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Using a House's Concrete Foundation To Cool a PC

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the thinking-deeper-than-built-in-cable-drops dept.

Hardware Hacking 465

Agg writes "Well the slab gets poured on Wednesday so I thought I would sink 6 meters of copper pipe in the slab so that I can run my water loop through it when the house is finished. I hope to have water year round at about 16deg [about 61F]. No need for radiators or fans with chilled water coming straight out of the slab!"

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Resale value of house? (5, Insightful)

jawtheshark (198669) | about 5 years ago | (#29205745)

How are you going to explain that if you want to sell that house???

Re:Resale value of house? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | about 5 years ago | (#29205767)

Just saw off the tubes and plug em. It won't hut the resale value of the house very much.

Sell it? Get it past inspectors (3, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | about 5 years ago | (#29205779)

that is what I want to know.

Re:Sell it? Get it past inspectors (3, Insightful)

Pyrion (525584) | about 5 years ago | (#29205945)

Depends on who you've contracted the work out to. I'm not kidding. Some inspectors "know" the contractors such that they only do a cursory inspection of the finished product before signing it off.

Re:Sell it? Get it past inspectors (5, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | about 5 years ago | (#29206101)

Why? It's very similar to what they do when laying radiant heat into the floor (which is very nice btw, over ducted heat, helps with breathing problems).

Also, like a previous comment suggesting, maybe you should look into radiant heat tubing over copper.

Re:Sell it? Get it past inspectors (4, Informative)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 5 years ago | (#29206271)

Unless there's a specific code against it there's no reason why he wouldn't be able to. I work with the Building and Plans department at a county-level government office (I actually admin their software system). When I went through their checklists to add to the new system, it was mostly things you're supposed to do, rather than things you're NOT supposed to do. As long as you do everything on the list you're good to go.

Re:Sell it? Get it past inspectors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29206307)

Stop being a slave and stand up for private property rights.

Re:Sell it? Get it past inspectors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29206367)

Stop being a slave and stand up for private property rights.

yea, until your shoddy workmanship kills the family who bought your house.

Re:Resale value of house? (1)

sjfoland (1565277) | about 5 years ago | (#29205799)

If it was really an issue... plug up the holes and don't tell anyone? They're 6 meters long, not 6 meters wide; it shouldn't be too difficult.

Re:Resale value of house? (4, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | about 5 years ago | (#29206139)

If it was really an issue... plug up the holes and don't tell anyone? They're 6 meters long, not 6 meters wide; it shouldn't be too difficult.

Oh you definitely want to tell the new owner what it is. Though, the thought of someone finding the tubes and digging up the foundation to find out where they're connected to the water main only to find out they are just a giant loop is kinda funny.

Re:Resale value of house? (3, Insightful) (463190) | about 5 years ago | (#29205891)

Who cares, it's a couple pipes sticking out of the slab. Cut 'em off if you're worried about it.

How about the truth! (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 5 years ago | (#29205969)

He should, of course, just tell the truth. Dead pan straight. Perhaps with a suitably (but fake) embarrassed laughter.

In this case it would not hurt at all. A surprised, but friendly buyer. That's it.

Move on. Nothing here to see.

Re:Resale value of house? (4, Insightful)

Cmdr-Absurd (780125) | about 5 years ago | (#29205985)

How are you going to explain that if you want to sell that house???

Call it radiant floor heating?

Re:Resale value of house? (1)

mugnyte (203225) | about 5 years ago | (#29206001)

Older underground oil tanks also have copper tubes poking through the foundation in my neighborhood (houses circa 1905 to 1920s). Flushing, filling and capping old tanks/lines isn't a big deal.

I'm wondering how useful this would really be, since the concrete would retain any rise in temperatures as well.

Here's some science []

Re:Resale value of house? (2, Insightful)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | about 5 years ago | (#29206169)

By having the pipes come up between the walls and knocking the valves back in and plastering over them if they don't want them exactly as the forums discuss? To be fair though I'm not sure why your comment is modded as a troll, it seems an honest enough question.

