How to Make a Simple Water Heat Exchanger

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How to Make a Simple Water Heat Exchanger
The two pipes are soldered together to make a water tight seal. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

A heat exchanger is a device for transferring thermal energy from one substance to another substance. Heat exchangers are present throughout our daily routines, from the radiator in your home to coils on your refrigerator to your hot water heater. One type of design of heat exchangers has a pipe inside a second pipe. These type of heat exchangers are less efficient than some other designs, however they generally allow for a greater volume of water to flow through them than most other designs.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 2 copper L bends for 1.5 inch tube
  • Drill press with 1/2 inch bit
  • 1/2 copper tube (twice the length of the 1.5 inch tube)
  • 1.5 inch copper tube
  • Copper solder
  • Blow torch
  • Safety goggles and gloves

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  1. 1

    Mount a L-bend into the drill press with drill bit pointed down the centre of one of the tubes.

  2. 2

    Drill a 1/2 inch hole down through the tube and out the back of the other side of the L-bend then repeat for the other L-bend. Each L should have one 1/2 inch hole, creating a T-shape.

  3. 3

    Slide the 1/2 copper tube through the small hole in one of the L-bends and out through the large hole.

  4. 4

    Slide the 1.5 inch copper tube onto the 1/2 inch tube then fit it to the L-bend.

  5. 5

    Slide the other L-bend onto the 1/2 inch copper tube then fit it to the 1.5 inch copper tube. This will create the pipe inside of a pipe layout with the 1/2 inch copper tube running down the centre of a 1.5 inch copper tube with an L on each end.

  6. 6

    Use the solder and blow torch to seal every joint in the system.

Tips and warnings

  • Water should flow in the central pipe in the opposite direction as it flows through the outer pipe.
  • Always wear safety goggles and gloves when soldering.

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