pump for watering anyway. On the way he just takes some of the cold out of the water for his own comfort.
jcox249 months ago
I live in southern VA, and when storms knock out our power, the humidity and heat can be awful. I want to try this, only have it run from ice water in a cooler (pumped through a cooling coil), because I could run it on a car power inverter and have cool air in one room, even if I have to sacrifice another to run an extension cord through the window. I could have hand warmers in water in it during the winter, if a nor'easter knocks out the power.
samaddon1 year ago
mind blowing project i have also developed one similar to this it works ! bu i used good quality heatsinks and only one table fan but i am really surprised to see that it can also be made by some general household things!
Samad Haque
brittonv1 year ago
Have you thought about connecting this to a traditional Air conditioner air handler and use a thermostat to trigger your well pump? Great Idea though, wish it work here in South Florida.

I would think that the more efficient air handler with a blower would enable you to do the same thing using less water..

Awesome project!
This is a great idea! We happen to have a few old cooler consender and A/C coils (I guess also known as "heat exchangers"). I followed the setup here and it DOES work! Now, I have an old Everstar "portable air conditioner" that doesn't cool very well I figured it would look a lot more "asthetic" and it already has the fan built in. What I want to do is retrofit that into one of these coolers. Could anybody offer suggestions on how to do this if I put some pictures up? I also would need help with modifying the electronics - I just want to use BOTH exchangers withe the fans on at the same time.

spafford2 years ago
My question is ... How warm is the water when it reaches the garden? Is the hose laid on the ground after it leaves the cooler(which would make the water hotter)? I was just wondering the temp of the water that is coming out of the "cooler" as to determine if all the "coolness" is extracted from the water. I guess ideally you would only want the coldest air extracted but if the temp on exit is still the same more air flow and a larger "Radiator" could really make cold! Of course, flow rate is a major factor and I wanna couple this with drip irrigation and a large GARDEN :) This is an awesome idea! I had thought about it, but had not put it to work. Much praise 'ol mighty inventor, people such as yourself are the last line of defense in energy corruption.
Vyger (author)  spafford2 years ago
The rise in water temperature depends on a lot of factors. Even the air temperature plays a role. But the biggest factor is the flow rate of the water. If its running pretty slow, such as just a single sprinkler that is turned down, then the rise is pretty noticeable. You can tell the difference just by touching the in and out hoses. Also the out hose has very little condensation on it. If the flow rate is high then the temperature drop is pretty small.
There is about 150 feet of hose between the outlet and the garden. The water does get warmer just from the air while flowing through the hose. I have never checked the temperature at the garden end. The water is still cold, but not the bone chilling temperature that it is coming straight from the well.
Old i know, but just a thought...
If your water starts at 50F and you lose at most 15deg in the process, you should still be well under ambient temps and be able to reuse the same water (granted, at lower efficiency).
Times when you are only using 1 sprinkler and therefore have low flow you could have a recycle valve to loop the same water through several times before it is ultimately used.
Have you thought of/ experiment with this? It's hard to guess how effective it would be as there are so many variables, but it seems solid on paper
Vyger (author)  garretttm1 year ago
I could add extra heat exchangers in other places, and in fact have thought of doing that, but the main point of the project is not to get maximum efficiency out of it but to harness what usually just goes to waste. Outside watering is the priority, getting cool while you water is a fringe benefit. It just so happens that you usually need to water the most when its the hottest out.

There is also another factor involved and that is the more pipe you add the greater the resistance to the water flow so you drop the outside water pressure and flow amount. And of course the more pipe, the greater the chance of a leak.
Bonzoix3 years ago
For those without a well, couldn't we dig a field in the backyard to run lines through to recool the water to ground temp? Like a DIY geo-thermal A?C unit? Then we would need a pump or an impeller driven by the same motor as the fan... Love the instructable.
I think that is an excellent added addition! I think a key I would like to add is to make sure the water remained bacteria free.
they are saying run hoses underground not run water through dirt, would still be just as clean (or just as dirty i should say) as tap. also the radiator uses copper which inhibits bacteria and mold. also it is in an water tight radiator so even if there was bacteria you wouldn't come in contact with it.
sadly no. dirt doesn't have a great heat exchange so it wouldn't "cool" the water much. the only reason this system works is that it is a one way trip. the water doesn't get recycled so it doesn't need to cool back down. if you used a ground cooling method the water would not stay cool for more that a few hours because the radiator on the fad has a better heat exchange than the dirt (more heat is added than is taken away on each loop) good thought process though only about 1% of our ideas are good ones and yet humanity still moves forward, just goes to show how valuable it is to keep thinking.
tinker2342 years ago
wow could you use painters tarp for the water leaks in case
Vyger (author)  tinker2342 years ago
I haven't had any water leaks. There is condensation, just like on a glass of ice water in a warm room. But my climate is pretty arid and dry so condensation is usually only a problem a few times in the summer. If it was a constant problem I would look for better solution but I have been going on the "if it isn't broke, don't fix it" thinking for now.
If your wellhead is accessible, you could just run a hose back into the well. I'm sure the water temperature would still remain at 48.
That would be illegal in most states simply because of contamination risk
My great grand-dad (I only know from the stories of my grand-dad) had a large "sisturn" (that's how granddad says it) behind his house that collected rain water. Basically it was a big deep hole that was dug and then concreted and he pumped this water out and ran it through some 30's filtering system and actually had indoor water at a time where most people still were drinking out of the river (at least in TN). If someone had the land and equipment needed to do it, you could build a deep "sisturn" and pump water into it, and cover it with concrete. then build another one close by. They could run the water from one to another, and once one was dry the other would be cool enough to use.
eyerobot Funk_D3 years ago
The actual way we got our water in Kentucky, And Tennessee, Was to run large hoses uphill into small creeks, Where we created a small dam, And put screen filters on the end of the hose. The water ran down the large pipe, Into smaller pipes to build up pressure as the water approached our house. We then built a large cistern that was sealed on top by what resembled a submarine door, And this held in the pressure. On the bottom of the cistern was a hose smaller than the intake hoses which was filtered again with a sediment filter, And recieved a lot of pressure. So in an area where everyone had no water pressure, dirt, creatures, And god knows what else in their water, We had high pressure clean water. And it was always cold enough to turn your fingers blue. I just wish I had thought to use a radiator type system as a heat exchanger like this instructable. Great idea.
The water ran down the large pipe, Into smaller pipes to build up pressure as the water approached our house.

do people actually think that pipe size influences water pressure in that way? small pipes will reduce the pressure as they restrict the flow.

The way I understand it is that water pressure is determined by height of drop not pipe size.

just my two cents worth no big deal :P
@ josephlebold. eyrobot is correct. As a fluid [liquid or gas] flows through a pipe there is FRICTION between the flowing fluid and the pipe wall.

The longer a pipe run, the more "friction loss" and both flow rate and pressure are REDUCED.

To correct for this friction loss, piping systems are TAPERED smaller and smaller consistant with the length of the pipe run.

To SEE evidence of this phenomenon, the next time you are in a Wal-Mart, or any large building with EXPOSED ceiling FIRE SPRINKLER systems, "eyeball" the piping system and you'll see the "tapering down" of the plumbing. That way, ALL sprinkler heads receive the same amount and pressure of water, AND therefore provide a nearly identical spray pattern when in operation.
this is getting more complicated all the time.
I see I should build a system and check it out. lol
I'll supply the piping if you do the assembly. :P
Have you been to Kentucky?
Theres no such thing as flat ground there.

at our house, The water pipes came down hundreds of feet before reaching our house. So by the time you reduce the pipe size several times, You have all the weight of the water from the larger pipes pressing down. That's where you get your pressure from.

Yes placing smaller pipes in between the large hoses, And the house will reduce pressure, But blowing the faucets off the sink wasn't our plan. The large hoses can hold a lot of water, That would otherwise wash on down the creek, And during dry times, This can really come in handy.
I have been through Kentucky on the way to Tennessee though I cannot remember anything overly hilly... but maybe living in Maine for 6 years has caused me not to notice the hills.

my research came up with.433 psi. per foot height. so 100 foot drop would give you about 43.3psi. not a terrible lot of pressure.

a smaller pipe would have less inertia so when you turn your faucet off you would have less of a pressure spike. so yeah I see the advantage there. that is the principle behind the ram pump.

I can't stop laughing when I imagine the faucets blowing off the sink.
My step father decided the way to lay hose, Was to use all large hose. Being a kid, I never thought about the pressure, But once he opened the valve, He blew the spigot right off the front of the house. And after fixing that, He blew out two lines in the bathrooms. then finally an old drunk walked up the road, And saw him under the house fixing pipes. And felt sorry for him, And told him what he was doing wrong. that's when the smaller pipe came into play. So yeah you can get some serious pressure at several hundred feet of line, but eventually we shortened it to about seventy five feet, And only had small line for about thirty feet before the house.

Of course I would much rather have used something like the ram pump, but honestly ive never seen one before coming to instructables. Maybe the hillbillies don't know everything?
sounds like you could have put up a hydroelectric generator.
askjerry Funk_D4 years ago
It is actually spelled CISTERN.

They used them in many civil war fortresses... here is some more information and images:
Funk_D askjerry4 years ago
Oh! hahaha. I always assumed it was one of those words that older southern people make up; I never even thought to look it up!
 I think the construction industry uses the term "grey water" with systems like that.  I've seen some home-improvement TV shows where large plastic tanks were installed to catch rain-water for lawn watering or other non-drinking purposes.
wperry1 Funk_D4 years ago
If the first sistern were large enough you could just recirculate the water without the need for a second.
You are 100% correct on that one. I have yet to find a state that allows this at least without a permit. Some states (Idaho for one) allows water to be returned to some wells with a permit from the DNR. Water rules are quite strict and expect it to get much worse in the future here is a prime example: In Colorado Rain Barrels are illegal... Colorado Water Law requires that precipitation fall to the ground, run off and into the river of the watershed where it fell. Because rights to water are legally allocated in this state, an individual may not capture and use water to which he/she does not have a right. We must remember also that rain barrels don’t help much in a drought because a drought by its very nature supplies little in the way of snow or rain. Strange thinking in my opinion.
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND IS MY OPINION NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH "PRACTICING LAW." It takes a lot of legal courage, but all mineral rights including water from the sky; all rights remain with the land and the current owner. If one were to persue it in court to the highest levels and use all the correct legal arguements without any mistakes, one might be able to maintain the original legal precedents involved. We only get to keep those rights which we defend. We lose those which we allow to be taken from us. Rain barrels are part of survival, no agency has the right to remove your ability to survive under "color of law." (Rain barrels in Colorado would make for interesting tea parties would they not?)
(removed by author or community request)
@FurtherThanTesla I agree, the laws of nature can not be defied with out consequence!

Now here is a thought ,' they' built this giant dam to capture the water so 'they' could decide who gets the water and when .
Do you think the people that are being evacuated now -so 'they' can open the dam to relieve the pressure want all the water now?

No they would probably be happy only having a rainbarrel full at a time.

But it is too late , because the 'they' that made the plans to build the dam to capture the water - failed to predict the affect that nature would take 'Lets calol it global warming to apease them" or whatever it is that has changed everything , weather patterns , ocean currents, polar cap melting , the current system is flawed as was also every society that has ever been built .

You can't change something on earth without having greater consequences and the rate the earth is changing ! How much time is left to fix it? Can it be fixed? I doubt that man can !
Things will get a lot worse before they get better.
"Did that guy say?" WTF? I simply stated a messed up Colorado law... You want to take issue with someone take it up with Colorado or at least someone who lives in the f-ing state of Colorado!! And had you bothered to read my post to the end I stated I thought it was a strange law. As far as me stopping breathing, in other words dying, you should be ashamed of yourself. If you want to apologize, now would be a good time.
Im sorry, Maxx. Your right, i guess i didnt read that last line. And i DID NOT mean for anyone to die. i just was pointing out that nobody can claim the rain, as nobody can claim the air in anyone's lungs. Im honestly really sorry if i offended you. that was wrong of me
Should have done this earlier but better late than never. I shouldn't have taken such a harsh stand on your comment, I would delete my reply but it could throw the whole thread into a patchwork of confusion.