Re:Resale value of house? (4, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | about 5 years ago | (#29206397)

I don't know about you, but if I buy or make something, it's for me. I'm not there to take care of it for the next owners. If I wanted that, I'd rent.

Re:Explanations (5, Funny)

conureman (748753) | about 5 years ago | (#29206517)

I got a bunch of raised eyebrows when I had two four-gang electrical outlets (one from either leg of the house power) and an exhaust vent fan installed in one of my closets when we built our house. I wanted it for a server farm but couldn't convince anyone that I wasn't going to be farming something else.

Units... (1, Insightful)

Brett Buck (811747) | about 5 years ago | (#29205763)

I presume you mean 16 degrees centigrade, as opposed to degree Fahrenheit, or Kelvins or Rankines.


Re:Units... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29205789)

i assume you mean 16 degrees Celsius, it hasn't been centigrade since 1948.

Ice cooler! (1)

improfane (855034) | about 5 years ago | (#29205841)

Your PC would be so ice cool you could make novel cylinder ice cubes!

Re:Ice cooler! (5, Informative)

Moryath (553296) | about 5 years ago | (#29205933)

6 ft down doesn't actually provide much cooling. If you want a "neutral" temp, you need to go well underneath the slab.

Plus, you're "sinking" to a temp of 40-50F, and you have to consider that the concrete itself is a fair insulator, so you won't actually lose as much heat as you hope.

Re:Ice cooler! (2, Informative)

Brian Gordon (987471) | about 5 years ago | (#29206209)

Six meters.

Re:Ice cooler! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 years ago | (#29206373)

... is about nineteen and a half feet.

Did you have a point?

Re:Ice cooler! (1)

Moryath (553296) | about 5 years ago | (#29206395)

Only if you simply go straight down and back up again.

If you do it in a circuit, like most heatsink coil setups, you have significantly less depth, and it looks like that's what he is doing.

Permafrost (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 5 years ago | (#29206345)

Unless you live in Alaska or somewhere else where you'd have permafrost.

But if you can see Russia from your house, why would you ever want to waste your time overclocking? :)

Re:Units... (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 5 years ago | (#29205875)

I was similarly confused by a story about $2M in funding [] . I presume they meant 2 million Hong Kong dollars, as opposed to New Zealand, Australian, Canadian, Zimbabwean, or American dollars.

Well we've eliminated Kelvin (3, Funny)

amstrad (60839) | about 5 years ago | (#29205877)

since those aren't degrees.

and Fahrenheit (1)

mindstormpt (728974) | about 5 years ago | (#29206519)

as nobody uses them.

It will work fine. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29205775)

Just don't plan on being able to move your desk.

Copper would be a waste of money tho. Use one of the many types of plastic hose already made for this application.

Re:It will work fine. (3, Funny)

v1 (525388) | about 5 years ago | (#29205853)

Just don't plan on being able to move your desk.

Copper would be a waste of money tho. Use one of the many types of plastic hose already made for this application.

Yes, because plastic is a muuch better conductor for heat than say, copper.

Re:It will work fine. (4, Informative)

Maddog Batty (112434) | about 5 years ago | (#29206175)

Apart from the fact that concrete attacks copper. All copper water pipes placed in concrete have to coated in plastic to protect them (at least in the uk).

I would use underfloor heating plastic pipes which are designed for this job. Sure they would need to be longer to get the heat transfer but the price would be similar and would be far less likely to leak. They certainly work fine in getting 6kW of heat into my house so absorbing a few hundred Watts would not be a problem.

Re:It will work fine. (0)

NiteMair (309303) | about 5 years ago | (#29205859)

Except plastic is a horrible conductor of heat...

Copper makes the most sense in this application.

Re:It will work fine. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29206095)

Copper makes the most sense in this application.

Copper makes the most sense for conducting heat. BUUUT this is a moronic idea. If anything goes wrong there is no way to fix it short of breaking through the concrete to get to the pipe. The house could settle or shift and crush or break the pipe (or there could be an earthquake).

