Gallery: Power Pipe Saves Energy by Warming Incoming Water With Waste H...


Power Pipe is a brilliant, easy-to-install heat exchanger that can save a bundle on home energy costs by using hot drain water to heat incoming cold water. Statistics from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency show that 20%-30% of all household energy goes toward heating water, so lessening this energy draw can have a large effect on homeowner utility bills. The system works by wrapping your bathtub drain pipe with layers of highly conductive copper coils, which effectively transfer heat from the waste water draining down the pipe.

Drainpipe heat exchange systems work because of a principle called the “falling film effect.” This means that water naturally clings to the outside of a pipe as it travels down, so heat can be effectively captured just by connecting to the outside pipe wall. If a 60-inch section of a drain pipe is wrapped with the Power-Pipe System, it can raise the incoming water as much as 25°F.

The Power Pipe works with gas, electric, or even solar water heaters. Kits are available for home installation through their website, or at select Home Depot locations.

+ Renewability Energy


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  1. fkarmali October 24, 2011 at 10:59 am

    The Power-Pipe is a great product with good returns on the investment. It makes environmental and economic sense. We now provide installation services for the Power-Pipe and would be happy to help anyone interested a quote!

  2. Quinny October 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    We decided to go with the pipe model, similar to the one pictured above. We’ve got enough room to place it and it is much cheaper than the gutter model.

    Just two quick links to pages with information about the gutter shower heat exchanger. I apologise the sites are in Dutch, but the pictures and specifications should speak for themselves:

  3. Lea Bogdan October 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Thanks Quinny! We love readers with suggestions, and we are not saying that the Power Pipe is the only option out there. It would be great to hear what you decided on for your house. In fact, you mentioned a shower gutter product that I’m not familiar with – sounds interesting!

  4. quinny October 21, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Just trying to give accurate information/corrections.

    One of these things is in the plans for our new home. I’ve got quite a bit of information from several manufacturers of shower heat exchangers, including official test reports about efficiency.

  5. Lea Bogdan October 20, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Hi Quinny! Astute observation – yes it seems that this would work best for showers, and would not necessarily be beneficial when draining a bathtub.

  6. quinny October 20, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Better use it on the shower drain pipe.

    This only works if you’re letting hot water flow down the drain while using hot water. If you’re draining your bathtub you’re not likely to be using hot water at the same time (you’ll be drying off and putting on clothes). You’ll just heat up the heat exchanger and let it slowly cool down…

    Unless the shower is in the bathtub, of course…

    There are other models of this thing too, by the way: in the form of a shower base and a shower gutter.

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