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Paraffin Tank Code Issues

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Posted by CraigNels on November 17, 2003, 9:06 pm
I'd like to use a 55 gal drum filled with paraffin for heat storage in my solar
hot water system.  I'd prefer to just immerse the copper coils in the paraffin,
but if need be, I'll wrap the copper tubing around the outside to make it
"double wall".

Can anyone tell me anything authoritative about building code issues?  The
house is in Santa Cruz county California.

I'm intersted in code issues around single/double wall heat exchangers (I'm on
a well), and storing paraffin in my garage.  I don't even know where to start
code wise.  Thanks.

Posted by Duane C. Johnson on November 18, 2003, 2:04 am
Hi CraigNels;

I can't speak to the specific rules in Santa Cruz but,
usually the rule for double barrier is to keep the
potable water separate from things that are toxic.
Common paraffin wax is not toxic so an extra barrier is
not needed.

It is common paraffin wax isn't it?

With two separate coils in the tank you will have a
double barrier between your potable water and the stuff
in the solar loop.

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Posted by Dale Farmer on November 18, 2003, 6:02 pm

"Duane C. Johnson" wrote:

    This quantity of paraffin may trigger some fire code things.
Requiring a sprinkler or what not.  Molten paraffin is in the
same hazard category as gasoline and other such fuels.
Outside vents would be reasonable, there is also the question
of handling the volume changes when it changes phase, which
I hope you have considered.


Posted by H.J. on December 24, 2003, 4:57 am
 You _do_ know that parrafin burns like hell, don't you? It explodes nicely
also. Some rocket propulsion systems use it for fuel.


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