Re:It will work fine. (1)

v1 (525388) | about 5 years ago | (#29206325)

The house could settle or shift and crush or break the pipe (or there could be an earthquake).

I think if such an event occurred, I'd be more worried about the concrete foundation cracking than the copper pipe. (copper is actually a fairly soft metal and odds are good the foundation would crack to pieces long before the copper started having problems, unless the foundation's cracks sheered up the copper pipe)

This from someone with a totally trashed foundation cracking on three sides that really needs to get replaced soon... $$$$ *sob*

Re:It will work fine. (2, Informative)

djh101010 (656795) | about 5 years ago | (#29206493)

PEX tubing is used for this application, at least in the US. Copper may be a better conductor, but, it's a LOT more expensive. If you can have double the length, still get the heat density you need, at less cost of copper spaced further apart, why not use it? The fact that it IS what is used, and the whole corrosion problem with copper and concrete, are probably why it's done the way it is. Not all plastics have the same thermal insulative properties.

Good luck! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29205791)

Concrete doesn't exactly have a high specific heat. You might just step out of your thermal efficiency range if you try to do more than cool one or two processors.

Re:Good luck! (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | about 5 years ago | (#29205929)

Presumably the high contact area with the dirt underneath will serve as a sink. Ground source heat pumps are a fairly well established technology.

Though I'm still a tad skeptical it'll work as planned, it's certainly worth a try given the opportunity. Hopefully we'll see a followup.

erm.... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29205807)

Doesn't the house shift and settle? Won't a standard 1 + 1/2 inch copper pipe break during that time?

Re:erm.... (1)

hardburn (141468) | about 5 years ago | (#29206267)

Who modded this Troll? It's a ligit question. Concrete moves and cracks with temperature changes, and it's going to move the pipe with it.

However, it's basically the same thing as underfloor heating. I would think the rebar would take care of most of the load from temperature changes.

Concrete slabs? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 5 years ago | (#29206449)

Y'know big block of concrete.


Great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29205827)

I already have my media PC down in my basement to benefit from the constant supply of cool air. This is a great idea to further extract more benefit from a cool basement. Thanks for sharing!

Re:Great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29206363)

My PCs (and GNU/Linux servers) are in the basement too. As is my bedroom. And my parent's washer/dryer.

good idea in theory (1)

heffy (1583469) | about 5 years ago | (#29205835)

You'll be limiting yourself to a single room within the house, probably a certain location within that room. Plus, as jawtheshark mentioned, it'll be an eyesore for any new owners unless you completely cover it up. To me, that kind of commitment isn't worth a small and some fan noise. If it's worth it to you, then go for it.

Re:good idea in theory (1)

Pyrion (525584) | about 5 years ago | (#29205967)

Just get central air.

Re:good idea in theory (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | about 5 years ago | (#29206241)

you aren't limited to a single room in the house, you just run hoses through all the walls!

Re:good idea in theory (1)

c_sd_m (995261) | about 5 years ago | (#29206465)

A series of tubes?

Cool (2, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | about 5 years ago | (#29205837)

... literally. But why limit yourself to PC cooling? Turn the slab into a big radiator and pump air from the upstairs/attic through - you can moderate the temperature of your whole house.

copper and steel don't mix (5, Interesting) (463190) | about 5 years ago | (#29205839)

The steel rebar and the copper pipe being in close proximity will make them act as electrodes on a battery. This will cause the steel anode to slowly be destroyed by the chemical reaction.

Is it a practical concern in your case? I doubt it, but if they haven't poured yet, it wouldn't hurt to wrap the copper pipe in some PVC tape. This will reduce the thermal coefficient though. Maybe just do it where it passes within a couple inches of the rebar.

Re:copper and steel don't mix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29206181)

In fact, you're probably better off using the same piping used for radiant heating systems. As it's plastic and doesn't react at all. Additionally some of the piping has a good thermal transfer as well.

