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Thread: Hot water recirculation pump or ?

  1. #1
    DIY Member CountryBumkin's Avatar
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    Default Hot water recirculation pump or ?

    I do not get hot water at my shower as quickly as I would like. It takes a few minutes of running the water before I can step in. My shower is at the farthest end of the house from the hot water heater. I am currently remodeling the bathroom and shower so this may be a good time to fix this.

    I know I can buy a small 220V (5 or 7 gallon) hot water tank and mount it next to my shower running the existing hot water pipe into this little heater. The 5 or 7 gallon size would give me enough hot water when the shower is first turned on until the other (50 gallon) tank gets its hot water to my shower. This tank style heater runs around $200 (plus wiring/installtion).

    I also have read a lttile about hot water recirculating pumps. I'm not too famialr with this. I think the hot water at the shower end is returned to the hot water tank by a pump. If this is so, I assume I would need to run a second "return" line all the way back to me heater tank. Not impossible to do but difficult. Is there another method?

    How should I handle this?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Plumbing Designer FloridaOrange's Avatar
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    There is another "recirc" system which basically connects the hot side to the cold side via pump. One of the mods has it in his house.

    I personally like a dedicated recirc line back to the heater with a timer and aquastat.
    Matt
    Semi-professional plumbing designer
    Enjoying life in SW Florida

  3. #3
    DIY Member CountryBumkin's Avatar
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    The Hot water to Cold water recirculation pump would simplify the installation. I found two (probably a lot more) companies offering this product; Watts and Grundfos. Can anyone recommend a brand and model?

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Any of the recirculation systems can work by using the cold water line...if you have the luxury of a dedicated return line, so much the better as the system install may be simpler. If using the cold, it needs a valve and check valve, which may not be needed with a dedicated line.

    I have a RedyTemp unit. It has its good and bad points. It puts everything at one place (in my situation, underneath the sink at the furthest bathroom vanity). It requires power under the sink, which was easy for me to provide, but often isn't available. It was easy to fish a wire down to a box installed from the existing bathroom outlet. If you can't do this yourself, then firing two professionals, a plumber and an electrician may make that impractical as often, but not always, there is power available near the WH, which is where most pumps are installed.

    I've had the RedyTemp installed for about 7-years, and it's worked without problems. It has an easily adjusted aquastat knob so you can dictate how much warm/hot water gets pushed back into the cold pipes. I have mine set to keep it warm, and at the shower (closer to the supply) hot now takes about 5-seconds, where it took about a minute before. The water is adjusted to get warm to the sink immediately for pleasant hand washing, but hot is nearby. The rest of the house has hot nearly instantly. If I flush the toilet, that clears the minimal warm water going into the cold line, and I can get 'normal' cold at that sink. All other sinks in the house never see enough flow to get warm on the cold side. Having the easily adjustable temp was a consideration. I'm not sure how, or if most others allow this - my guess is that it is factory set, and not easily adjustable, if at all.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Member CountryBumkin's Avatar
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    The more I learn about the under sink recirculation pumps the more I like the the dedicated return line concept.

    I was reading the reviews of the Watts model over at Amazon, and one reoccuring complaint was that the cold water (from faucets) will be warm. I'm not sure if this would be a problem or not.

    I also read one person's review that if you have single handle faucets anywhere in your house the pump will continously run because single handle faucets always allow some cold and hot water to mix. (reviewer says when you turn off cold water line to faucet and open the faucet to full cold you will still get some water out proving his point. Never tried this before but I'm sure it is true for his house.

    I'll keep reading and researching. Thanks.
    Any recomendations (brand name) on a dedicated line recirculation system?

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Not all brands of single handle faucet cartridges allow that mixing, and most that do, only do it if they are worn. If any two handle faucet was open, you could get a little mixing as well, but generally you wouldn't...it would just come out the spout!

    Any of the recirculation systems can be used with a dedicated return line. Most of them run the pump continuously and use a remote valve(s) to start and stop the flow based on the water temperature sense. The RedyTemp (that I have, they have other models now I've not researched), shuts the pump off when the aquastat senses the temp you've set on the knob. On mine, it runs maybe 40-seconds, 3-4 times an hour. I have it on a 7-day timer, so it only runs when I'm home. The disadvantage to this technique is the on/off cycles verses continuous running. But, it is as quiet today as it was when installed over 7-years, which is good for a circulator. The check valve is rated at over 1M cycles.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Member CountryBumkin's Avatar
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    Very good info. Thank you.

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    Plumbing Designer FloridaOrange's Avatar
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    Jadnashua - I haven't seen any that control via remote valves, wouldn't that burn a pump out. The systems I spec use a timer and aquastat to shut the pump off.