At any rate, my apologies to you as well.
I totally agree with you, but apparently they even have "people" driving around looking for rain barrels and enforcing this law! It certainly would be interesting to see this law challenged in an actual court setting!
Just store your rain barrels in a cheap shed from Wal-Mart and use the shed rooftop to gather the rain for you... STICK IT TO THE MAN!! lol.
Build a big ferrocement build a shed around it and have the water from the roof running into the tank.
This would be a great idea for the folks that actually live there! (Albeit still illegal) I however do not live anywhere near Colorado, found this law through a potential customer (we'll call him "Joe") looking to figure a way around the "rain water" law in his state, I asked him what the heck he was talking about and subsequently he sent me a hard copy of Colorado's bizarre "rights to water" law. Since the last time I wrote about this, "Joe" has fought his citation for "gathering precipitation intended for Colorado's watershed" and lost, I recently (08/28/2010) asked if he was intending to appeal? He states it is not worth it... Understandable I guess but I sure would like to see someone take this to a higher court! I mean really isn't this akin to making solar panels illegal because the sun's rays are impeded from reaching Mother Earth?
Another idea struck me, perhaps Colorado would allow people to put a deposit down on the water gathered, once it is returned to the ground (watering gardens, plants, etc.) the deposit would be returned, of course minus any evaporation fees. LMAO
Makes as much sense as the "rain barrel ban" law to me.
and the end of your comment is the most asinine part of it to me... that water is going to be used by... duh... putting it into the ground!! lol. I highly doubt people are out there in big unmarked vans selling rainwater on the black market to other states.. lol. Go ahead and tell "Joe" about my idea, I believe in upholding the law in general... but laws that dumb need to be broken.
Every time I think about this Colorado rain barrel act I get frustrated. It is one of the oddest abuses of government time and money that I have ever heard of.
Your comment about the unmarked vans gave me an idea though. Maybe the reverse of that would be profitable! Truck in "Rain Water" from other states lol.
New Laws passed in June 2009 eradicate this law.
You would risk over heating the motor on a submersible pump. The water would heat up in the well casing. Best thing to do is put some reintroduction wells or keep the pool full and cool.

cardoctor is correct. Do not pump the water back in your fresh water well. There are a few reasons. 1) It's illegal. 2) You may make you self sick from lead in the hoses and plumbing and or introduce bacteria into your well. 3) You may create a rust algae problem that you don't want. 4) You may over heat your pump motor.
I'm not sure if that is legal in most areas. They allow you to take water out of the well, but not put it back in, for safety reasons. If somehow the water was polluted and then put back into the well, you and all of your neighbors could be poisoned. I think this is why "geothermal" systems use a separate well at a different depth.
Vyger (author)  YotaTruck4 years ago
The first geothermal systems used to do this, they were open systems and simply pulled the ground water out at one end and put it back in the other. However it is no longer legal in most places, unless you already have it in place. The concern is for introducing contaminates directly into the ground water, including bacteria. Well water from a good sealed well is almost bacteria free due to the filtering effect of the many feet of soil. Introducing anything back into the well almost guarantees the water will become contaminated. The systems they use now are closed loop. The internal water in the pipes never comes into contact with the ground water. It simply exchanges heat so in effect acts like a giant heat sink.
If you cannot find constructive uses for the water such as watering a garden it would be possible to put in a dry well to return the water to the water table.
With these the soil filters out contaminates before the water gets back to the water table. It works like a septic drain field but for cleaner water.
If at all possible its still better to use the water to grow more trees. And trees have a cooling effect all by themselves so you get double use of your water. Not to mention the carbon benefits.
ronmaggi Vyger4 years ago
Yay trees!!!
ivelknuf2 years ago
Quick question. It seems you have your "air conditioner" loop connected to the pipe that goes to the exterior faucet(s). Have you thought about connecting it to the main inlet to your house? That way, no matter what your water usage is, the air conditioner will be receiving "coolant".
Vyger (author)  ivelknuf2 years ago
That would be a possibility. The reason I have it separate though is that the house water goes through a rust and dirt filter and then a water softener. The outside water is untreated which is why it stains things red sometimes.
This may be changing in the next few years though. For almost 15 years they (federal, state and local and tribal) have been working on a rural water system. Because of the poor quality ground water (it's high in alkali and iron) it was proposed and accepted to set set up an entire water system complete with a many million dollar filter plant that will use Missouri river water. They now are close to finishing the plant and are putting in the main delivery trunk lines. It is a huge project and the mains will run about 175 miles end to end. I am supposed to linked up to it eventually (we have joked, if we live long enough). At that time I don't know whether I will keep my well running. I will have to see what the water temp will be. They are also supposed to add outside spigots for watering, but again its a wait and see thing.
johnny3h Vyger2 years ago
@ Vyger. I STRONGLY SUGGEST that you DO NOT use the TREATED domestic water for your irrigation AND/OR air conditioning as POTABLE water from a domestic system IS VERY EXPENSIVE.

I would use the domestic supply for drinking, cooking, bathing, laundry, etc.


1. In the event of failure of the domestic municipal system your well would be a good emergency back up.
2. In our area [SE Texas} a disused well will "silt in" and become totally unusable, AND COST A SMALL FORTUNE to have it "redrilled."
3. In Texas, due to deteriorating underground aguafer water availability, there is talk of a "freeze" on the installation of any new wells, which means that only those with existing wells will be able to use the underground aquafer water, and thus be FORCED to use the EXPENSIVE TREATED municipal water source(s). So since you have the well established, I would keep it operational.
Vyger (author)  johnny3h2 years ago
In Montana the DNRC (Department of Natural Resources and Conservation) collects a tax ( A small one) on all wells. Mine is paid up for the next ten years at least.
Because of all the rain and snow this year our water table has actually gone up. Not the norm but good to know for us. My sister did some research and she found that last time there was a weather pattern like this for the north and the south was in 1956 when Oklahoma set new heat records. Hopefully your area will return to normal precip and help the water table there.
They are spending a lot of money to put in this water system but I don't know that I will trust it for a while. This area has had a lot of water main problems in the cities. A rural one I think might have similar problems. Keeping a water main down far enough underground to prevent freezing causes all kinds of issues with shifting and such. So yes I will keep my well going.
johnny3h Vyger2 years ago
Using TREATED, municipal water IS VERY EXPENSIVE and wasteful of a limited resource. The municipal systems are for POTABLE drinking, cooking and bathing water and such one-time cooling use of that water would be VERY UN-GREEN.

After going on the municipal system for your potable water, CONTINUE to maintain your well and cooling system, AND also use it for ALL IRRIGATION [lawn, garden, etc.] as that will be MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE, and will not tax [overload] your municipal, potable water system. This protection of the capacity of a municipal potable water system is CRITICAL in periods of draught, when most municipalities enact ordinances to RESTRICT water use so they can keep up with damand so that EVERYONE can have potable water.
RONE6 years ago
I can't tell which direction you have the water flowing (through the exchanger closest to fan first or last) or which way you have the fan pointed (blowing through the exchanger or sucking through the exchanger), but I wanted to make a note of the most efficient way for the water to flow: Have the coldest water (straight from the well) flow through the last exchanger, and the warmest water flow through the first exchanger - I am using "first" to refer to the first exchanger the air would move through, and "last" to refer to the last exchanger the air would move through. The idea is to set up a counter-current mechanism, just like fish use in their gills for O2/CO2 exchange and all male animals use in their testes to transfer heat from the artery to the vein prior to the blood entering the testicles to keep the temperature lower. Great instructable, by the way!
Vyger (author)  RONE2 years ago
The fan is pushing the air through rather than pulling. It seams that box fans work better at blowing. I do use them in a window to "suck" the heat from inside and exhaust it to the outside but they are still more just blowing. The fins act as a type of cowling so I have never seen the need to encase it. it might look better if I did but it would also create its own set of problems with water condensation. This year was the first time I actually had a problem with excess condensation but this is also the first time in most peoples memory that we have had such high humidity here.
The coldest water (incoming) is the last one the air goes through. I have tried reversing it but I didn't notice that much difference. But it just makes sense that the air goes over the coldest metal last. A bigger puzzle is if it makes much of a difference what the fan speed is. One would think that the slower the air speed the colder the air would get but on the low setting it doesn't appear to move enough air to cool very well. On medium only the room its in gets cooled while on high it pushes the cold air into the other rooms. I could probably engineer it better and get more efficiency but I think the gains would not be that great. It does what I need in its current form so I have been happy with that. I might change it around in the future but for now its good.
I initially had only one layer of exchangers, that didn't work as good. Adding the other 2 layers helped a lot. I thought about adding a forth but if I do that then it will become difficult to move. I would almost have to make it in sections. So again I am opting for simplicity rather than super efficiency.
johnny3h RONE2 years ago
@ RONE.  It's been something like 45 years since I took college Physics, but as I recall, what you are describing is based on one of the principles of Thermodynamics that says something to the effect that, "the greater the DIFFERENCE in temperature, the more RAPID the transfer of heat."

So, yes, I think your suggestion of "counter-flow" would be the better approach.
Vyger (author)  RONE6 years ago
I posted an answer to your question in step 7 that I just added.
triumphman2 years ago
I tried to make a wood stove hot water pre-heater like your design, with baseboard tubes. But the elbows were too close to solder. One joint would un-solder when I tried to solder the other side. How do you solder the elbows so they won't leak???? Help!!!!
wet rag over joimt to not be soldered
I've had this issue before, and the "trick" is to carefully clean and prep ALL surfaces in those two connections, including proper fluxing.

Then preheat the entire section uniformly [requires practice and developed skill] and then when preheated, quickly apply the solder to sweat each joint "almost" simultaneously.

Again, this proces is like walking what in the circus is called a "slack rope," which is difficult but not impossible.
Yes, I can solder a nice single joint! Its called "sweating" by the plumbers. Shiny & clean copper is the key too. I love it when you get the joint just the right temp. and the solder almost sucks- flows magically into the spaces between the pieces ! What kind - brand of flux do you use?
@ triumphman. Sorry, but I'm not where I can check the brand name, BUT... it is a common paste type flux for sweating plumbing that I got at my local [SE Texas] hardware store. It comes in a round blue colored can about 1/2 inch deep by about 2 inches in diameter. Over the last 55+ years I " think" I've used about 2 1/2 cans as "a little bit goes a long way."

Since it is NOT an acid based flux, I use it for all my electrical and electronic soldering also.
Jollyrgr5 years ago
An idea to add to "The Lightning Stalker's" suggestion. Why not add a water pad like those found in swamp coolers? Use the waste condensate collected in the pan to wet the pad. Simply place the pad in the collection pan so that it wicks up the water and is evaporated.
@ Jollyrgr.  Yes, that could be done, BUT... evaporative cooling INSIDE the hyouse would increase the relative HUMIDITY, AND as a result, add to the cooling load, and the evaprative cooling water vapor CONTAINS the heat removed from the air.  Eventually, you would reach an equilibrium temperature HIGHER than if the condensate water were totally REMOVED from the house.

ALSO, the less humidity in the interior air, the "cooler" one will feel because the lower humidity will enhance the evaporation of body moisture [persperation/sweat] which occurs ALL THE TIME, regardles of ambient temperature, especially in summer, but even in the winter.
dan6 years ago
you should be able to recycle a radiator from a junkyard car for this, that would be already made in a good size and shape.
johnny3h dan2 years ago
AND, if one is lucky, it will have the plastic FAN SHROUD [to maximize the efficiency of the fan] AND maybe even an electric fan! With this set-up all one would have to do is provide a 12 volt power source of the right current capacity!
ironsmiter dan6 years ago
if you can find a "scrap yard" instead of a parts yard... buy the car radiators, fanshroud, and electric fans from 2-3 cars. DON'T take any out of any geo metros. i know they're JUST the right size, are plentiful, cheap as dirt, andeasy to remove... but my "new" 96 metro @48MPG may oneday need THAT radiator. automotive radiators, with their shouds, tend to be more efficient at heat transfer as an added bonus. Where I am, we have our 114 year old, hand dug well AND city water since the watertable is too poluted with pesticide runoff from Chem-lawn.... And we have the old septic field that hasn't been used in an eternity either... An idea would be... Solar cell->wellpump->radiator/fan->fishpond areator head->septic tank/leech field. Hmm. wonder how much a solar cell, capable of running a 1/4HP well pump would be :-)
.25 hp = 186.424968 watts according to google calculator.

Fairly significant, since an 80W panel is quite large.

Nice thing is, you won't need to run it unless it's quite sunny.

How about Solar Cell->well pump->radiator->elevated holding tank
Then drain the tank back into the well at night.

This way you can keep it running, without worrying about running your well dry.
shortw pedxing3 years ago
Remember, .25 hp is output not input. Solar panel is rated at best output at best conditions at the best time of the year respecting the angle of the sun . Inverters and charge controlers itself eat up power too. And most of all, a lot of losses will be encountered with the battery.
To run a 1/4 hp motor you would need about a 400 watt solar panel that charges a battery. 1 hp = 756 watts, but on motors that is output , not input. motors have a efficiency of 80%. Also motors require 4 to 10 times the power rating on the name plate of the motor for start-ups
I have to disagree that car radiators are better for this project as they are not designed to disperse as much heat as the one used here. Also used radiators may be clogged and are automatically contaminated to non-potable-levels, especially junkyard ones. If you had a radiator from a car that had cracked a head or the block, you might be adding petroleum to your list of chemicals that the radiators would leech back into the groundwater when returned to a garden as Vygar does. A typical solar-cell capable of running a typical 1/4hp DC motor would run you about $700
Glad to see there's also a fan of the Geos. Screw hybrids. I'll get 5 early 90s Geos and be guaranteed to get at least 1.5 million miles out of them. No battery replacement either!
Vyger (author)  dan6 years ago
I just added an extra page that talks about using radiators, its step 7. As I mention, I don't recommend it.
dan Vyger6 years ago
ooh, thanks for the info and good point about the water pressure for a house-integrated system.
Ole bally2 years ago
Just could use the bottom of beverage cans punched through for your fins!
I've always gotten all of the "radiators" I've needed from window air conditioner units discarded at CURBSIDE. Also I've gotten some from discarded compressor/condenser units for whole-house systems, also discarded curbside.

For over 60 years I've been a curbside "recycler," and when living in the "big cities," a "dumpster diver!" LOL. Over the years I've probably "salvaged" MANY THOUSANDS of dollars worth of good, usable "stuff."

It is absolutely incredible what "some" people throw away!!!!!
lloydrmc2 years ago
Fantastic! Simple, elegant, effective. Bravo!
dominoe4 years ago
coudnt you just used a flushed out car radiator and it would be lighter? dominoe2 years ago
If you find one that supports the flow that this one does. Which I think you could, then you would also want to double up probably because this one is extremely thick.
swpayne2 years ago
Have you thought of adding a tray for the cooler to set in? You could plumb the tray to drain outside the house and not have to switch out towels throughout the day.
ilpug2 years ago
this is great. heres a simple solution to your condensation problem: get a tub or something and build it onto the bottom of the unit, so the water will leak into that.
triumphman2 years ago
Looks like mankind in Colorado is screwing the people out of their God Given Rights! Anytime I see or hear a story about a Town Government is that they take your taxes and stick it to you. So you are paying to get scr----! My town (NE N.Y.) just decided to stick it to us again! They keep raising our taxes and their salaries but decided to close the Town Hall on Fridays to save themselves money. So all the services we pay for is cut by one day! Nice huh? Yet, if I want a dog, I have to pay them for a license (every year) , or build a shed or doghouse, pay for a permit, they are SOB's, I'm trying to be kind, why I don't know! We need some more Tea Parties folks!!!!
Should they lose 1/5 of their salaries then?