Re:copper and steel don't mix (3, Insightful)

orsty3001 (1377575) | about 5 years ago | (#29206211)

First house ever built on land that needed a sacrificial piece of metal.

Re:copper and steel don't mix (1)

hjf (703092) | about 5 years ago | (#29206213)

thats exactly what I was thinking, no one in the thread noticed that.

maybe he should have used another metal? stainless steel pipe maybe?

also, will copper tolerate the mechanical stress? i'm not sure about that, maybe if it's one piece it will. hope they're not using cement additives, maybe those will react with copper too.

This is not a concern (5, Informative)

name_already_taken (540581) | about 5 years ago | (#29206215)

Houses have been built with copper pipes and steel rebar and rewire in the slab for decades now without any electrolytic effects showing up.

Once the concrete is cured, it is no longer an electrolyte. Concrete is not a great electrical insulator, but it's not a great conductor either.

short (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29205847)

Problem is condensation. If the water is colder than the air.

What do you watch that you need so much cooling ? (0, Redundant)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | about 5 years ago | (#29205867)

You must be watching a lot of pr0n.

Condensation (1)

etymxris (121288) | about 5 years ago | (#29205885)

You mention condensation but you don't suggest a way of dealing with it (I didn't read the entire 8 page thread though). There are many ways to cool water, but the water should never be cooler than the ambient temperature around the computer being cooled or else you will have condensation. I had this problem when putting my radiator out the window during winter.

Re:Condensation (1)

hjf (703092) | about 5 years ago | (#29206243)


put the computer on an airtight container, and throw in a lot of silica gel bags. no humidity - no condensation :D

Very clever... (1)

jockeys (753885) | about 5 years ago | (#29205901)

I do hope there is a full write up posted after a few months or a year, to see how well this works.

Why Stop at Concrete? (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 5 years ago | (#29205911)

If you were pouring the concrete, why didn't you put it outside of the concrete [] ? You would probably incur less structural risk ... although I doubt a pipe that small would have much effect. More and more people are building new houses with geothermal exchange [] to help mitigate costs in heating and cooling.

Re:Why Stop at Concrete? (2, Insightful)

Smoke2Joints (915787) | about 5 years ago | (#29206007)

not only that, but i would have thought that driving the copper pipes into the water table would do much more for cooling than surrounding it in concrete.

Re:Why Stop at Concrete? (2, Informative)

hardburn (141468) | about 5 years ago | (#29206501)

Not necessarily, just need to get below the frost line. Even in climates where the temperature can swing between 0 and 90F throughout the year, the temperature under the frost layer doesn't change much more than 10F. That's how vertical geothermal loops work.

The submitter's idea is similar to a horizontal loop, which for houses, is a cheaper option than vertical loops (since you don't have to dig as far down), but you need a very large backyard to do it (a few acres, IIRC).

IMHO, the submitter's best bet would be to use these pipes for underfloor heating. Since the house is still being built and he doesn't appear to mind having his computer stuck in a certain location, he can put some pipes going outside to a small AC unit. It'd work much like central AC, except connected only to the computer. Sub-freezing temperatures are possible, which he's not going to get with this setup, since the fluid can't get any cooler than the concrete slab foundation. The AC setup can be made by salvaging a window sill AC unit, or built yourself with an AC compressor and heat exchanger from a car.

Re:Why Stop at Concrete? (2, Insightful)

Zantac69 (1331461) | about 5 years ago | (#29206371)

When I first took a look at this, my thought was "COOL! (no pun intended) Use the slab as a heat sink just like they do for houses in Sweden!" But my engineering logic kicked in and alarm bells went off.

1 - Implant in concrete for the lose. There is the possibility for reaction with voltaic interaction with steel as well as the chance for any reactions with the concrete.
2 - Its pretty permanent - so its not like you can relocate to the other side of the room.
3 - Electrical conductivity. Lighting? Say no more.
4 - Real heat transfer coefficient issues. Yeah, there will be some conduction between the copper and concrete, but if there are air gaps, transfer goes to crap since there will not be any air movement.

