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Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 84196 26-May-2011 14:19
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I'm thinking of buying a concrete shell for an apartment.  The floor above is residential, and their sewage and other pipes are penetrating their concrete floor ( my ceiling ).  I have to construct a false ceiling to hide all this, but wonder if I can put copper piping against the ceiling to grab the heat off their floor to heat my water, or, to use the entire formed cavity to heat air which I can then circulate to the partitioned rooms I create.

Would this work?  It will be about 150 m2.  I presume the apartment owners above me would be heating their apartment. 

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  Reply # 474431 26-May-2011 14:29
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Could work quite well, but how much copper piping would you require? Probably quite a lot? And even at Trade rates, copper piping isn't cheap at all.


For water heating I'd just recommend getting a heat pump hot water system or an infinity gas system, because overall that heat pipe copper system won't make a huge amount of heating for the extra $$ spent

But maybe someone else has better ideas?




I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 

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  Reply # 474440 26-May-2011 14:50
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Couple of points: Generally heat rises, unless the above apartment has underfloor heating, you are not likely to get alot of their waste heat coming down through their concrete floor.

Yes you could build a fancy copper heat exchanger, (loops of pipe) but given the price of copper today and the first point, I would probably write off actually getting any serious costs savings,

Same applies to taking the heat from any cavity, ( its simply likely to be your waste heat rather than any seepage from them.

Also are their water/sewer pipes acoustically treated? ( i.e. are wrapped in noise dampening) if they are not, this should be you first call, the last thing you want in an apartment is great gushing noises in you roof space whenever upstairs flushes or has a shower etc.



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  Reply # 474451 26-May-2011 15:11
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I haven't been inside the upstairs apartment, but if it's similar to the others, then only the bathrooms will have under tile heating.  Hot air rises, but I don't think heat rises.  There could still be some radiant heat from the concrete ceiling unless they've well insulated their side.

The pipes that run vertically thru the apartment are in fire proofed boxes, but you're right, I will need to acoustically seal the other pipes some of which look like waste pipes and are plastic.  And probably I need to site the bedrooms away from these pipes ... which could mean losing the chance to build an ensuite.  I can't penetrate the floor myself as someone else owns below me so I need to put the toilets very close to these vertical service boxes.

The building is air conditioned so I can connect to that by purchasing a heat pump but I didn't really want warm air blowing down into my face!

Pity the developer before he went bust didn't put in heating into the concrete floors before they were put down but I guess it might be precast concrete.

This is a corner unit which is sound proofed .. not sure if that also means the free wall is insulated as well.

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  Reply # 474463 26-May-2011 15:47
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Gut feeling is you are dreaming, which is cool and all and up to you, but you won't get enough heat from underfloor heating above to do anything to your water. If anything you'll use your hot water cylinder to assist their underfloor heating, which I'm sure they will love.

Pack a crap load of insulation above you so your room heating doesn't heat their floors. Put ducts in that space if you are keen on pumping air around. Acoustically insulate the pipes if you don't want to hear every time they flush.

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  Reply # 474900 27-May-2011 18:33

gchiu: I haven't been inside the upstairs apartment, but if it's similar to the others, then only the bathrooms will have under tile heating.  Hot air rises, but I don't think heat rises.  There could still be some radiant heat from the concrete ceiling unless they've well insulated their side.

The pipes that run vertically thru the apartment are in fire proofed boxes, but you're right, I will need to acoustically seal the other pipes some of which look like waste pipes and are plastic.  And probably I need to site the bedrooms away from these pipes ... which could mean losing the chance to build an ensuite.  I can't penetrate the floor myself as someone else owns below me so I need to put the toilets very close to these vertical service boxes.

The building is air conditioned so I can connect to that by purchasing a heat pump but I didn't really want warm air blowing down into my face!

Pity the developer before he went bust didn't put in heating into the concrete floors before they were put down but I guess it might be precast concrete.


This is a corner unit which is sound proofed .. not sure if that also means the free wall is insulated as well.


 

All properly installed underfloor heating is insulated underneath it, so you won't get heat from it.

 

Heat pump based water heaters are expensive, the best part of 10k installed, but they are one of the  most energy efficient and cheapest way to heat water.



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  Reply # 474908 27-May-2011 19:03
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Sadly I don't think I'm allowed to install anything outside so I think that excludes a heat pump water heater.  And the 60dBA is a bit off putting.

I see ECCA will provide a $500 grant though for new home installations

http://www.energywise.govt.nz/node/18233
 

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  Reply # 474914 27-May-2011 19:11
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If there's AC in the building then "purchasing a heat pump" probably isn't an option.

If it's a chiller : boiler/electric reheat then you could use that. If it's a VRF/VRV (Variable Refrigerant Volume/Flow) then you may be able to, you may not. Also be aware that if that if you are using some form of central plant then you'll be up for maintaining it and also for replacement some time down the track as part of you body corporate.

In fact you may be up for some of the costs even if you don't use it - check the contract. You'll also have to pay for running costs - either in a square meter rate or a metered rate.




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