Yes! If I did'nt work one day a week I would get docked! Four days a week won't pay the bills! I'm not sure if they get paid somehow? Have to check this out! They may still get their money but close the Town Hall all day Friday! Nice - work four days and get paid for five!
Screw the taxpayers again, and again! We never get any of that saved money, they always find a way to justify spending it! Thats their game! They are sitting in the Town Hall right now , thinking of ways to use that money thats guaranteed to be available and in their hands. If we don't pay it they will come and take your home & land. Guaranteed! Its another conspiracy! Just like the School Taxes, the Teacher's have Guaranteed Yearly Pay Increases because it is "carved in stone" with the Teachers Union! So your Mortgage Payment goes up every year. like it or not! Sweet for them isn't it? Check out School Taxes, its the Biggest Conspiracy that is prevalent in every Town! Do something about it! Go to the School Budget Meetings at night! They sometimes play tricks and keep the dates secret or change the times at the last minute and get their budgets passed quickly, then its too late! Keep informed or they will take your money right out from under your nose! Sorry for this info, but its all true, I don't make this up! I am an overtaxed working stiff like many of you out there!
zolar12 years ago
Why not do this:

Take the discharge water from your A/C, pipe it up to the roof and install a water wash down system like the navy uses for protection against NBC warfare. Add a rain barrel to catch any remaining water and use it for watering your lawn and garden when needed. Or even use it for doing your laundry.

You not only dehumidify/cool your house with the A/C, but you also draw out heat that radiates down from the roof.

Net effect: Additional cooling for about the same energy used. Increased cooling capacity/efficiency, less waste. No hip boots needed for the muddy soil around your home, less laundry, etc. LOL

Note: another reason they don't allow rain barrels is that they cannot make tax money off the water you are forced to buy, nor the outrageous sewage treatment scam (aka fees) you are forced to pay in most places.

It's all about money - how much they can get from YOU!
Can't you get heat exchangers like that in air conditioners opposed to making one?
Vyger (author)  The MadScientist2 years ago
The ones in an air conditioner might work, but they are designed for freon rather than water. I needed something that could handle the volume of water that I wanted without restricting the water flow. I do run all my outside water through this in the summertime.
How big is that well by the amount of water you're taking from it it must be huge?
hleon3 years ago
I helped you get to 200,000 views!!!
Vyger (author)  hleon3 years ago
Fourteen more right now from the count at the top. 199,986. I wish there was a way to know who turns it to 200,00 . If they were a member I could give them a patch.
hleon Vyger2 years ago
Yes :) I really do like your idea, it is very implemented. I do think it could get touched up a little bit, however. But, very good job, my friend.
I wish I had a cold water source... There is one good thing about the water here: It's always cold. The bad thing about using that system for my uses is that it would cost a helluva lot of money using municipal water. I might as well leave a bed of water overnight (it feels like liquid nitrogen in the early morning) and put it in thermal storage so that I can use it in the day. At night the water turns cold, in the day, the cold is maintained via insulated containers and used with that system you have. Should do... Also, as part of my little Instructables IRC promotion project: IRC at the bottom and instructions under that. Just tell me if you want to take it down.
dlbadeaux3 years ago
In the late 50's Popular Science carried a story like this...also some one living near a lake was using lake water, water pumped back into lake...Knew a man in the 70's who pumped water from the bayou to cool his house...lake or river water is coldest near the bottom...with a lake or river, no matter how much you use, since you're pumping the water back, the supply is nearly limiyless
unclecp3 years ago
You don't even have to recirculate(or dump) the water back to the well at all. Just find you a good sized (the bigger and deeper the better) above ground pool and fill it up. Keep the pool on the north side of your house in the summer and keep it covered during the day to keep the water as cool as possible. At night uncover it at night to let the water cool down as much as possible. If the water gets a little too warm in the pool, just add a bit more from the well to cool it down. Then just recirculate the water (with a pump) from the pool through your heat exchanger. It won't be quite as cool as 76 degrees, but then you won't be breaking any laws and you won't be possibly contaminating your well either. You could use a different setup in the winter with a heat exchanger (black box, copper tubing and sheet of glass cover) set up outside to heat the water before going through the tubing and your fan setup to help heat the house. Both ways and both times, summer and winter, you win.
karnold703 years ago
I would think that the simplest thing to do would to build a 'box' around the WHOLE thing. Have the copper tubing "u-turns'' on the outside. Thus the inner tubing would support itself and the whole thing would be nicely rigid. Also, with an outer shell, you could include a base with a collecting basin for the condensation, so you wouldn't have to keep changing the towels.
jj.inc3 years ago
You should experiment with LP or liquid nitrogen, propane stays cold under pressure and I am not exactly sure with nitrogen but I know it is cold and if you don't have leaks it should last you a long time.
nadeem54763 years ago
the main thing i want to know that if the water temp is 8 C and the area to cool (room) is 300 sqft so what wud b the room temperature cud b achieved from this 8 C of water running constantly half n hour in 300 sqft room . please reply.
Vyger, THIS is what makes this forum great. Thanks. This inspired me. I understand heat exchange as opposed to evaporative and this is just freaking-pioneer-what-makes-humans-great stuff. Wow.
toro14106 years ago
I wander how efficient would be a system with a water tank burried in the ground and used instead of a well to give off the heat and keep the system as a closed circulation system. How big the tank would have to be? Would its shape matter?
I have thought about the same thing. I would imagine the more surface area the better. It is tough to say how big the tank would have to be. If the goal is to cool the water to ground temperature, you really couldn't oversize it.
For better surface area it might be better to use a few smaller tanks, maybe ones that are square instead of round. You could also use a radiator like the inside one but from some reason that doesn't sound like it will work...
here's a thought........ for some of us that have basements.... i was thinkin about puting 2-3 55 gal plastic barrels (like the ones used for rain barrels) build a stand, hook up the barrels to a pump and pump the water thourgh the "free AC" since some basements are much cooler
That would work, but it's not really necessary. Many years ago I lived in a surburb of Tacoma, Washington. We had a full basement, and I quickly noticed that the basement was always very cool. For winter heating, we had a forced air, oil fired furnace located IN THE BASEMENT. The "return air" was ducted from the ground floor to a plywood plenum chamber below the underside of the furnace from which ducts a plenum and ducts on top distributed the heated air throughout the house. I simply opened up the return air plenum beneath the furnace when we turned it off for the summer, and left the door open [from the ground floor to the basement]. I had to modify the wiring to the furnace controls, and the gas burner/blower to take it out of the mix, BUT still allow the circulating blower to operate with a seperate switch. I could have used a thermostat, but we simply controlled the temperature by turning the air circulation blower on and off as needed. This allowed the blower on the furnace to "suck" cool air from the very cool all concrete floor of the basement through the furnace and distribution ducts to the rest of the house. This worked outstandingly well for us. Of course, due to "monster" fir trees all around and shading the house [seldom got direct sunlight except in the afternoon on the west side, which DID heat the house to the point of discomfort] we only used on the worst days. But the point is, IT WORKED. Whether or not it will work depends on the amount of insulation, the rate of heat gain to the living area, versus the temperature and rate of cooling of the air by the basement floor and walls. It sure is worth a try because it required no expensive parts or major modification of any of the existing system other than istalling a "door" in the return air plenum, blockining the return air inlets above, and installing an ordinary light switch and some cable to control the circulating fan.
I like the simplisity of it. But will it work?

the best way would be to put a closed looped pipe or hose seme as the one carring the water to the house, you will neet a whole new water system, pump, lines, tank, pressure switch, plus your heat exchanger. this system is already in use by many home builders mostly to heat homes of course in areas where the underground is hot instead of cold but the principle is the same.
good luck with your project.

Where is it you think the ground is hot? (Here in the USA we do not have much for really warm earth) What you are referring to is called a Geo-Thermal Pump. Geothermal energy is extracted from the earth at an average temperature of 54º to 56°F . Running a thermal loop to this consistent temperature is a method of both cooling and heating, Vyger's well is a bit on the cool side for heating and while a Geothermal set up is a big chunk of change, a retrofit Geothermal unit installation for cooling alone is going to be cost prohibitive. That is why it is homebuilders that are building them and very few retrofitted units are built. So for cooling alone, the remodel, "pump, lines, tank, pressure switch, plus your heat exchanger" it will be tough to justify
williman3 years ago
what about using an old "A: frame air conditioning radiator, designed to fit in urnace ducting and running water thru it?
ansil3 years ago
15 foot hole in the back yard (again assuming you have access to such things.) copper pipe preferably however anything other than plastic works fine. depending on your frost level your water will stay around 70 degrees at this depth. winter spring summer fall all the same. for heating you use induction heating to raise the temp for hot water and heating the house through a heat exchanger. for cooling its 70degrees so you do the same minus the induction heating that is :) and use a peltier system to cool it further. the whole thing is relatively simple and is currently keeping my friends workshop and apartment upstairs cool and warm respectively. he was doing the same thing with a water tank before in his last house. besides that though i say plus five kudos on your project too much time is associated with cutting open Styrofoam burger boxes and putting ice water in them and labeling it as an air conditioner on this forum way to go for something a bit elaborate
omega1a3 years ago
This reminds me of the Air Chiller in the factory I work at. Same style of radiator only they use 3/4" copper and the drum style fans to move the air. As for the laws, I know the place I work needs a permit and can only run them from May to October. Of course they pull the water from wells and returns the water to a creek out behind the factory. lol
burwuro3 years ago
I bet you could also use some of the water runoff to pre-heat your water (if you really need hot water in the summer)
Put it on a tall cart sitting in a plastic tub. Run a piece of tubing out the bottom and down a drain or outside. The air is cold so it will cool the room better as it goes out and down.
I live in the Houston area where cooling is king and though retired I put over 20 years in the HVAC business. All the comments don't detract from what is homespun genius on the part of this contributor. You can make your own heat exchanger with copper water pipe, and water "lead free" solder or one of the new epoxies if lead is a worry. If you were born before 1973 you are an example of what rampant use of lead does to a developing brain. Thats my excuse. A quick look at a coil on an old refrigerator back shows how to increase efficiency with cross pieces. You can use tanks and cisterns if you wish but I would think it much easier to drill a well on the other side of the house and put it at a different depth. The earth will recool and refilter the water. If anyone seriously thinks the little bit of lead in this functioning unit is worse than what is found in the air I invite you to take a trip over the Houston Ship Channel bridge after dark. Anywhere else close to factories that dump after dark will work. I remember Texas A & M university as having a lot of expertise in geothermal heat pumps and a second well was their solution as I recall. His solution here requires no freon so is much better. Our water in southern texas is not cold enough to do that but does a good job cooling freon (whatever that is now). Most of the comments (the ones that are critical and can find no praise for ingenuity) remind me of the two things you never want to see in action. Sausage being made and your government at work. The political climate of today accentuates that thought. I applaud your efforts .
MY3 years ago
I have a friend who built a similar system, but using "closed loop" design with a pipe dropped into the lake his property borders. I've heard about folks burying a pipe below the frost line and using soil to cool the circulated water, but I've not seen confirmation of the effectiveness of that design. Thanks for an excellent Instructable!
phvnbent4 years ago
Have you thought about running a return line to the well, a storage tank,hot water heater so you could run it withoout having to use any water elswhere ?
since he has a well, it kind of goes back to the well, minus what ever evaporates and gets absorbed by the plants he waters.
If you had room in your bathroom and your Mom didn't wig-out this might make a good precooler (summer) from the inlet line to the toilet tank and keep the tank from sweating in the process. Or even a heat reclaimer (winter) from the shower drain's gray water, but you would likely need a prefilter to keep the radiator from clogging up.
bb7896 years ago
Why not just let the outflow return back to your wellsite? It will make its way back to return again.
mmmmna bb7896 years ago
Well, now the water is hotter from cooling off the room, so next time you draw it in, it isn't quite as cold..... and it has been through soldered connections (soldered copper pipes can leach lead into the water, as vyger points out). Letting the water feed the vegetation is not necessarily bad, unless there is a water shortage declared.... then you might get fined. I could address a lot of these issues, but ultimately, the idea, as presented, has its own merits. People that are creative can adapt this to whatever they want!
bb789 mmmmna6 years ago
I didn't think anyone still used lead solder for pipes. I use silver solder per code. By the time expended water goes through 20 ft of earth, it is cooled and filtered. I just scrapped a dehumidifier and saved the "radiator" and fan section. Feeding water into the 1/4 inch end and out of the 3/32 end and returns near our 80' deep artision well. sitting in the window, the unit Works fine.
mmmmna bb7896 years ago
Actually, I was combining multiple situations into one thought - used car radiators from a junkyard are likely to still be lead/tin soldered; and I still have the lead/tin solder on my tool bench, because I've never used it all up, just like other folks might still have lead/tin solder laying around.
shortw mmmmna3 years ago
So to sum it all up... We use leaded solder. We do not return the water to the well because it is illegal, it may contaminate the water table with the lead. So we use it to water our garden. Now we may have created 3 problems. #1 When it rains the leaded contaminated run-off still can reach the water table. # 2 Your garden plants including vegetables absorb the lead and will be eaten by humans. #3 If your property is deemed to be health issue for a breeding ground for mosquitoes and fungus , it will be condemned.
bb789 mmmmna6 years ago
Well mmmmmna, you are just going to have to break down and dump that old lead/tin stuff and spring for the good stuff. LOL
static bb7896 years ago
I have to be curious as to how you return water into your artesian well? Problem with thinking of an aquifer as a filter is that filter will eventually get full. Hard to tell if your referring any filtering affect to the lead content or not, but if you are, I doubt there would be any filter of lead
mmmmna static6 years ago
Actually this filter has some interesting cleaning mechanisms in it: Biological organisms (bacteria, germs, protozoa, various worms) that consume what would contaminate some filters. No, not everything gets consumed by those cleaners... we still talk of lead in lead/tin solder that MAY have been used in portions of such a dissipator. Sadly, we never seem to worry about the various OTHER ores that we already mine from one continent, process into aluminum, iron, steel, etc., and then ship that material to another continent and let it decay into the ground on the new continent (prime example of minerals shipped to other continents: automobiles; applicances also factor in). Lead is a concern, for some obvious reasons, but is tin totally harmless when ingested for decades at 'weak' solution levels? For that matter, is Aluminum safe (hint: remember the alzheimers links to cookware, heatedly debated a decade ago)? Is Iron safe (think hemochromatosis)? We've focused on lead, but diffusing anyones mineral resources into thousands of groundwater aquifers is stupid thinking.
shortw mmmmna3 years ago
When was the last time you bought leaded solder? It was outlawed more than 10 years ago. Also I see a mosquito and fungus breeding ground.
There is lead free solder now. I would favor a closed system. There is also the risk of legionaries disease anytime there is standing water. I also know from growing up in Louisiana that units that sweat can make your house have a very high level of humidity and make all your closets grow a green fungus on all your leather apparel.
Er, units that sweat are *removing* water from the air, not contributing.