So from an engineering POV, I would scrub it. Geothermal cooling for a PC sounds cool - but its gratuitous overkill.

outside of the concrete (4, Funny)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | about 5 years ago | (#29206505)

That first link is so bizarre, sitting within a post which otherwise seems very logical. My brain is short circuiting as it tries to find the connection between underground piping and spinach pizza.

Good luck ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29205913)

fixing the leaks when it inevitably does - or will you be hopefully leaving that to the next sucker^Wperson that buys your house?

Don't Use Copper (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29205915)

Use PEX instead. Copper will eventually fail. Look at the material that is used for radiant flooring.

Re:Don't Use Copper - wrong (5, Informative)

R2.0 (532027) | about 5 years ago | (#29206317)

"Use PEX instead. Copper will eventually fail. Look at the material that is used for radiant flooring."

Negative. []

They use PEX because it is cheaper and easier to install, NOT because of its longevity.

Re:Don't Use Copper (1)

chill (34294) | about 5 years ago | (#29206491)

Thermal conductivity, which is his main reason for installing this system. PEX tubing does not transfer heat as readily as copper, and so conserves energy. Not the ideal solution for someone WANTING to transfer heat.

Do not overclock your house (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29205925)

Without proper thermal throttling, your roof could come off, even with a passive heatsink.

I think Antec makes a two-story-high fan that might work perfectly in such a situation, but the neighbors might be bothered by the LEDs.

Concrete breaks you know (3, Informative)

jayhawk88 (160512) | about 5 years ago | (#29205927)

In most areas of the country, it's not a question of if but when your house settles and puts some nice big cracks in your concrete. Whether or not it would be a enough to damage the pipe is another question, but if you're relying on it to cool a semi-expensive piece of hardware, I might be a little nervous about it.

Also, seems like this will severely limit your options for where to put your computer physically.

Are fans really that horrible? They make them fairly quiet now. Is that extra .4 Ghz really worth all that kind of effort?

Cracked foundation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29205937)

What happens if the pipe starts leaking? Are you prepared to repair a cracked foundation?

Not copper, PEX (1)

richardkelleher (1184251) | about 5 years ago | (#29205943)

Pex is much easier and may actually last longer in concrete.

Re:Not copper, PEX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29206487)


PEX Tubing better than Copper for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29205975)

A number of years ago, Copper tubing was used in concrete for Hydronic heating. After a few years there were reactions between the Copper tubing and the concrete. In current Hydronic heating systems, PEX tubing is used. (cross linked polyethylene) It is a much better solution and has a far longer lifetime.

WTF? (0, Flamebait)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 5 years ago | (#29205999)

TFS is barely a blurb, while TF"A" is a post on a forum?
How the hell did this get deemed front page worthy?
Plus anyway, what about freezing? First freeze, crack go the pipes -- which are embedded in concerte. This is an idiotic idea, unless you live in Hawaii...

Re:WTF? (2, Interesting)

chill (34294) | about 5 years ago | (#29206377)

He lives in northern Tasmania, not Hawaii. I believe freezing -- or hard freezes -- are fairly rare there. Even then, copper embedded in concrete has been used for many decades and it isn't as big an issue as you seem to think. []

Re:WTF? (1)

fprintf (82740) | about 5 years ago | (#29206423)

I do not know where you or the parent poster lives, but I can assure you anywhere south of northern Canada it is unlikely that the concrete will get below 0 celcius. I live in the NE United States where it can get quite cold and our basements are almost always temperate (50 degrees F in winter, 60 degrees F in summer). We do not, however, have permafrost. YMMV.

free cooling is, well, cool (5, Informative)

cowscows (103644) | about 5 years ago | (#29206029)

Ground Source heating/cooling is a pretty nifty technology, and can be applied to a whole house HVAC system, rather than just a computer. It obviously requires more tubing than a single computer would, and in most climate will still require some supplemental heating/cooling for more extreme temperature days, but it's still awesome. It does have some upfront costs though.

