Using water storage tanks in building?


Old 03-11-08, 08:50 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Using water storage tanks in building?

Okay, this project may sound totally crazy, but I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this. I am installing two 2,500 gallon water storage tanks. They will be totally shaded by mature trees. Pouring a concrete slab for them to sit on.

And I need additional cool storage space - home winemaker with no more room in the cellar, the barn is too hot during the summer and the guest room is not longer big enough.

So the thought occurred to us yesterday that we could build a structure between the two tanks and utilize all that water as an insulating buffer. We'll insulate the walls and roof between the two tanks.

Here's a link to a basic drawing...

We figure that that much water would retain it's temperature for a long time and that even with our 100 degree days in the summer, the shaded water tanks SHOULD maintain an even cool temperature in the structure.

Would welcome any comments, suggestions, ideas, etc...
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Old 03-14-08, 11:34 AM
airman.1994's Avatar
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I don't think it will be that cool. Maybe not 100! but still hot.
Old 03-14-08, 07:24 PM
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Location: Taylors, SC
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I had replied to this thread earlier, but where the post is located is anyone's guess.

There are many considerations to this project, not the least of which will be superior insulation.

The tanks of concrete tied thermally to a concrete floor all of which is insulated from the subsoil would provide a lot of thermal stability. I have a radiant hydronic heating system in my shop with a concrete slab that is the mass equivalent of your proposed tanks. The calculated heat load for the 24x28x12 building with R-13 insulation in the walls and R-49 insulation in the ceiling is 10,000 btu. Given that this system is designed to heat the building to 65 degrees F, the alternative for cooling does not follow. In the analytical works that I have read, cooling through such a system does not work well. The models pumping cooled liquid through the system performed poorly relative to heating.

The temperature in my shop will rise to around 80 degrees when temperatures outdoor at in the 90s in season. Nevertheless, rapid warming outdoors has little effect on the indoor temperature in the short run. If the temperature is low at night so that the building is at 65 degrees at the start of the day, the rapid warming outdoors to 70 degrees has little effect on the indoor temperature.

I suspect that heat radiating through the mass to the air and the materials that touch the mass is different from the same mass at a lower temperature cooling the air.

It may be that constructing the racks for the wine from a highly conductive material directly connected to the mass would enhance the cooling effect.

Your idea certainly bears investigating. It may simply be that more mass is needed.

Hope this helps.
Old 03-14-08, 09:10 PM
Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input

I ordered the building materials this afternoon. Figured if it doesn't work as a cool spot for the wine, then at least it will be another storage shed - and who can't use another storage shed? If anything interesting comes of it, I'll report back this summer.
Old 03-17-08, 05:46 AM
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Location: Rochester, NY
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I would think the water in those tanks would increase over time, due to air temperature and sunlight, even though you mention shade.

One thought would be to install a cooling system to pump water through a set of radiators at night when the air is cooler. You could even provide a light mist to the radiators to induce evaporation, giving more cooling power. Put a couple of these with blowers and I think you'd be able to counteract any warming due to sunlight and hot air.
Old 03-18-08, 01:08 PM
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agree w/teddy,,,

eventually wtr temp'll equal interior temp,,, not sure why you need so much wtr but, if it were my job, perhaps i'd run the wtr thru ext heat exchangers ( discard'd a/c units ) at nite to draw some heat OUT of the wtr,,, not sure there'd be any evaporation unless your piping leaks
Old 03-18-08, 01:55 PM
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water storage

Hi all, and thanks for the responses. I am a rancher and small market/farmers market organic produce farmer. The 5,000 gallons of water storage is to fill water troughs for the livestock as well as water the planted areas. The tanks will be set up top of a hill so that they will provide natural gravity feed pressure. The well is at the bottom of the hill and is powered by solar panels. This part of the property has no electrical service. The tanks will also feed the shower house for the ranch hands (with solar hot water). Not sure how much water we'll be using, but the tanks will be replenished from the well which is 300 feet deep and has nice cold water even in the heat of the summer.

Will begin building the forms for the concrete pad later this week and then start the building soon after that. If anyone is interested, I'd be happy to report back once the system is in place.

Thanks again for all the suggestions.
Old 03-18-08, 05:21 PM
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I am interested in hearing how it works.
Old 03-19-08, 04:27 AM
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more information now,,,

makes much more sense now & a great idea,,, interested in the pump's capacity, cost, & elevation of tanks on hill,,, imagine the pump'll be installed at the btm.
Old 03-19-08, 02:53 PM
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The setup...

The well is at the bottom of the hill and the elevation change to the top of the hill is about 100 feet. Well is 300 feet deep and pump is set at 220 feet deep (static water level was 30 feet) and at drilling produced 45 gallons a minute. Have a 1.25" poly pipe down the well and am using 1.25" sch 40 PVC up to the tanks and back down to the garden area. Grundfos 11SQF2 DC pump runs off of variable power ranging from 30 volts to 300 volts DC.

Four solar panels each at 175 watts 7.5 amps and 18 min to 24 max volts will supply up to 700 watts 7.5 amps and 96 volts DC to the pump. Pump produces 11 gallons a minute.

A few days ago it was raining, overcast grey skies and we were able to get 130 watts and about 5 gallons a minute. Want to try it during a full moon and see what happens.

Have two Grundfos controllers - one will operate the pump with a backup generator, the other allows the solar panels to operate the pump. A third controller will allow me to charge deep cell marine batteries with the panels when the pump is not being used. The auto gate opener on the property is powered by one of these batteries and is recharged every two months. Additionally, I have a Duracell 1500 watt inverter which will run just about any AC appliance (power drill, tv, radio, lights, toaster oven, even a bread machine) off of the batteries.

Pump and the two Grundfos controllers were $2200 Solar panels were $3000. Pipe and wiring were otherwise the same as putting in a regular well. The difference though is that I didn't have to trench and lay copper for 1/4 mile from the electrical service at the house... Overall, putting in the solar pump and panels saved me $$.

Saved money by doing all of the work myself, although I did hire a well professional to assist with the pump install as per California code (and because I've never done one before).
Old 03-25-08, 04:20 AM
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I am definately interested in the outcome of this project!
Old 03-25-08, 10:52 AM
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Walls between tanks..

Looking at your design and wondering how well you can join
those two walls (and roof) to the round tanks,
I'm thinking it might be better to install the tanks and then
completely enclose them within the new building.
That would allow the use of conventional wall installation, which means you could have less thermal change for less money.

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