It sounds like a drip pan would be ideal for this setup.
Drip pan indeed! The towels just keep the moisture in the room making it feel hotter. A drip pan full of water could be put in the washing machine, used to flush a toilet, water indoor plants or saved to wash hair. It would be free of minerals making hair soft.
riverm88 mmmmna4 years ago
Your ideas are good and when you mentioned that the lead in the solder would pollute the out going water returning to the well, I thought....why not use lead free solder. Your comment is well over a year old and someone probably has already suggested this by now, thanks for your interesting comments.
my well water is near 32 degrees when it comes out of the faucet so this might work with me
Vyger (author)  bb7896 years ago
I use the water for watering and returning water to th well after it has been removed is no longer legal. It can contaminate the well.
Scwounch Vyger6 years ago
Couldn't you use a radiator/exchanger inside the well and leave the loop closed? It would require a separate pump, but then you wouldn't use up so much well water.
Jollyrgr3 years ago
The reason (at least in the midwest of the US) trees are not allowed to be transported is they may contain distructive insects. In fact they urge campers NOT to bring their own wood and buy locally.
I put one of those in my air handler. I run water from my well through it.
forgetfulca3 years ago
I worked for my grandfather in his radiator shop as a teenager. (and probably have a ridiculous level of lead in me, but that's another story) It was about 30 feet high inside, and was ridiculously hot in the summer. One summer we got the idea to suspend a transport radiator above the wash-out tank, together with a warehouse fan & a steady trickle of water into the lower neck (which just went bank down the drain through a hose from the upper on.) So it's easy to use a radiator without extra fittings, you just control the flow w/ valve at the faucet. It was fantastic. Not only was the air in the shop about 5-8 C cooler, it was relatively dry. It was private well, but our nearest neighbour was about 1/4 away. Our water level was about 30-60 down, theirs was closer to 100. Also, I worked doing hvac during the summer while in college, and one house we were retro fitting literally had an artesian well in it's basement. ie, a small creek started at his house. So, we hooked up a low voltage pump that just ran water through a custom made evaporator in his furnace, and poof, free A/C. It wasn't nearly as fast as a fully mechanical rig, but the upside is that it could be left running 24/7.
opc1673 years ago
Finally, someone with the same concept I have! With this design, I take it a little future. My well water also is about 51 degrees. I'm building an aluminum box with copper tubes with an inline thermometer for the well water. The well water will pump thru the tubes with a squirrel fan in front. With the water flow in the "OFF" position, the water will begin to drop as air passes through it. Once the thermometer reaches 60 degrees or higher, I will open a valve to allow water to flow BACK into the well. I haven't actually found out how to run a pipe back into the well bore but I was advices I could do so. In effect, I would not have to worry about water waste unless I needed to water the yard I guess.        
Hm... nobody seems to be concerned about the fact that water is becoming more and more scarce in the world, including ground water. Is this really a smart thing to be doing with groundwater resources? Sure, it's free but how do the neighbours feel about the depletion of the ground water levels in the area when a sprinkler is running all day in hot weather?
Vyger (author)  bubblewrap745 years ago
My water usage is actually quite small compared to most. I don't have an in ground sprinkler system, just one sprinkler and a hose. This summer it got so dry that I couldn't even keep up with the grass drying out. I am not a grass fanatic, I water just enough to keep it alive and semi green and that is for fire protection as much as appearances. We had weeks of red flag warnings this summer. (A Red flag warning is a weather service warning that the conditions are dangerous for wild fires. High temperatures, very low humidity and high winds.) Also a lot of my water usage is for my garden, or would you find my growing my own food an objectionable use of ground water? In this rural area many farmers use giant irrigation sprinklers. They probably use in a few hours what I use all summer. I don't think they care about my water usage. Also my ground water is replenished from the Missouri River which is only 1/3 mile away. I have no environmental impact except to provide shelter and food for the birds that live in my trees that grow because I water them. It really doesn't take that much water to make this system work. Water has a tremendous heat carrying capacity and even at low volumes this heat exchanger works well because the water coming in is so cold. How well this works does depend on your local climate, so its not going to work well for everybody. For where I live it works great and it has no impact on my water use as I would water the garden and grass and trees anyway. The cooling effects are a BYPRODUCT of the water usage and not the primary use. The primary use of the water is for the vegetation, that is why the cooling effects is free for me. We had a lot of very hot days this summer and I never once had to turn on an air conditioner. It's a result of smart living. I have trees shading the house and I have super insulated everything. (with 30 below temps in the winter thats pretty mandatory here). And finally I open up the house at night and let it cool down using fans to exhaust the warm inside air. (It usually drops into the 60's at night here.) I do laundry at night and keep heat generating activities to a minimum in the day. Its a matter of altering your activity as well as the machinery to fit what's happening outside. You know, the simple stuff like close the door because the heats on and turn off the lights and use floresents. (I converted to mostly florescent's 25 years ago) The end results are lower energy usage and friendly environmental living. Its simple, work with the natural cycles instead of against them. I have been doing it this way for many years and have had good results, Now if I can just get the guy who owns the field next to me to quit spraying my windbreak trees with weed killer things would be great.
This is the reason that municipalities are implementing metering of wells on new construction in most places. This fantastic abuse of groundwater is staggering, not only are you getting a poor heat transfer from scaling inside the coil, you are encouraging more leeching of minerals into the aquifer that you pull water from. It's nice that you're trying to be green, but there's better ways than this, albeit more expensive, but less damaging and wasteful.
Vyger (author)  tday99hotmail5 years ago
I realize there is a lot of stuff here to read but you really should read it before you comment because this issue has been answered several times. In short, why do you consider it a waste of water to grow food with it? Or should people everywhere stop watering gardens completely and try to depend only on rain? The water that goes through my heat exchanger is not wasted but used to water vegetation. I in fact even use the waste water (gray water) from my washing machine to water my trees. We just finished digging up potatoes from my garden this year. It grew more than 300 lbs. and that was just potatoes. I waste nothing and that includes the cold from the water. Here is another hint for you for the winter, after you take a bath leave the water sit in the tub until its room temperature, that way your not flushing the heat that it took to make it warm down the drain.
 An idea I had a ways back for showers:  wrap the incoming cold-water line around the drain pipe so it can pickup the heat that would be wasted going down the drain.  

The heat exchange would keep more heat in the shower, even if you must re-adjust the settings a few times.

It might not be practical for plastic pipes, and might use more material, but it should use less energy for heating.

That's actually, not a bad idea. Got another one. Use a solar collector to heat the water or an attic heat exchanger to heat the water. As a side note, I've always wondered if someone could start a gerbil farm, and connect the wheels to little generators... to see if we can get thatold guinea pig moving...
OK Thank you for the tip.
we did something like this, but a little different. Nice job btw. We created an air well effect with forced air. In Missouri, the humidity is usually over 50% most of the year except the winter. Often we are in the 80-100% humidity range, especially in a drought. We dug a well 6 ft. wide, 30 ft. deep and used the humidity we stripped, including the sweat you are fighting against and let it dump back into the well.
A 2 inch pipe 20 ft deep, will collect as much as 1100 gallons of humidity it strips in 24 hours at 50% humidity. We had a pipe that vented the well into the house with a 3 inch pvc coming through the wall from outside. With a heat index of 115 degrees outside, we sometimes found it to drop to 53 degrees in the house. We installed a thermostat for the blower to shut down at our desired room temp. We also watered our lawn, trees, garden with plenty of water, even during watering bans in town and the police tried to give us a ticket until we proved we were not using city water, and showed them the system. Separate water line, pump... We actually used two pumps. One for the house for laundry, showers, and toilet. A second one was inside the well, a sump pump set so the water level stayed below 6 ft from the top of the well.
ummmmmmm can you spell " Instructable " ? That sounds pretty cool and VERY green ( for you " ungreenests " out there) Post one up My Friend if you haven't already
Yes, I can spell instructable, lol. It is very green, would be even greener if the pumps ran from wind or solar power, or both powering up storage batteries.
I wish I could post an instructable of this system beyond just writing what we did. I failed to mention that 2 inch pipe did not use forced air. We sold that house after mom passed on. The current owners are only using rain water to keep the well full now. They didn't want all that stuff over the well or use the system, so my step dad tore it apart and plugged the holes up. The day will come when I post an instructable when I get settled into my next place I am moving into. Then I will have more time to do detailed stuff. Today I finished my wifi system modifications. Made a homemade compound parabolic dish I found on another instructable on here. Works great! I'm pulling my signal from 2 blocks away at 48 Mbps. Looking at full signal now. I used the homemade dish first (double sized), and it worked OK, but the compound one works better.

My problem now with showing this system mentioned about the well and stuff, I am not a property owner now. I rent, and landlords frown on diggin wells. I'm lucky if they let me put up a wind generator. Which I am building now from another instructable on here. I made some slight changes, and I WILL document each step for an instructable for this wind generator, and what the output is... Doesn't look like some improvised wind generator. Very airstreamed with 12 blades. My secondary design will have counter rotating blades, 6-9 blades on the stator, and 6-9 on the magnets spinning opposite directions.

Thanks for the kudo's, but I wish I could post pictures, and make an instructable for that system, beyond explaining it only. Sorry. That's the best I can do for now, unless I come up with some property again. If I have provoked questions, by all means ask away. I'll try to do my best to clear up any confusion anyone may have.
<~~~~~~` is waiting with ham and cheese sandwich baited breath for your instructable ........... but ...... 12 blades on your wind machine ?
12 blades, 6 on the coils, and 6 on the magnets spinning opposite directions equals more torque and power at lower rpms than just 3 blades. One man sent me his template on here for his 12 blade system which I liked the design.
He's not using it for power generation, I plan to scale up with that design for my tri-hull pontoon boat I hope to build this summer. It will have 18 batteries, 6 batteries in each 35 ft. hull, and this wind turbine to withstand high speed winds hauling it back and forth to the lakes and charge up batteries while hauling it, and while on the lake, and at home running power inverters to assist whatever wind and solar power I manage to put up this year.

I would eat that sandwich lol, it will be a while before I post an instructable on here.
Since I rent property now, I am forced to consider other alternatives for heating and cooling uses for free. Since I will have wind and solar power to keep my batteries charged, I have designed a different system. A poor mans solar furnace that sits outside the home. It uses an electric radiant heater with quartz rods heating up. For heating use, the cold air from inside the home is vented to the bottom of the intake of the solar furnace heat exchanger. Meaning, I am heating up welded square tubes (2") to capture the radiant heat of the electric heater. The side facing the heater is painted with high temp stove paint. This heats the tubes, the cold air is drawn from the bottom and heated as it is drawn from the updraft created by the heat in the tubes. Thus, elliminating a blower.
As for the Cooling aspect. Again this same heater is turned around and facing aluminum sqaure tubes that are 1 inch welded together to boil common watered down household ammonia for an ammonia absorbtion cooling system commonly used by meat lockers and even in RV refrigerators.
A restrictor is needed to make this system work between the heat side and cooling side after the ammonia vapor passes through the restictor. The heat is outside, and dumped just like conventional central air units do from the condensor. Powered by wind and or solar, this keeps my largest energy consumption minimal, and a fraction of the cost for the current systems available. A blower will be needed for the cooling system, and I intend to use a bladeless pump to act as my blower moving 8 times the volume of air than a conventional blower does at the same horsepower.

Given the fact I am not able to dig another well on rental property, this is my alternative to dealing with such a situation. Besides, my heart would not allow me to dig another well, disabled after heart attacks, stroke, and heart failure. On disability, I can't afford to pay someone to dig my well. I had to think outside the box and get creative with a system I can make portable and take it with me. If you don't know anything about ammonia absorbtion cooling, do a websearch regarding it. No results? I found my information long ago at Common household cleaning ammonia, not the concentrated stuff, ammonium hydroxide. I use the latter for bear deterant, or criminal defense. Even the household ammonia will do the job, as I have used it on one man who came at me with a gun to rob me at a C-Store. When he reached for the gun, he ignored the fact I had a bottle in my hand, and I shot him in the face 3 times before he got the gun out of his pants. He emptied the gun, (14 shots) and I hear clink, and go over the counter to beat that blinded man silly. I was still pounding his head into the concrete floor when the cops pulled me off him. He tried to sue me from prison. Not only did I blind him, I burnt his lungs, sinuses, and mouth severely. Imagine what the concentrated stuff would have done? We had no alarm at that particular store. The man who worked the shift before me did cooperate with the robbers and he was beaten, pistol whipped, 117 stitches in his head, and lost his left eye. What would you do after spending a week cleaning up someone elses blood in a store? I discreetly chemically armed myself. Sorry to be long winded, but it is an example of the extremes I will go too, to improvise alternative energy and personal defense.
Thought you might find this an interesting read, also the old wind mills farmers used to generate DC power in the 50's is making a comeback too.

Co-axial, multi-rotor horizontal axis turbines

Two or more rotors may be mounted to the same driveshaft, with their combined co-rotation together turning the same generator — fresh wind is brought to each rotor by sufficient spacing between rotors combined with an offset angle alpha from the wind direction. Wake vorticity is recovered as the top of a wake hits the bottom of the next rotor. Power has been multiplied several times using co-axial, multiple rotors in testing conducted by inventor and researcher Douglas Selsam, for the California Energy Commission in 2004. The first commercially available co-axial multi-rotor turbine is the patented dual-rotor American Twin Superturbine from Selsam Innovations in California, with 2 propellers separated by 12 feet. It is the most powerful 7-foot diameter turbine available, due to this extra rotor.