This idea to do it for a particular computer is a clever idea. I personally wouldn't want the pipe to actually be moving horizontally through my slab, I'd rather dig as small a diameter hole as is possible, but deeper under the slab, and just have the line penetrate the slab vertically. The deeper you go, the more stable the temperature becomes, and the less hollow copper pipe you've got running through the slab, the less you weaken it.

It gets poured on wednesday .. (3, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | about 5 years ago | (#29206091)

And you haven't thought through the consequences yet? That my friend is a project that has failure written all over it.

Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29206321)

OzPeter has his head screwed on right.

The time for R&D is before you pour concrete.

    Imagine some designer at a meeting, "In three days, we're going into production our new product. I have a great idea for cooling the cpu. I'm going to change the shell moulds to include cpu cooling tubes."

Re:Mod parent up (1)

cowscows (103644) | about 5 years ago | (#29206447)

As someone who works in the building design industry I can say with firsthand knowledge, far bigger changes than sticking 6 meters of copper into the slab happens at the last minute all the time. The only reason that you can generally get away with it is that structurally, things are usually designed with such large safety margins that there's not that much to worry about.

Buildings are amazing things, but if you scrape away a few layers of paint and drywall, it's amazing how much of it is just kind of shoved into place without much consideration of the bigger whole.

Not convinced... (1)

Abroun (795507) | about 5 years ago | (#29206115)

First, you can use anything (flexible or not) to connect from the copper pipe to wherever in the house you're the arguments about being locked in one place don't...ahem..hold water. But...while the concrete slab is going to be a nice big thermal anchor, you also have to look at how quickly heat will disperse through the slab. You might end up with a hot core around the pipe that dissipates more slowly than you'd like. It will show up as the water slowly heats up on you. Not that hard to calculate...look up the thermal conductivity of concrete, and calculate the thermal gradient you're going to get for a given power input...will fall off like r^2 for a 1-d pipe.

Not a great idea = Copper in Concrete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29206123)

Sorry to tell you that running Copper pipe in your slab is not the best of ideas. You probably should have used a non-metallic pipe, like the heating pipe Pex or other non-metallic pipe intended for underground heat-pump type applications. Then just increase the length you use to compensate for the poorer heat transfer.

Over time the copper is subject to corrosion from the concrete environment. Most often you will get localized corrosion (read pitting.) That can quickly lead to leaks and then tearing up slabs to replace the pipe.

A good example can be seen in different Frank Lloyd Wright homes which occasionally used the copper pipe for slab heating. A good friend of mine was faced with this issue in their tiled solarium slab floor. Being unwilling to lose the fine tile work, they abandoned the slab heat and added baseboard HW to replace the leaking copper in concrete system.

But in your situation you can just abandon the copper when it starts to leak. Hope you catch the leaking before it causes any other damage.

Re:Not a great idea = Copper in Concrete (1)

crashumbc (1221174) | about 5 years ago | (#29206277)

Yeah, it's not like they've been using copper pipes run through concrete for oil lines or anything... for like 80 years...

reality is the copper would be fine for probably 30-40+ years.

not that I think it's a good idea, mainly because you can't ever move your desk.

You life going by (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29206129)

What you need to is to get a life. Seriously.

Dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29206185)

How is this any better than running a garden hose?
The water you get from a garden hose will be cooler too.

Just have it feed a tank with some added plumbing to regulate pressure to maintain a constant level. Temp gets too high? Have it flush out to a drain.

That's right. Use an old toilet.
As water disappears it automatically allows more in to reach the fill line.
If the temps get high, just flush.

modem (1)

Under_score+1 (1610199) | about 5 years ago | (#29206221)

you should put in a second tube for a rack of some sort to keep your switches and modems coolish

Biggest heat sink ever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29206247)

Biggest computer heat sink ever!

Underfloor heating, anyone? (5, Informative)

name_already_taken (540581) | about 5 years ago | (#29206253)

Getting rid of heat by dumping it into the ground is a great idea.

