Tired Of Waiting For Hot Water?
When you turn on the faucet in your house do you find yourself waiting for at least a minute – or more – before the hot water finally arrives? Well, if this is a problem at your place then you won’t want to skip reading this weeks offering! We are dying to tell you about the newest of the new. Something that will save you money, make your life more comfortable, eliminate waiting at faucets and showers and something that is unbelievably inexpensive to purchase and install – the very latest twist on a technology that literally didn’t exist a decade ago.
The reason we find ourselves waiting for water to warm up is simple. Hot water that was left in the pipes the last time the faucet was used began cooling down as soon as we turned off the water. The more time that transpires between uses simply allows more cooling to occur. The wait is only part of the problem: Real honest to goodness drinking water is completely lost – down the drain – every time you stand there waiting for it to get hot. Imagine how many gallons of water can be wasted per household each morning. Now multiply that by millions of households!
But, what if the water in the pipe always stayed warm? What if the water was hot the moment the faucet got turned on – at every faucet in the house – every time? Water would no longer be wasted and there would no longer be chilled finger tips and waiting at the sink or shower.
Actually, all you have to do to solve the problem is to circulate the water in the hot water line between the fixture (sink, tub, shower etc.) and the water heater. The process is called – you guessed it – hot water recirculation. However, until only recently, this process has been a somewhat expensive proposition. We have spent the last decade testing all kinds of recirculation systems. Not until now has recirculation truly been simple and affordable. Here’s some history:
There are four basic kinds of hot water recirculation systems:
1) Passive Circulation via a 2nd Hot Water Return Line – utilizes a second hot water line to create a loop in the hot water side of the system between the water heater and all of the plumbing fixtures in the house. With this system a hot water line is run across the attic before it is sent down to feed the plumbing fixture farthest from the water heater. The pipe in the attic slopes upward as it travels away from the water heater. Hot water therein naturally – and slowly – rises upward through the pipe in the attic and to the fixture at the other end. The pressure created forces cooled water in the back to the water heater via a second hot water line located beneath the floor. No pump is used with this system. Water circulates naturally. This system is most economical to install in new construction.
2) Pumped Circulation via a 2nd Hot Water Return Line – utilizes a pump in addition to a second hot water line to create the circulation loop. The pump eliminates the need for the 2nd hot water line to be installed in the attic allowing both lines to be installed beneath the floor (easier to install). This system is most economical to install in new construction.
3) Pumped Circulation via a Crossover Valve (Pump @ Fixture) – utilizes a one-piece combination pump and crossover valve installed between the hot and cold water lines (at the fixture farthest from the water heater). The crossover valve takes the place of a second hot water line by allowing cooled water to be returned to the water heater via the existing cold water supply line. A check valve within the crossover prevents cold water from backing up into the hot water system. A second hot water line is thus rendered completely unnecessary. This is especially important once a house has already been built because major piping “after the fact” can cost a small fortune. The fixture farthest from the water heater is selected as the point of installation for the crossover so that instant hot water can be enjoyed at all fixtures located directly between the water heater and the fixture where the crossover is installed. The pump operates on a 110 volts, thus a receptacle must be available. Of the two crossover types this one is more expensive. Figure spending about $1,000. $450 or so for the unit itself, plus the cost of the electrical outlet and the plumber. A problem: If one unit won’t do the trick for all the fixtures in the home (many homes require two or more) count on spending another $1000 per location. Remember, with a combination pump-crossover system each additional location must have an outlet.
4) Pumped Circulation via a Crossover Valve (Pump @ Water Heater) – this system is identical to the previous one except for one extremely important factor: With this system the pump and crossover are not connected. This allows the pump to be centrally located at the water heater (only one pump in the system) while the crossover is installed at the fixture farthest from the water heater. Expect to pay about $425 for this system fully installed. A 110 volt outlet is required by the pump, however, in our experience, there is usually an outlet next to the water heater that can be used for this purpose. If one location won’t do the trick a second crossover can be added for about $65.
A twin hot water line system can add $2,000 or more to the cost of a new home. If an attempt was made to add the second hot water line after a home has been completed installation cost could jump to $4,000 or more. So, for folks who want to retrofit a system the crossover type works best and is least expensive. Actually, we can’t imagine why anyone would want to spend $2,000 on a twin system when a crossover can be installed for one-forth the cost.
For more information on crossover recirculation systems go here.