Counter-rotating horizontal axis turbines

Counter rotating turbines can be used to increase the rotation speed of the electrical generator. As of 2005, no large practical counter-rotating HAWTs are commercially sold. When the counter rotating turbines are on the same side of the tower, the blades in front are angled forwards slightly so as to avoid hitting the rear ones. If the turbine blades are on opposite sides of the tower, it is best that the blades at the back be smaller than the blades at the front and set to stall at a higher wind speed. This allows the generator to function at a wider wind speed range than a single-turbine generator for a given tower. To reduce sympathetic vibrations, the two turbines should turn at speeds with few common multiples, for example 7:3 speed ratio. Overall, this is a more complicated design than the single-turbine wind generator, but it taps more of the wind's energy at a wider range of wind speeds.
I'm glad you took the time to answer these issues and clear them up in this post, and I respect the fact that you are not using extra water to do what you are doing. My issue with your idea is not that you in particular are doing it or how you are doing it, but with the question of "what if everyone did it?" and how would others do it (ie. use much more water than they needed). It's a good system if you are using the water anyway. What I think some people are having a hard time understanding is that one must be mindful of the fact that all water supplies, both surface and ground, are connected to each other.
Water is the MOST renewable resource on earth and this won't waste water if you drain excess properly
When they finally develop fusion power, we really will be depleting the Earth's water supply. Water will become the new fuel to produce electricity. When we fully develop fusion power, we can worry more about water supplies. Until then, we can at least get and desalinate water from the sea even if groundwater supplies do run out.
How is water becoming more and more scarce? Where is it going? The ice caps? Those were melting, I thought, which would give us... MORE water? Who is stealing the water, and where the heck are they keeping it??? For water to be considered "scarce" globally, billions and billions, perhaps even trillions would have to be taken out of the cycle, or the global biosphere. Are aliens doing this? You may think I'm being a smart-aleck, but I really need to know, before reading another post that water is becoming scarce: We live in a closed system; where is the scarce water going? Thanks, and by the way, nice innovative instructable.
Here is a nice little lesson in the water cycle, and how it relates to ground water depletion in the USA. Depletion of groundwater is a continuing problem in the USA. You are right, the net "amount" of water stays the same globally, but water does NOT have to be taken out of the cycle in order to become scarce. All that needs to happen is the pollution and overuse of fresh surface and ground water. Water shortages are occuring all over the United States because of this. Generally speaking, humans are depleting the ground water far faster than it can be replenished by seepage.
The ice caps probably aren't melting in your yard, and there are some logistical issues with bringing water to your house from them. There are also soil salinity issues with watering your lawn with seawater. Turns out rivers, lakes/reservoirs, and aquifer are the only practical freshwater sources, and they can all be depleted.
Think they mean drinkable water, pollution etc can lower the quality of the water thus becoming more scarce.
Has a Point , However if you do not want to use groundwater - any filtered source of water ( to prevent deposits) should suffice.. Getting the water cool is the trick! Groundwater gives the hint _ _ > Example , Once could collect rainwater and store it underground!! Thus a cold water source!! NOT NEW EITHER! The Egyptians used this method for cooling their homes! They would draw hot air from their houses through these pipes and get cold air at the other end .. They did all this with 0 power 0 emissions! with fancy vents and ducts one could emulate this convection current driven mechanism.
It seems to me that the water isn't being wasted at all. He's using it to irrigate his garden and lawn; very little water would be consumed by the vegetation, meaning the rest seeps back into the water table. If it goes back into the water table, he'll pull the same water back from the well. If he were using it to flush a toilet I would almost be concerned about wasting fresh water, since it would be carried by pipes elsewhere. However, once the sewage is treated the water is pumped into the nearest river/lake/reservoir where it becomes a part of the water cycle again. The reason fresh water sources are being depleted is because we humans do really dirty things with it to make it unusable. This Instructable shows a pollution-free way to cool air inside the home. Considering the environmental impact an air conditioner makes (using freon and a lot of electricity to run the compressor) I think there are many advantages to using this method of cooling, with zero negative impact on the environment.
Usually... Private wells are... Private. So what you do with your resource is up to you at the end of the day.
Ground water, like surface water, is connected. If you drain your own personal well, chances are very good that you are also draining/depleting someone else's.
not attempting to start a fight, but i've noticed this trend lately...everybody that complains about somebody's 'ible has never created one of their own. just something i've noticed.
I'm not sure that having not created an instructible means that one's comments (negative or positive) have no validity. I'm also not "complaining". Asking legitimate questions about the wisdom of such a system is pretty reasonable, I think. You have not addressed any of the questions, only criticized me for bringing them because you don't think I have the "right". How valid is that type of response?
i wasn't saying you have or do not have the "right". i was pointing out a trend that i have noticed.
Actually, I do think you were trying to imply that my comments were somehow less valid because I have not made an Instructible. If I had made a positive comment, I'm guessing you would not have gone and looked at my profile. I'm not sure if whether or not someone has created an instructable is at all relevant. Comments should be judged on their merit. You have not made any statements about the merit of what I said, but instead implied that people who haven't made in instructable shouldn't be critical. In this case, anyone who is an inhabitant of this blue earth (ie. everyone) should be able to ask whether this use of water is wise or not. I would make the same comment regardless of where such an article or webpage about the idea was posted, so the fact it's on Instructibles is unimportant, as is the fact that I have not authored anything.
goat65003 years ago

This is awesome. You could take this to the next level by:
a.) Gut an old, monstrous Window AC unit, put the OP's cooler inside, waterproof it, plumb drain lines, block-off the outside air inlet and set it in a North/south facting windows. 
b.) Run window fans upstairs to draw-out the hot-air
c.) Set-up a DIY irrigation system to automate the watering process:

It wouldn't be a 2-ton central Geothermal cooling system(which costs $15K+) but would do the same job as a large window unit, which is all we had growing up.

It's a real shame a residental geothermal heat-exchanger costs that much(the $15K is just for heat-exchanger, doesn't include your cooling source). I have an ailing R-22 central AC system but also an unused 130 foot well with good flow and a 0.10 pond for waste heat. Perfect set-up for an open-loop  verticle geothermal system but it make no sense to spend $15K when I can get a traditional R-410 system installed for $2K. Makes no economic sense.

sjoobbani4 years ago
 This is simply amazing. What we are planning on doing is using a aquarium pump, and one of the many fridge/freezers we have ( 5) and use a water cooling basin in the freezer, and circulate the water thru that, and we are done :D
Of course, it's no longer 'free' or efficient at that point. You'll be transferring the heat to the refrigerator that will have to run more proportionally.
 true, but when I'm already using the fridge, it adds a bit of a bonus. 
if you ran hot water or steam it would be a heater too and cover all ur HVAC u cud make a wood boiler (or veg oil) and use the extra waste steam in a home built sauna
moosetooth4 years ago
Downright elegant in its simplicity. In use 20 years? You are way ahead of the curve! Thanks for sharing this.
tundrawolf4 years ago
That's cool, but how many amps does your well motor draw Vs. an actual air conditioner? Good idea though.
Pumpkin$4 years ago
That thing is a freaking monster! gotta build it >:)
farna4 years ago
There are "geothermal heat pumps" that basically use this same method. They use two wells though, one to pump out of, and another to pump water back into the ground. The wells have to be a certain distance apart, and the system sealed and clean. You could use your existing water well for pumping out of provided it produces enough water for both, then have the expense of drilling a new well. I've checked into this, but not extensively. Cost for a commercial unit is still pretty high. Sure would like to put a similar heat exchanger in-line with my existing central AC system! That would be the ultimate... the AC would only come on when the water system wasn't cooling enough, and then the AC wouldn't have to work as hard.
farna4 years ago
A car RADIATOR might not be such a good idea, but an old air conditioner evaporator core sure would be! Check with the local heat and AC shops about hauling an old one away for an experiment, check salvage yards, etc. Several heater cores or AC cores (the ones in the dash, NOT in front of the radiator -- that's a CONDENSOR core, not what you need) soldered together should work also, but in new model cars they can be difficult to get out. I know the 96+ Ford Taurus requires the whole dash to come out to remove the heater core.
28.martine4 years ago
you could flush your toilet with the "wasted" water! Or connect it to your washing machine or dishwasher. With some water stopping valves inbetween it could work. Just search for multiple sources.
But if your in Montana its allready heka cold...
Kryptonite5 years ago
This is just a home made evaporative cooler. ...OMG I GOTTA MAKE THIS. This is the only type of cooler, thanks for posting!
Vyger (author)  Kryptonite5 years ago
This is a straight heat exchanger, evaporative cooling really isn't a factor. The reason the cooling fins sweat is from condensation from the cold. On an air conditioner it is often frost because the coils are so cold. I haven't bothered to develop a water collection system because the summers here are very dry. The only time the condensation becomes a problem is if the humidity goes above 30 percent. On those rare days here I just change the towels a lot and hang them outside to dry. Anyone can build something like this, you just need to tailor it for your particular weather and environment conditions. If humidity is a problem for you it might be necessary to get a small air conditioner to remove the moisture but still use this for the main cooling. At one time they tried running cold water through pipes in the floor the same as they do for heat but found that it created a lot of problems because of condensation. Sweaty cement created wet carpet and other similar problems. Be creative, customize things for your circumstances but also be aware that you can have problems with things like condensation.
zzoe Kryptonite5 years ago
I'm not sure, but i think that technically, this is not an evaporative cooler, but rather a heat exchanger. Probably the author can clarify. However, i agree with you, no matter what we call it - it's damned cool and i want to build one too (with a catch basin underneath - humid summers here) ! ciao.
Kryptonite zzoe5 years ago
Oh, we get really really dry Summers.
lil jon1685 years ago
i was thinking about trying this but i dont have room for the thing
Bulldogg6295 years ago
Would a similar sized, clean, car radiator do just as well? Maybe even be easier? I had this same idea but wondered if its output was worth it (less electricity to run a fan and water pump than an ac unit?) Also, with the water that leaks, how about a collection pan at the bottom with a small water pump to send the water to the top and drip over the fins? Then you would add evaporative cooling on top of what your already doing. Just switch that pump off if its already too humid.
altomic5 years ago
I haven't read any previous comments because I am lazy. I always wondered why people don't power air conditioners with solar panels. You "need" airconditioning when it's hot. when it is hot the sun is out. when the sun is out you can get good solar energy. makes sense. except at night. like you say a solar/wind pump would be excellent. make it really effective for 'free". I say "free" as you have to buy stuff to make the solar/wind generator. ramble
Figure that for every one ton of cooling (12,000 BTUs) you need 1100 watts. In my area a typical four bedroom two story house needs a 3 ton central air conditioner. Thus you need 3300 watts to power the AC. But you never want to run an inverter at 100% so figure you would need a 5000 watt inverter and equivalent solar panels to power it. A typical inverter would cost $3500 US. Figure about $1200 for every 200 watt solar panel. Estimate $24000 for 4000 watts of solar panels. This does not include storage batteries (which need to be replaced every five years) and the space to put all of this stuff.
Good news... due to high oil prices, technolgy for solar panels has increased, clearing the way for cheaper more flexible solar panels..including better ideas for power storage. So that you don't have to buy ,maintain, and house an expensive battery set-up, there are inverters available that will pump your excess electricity back into the power grid. Pumping the power back into the grid causes your meter to run backwards, and allows you to "store "electricity for when there isn't enough sunlight. For homes that aren't on a grid, a simple method of uasing a solar electric pump to pump water up-hill to a storage tank during the day. Then using a water powered generator, (auger style) letting the water run down hill when electricity is needed.
Eh, you may want to check this out...