The problem is, you're dumping heat into your house's slab, not the ground. You need to put the pipes several feet underground.

All this is is a mild underfloor heating system. If that's what you're trying to achieve, ok, but if you're also paying for air conditioning to remove heat from the house, this is probably not worth it.

Why don't we use the case for a heatsink? (1)

avandesande (143899) | about 5 years ago | (#29206261)

I always thought it would be a good idea to use a copper strap to connect the cpu heatsink to the case which would act as a huge heatsink. Has anyone tried this?

Re:Why don't we use the case for a heatsink? (1)

domatic (1128127) | about 5 years ago | (#29206421)

A copper heatpipe would probably work better unless the strap can be very short.

Re:Why don't we use the case for a heatsink? (1)

avandesande (143899) | about 5 years ago | (#29206499)

I am not really proposing this for overclocking, just something simple that keeps you cpu cool enough so you don't need a fan.

works great at first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29206303)

until the house settles, then you're screwed.

Re:works great at first... (1)

crashumbc (1221174) | about 5 years ago | (#29206343)

If the house settles enough to damage the pipe you have MUCH bigger problems

if it wasn't timothy i'd say it was a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29206313)

why would you ask slashdot when google has a much better quality of answer gives you: which gives you:
a number of articles including -

Seriously? (0, Troll)

kgwilliam (998911) | about 5 years ago | (#29206389)

Really? You are going to compromise the structure of your (presumably) expensive house in order to do what? Cool a PC? I can't wait to see this on failblog.

Copper may corrode and leak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29206391)

You need to insulate the copper from the concrete. I understand, although I'm not an expert, the salts in the concrete will eventually corrode the copper.

Likewise, you shouldn't put bare copper in the ground as the acids will eventually corrode the copper.

In this case, you would probably be better off with lots of plastic, even though it is a poor conductor of heat you can make up for that with a large volume of water in the system.

If you are in a location prone to freezing you should use something other than water for coolant. You may end up with a large temperature gradient in the slab between the interior (top) surface of the slab and the exterior (bottom) surface of the slab and the last thing you want is local freezing of your coolant loop. Obviously, if it never gets cold for extended periods, you don't have to worry about freezing :)

I don't think it's deep enough (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 5 years ago | (#29206407)

Seriously, while it's a cool idea, it's not going to be deep enough, imo. It's basically group level. Even when you have a basement that goes into the ground it's not always that cool except for perhaps the floor but that's usually a good 10ft down.

It works very well... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29206413)

I live in the midwest, and did the same thing 4 years ago, when I had my house built... I use a heat-pipe to fluid thermal exchanger on my ESXi server as well as my gaming rig.

It will in no way harm your resale value, and if your inspector has a brain, it has no impact on the inspection...

Due to expansion and contraction concerns, I had that small (8`x8`) portion of the concrete isolated....

Speaking of hard hacks (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about 5 years ago | (#29206425)

In my student days, a bunch of friends and I rented a couple of crappy student houses. They were next to each other, and only one house had cable internet access.

We solved the problem by digging a trench running from under one house to under the other. We dropped in PVC piping with a set of elbow joints, ran some cat 5 network cable through, and -- voila -- cheap(er) broadband for two houseloads of starving IT students.

Since the houses themselves were fit only for scrap timber, nobody really cared. And we saved a fortune in broadband bills.

tie right into your cold water plumbing (1)

buback (144189) | about 5 years ago | (#29206457)

tying into your plumbing would be easier. it's basically the same effect, and won't require the whole loop nonsense.

after all, the pipes that bring water into your house run underground for miles, or at least bring up well water that is ground temperature anyway.

I would think that the concrete would warm up after a while and decrease efficiency of cooling. if you had running tap water your cold side of the system would remain at a ~50-55 degrees all the time. better watch your water bill, though.

What about Toilet Flush Tank? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29206485)

I was thinking to use a toilet flush tank for the same purpose. Of course the water will warmer eventually, then just flush it :)

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