Habitat - Indoor :: DIY Inline Heater Failure, and a PSA

Turtle tank setups and other indoor configurations.

Post Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:34 pm   DIY Inline Heater Failure, and a PSA

I built PVC housing for my Eheim Jager 125W and plumbed it into my FX5 outflow hose about a month ago. I used a 3/4" uniseal to insert the heater into 1 1/4" PVC pipe. It all worked perfectly until Monday night... Fortunately, I was sitting right next to my aquarium watching TV when it started leaking, because two seconds after I heard it leaking, the uniseal popped out entirely and I had 900gph shooting out from behind my tank.

I sprung into action, turned off my surge protector and closed the valves on my filter so it wouldn't siphon all the water out, checked to make sure no electrical outlets were wet, and started cleaning up water. In the blink of an eye I had about 6 gallons of water on my floor... Fortunately, it was about 8:30 when I finished sucking up water and the home depot was still open, so I went and got a PVC cap to make a quick fix. Right now the heater is just in my tank until I feel like taking the damn thing apart and fixing it.

My guess is that the fatal flaw in my design was inserting the uniseal directly into the PVC pipe, instead of using a cap and drilling a 1 1/4" hole in it. When I rebuild, I will probably use 1 1/2" PVC and cut the hole in the cap. The uniseal instructions provide a maximum wall thickness, so I'm almost 100% sure that's the issue.

Here's a professional rendering of what I'm talkin' bout.

Image



PSA: Drip loops, GFCI outlets, and surge protectors (especially because you can turn everything off with one switch). HAVE A PLAN, think about what you would do in a disaster situation.

...I really don't want to think about how epic this disaster would have been if this happened while I was at work. I would have had 40 gallons of water sitting on my floor for hours, an empty filter and power head running dry, probably a busted heater (hopefully not a fire) from running dry, dead fish, and a properly freaked out turtle.

I plan on getting a water sensor with wifi connectivity to send me alerts on my phone. I can't live with this paranoia!
OtisDriftwood
 
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Post Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:47 pm   Re: DIY Inline Heater Failure, and a PSA

I have to ask why would you try this in the first place? Don't like the look of a heater? Sounds like a lot of trouble for nothing.
1 Male Mississippi Map/Mississippi
1 Female RES/Slidy.
1 DBT White Concentric Female/ Lucky
1 DBT Male/ Spots
(Housed in the same tank)

300 gallon indoor stock tank, FX6 & FX5 filters. Mega-Ray 100w UVB bulb.
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Kansasslider
 
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Post Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 10:12 pm   Re: DIY Inline Heater Failure, and a PSA

How did you route the electrical cord? Glad to hear the damage was minimal. Since I have my RES inside my living area, I'm thinking of not using heaters anymore unless there is a super cold front here.
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steve
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Post Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:18 am   Re: DIY Inline Heater Failure, and a PSA

Kansasslider wrote:I have to ask why would you try this in the first place? Don't like the look of a heater? Sounds like a lot of trouble for nothing.


Yep, don't like the look, it heats more efficiently, and my turtle loves messing with stuff in the tank. On this tank it was more of an experiment since I'm planning a bigger tank. Better to work the kinks out on a 40 gal than 120.
OtisDriftwood
 
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Post Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:25 am   Re: DIY Inline Heater Failure, and a PSA

steve wrote:How did you route the electrical cord? Glad to hear the damage was minimal. Since I have my RES inside my living area, I'm thinking of not using heaters anymore unless there is a super cold front here.


The heater fits into the uniseal so the top is on the outside.

Image

I just don't run my central heat unless it's REALLY cold, so the tank gets a lot of fluctuations in temp during the winter. I already run the AC more than I normally would in the summer for the guy since chillers are so pricey.
Last edited by OtisDriftwood on Fri Dec 16, 2016 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
OtisDriftwood
 
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Post Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:58 pm   Re: DIY Inline Heater Failure, and a PSA

You could always use pvc to make a cage/shield for the heater. Use 2 elbows to hang it onto the sidewall and drill holes, cut slots or even cutout the back of the pvc completly for the water to flow, then paint it. You can even wrap it with plants if your turtle oks it. That is, if you dont mind having stuff in your tank. If you dont want anything in the tank, and have some space, you could try a small sump, not to filter the water but just for heat.
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