Solar power struggles: DayStar warns, OptiSolar closes

You're going to see huge monopolies of PV providers... that will not make anything PV cheaper..
Get an evaporative air con unit, they may not be as cold as refrigerant ones but they use less power, and our brand new whole house ducted system is pretty cold, just not when its 45 degrees C and the sun is beaming directly on to the roof unit.
Evaporative coolers, aka "swamp coolers" work well where it's hot and dry, but in some places (like the Gulf coast) heat comes with humidity. When the temperature and the relative humidity are chasing each other around the low nineties, you really need refrigeration (unless you were to luck into a huge shipment of government-surplus thermoelectric modules that somebody thought were scrap aluminum).
rct1113 altomic5 years ago
The problem is that air conditioning requires so much energy that simply can't be provided by a single solar panel. We just don't have the technology yet. The closest thing that we have yet is an air conditioner that uses both solar and the grid. however, I think someone could make their own solution, after all, this IS Instructables.
We have the technology; it's just too expensive.
What about evaporative cooling that only sucks about 100-200 watts
12v solar panel, connected to a power inverter, will be enough to power a regular 120v A-C.
you would need about 8 200watt panels, which is quite huge.
my dad is making a solar water heater...
but isnt that just putting water in a clear tube in the sun to heat it up not with solar pannels and stuff
Couple of reasons... 1. solar panels are expensive. You 'break even' on the cost of them versus how much you save in 20+ years. 2. they don't make enough electricity for AC unless you use a LOT of them--which only makes paying them off even longer. 3. If you would just plant a tree near your house--you wouldn't need to use the AC very much.
we have th5 trees in a row and one of them grows tons of leaves, the others are evergreens.
if you only use your AC at night, you'll save power
crochetdee5 years ago
My parents live in a a dessert town in AZ and some of the houses including theirs has a Private well. Private wells in the community are shared by 2 to 4 people, theirs is a 2 house well. BUT the water comes from the SAME SOURCE/SUPPLY as the Municipal water. Meaning, even though they aren't HOOKED UP to the Water Company and they aren't PAYING a WATER COMPANY BILL-- they are using the same water that people in town who are hooked up to the Municipal Pipes are using. That water comes in all the way from Colorado. So when there's a drought and everyone is asked to use less water: alternate day car washing, etc., it affects the town even though the "PRIVATE WELL" owners aren't being monitored and HAVE plenty of water. In fact, it affects everyone using the Colorado River (just like the Missouri River ) because everyone relies on these Pipelines. That's why AZ is suing CA to get back their water rights they "Loaned" CA during a water shortage about 2 decades ago. CA would look like AZ, a cactus-filled wasteland if they didn't use so much water to "water just enough to keep it alive and semi green and that is for fire protection as much as appearances"--- there would be no Palm trees. Drive across the AZ/CA state border--literally on the AZ side is dirt and cacti and on the CA side is Palm Trees and Postcard Vegetation similar to Florida. It's not just ground water, it's water we all share and there isn't enough for everybody to have CLEAN DRINKING water. That's why Dysentery is one of the biggest causes of death around the World. I lived in Thailand as a kid and you needed bottled water to brush your teeth because a big gulp of Tap could put you in the hospital for weeks/months. I appreciate that some people are Trying to be green-- but trying is not the same as being green. CA is the biggest hypocrite of that-- where's the car pools, where's the no grass, rock-covered lawns like in AZ and NM, or the repression to follow every modern trend and rip out perfectly good cabinets because they're OAK (sooo 80's) and not Maple. Would these people even know the difference if they weren't told? Look at the Huge Fires in CA with Million dollars mansions being burned to the ground, firefighters dying to save them, water lost by the rivers to put them out, and then some Actor saying, "Don't worry about me, I'll rebuild." Why should they be allowed to and why does Federal insurance money and State workers and the World's water let them-- Earth doesn't want them to live there. I don't care if it is tranquil--Suzanne Summers has how many houses? Put up a Yoga mat in your Media Room and make That mansion tranquil with all your Thigh-master money. Bubblewrap74 is right to ask questions. tday99hotmail critique may be hurtful, but isn't your goal to be Green for everyone's benefit. Not only are private wells on their way to getting metered as tday99hotmail noted, but they're on they're way to paying for their water. Which is unfair because people have paid thousands of dollars to dig those wells which have allowed entire rural areas to become towns and then cities. People should be honored for allowing more people to branch out into affordable housing. But that doesn't mean that you're not polluting the earth or using more than your fair share just cause you're in the middle of nowhere. Farmers Burning garbage in New Zealand are killing their own land with toxins that Overflow into the ocean and Kill ALL Our Fish. One New Zealand family on a 50 acre farm burning garbage pollutes more than my whole NYC block of two to three family houses WHO ride the subways, recycle under law, and own 1/5 less junk that the average mid-western family because we live in tiny apartments that can't store useless junk. Before we chant "REUSE AND RECYCLE" and pay "Jollyrgr's $24,000 for 5000 watts of solar powered AC" let's buy smaller houses! No 5000 sq ft house for single couples or one-child households. Or Earthships that cost half a million dollars and are "week-end or vacation homes." No more Vanity projects. My father-on-law raised 4 kids in a 700 sq ft, 3 bedroom apartment. How? Bunk beds. He survived the Depression with 13 siblings. How? Neighbors Sharing sugar rations to make a cake. Victory gardens. Don't grow roses, grow veggies. And don't compete with your neighbor over the best tomatoes. Grow something else and share. We used to be a community. I bet I'm gonna get a lot of responses to this Comment. Fine. Say anything you want, but only if you've carpooled with your neighbor or didn't buy anything you didn't need in the past year: replacing broken is okay, updating a ten-year old laptop is a must, getting the latest cell phone, this year's clothing when last year's still fits, changed a working, energy-star stove or fridge to stainless steel ONLY because it was white/black, ripped out non-broken bathroom tile for a cleaner slate, granite, modern look... Bubblewrap74, if not created an instructible means that MY comment ALSO has no validity then I'll submit the steak recipe my Brother's been trying to get for years. Cause clean plates save money, landfills, and over-farming. But it'll kill the leverage every little sister needs to Survive in this cruel, cruel world. PS: sorry for the length, I just wanted to PROVE I read everyone's comments and give credit to some of the many people I respected for shouting out, NOT EVERYTHING'S GREEN!
THE WATER TECHNOLOGIES are coming. IBM just wrapped a whole unit around it. Relax. The new FILTERED for desalination are coming. Relax. We are okay. Yes, I know Cali has basically stolen water for decades, but it really isn't about that. It is about individuals wasting water because no one taught them how to be responsible. Resources are valuable and need to be reused. Water is the most important resource. Personally, I cringe whenever I can't reuse something or re-purpose or recycle it. I compost everything. I have a dismantled sink on my kitchen table, I spread food out and cook from scratch, I save bottles, I shred all paper that is sent to me in the mail and compost it, I garden, but you know what. I don't rant about how I do everything no one else does. I SET the EXAMPLE. If you want change, do something about it, but don't RANT. HOT AIR is for the people that aren't doing what they can. I will help invent a new world of reusable resources, because as far as I'm concerned, any packaged food item, which I don't buy, because I deal with fresh produce, meat, and dairy (yes, I like cheese and I make my own) but if I was one of the MIDDLE of the GROCERY store shoppers, which most of you are, I would wish that regulations were in place so that every container could be rinsed and sent to the recycling plant - mandatory, but city funds are sucked up by everything you could imagine - Human beings are flawed beasts and if they aren't killing one another, they are bitching about it. Water purification is coming, but then sucking gallons of salt water might endanger sea life, so it is always a balancing act. Number 1 - Be Responsible, stop having babies. Number 2 - Balance your life. Number 3 - Don't support WANTS. Number 4 - Make it yourself. Number 5 - Do something about it yourself before bitching.
Good rant, we do use a lot of water....Las Vegas is a glaring example of our extreme waste in water resources, but like millions of others I enjoy visiting Las Vegas. My point is that ,in much of the country, there is sufficient water resources.....The earth is 2/3 water...we can't use it up. However, people choose to live where it is not viable...(desert areas). The only way for people to be enviromentally responsible, is to raise the price of water. Raising the price of water is not a popular idea, but would make more people economize. Back to the "free air conditioning"...this is called geo-thermal. Geo thermal takes the heat or cold from the ground and uses this to heat/cool a home. The water is pumped back into the earth after it has run through the coils. In Oklahoma we have "zero" homes using the latest technolgy, including geo-thermal, to heat and cool homes, leaving the smallest carbon footprint. Yes, you can heat your home this way also. I agree with the author, I take 1 trash can a year to the dump...but, we live in a capitalist society. Which allows us to control our destiny to some worldly matters and domestic. If we all became minimalist then our society would collapse.
you could put the hose into the well.
jsummerlin5 years ago
I think the idea I have is already on the market. Why not figure tempt x sq ft. x how much water you would need to replace with cold air. My idea is to lay enclosed lateral lines down x amount of feet say 100 ft. of schedule 40 PVC and then it wouldn't take a strong pump to circulate the water. Here in Texas water lines don't freeze a ft. deep. Next I would like to build the same type system but facing the sun for solar heat but try, pipes 3" in diameter covered with black EPDM rubber. I roofed for years and trust me that is some of the hottest stuff in the world. Then pump the heated water back to a insulated holding tank.
slinger145 years ago
really this a waste of water but since you have a well and don't pulled water our of water shortage areas this is an exception.
Fixerdad5 years ago
I don't know if this affects your particular situation, but I would suggest putting a pleated furnace filter over the intake side of the fan. It'll trap all the dust, etc. that will clog the heat exchanger and lower it's efficiency, and cleaner air is always good, though I suspect not an issue where you are. The fiberglass ones are useless for this. Also, you can gently vacuum the pleated ones to clean them. They can last quite a while. I use the filter box fan combo to get the sawdust out of the air in my shop, as well as clients homes when the work is dusty.
Just keep the exchanger clean as you go.. A filter will only hamper air flow and cause your fan to work harder.
The filters I mentioned have very little (not at all significant for this use) air resistance until they become dirty. Being cleanable by vacuum, and exposed on the back of the fan, they are a lot easier to clean on a regular basis, thereby maintaining peak air flow. I imagine that to clean the exchanger, it has to come off and be hosed down so that the "internal" surfaces also get cleaned, though if your area is as dry as I assume, the amt. of dust that sticks to the condensate on the fins is minimal, and so that buildup is small. When used for airborn dust extraction in my shop, I can hear the difference in the fan speed, which tells me it's time for the vacuum. HOWEVER, if cleaning out the exchanger is no big deal, then ignore everything I just wrote! Be well, Fixerdad
bwpatton15 years ago
??? Ummmm isint copper poisionous?? I know there is copper pipes in houses but I thought they were treated with something. IDK
Vyger (author)  bwpatton15 years ago
The lead in the (old) solder used to seal the pipe joints is toxic but copper is not. Trace amounts of copper are actually essential for your blood among other things. In new solder the lead has been removed.
bwpatton1 Vyger5 years ago
Wow I didnt know this for some reason I thought that there was a thing as copper poisioning, but mabey that was aluminum poisioning. Thanks!
Carbonated water, like from a soda fountain, can leach enough copper to become poisonous. The common soda fountain found in every restaurant has a special backflow preventer to keep the carbonated water from coming in contact with copper piping. It's especially important because the carbonated water is at a higher pressure than the supply water. Here is an article about it. Maybe that is what you are remembering.
Jacquet5 years ago
Great idea! I did this at a hardware store I worked at in Florida back in the mid-70's. We had an old Chrysler 5 ton unit that we took the cooling coils out of and ran the water through them, used the existing blower fan to push the air. The only difference we did was our we put down 2 wells (75ft), one in the back left and one in the back right corners of the store. We pulled in the constant 72 deg ground water, ran it through the exchange coils just like you, but we used the other well for a dump well. The water went back into the ground, was cooled again by the earth, and then sucked up again in the other well. kept the store at 72 degrees year round. No thermostat, just an on and off switch for the pump and the fan.
panstar15 years ago
being a HVAC tech & having installed many ac systems ,I have heard of this being done. I have even seen a window shaker being modified by installing a water cooled condenser ,But why didn't you use a used add on ac coil from a hot air furnce it already has a condensate pan built in & they can already handle high pressures ( normal pressure for a R 22 system is around 220 PSI ) the in/outlet connection are 1/2 inch and 3/8 (refrigeration size measured ID ) most are perfectly good & are changed out when the AC system is being replaced you just have to rinse out the oil. & one thing a normal split coil ac needs 220 at 20 amps min but this dose not include start up current which could be around 70 amps or more! just a thought
StCanna5 years ago
Yes, what a silly notion that water is becoming scarce... I think it is called the Hydrological cycle. Maybe it becomes scarce in a certain place from which you are trying to extract it but that just means its goin somewhere else. If its not in the ground than its in the air and one just needs to condense it. If its not in the air (which there is always SOME moister in the air) then you just need to drill around til you find it in the ground. Sometimes it takes some WORK, but there is always water!
Anna_Anna5 years ago
Am just wondering where y'all think that this groundwater is going? My own 3rd grade science teacher taught us quite well. So I do believe it all goes right back into the ground at some point. Mother Earth recycles quite well. The water above is simply being used. All water is used. Science and history books agree: ALL water returns to the ground at some point. That said, this is very innovative and usable too! Thank you for a great idea! Anna_Anna
Esmagamus5 years ago
Loved the idea and the Instructable is nicely made. Still, the thought of all that water going to the sprinkler... Are you sure you are not wasting water? Also, what kind of solder did you use in this? Are you sure you are not contaminating water with lead (nasty stuff)?
glorybe5 years ago
You have sort of duplicated something that exists on very large commercial AC units at times. These units store very cold water that is often made at night when the AC system is off. Pipe with fins crosses through these large, cold, bodies of water and water that is isolated in those pipes goes to various rooms and into radiators. Fans then blow through the radiators providing cooling. You are lucky in that nature provides your chilled water. You might find that water at about 52 degrees F. when it passes through your coils is considered about perfect. If it is colder than that people tend to get a touch of air at times that is too cold even though the room is about right in temperature. Also you might consider a tiny pump that takes the condensate that you currently take care of with towels and dribbles it back over your coils. Evaporation can provide a very potent source of cooling in your climate. Where I live a small home can easily condense five gallons or more of water per day from the air inside the home.
but this way it's free. ;)
Axl_Buell5 years ago
I have heard of similar systems before, and the same issues are always mentioned. Mainly, how to efficiently use waste water, and how to keep a low water temperature if not using a constant new supply from a cold water well. What if you used a continuously recycling water system, where after leaving the heat exchanger the water enters a large soft copper coil inside a dorm-sized refrigerator. Some of these refrigerators can reach near freezing temperatures. Some sort of pump would obviously be needed since you would not be utilizing your well pump's water pressure. However, considering the relatively small circuit the water would be flowing through, and the relatively small amount of water, I don't believe a monster sized pump would be necessary. The cold water should be enough to keep the pump cool, or perhaps it could even be mounted inside the refrigerator. Now I know one of the main purposes of this Instructable was to create a "green" alternative to energy hungry air conditioners, and a refrigerator and pump also consume their fair share of energy. I have a possible solution to that problem as well. Many RV and Camper refrigerators are wired for 12 Volt usage off of a deep cycle battery. These refrigerators can sometimes be powered for days off of a large enough battery. You could run the entire cooling system off of the deep cycle battery, and while you're at work all day, while the sun is at its strongest, charge the battery with a solar panel. Anyone with input, let me know, these are all just untested ideas. Some variables I'm unsure of include the size of pump needed, and the amount of energy the pump would use.
n0ukf5 years ago
You mentioned not using car radiators but failed to mention heater cores. You could get a few car heater cores from the local junk yard and connect them together, they should handle more pressure than the radiator. The smaller hose connections would be easier to adapt to and you don't have the low-pressure radiator cap to mess with.
Vyger (author)  n0ukf5 years ago
Actually what might work even better are transmission cooler coils if you can get all the oil out. They are designed to hold pressure and with the smaller fins might transfer heat better. You would have to hook several of them in parallel (just like batteries) rather than serial to get adequate water flow because they are smaller diameter pipes.
theburn75 years ago
Good idea, i like this way, but my town is rationing water >:-(
bigbark345 years ago
I plan on making my own personal airconditioner this weekend, as stated above, I plan to have a cooler send the cold water to my copper pipe wrapped around my fan, and the return water will be going to a second cooler filled with ice, hopefully when it gets back to the main cooler feeding the copper tubing it will have cooled down enough not to make the ice melt to fast, as opposed to having the return water run straight back in the the main water send. hopefully this works, any more suggestions would be greatly appreciate.
jc717106 years ago
I;m planing on building the diy ac. conecting the heat exchanger to the intake of my heater and running the fan only in a 2000 square foot house I have a couple of questions how many gallions per hour of water are going through the box fan heat exchanger and how many square feet is it cooling. best reguards joe
Have you tried running your system with low-flow soaker hoses instead of the sprinkler? I would imagine that the cooling effect would be similar, while saving you trips to the yard to move the sprinkler. Soaker hoses can also be more efficient at deep watering, so it could be a win all around. Thanks for sharing the great idea.
Vyger (author)  romedeiros19706 years ago
I tried soaker hoses but our water plugs up the holes in them. I agree that its preferable to spraying it into the air as there is much less evaporation. I did developed a type of soaker that I use in watering the garden and it has proven to work really good. You can see it in the last 2 pages of my other instructable entitled Shred and Till .
I remember the bubbler. Thanks for the response.
erikyuki6 years ago
Another option one has is to install the radiator under water (inside the well - probably not possible if you have an artesian one) and make the air pass through the insides of it. That would be a bit more complicated to do, but solves many of the problems presented here. The only one still to solve is the possible contamination by rust, lead and other chemicals. Any ideas? Cheers!
Siruss6 years ago
To close the water loop why not add ice or even better, dry ice to a large cooler. Then, maybe using a high pressure rubber/plastic air hose, snake the piping around in the dry ice cooler to cool the water down as much as possible before sending it back to the heat exchanger.
omg nice! never really thaught bout doing that!! now me being in ohio, i need to find a cold water source.. mabe a hose :-) so i can do this :-D !!nice one!!
I thought Ohio, like Kansas has a frost line. Where water lines are buried below that line, the water will be colder than the ambient air temperature. Water comes out of my tap at~65 F. . Not like in South Texas where, the water comes out of the tap almost hot, relatively.speaking.
:-\ out of the tap, it comes REALLY cold here idk mabe 55-60*f cold, (right now at least).. P.S. i could use tap, but that would not be technicly free
Nope it isn't free. But if you are using that water to water a garden or lawn anyway and can use it to cool a space first you are getting more for your money. Even more it where to eliminate operating an AC unit. Alas the situation here is that this would be impractical. Unless I start a truck garden.
A closed loop system would work probably just as well. There are passive air circulation systems that uses a buried pipe(steel works best 6" or larger) with an above ground intake manifold control the flow that provide air at 65-75 degrees year round. A roof vent or open chimney flue air will draw air from the pipe w/o electricity with enough force to create a whistling sound as its drawn through the vents. The pipe is buried at least 5' deep to ensure a stable temperature. Installation is costly but the system requires no additional electricity.
Sis crgintx6 years ago
Is there a way to heat a 4000 sq.ft. older house (1971)in Colorado Springs, Colorado, using this technique you mentioned here? It gets a few degrees below freezing much of the time at night,from November thru April, and the ground stays frozen till middle of May sometimes. Some areas the ground is frozen 6 feet deep. Any suggestions? Thanks, Sis
crgintx Sis6 years ago
Sis, that's a huge house. If you haven't remodeled your house for passive solar gain, you should. I really doubt that the ground is frozen at 6 ft below even in the dead of winter. I'm a retired military ordinance technician and the standard for earth cover for climate controlled storage was only 5 feet deep even in Alaska. There's several methods of passive and semi-passive climate control. Your area of the country is ideal for passive solar design. Here's 2 sites that are CO based that can help your better than I can: and .
Oh and as far as recycling this stuff goes, scrap yards will pay for clean copper or clean aluminum, not a combination of the two, and with the time and effort it would take to separate the two metals from each other factored in, it's often easier to just pitch the excess fin tube. Most contractors would be happy to give you any extra they have kicking around- it'll get it out of their hair.
OK so I had a similar idea last summer. I work at an HVAC contractor, and we had a whole crapload of this fintube laying around as scrap. I wanted to take it home and hook it up to our water system and do the same thing with it to cool down our stupid living room, but was told by my other half that it would never cool our living room so it wasn't worth the effort. Guess he's gonna have a new project to complete for next summer!!!! :D When he argues with me about it again, I'm gonna point him in the direction of this instructable! Thanks!!!
heathbar646 years ago
Whew!! Lot of thoughts here. First off, If your living in a dry area, they often use evaporative coolers, which dribble a small amount of water on a absorbent cloth thing. the evaporationg( change of state from liquid to solid) absorbs heat making cold air. that would save a lot of water! also, heat pumps draw water from a well, then when they are done with it, pump it back down another well some distance away. why couln't you do that here? it would be like a closed sytem, the ground would keep re-cooling the water after it has absorbed it the heat from the air.
Not trying to be mean here but... if he lived in a dry area, he wouldn't have so much condensation on the heat exchanger. but you are right, an evaporative cooler would be more cost effective. and evaporation is from liquid to gas.

