# Heat water in two buckets using one immersion rod

I use an immersion heating rod in a bucket to heat the water. The process takes around 10-15 minutes. I wish to heat another bucket full of water simultaneously when the water in the first bucket is getting heated-up. My purpose is to use a single immersion rod and heat two buckets at once. The process will definitely take double time but it is fine with me. Is there any way that I can use some coils or metal rods that if placed in the two buckets could transfer heat from one bucket and heat the water in another bucket also? Please suggest any other ways, approaches or materials to use. Thanks.

• This question might be better suited on the Physics Stack Exchange Feb 16, 2015 at 14:15
• @elliotdawes Being on-topic at another site is not a reason to close. Feb 16, 2015 at 23:05
• Can you not use a bigger vessel like a 40 litre trug, then fill your buckets from the trug when ALL the water is hot...? Feb 16, 2015 at 23:51
• While it's probably on topic here as @J.Musser notes, this would probably get a better answer from the Physics community. Feb 18, 2015 at 23:25

## 9 Answers

Place two buckets into bathtub (or bigger container, but not too big) and place your heating rod inside bathtub/container.

• That would take much longer, as you'll need 100-200 l of water in the bathtub. Oct 5, 2016 at 12:30

Assuming that you want to do both buckets at once because you wish to avoid having to swap the heating rod between the two buckets:

The simplest way is to use a larger container that can hold at least as much water as both of the smaller buckets combined. That way, the water itself will serve the purpose of circulating the heat, and your two smaller buckets are at the ready for whenever you need them. If the larger bucket has a spout at the bottom (or some other simple way of getting the heated water out), then you can keep both smaller buckets at the ready and fill them when you need them.

Two buckets, two siphons full of water, one situated at the top of each bucket, and one situated on the bottom of each bucket insulated. put the heater in one of the buckets. As water is heated, it rises to both buckets because of the upper siphon that is full of water, and is replaced by colder water from both buckets because of the siphon connection at the bottom of both buckets, thereby heating both buckets at the same time, no connections, no leaks. Be sure to place the heater away from the siphon so that no bubbles get in the hose and break the siphon.

• Siphoning in both directions between buckets? That is a perpetual motion machine. Oct 5, 2016 at 14:51

It might work just under very specific conditions, but here it goes:

1. you will need two buckets, one smaller than the other, and the smaller one has to be made of a conducting material (any non-painted metal would do, I guess).
2. Put the smaller bucket inside the bigger one, and fill both with water. The smaller one will be filled like always, but the bigger one will be filled just in the sides, as it will contain the smaller one inside.
3. Put the immersion rod in the smaller bucket, and turn it on.
4. Once the water inside the smaller bucket is heated, it will start heating the water in the bigger bucket, as heat will be conducted through the metal.

Some heat might get lost during the procedure, mostly due to the metal used I guess.

• Heat transfer from the inner bucket to the outer bucket will take a "lot of time". If we had the dimensions of the buckets and materials with which the bucket were made in addition to the wattage of the imm rod, we could actually figure out how long (~hours) it would take for the temperature to reach a certain value. Feb 19, 2015 at 9:49
• True, it will take more time than heating each bucket separately. I was just looking for a way to heat both buckets, without having to move the immersion rob from one bucket to the other. Feb 19, 2015 at 12:19
• Makes for a good heat transfer problem for my students! `:P` Feb 19, 2015 at 12:43
• Putting the small bucket inside the larger one is equal to just the larger one due to displacement. You'll increase the time for the heating by the mass of the smaller bucket in addition to the liquid. No?
– Stan
Jul 20, 2016 at 15:14

Obviously You want two buckets to get hot At once due to simultaneous usage of hot water during the same period of time. The Best method would be To fill Both buckets and leave the rod in one of the buckets. Once it heats up and is ready for usage quickly just change the rod to hang in the other bucket and use the hot water whilst the other person waits. Or If you really are desperate buying a second rod is a must. It would cost you a little more money but would make life a whole lot easier. Unfortunately connecting metal wiring and trying to get the rod connected to another bucket is too risky and you may get electricuted. Do not try Funny stuff when handling water and electricity.

• -1 This answer ignores the question. It is neither heating the two buckents simultaneously nor using a single immersion heater.
– Stan
Jul 20, 2016 at 15:28

I will assume you have two Home Depot style buckets of the same size that need to be heated at the same time and for the sake of not having to monitor, you want them to simultaneously heat until both are at about a heated equilibrium. Efficiency is also not a factor.

The hard way: I seem to recall this exercise that should when scaled fit your purpose..if I recall it correctly.

You will need a 6-12" platform, a two fuel siphon hoses or equivalent garden hoses, clamps, and a weight of some sort in addition to your immersion rod and buckets.

Place the immersion rod in the lower bucket. Then place the first hose a couple (1-2") under water inches of each bucket. Then place the second hose laying sideways or 1" from the bottom of both buckets. Important for this to work when placing those hoses initially you have to have vacuum (water filled with pressure) in each hose.

The Easy Way: Alternately you if want guaranteed circulation, I would just get electric utility pump, depending on purpose use of water a submersible utility / sump pump, or one they sell to fit directly on top of the Home Depot style buckets, not if two pumps they need to have the same flow rate. They also sell ones specifically for recirculating/mixing ( 2x in / 2x out) so you don't need two pumps just one. This would allow you to for go / skip the elevation, maintaining vacuum, and whole physics hassle.

I think that the image will clarify your question connect two bucket via a tube. It will exchange cold and hot water in the buckets. The result is that both buckets of water will get heated.

• Connecting the buckets makes one (weird shaped) bucket from the two and begs the question.
– Stan
Jul 20, 2016 at 15:56
• Without a second connection at the bottom, to enable a convection loop, this won't actually work over any reasonable time frame. You'll get a thin layer of warm water in the second bucket, no more (absent stirring the indirectly heated bucket and waiting a long time). Oct 5, 2016 at 11:39

If your immersion rod is waterproof, then you can macgyver your two buckets to be connected with a small hole and put your immersion rod with about an equal length in each bucket, so it heats up both buckets at once

• For this answer to be useful it should include a description of how to create such a hole and prepare a waterproof seal that would resist the temperature rise. Oct 3, 2016 at 10:41
• Sorry, will do that once I get the chance Oct 3, 2016 at 10:48
1. Place the two buckets next to each other.
2. Take a length of copper wire, wrap this around the heating element several times. Remove the coil you've made from the heating element.
3. Wrap the other end of the copper wire around the heating element several times. Keep enough space between the two coils that you can dip one coil (on the heating element) in one bucket, and the other coil in the second bucket.
4. Repeat step 2 and 3 several times, so you end up with several coils of wire on the heating element, and several wires going from one bucket to the other. The more the better (increased heat transfer).

Of course, all proposed solutions ignore that it's much easier to heat one bucket, then the other. You spend far more time jury-rigging the buckets than you save by heating them at the same time. And if you're going to buy copper wire, it's probably cheaper to buy a 20-litre bucket instead.