Heat-recovery tech for drains hits Home Depot

A small Waterloo, Ontario-based company called RenewABILITY Energy Inc. has convinced Home Depot Canada to carry its drain heat-recovery systems for sale on its Web site. The company’s Power-Pipe technology is basically copper tubing that wraps around a residential drain pipe. Cold water is pumped through the tubing and captures the heat from drain water after it comes out taps, dishwashers, washing machines, etc…. The warmed up water from the tube is then sent to the residential hot water tank, which doesn’t have to burn as much natural gas or use as much electricity now because the water has been pre-heated by several degrees. It’s a simple system, sold in a variety of designs by a number of different companies, that should be required in every home. The company claims the system will pay for itself in two to five years, it can be used in new and old homes, and it can reduce home energy consumption by 5 to 10 per cent. Not bad when you consider the hot water portion only accounts for 20 to 30 per cent of total home energy use.

The Power-Pipe comes in three models — 36-inch, 48-inch and 60-inch long tube models ranging from $600 to $1,000 (Canadian) and including the cost of installation. Just type in “Power-Pipe” in the HomeDepot.ca search engine. “The typical 60-inch Power-Pipe unit can bring you cold water temperature up from 10 degrees C to as much as 24 degrees C,” the company says.

I’m not sure about U.S. or European availability and incentives, but in Canada customers who purchase the system can also qualify for up to $300 in federal and provincial incentives. It’s good to see Home Depot giving some profile to this simple approach to achieving energy efficiency in the home.

9 thoughts on “Heat-recovery tech for drains hits Home Depot”

  1. simple vacuum heat pipe can do the same for less cost and far less copper piping!

    but congrats to them for getting picked up by the ‘depot’.

  2. unlikely to give a return in 5 years:

    -subtract off electricity costs for running the pumps

    -maintenance capex for maintaining pump

    -amortize capital costs including copper tubing

    Not to mention the fact that the actual temperature differential will drive very little heat transfer. Ever feel the water going down the drain from a shower? It’s essentially as cold as the tub by the time it hits the drain.

  3. I don’t think that a pump is required or even offered at all, the municipal water pressure drives the system…

  4. Ever feel the water going down the drain from a shower? It’s essentially as cold as the tub by the time it hits the drain.

    Either you are having very cold showers or you have a cryogenic bathtub. 🙂

  5. Correction. The Power-Pipe is a passive device that requires no pump and no maintenance for home applications. It does recover up to 40% of hot water associated costs. The technology is called “falling film heat exchanger”: as drain water flows down the drain, it clings to the inner wall, forming a thin film that allows effective heat transfer through the copper walls.

  6. Powerpipe sounds like a great product, just one BIG problem!! I Heard some pretty shady things about powerpipes UL certification and that the UL certification is not related potable water (dangerous? Misleading?). Redflag deals is where I think I read that. A forum member posted a UL officials e-mail stating that they should contact the company who manufactures the powerpipe in regards to claiming that it is certified for use with potable water.

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