(an example of evaporation at work: Make an evaporative Terra Cotta Beer Chiller note: only good at low dewpoints/humidity)
If you pumped the water down another hole, it would rapidly get full.
that is not true ground absorbs tons of water. If you had two wells you will not experience that problem with the flow needed for AC you just don't pump that much water. The second well will absorb water quickly and pass it into the underground water supply. You must be super careful though as you can contaminate your drinking water. Remember this is a fun leisure thing to do don't risk you and your family's life by taking a chance of contaminating the water you drink if you in anyway positive of what the water contains that your pumping back into your drinking water supply.
From the description of this water, I'd think it wasn't the drinking kind. If you pump that rusty and nasty water back into another hole, the pores in the rock will rapidly fill up (with rust), and the rate of water absorption through the rock will slow, and then effectively stop, since there is then a lining to the well. This doesn't happen in the outwards pumping, because the pores are always being cleared as water flows in.
Alright, I'm afraid rumours about falling US standards on education are true... A) Even if you really had filter-clogging materials to worry about, whose would either float to the surface or sink to the bottom of a normal injection well. B) There are loads of water qualities: clean for drinking, clean for park irrigation, clean for agriculture, gray for flushing toilets and mopping, black from city sewage, black from small town sewage, black from industrial use (containing from detergents and dyes to heavy metals and hard acids) and many others. Even so, I don't see how any user would make enough metallic oxide to cause concern.
Not sure where in the US you are, but standards are falling everywhere. Basic English comprehension seems to be beyond many, today.

Regarding your reply, if you read the OP, you will see that he has rust coloured groundwater. This implies that there are lots of bits of fine iron oxide in it, and that it is fine enough to not settle anywhere. For this reason, it will stay in the mix for long enough to start blocking things as it filters away. And, it will never settle, since there is always more water coming in behind it.

If you don't believe me, get a filter paper and some rusty water, and try pouring a pint through it. It starts to get gummed up. Now try pouring another 10 pints through it. Does it seem a bit slower to you yet?
it's rare to get a well that is contaminated that badly. It really is. I have an artesian well so I don't worry about that much. However I've heard of this problem. Look at my other post on this list of posts I stated that you can beat this using a buried radiator and a small fountain pump.
Not my well, I can only go off what the OP said. Yes, your re-design could be used, but that would have to be another Instructable. I await it with interest.
I live nowhere in the States, unless you follow those jerks who say that my Cancun is "Miami #2". However, just like Florida, the Yucatan peninsula is a huge chunk of limestone (although much younger), and Cancun's average height over sea level is 2 meters. As it could be imagined, the sewers hardly flow as it is and rainwater is channeled into absorption wells ratter than let overflow the sewers.
Now, those absorption wells are extremely simple: bring a well-drilling truck equipped with a drill bit about one foot wide. Drill down five to eight feet, then fit the opening with a storm drain cover. Their maintenance is simple: every now and then you open the manhole and rake out the debris and garbage that might have been flushed down. The holes can wait up to ten years without being re-drilled, and tend to be spaced every hundred meters on streets and every twenty to fifty on avenues. Those holes are extremely effective: when Wilma hit us in 2005, I saw how the water went from over 40cm in height to scattered puddles in under twenty-four hours; the only zones that had long floods were those under a kilometer inland and too close to sea level.

Then again, perhaps the example of the Yucatan peninsula isn't so good. Let's try, then, the example of more than sixty percent of the rural population of Mexico and a good portion of your hillbillies, whose bathrooms depend on septic tanks.
I could also quote the example from many of the far-south resorts in the Mayan Riviera: They have to pump-up their own water (from twenty meters down), desalinate it in some cases, neutralize it (ground water is very alkaline around here), purify it according to purpose (from drinking to gardening), purify their own sewage as good as it came from the ground, then pump the newly clean water eighty meters down into the bedrock.

Now, about the original comment: rust comes up, rust comes down. Here in Cancun, dust comes up whenever it doesn't rain, then comes down flushed into the storm drains. About the experiment you suggest, I've tried it in the past: after a saturation point, the slow down stops being concerned with filter size and becomes completely dependent on pressure, inner surface and gravity. Iron oxide nearly forms molecular particles, but the water molecule is far smaller than the smallest iron oxide crystal.
Well, I live further from the US than you, I'm in the 51st state. The UK.

I've no idea what septic tanks have to do with this example. They don't work like this at all.

However, I've got to ponder why the guys living in the Mayan Rivera are retarded enough to pump freshly cleaned water back into holes from where they will need to de-salinate, clean, etc. the water when they pull it out again. Personally, I'd stick the cleaned and recycled water in a tank, then use that. Repeatedly. In fact, I'd only top it up occassionally. Drawing water up 20 meters is a long way.

And pump it to 80 meters down? Don't they have gravity around there? Things sure are different the other side of the pond... They are pumping it to 60 meters below the water table, too. Gotta ponder that...

As for the rust layer blocking the flow, you might be right. It's just the rest of your post that isn't.

Oh, I'm glad we are back into brainy conversation. I guess I should apologize too for entering a flame war after a long day and implying you were an idiot.

About the procedures about the water usage on those resorts, I wouldn't make sense to me either but because I know the federal rulebooks about underground water use and the reasons why those books are so overzealous: ground water pollution is extremely easy to overlook or cover-up, and those books don't define the resorts as domestic users, but as self-sufficient, isolated, industrial users. Such denominator might encompass an idyllic resort, but it might also encompass a chemical plant, a steel mill, a cement factory or a recycling facility. Being from the UK, you must know what unregulated ambient pollution was doing to Londoners during the worst of the industrial revolution.
Well, I'm running late here, so I'll expand this later. I'm just giving what i remember right now of the resort water cycle:
1) Ground water> sedimentation + chem-filters + acidification + ozone + airing + inspection (up to EU standards)= drinking water and pool water
2) Used drinking water> sedimentation + chem-filters + chlorine= utility water (toilets and mops)
3) Used utility water> sedimentation + chem-filters + chlorine + inspection ("equal or better than ground water")= gardening water
4) Left-over gardening water (if any)= re-pumping
There is not closed-loop because of the gardening, but there wouldn't be anyway thanks to image: would you go to a resort that served you toilet water?
That's very interesting stuff. Thanks.

As regards recycled water, it's an interesting point. No-one would know, certainly not the people living in resort, etc., that it had been so quickly recycled, but you are right that it might be a barrier if they did find out.

The US Army are doing some crazy things with water from Humvee exhaust gases, making it safe to drink, so troops don't have to carry extra water. Apparently it is drinkable but a bit chemical, at the moment.

All water is recycled, of course. Every glass you drink was passed, in part, by dinosaurs. In the new army system, of course, the water was dinosaurs (in a way) before cremation! ;-)
OK, I'm back. The water table isn't twenty meters down: the legislation says they have to extract water from twenty meters below the water-table's mean level, which coincides (in this region) with sea level. The terrain is featureless, so those resorts and their water treatment facilities tend to be barely two to five meters above sea level, which in turn makes then drill twenty meters below sea level for the extraction well and eighty meters for the injection well.
what are you talking about rusty and dirty? This is drinking water? clean it goes in clean it comes out clean wear are you getting over 1000lbs of rust from? I don't know about you but my well could take rust and when the well driller blew out the well and began flushing it there must be a 20 foot wide chamber at the bottom
I'll refer you to the original post, since you seem to not have read it. --- The water I use is directly from my pressure tank. It's untreated and is intended for outside watering. Our ground water here is pretty nasty. It's very alkali and has lots of rust in it. Just to be able to use it for the house I run it through a sediment filter, then a rust filter and finally a water softener which uses rust removing salt. And after all of that we still don't drink it. So the inside water and outside water are kept completely separate. ---
frollard6 years ago
You could run an exchanger on incoming municipal water - but remember, you want it to work for you, not against. Yes, in the winter you can 'heat' a freezing cold storage room up to 50 Fahrenheit, but if you exchanged with regular house air, your furnace would have to make up the balance. Running it outside when it's blazing hot out, as the source for your hot water heater would also have a savings. I really like the idea of the closed loop ground source pump - if you could somehow excavate a massive hole in your yard, then drill 30 wells, you could easily tap into geothermal heating/cooling.
Running this from municipal water is illegal in most cities.
Why would it be illegal in any way? As long as you are allowed to water your garden, there shouldn't be anything about warming the water before it hits the plants.
It has a lot to do about contamination. Cities usually make generic rules about these things. When the water has been processed than it need to be filtered/cleaned ... before returning it to the environment. As I said, it depends on the city. Here in Montreal, we are having problems with the underground network. 20% of the water is lost in the ground and a lot of people and using it to cool their houses/businesses. Water filtration plants should process half the water it actually does. This costs millions.
That's a myth. The water isn't "lost", it goes back into the ground from where it was likely pumped in the first place. Just because it never reached a tap and got drunk (or, more likely, washed someone's clothes or made something) doesn't mean it is lost, except to the utility company, which cannot charge anyone for it. I know a place that has a lake. It's a nice lake, and it's been there for 5 years at least. And it's only there because the water company can't arrange to fix the leak in the main that supplies the farm. So half of one of his fields is now a nice lake. The fish, birds and plants there probably don't think it wasted, and the cows that drink from it, either.
I know waht is a myth and it's not it. You are only playing with words. "lost into the ground" and "goes back into the ground" ... means the same thing ? The point was that the city puts money into processing the water only to "lose" it into the ground. That'a waste and it's charged to everybody (we don't have water meter here. Everybody pays the same). Or to have people use it to cool their houses. Another waste of processed water. Untreated water would have done the same thing.
So go on then, where is it lost? Who loses out? The water itself is still there, and, as I say, only the water pumping people are upset about the losses, and then only because they cannot charge you extra for that water - as you say, it is normally a flat rate charge across everyone! Water that leaks into the ground and waters plants or refills the groundwater, or whatever, is still useful. In places where they distil it from seawater, etc. it is probably a large portion of the (fresh) water that the ground gets in any given month!
"only the water pumping people are upset about the losses" ... Exactly my point. That's what I tried to make you understand from the start. This water is useful, yes, probably. But this water has been treated for human consumption. This cost money. The loss is there. If there is a need for water underground, pump untreated water.
Totally agree with you on that - I just mean for the water you'd use ANYWAY, you might as well have an exchanger to get the most out of it.
It could also have to do with the amount of water you are using. If you were an industrial user from certain sectors (steel mills, paper production, food processing) or an agricultural user, you might be allowed to just run the tap. On the other hand, if an inspector knocks on your door and you tell him you are spending a jacuzzi's worth of water a day just to keep the summer's heat out, in most places of the civilized world you would be heavily fined, publicly humiliated, ostracized and maybe even imprisoned. Then again, the United States consumes around 45 to 50% of the world's resources with a population of around 6% of the world's total, and Americans keep lush green gardens right next door to Death Valley.
dsikora076 years ago
i think you are really into this and i admire your creativity...
Mannix6 years ago
Hmmm, I wonder if this could be adapted to bring cold city water up to room temp before hitting the water heater, I figure the actual savings would be marginal, but with energy prices the way they are, it may just pay for itself in savings on A/C(supplementing an existing central air system) and water heating costs over a summer or two.
Vyger (author)  Mannix6 years ago
I was thinking of that also. Even though you might not get a lot of cooling from it it would serve to preheat your water and for a water heater might help cut the bills. Use it for the summer and let it draw the heat from the building. Then just cut it out of the loop in winter. I think a lot of cooling potential is just getting flushed down the drain in cities.
Your machine would have to be something, as mentioned, without lead, etc. in it, or other contaminants, which is difficult seeing as how you need metal fins and all for it to work. Remember, your hot water is often consumed, too (unless you happen to be very careful about that, always heating cold water for cooking, etc. Maybe then it would be okay.)
Not really hard to get a proper heat exchanger for water use, or even to make one yourself. Small bore copper pipe is fairly cheap and easy to get, and that is designed for water transfer. Use proper plumbing solder (silver, rather than lead) and away you go. If I can work out how to rig this to my "on demand" water heating system, I will.
mmmmna6 years ago
I would suggest you could use HOT water to pressure test: the soldering flux will soften and flow when hot water is used; also, any weak joints will also get a dose of thermal expansion which can be likened to a kind of mechanical surge test. Soaking this assembly in a bathtub filled with hot (or even boiling) water might not help: if the pipes are not pressurized, the softened flux may just sit there.
mmmmna6 years ago
Hmm. That would work for me: I have free running springs in my back yard, and I'm rural, I live next to a brook, I have the extra Slantfin FHW radiators and a spare window fan..... Thanks for sharing!!
I think it looks beautiful. My favourite colour is Green. But I do have to laugh at how some of us can come up with brilliant ideas like this and not work out something as simple as the pan idea to drain the moisture. Well isn't it great we all help each other. Cheers.
static6 years ago
Technically it should be called a heat exchanger. Well if we are going to be technical, we shouldn't be calling it free. ;) Even Nice instructable, but not a new discovery. Generally referred to as a "chiller" not a water cooler. Today one could expect to pay a contractor the metal salvage price for the items. The price of copper is such that the bolder thieves are stealing operating commercial AC units if they can. While it works well for you and would work well for me here in KS, but it wouldn't work all that well for those in the Southern States where the water comes out of the tap warmish. Also some areas have restrictions on outside water use, that probits watering lawns or gardens during the notter hour of the day or outright prohibits all outside water use
Nachoman6 years ago
I'll just add my two little hundredths of a carbon credit: While I do believe you are being responsible about your water usage, I believe this project is deeply misleading: 1) You have an 'unlimited' water supply, and the water coming from there is actually cold. Most people don't have either: they'll have city-pumped water running down at moderately cool temperatures (if that). People who read this might think its clever to reroute their garden hoses into their living room and save on their energy bill while the subsidies on water pay the difference. For most of the world, unlimited water is no more real than affordable space tourism. 2) How much artificial fertilizers are you using? If you are using any, then it's being washed into the water table and counts as pollution. The only ones who don't are the biomass-based fertilizers (manure, compost, agricultural waste). You should consider that, too: that's why in Mexico you need a case study and a federal permit just to dig a well. 3) You call the project "Free AC" because it gives an extra use to water you would be using anyway. Somebody else might point out that you are using a well pump as a water compressor. I ain't going to bother you about your usage of lead-based solder. I grew up in an old house with an asbestos water deposit and lead solder in every juncture.
kludge0006 years ago
I have this here in the house some where. An old article form a popular science magazine that retrofits a forced air heating system using a heat exchanger and incoming water going to the water heater.
well I built one of these years ago. But the problem here is you use very large tubing a easy way to get rid of that whole thing is to use a 15 dollar car radiator because they are manufactured so fast and cheap much easier and the materials you used would cost well over that. Goto a junk yard rinse it out if needed and just epoxy a garden hose into the larger radiator hose then attach it to you sink. I see alot of people here with ideas that either cost a ton or just arn't practical the idea of free ac isn't possible you have to atleast pay for materials. I Live in alaska and believe it or not it got up to 91 degrees this summer. The best cheapest ac is still nothing to do with using your well water that 220v well pump chugs the electricity for startup and running. Use a 5 dollar fountain ebay pump two 15 dollar used car radiators. 1 5 dollar pouch of 5 min epoxy. and about polyurethane tubing to go in between the radiators. Set the radiator in your window and bury the other won in the ground with a shovel. Only a few feet down and the ground is 70 degrees or colder. Attach the small pump to the back of your radiator in the window via epoxy. Use a 5 dollar box fan to circulate the air. The lil pump to circulate water. Simple as that. Epoxy the polyurethane tubing into the ports on the radiator and fill with water. I had nice 65 degree air blowing out of mine via about 2.50 on my electric bill a month.
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This would work take a cooking temperature probe and a shovel. Dig down like 3 feet and feel how cool it is also check with a temp prob. Dig as deep of a hole as you can. This is a super easy project. The deeper you go the cooler it will be. Check for a climax to the cold. The dirt will only get so cold if you continue digging after that temperature your wasting time. You can do this by taking frequent temperatures of the dirt you dig.
jaime99996 years ago
Just a note-- this is not totally green. Unless your water source is an uphill spring, artesian well, or from an uphill stream (and thus your water pressure us naturally provided by geology/geography), you will consume electricity to pump the water from your well into your house (and this system).

Of course, if your well pump is a windmill, waterwheel, or solar system, your system will be totally green!
If you only consider the use of grid power as the green/not green determination. This system wastes a huge amount of potable fresh water, which is a far scarcer resource than electricity.
agreed, IMHO a lawn isn't really enough of an excuse to gush water around, lawn gets greywater in my world, er, wait what lawn? A closed system would make this a really top notch green project!
It's not drinking water. It's not nice at all from the description.
Vyger (author)  wikkit6 years ago
See the added page, step 7 in answer to your comment.
My thoughts exactly.
LEOtm6 years ago
good idea,am gonna improve that
dfowler74376 years ago
Oh I forgot to add, my dad now has a well water heat exchanger for his heat pump AC system. These are becoming fairly popular and are very efficent. The well water is used to take heat (or give) to the coil that would normaly be outside. The spent water is used for irragation of his property.
dfowler74376 years ago
I helped my dad build one of these when I was a kid. Here in Texas the water is about 75 degrees from a well. It did cool the house but the humidity became unbearable. I would speculate that the fact that your water is cold compaired to the ultimate air tempature you want to reach that it will dehumidify the air and overcome the problems we had.
Prometheus6 years ago
Awesome idea Vyger! I was just checking to see if this had been done before I posted mine. It's built to WORK, and that's pretty to me.

Two things:
1) be sure to keep the entire rig as clean as possible, as dust will severely kill your airflow.

2) A "propeller-type" fan could be straining the motor too much. If you can find a "centrifugal blower" (squirrel-cage) blower to do the job, any blockage from dust would only take load away from the motor. Try fans like these made to run on 115VAC and under 8 amps current. 1/6HP should be more than enough.

Previously, mine ran on a discarded furnace blower that was about 4 times larger than the box-fan shown (doubled to evacuate my previous 24-car underground parking garage while I was running a car in it). A future instructable might show it in my maintenance series.
Muffin1236 years ago
all i have to say is wow
gotja6 years ago
technicaly its not "free" but i like it and make sure there isnt lead cuz i kno they have lead in car radiators
Wouldn't it be easier to put a drip pan under it?
An idea for holding it together could be to solder some extra pieces of copper between the pipes.
Vyger (author) 6 years ago
I just added another page to answer some of your questions and comments. See the last step 7.
Nosduh6 years ago
Some possibly useful info. The average temperature of the soil in most of the USA is 52 degrees F eight feet down. If there is a way to use this system with pipes buried that far down I would like to know how.
raider6 years ago
alot of you people are talking out your behind. This isnt a swamp A swamp cooler runs on an entirely different idea....the water evaporates off of wet pads, cooling the air around it, like a cooling tower. And FYI, most of the geothermal heat pumps I have seen use freon in the heat exchanger with a compressor to jack up the heat for heating or to dump the heat in the ground via transfer to the coolant for cooling.
alex26i6 years ago
This is Genius!!! There are some other things you can do, If you were serous about cooling a house or something with this method. The way I have seen other systems, they run a hose into a coil about 6 or 7 feet into the ground, because it will remain cool. Then if you made a sealed system you would just need to figure out a way to circulate the Fluid. If you can figure out a gravity system, OMG it would be free.
Jollyrgr6 years ago
Hmmm. What about routing the "waste" water from the output back into the well?
I have something similar, it's a radiator from a ford escort, a spare from our demolition derby cars. I hang it up on the window on the side of the house and have a fan draw air through it while I water my trees in my yard... works okay.
smoke6 years ago
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jaime9999 smoke6 years ago
This is not a swamp cooler; they work by an entirely different effect (by evaporating water). This cools strictly by transferring room heat into the cold water which is then dumped elsewhere-- no evaporative cooling.

So this design would be more effective even in humid conditions where a swamp cooler would not work [well] (and would add even more humidity. In fact, as Vyger describes, it has a nice dehumidification property.
trebuchet036 years ago
Awesome :) Geothermal Energy for the win :P Too bad the groundwater at home is nearly 80 degrees F :/ But, we have a solar assist water heater powered by a solar powered pump -- ya, my house had hot showers when the power was out for a month after that awful hurricane season :D
how deep is that 80 degree tempature taken at? a 20 foot well will likely be MUCH warmer than a 2-500 foot well. Gratz on the solar rig! With a deepcycle battery and a solar cell , the OP could probably have had "AC" running 24/7 for just the cost of running the fan(which they'd probably do anyhow :-)
Not sure what depth that was... But it was taken off the EPA's website, you know - pretty graphs and tables to please everyone :p
bricko6 years ago
Most well water in the US varies in temp from around 58 to 48 degrees. His location in Montana is obviously quite North. I live in Kansas and our well for the sprinkler is about 30 feet deep and temp around 55 degrees year round.

Some will run into a depth issue. Running a pump for a 30 foot well is a lot different than paying for electricity for a pump pulling from 300 feet. Need ot check depth of water table..and cost to pump it up.

His system is a poor man version of a Water Source Heat Pump. My co worker had one installed in their new home 15 ears ago. Water from well runs through heat exchanger in heat pump...then to a 2nd well is drilled to put it back in the ground. It has a temp gauge on the inlet side and on the outlet side...its neat to see how much "cool" is used and how much the temp rises on the way out to be returned back into the 2nd well.

There is a whole world institute for Ground Source Heat Pumps located at Oklahoma State University. They research and have all the info you need to investigate these. Both OPEN loop and CLOSED circular loops.

Or some here in the farm country use a pond as a source or a dump for the used water. Just place the intake farther away from the return to the end or the other.
techartisan6 years ago
to decrease needless water consumption drop a weighted loop of PEX tubing into your well. In hotter climates or with a shallow well a second fan/radiator unit located outside of your home and/or a coiled heat exchanger at the bottom of your well loop may be necessary.
Jim Cook6 years ago
Many decades ago my uncle had a specialized machine shop in the Boston area. He pumped well water through (as a kid it seemed as hundreds of) radiators mounted from the celling, each with a fan behind it. The water from the radiators was piped into the local Charles river. (Couldn't get away with that today) This kept his shop cool in the summer and during nights and weekends during the winter it heated it up to about 50 degrees. Just before dumping the water into the river it went through the water heater and used for washing hands and etc. They never drank from it because it was never tested.
Dan Bailiff6 years ago
Many city dwellers like myself don't have a yard/garden which needs frequent watering. The only thing I can think of is maybe throwing something like this on top of your toilet, since that is the only thing that uses fresh water on a regular basis. Have the "in" hose attached to the intake valve if the toilet, and the "out" hose back into the toilet tank. Still probably wont' be enough cold water to cool a hot apartment reliably.
AT6 years ago
Great instructable! This is an open loop geothermal heat pump! It would cost you thousands of dollars to have one of these installed professionally. If you are going to be watering anyway, you might as well let the cool water from underground take the heat outside. I don't think the plans like the cold water anyway. So it is a great win/win. We have well water at my house and have been in a two year dry spell. When we water the important trees and what not (not the grass!), the water is pumped out of the well, into the house, then right back outside. It would be easy to install something such as this to cool the house down. If I do this, I will try to take pictures and post my results.
Flea6 years ago
How about diverting the water that goes to your hot water heater to this device, then to the hot water heater. Your benefits should be two-fold: you have an air conditioner to cool the house and the water going to the heater will be warmer, thus reducing the cost to heat it.
But the water flow is constant. He'd have to build some sort of overflow on the water heater, and i assume you'd just lose energy with that.

My well dried up years and years ago =\
Kiteman6 years ago
Really nice - now, where did I put my well?
If you're using this for drinking water, be sure there's no lead or antifreeze in the radiator. I've heard of people distilling moonshine with car radiators and dying from lead poisoning.

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