    CountryBumkin - the ones I spec generally use Grundos (1/25hp) pumps and have an option to order the timer and a aquastat. Add some piping and a check valve and you have what you need.
    Matt
    Semi-professional plumbing designer
    Enjoying life in SW Florida

  9. #9
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The pumps are so small, having the remote valve(s) close isn't an issue. The pump might have a flow switch to turn them off, but it was my understanding that they just run all the time unless you put them on a timer. I've never taken the cover off my unit, so I have no idea what pump they use. It might have been in the specs, but I've not looked at it since installed.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  10. #10
    Plumbing Designer FloridaOrange's Avatar
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    I've never set up a pump recirc that way....
    I have seen (never designed though) systems that don't need a pump to recirc. Conditions/elevations have to be right though to make that work.
    Matt
    Semi-professional plumbing designer
    Enjoying life in SW Florida

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    The pumps are so small, having the remote valve(s) close isn't an issue. The pump might have a flow switch to turn them off, but it was my understanding that they just run all the time unless you put them on a timer. I've never taken the cover off my unit, so I have no idea what pump they use. It might have been in the specs, but I've not looked at it since installed.
    When choosing to install a hot water circulator, begin with asking yourself what type of hot water lifestyle do YOU want. Do you want the lifestyle of, I have ready hot water during scheduled time periods of the day? Or, do you prefer efficiency over convenience and don't mind pushing a button and waiting 20 seconds for the hot water to be rushed to the sink (On-Demand hot water circulator). Or, do you want the convenience of both types. Redytemp systems can be configured to operate in any of the three styles.

    Redytemp systems utilize TACO pumps and because of their long history of reliability. We also like their "00" replaceable cartridged design. So when a pump gets old and fails, as all pumps eventually due, instead of replacing the whole pump, you simply replace the sealed cartridge and your up and running at a third of the cost of a new pump and with minimal downtime.

    Regarding closed loop systems, you can have much hotter hot water but at the expense of much higher energy bills. Insulating pipes and minimizing heat loss is especially essential with these systems. Personally, I believe 120F degree water is essential for hospitals and food service businesses, but not worth the added energy cost or the risk of scolding someone in a home environment. It's all about the consumer and their lifestyle preferences.

    Redytemp TL series hot water circulators http://www.redytemp.com/tanklesshotwatercirculator.php use TACO 008 & 011 stainless steel pumps with built-in IFC valve. They have the same endless control capabilities and ease of installation as the ATC3000 systems. The TL series and the ATC3000 system http://www.redytemp.com/view-hot-water-circulator.php work on both open and closed loop systems, but recommend the TL for it's relocatable temperature probe on closed loop system. Relocating the temperature probe at or near the the last hot water load on the loop can significantly reduce pump operations and demand on your water heater making them last longer, depending on how far away the water heater is from the last load on the loop. This prevents needlessly heating the pipes between the last load and the water heater. Here's the hot water circulator link hot water circulator spec's / brochure. http://www.redytemp.com/hotwatercirc...ochure2009.pdf

    About comfort and savings; Systems which do not have adjustable temperature control don't allow a person to optimize their systems performance, hot water comfort or water savings. Preventing over pumping, one cause of waiting for cold water can only be corrected by adjusting the temperature setpoints which activate the pump. Redytemp's temperature adjustment dial allows down to 0.5 deg interval adjustments so you can accurately minimize wait times and optimize water and energy savings. Redytemp hot water circulators continue to be the most efficient and most user friendly hot water circulators ever made.

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default pump

    Since few lavatories have an outlet for a pump in the cabinet under them, a system such as the Grundfos "Comfort", with the pump at the water heater and a thermostatic valve at the sink is usually a better installation.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    Since few lavatories have an outlet for a pump in the cabinet under them, a system such as the Grundfos "Comfort", with the pump at the water heater and a thermostatic valve at the sink is usually a better installation.
    Are we installing a hot water circulator for it's "ease of installation" which is a one time event. Or, are we installing a hot water circulator for comfort, convenience and water savings, which will effect the owners lifestyle daily?

  14. #14
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    I tend to agree. Around my WH, there is no available outlet, so one would have had to been added. So, it was as easy to install one in the vanity, and the total install was then quicker and easier...no pipes to cut, or things to solder.

    There are plusses and minusses in each product. As mentioned earlier, if you need to hire an electrician, regardless of where you install it, the playing field is more level. in the case of the RedyTemp unit, you wouldn't need a plumber, since there's no soldering or pipe cutting. The others, generally, do require that. I liked the easy adjustment of the unit to tailor operations to my desires and ease of installation over compteting brands.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  15. #15

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    hj,

    I'm not suggesting that the installation factor should not be included in the decision making process. But only in the rarest occasion should the ease of an installation justify long term comfort sacrifice and gross inefficiency by unknowing homeowners. Had homeowners known beforehand that by installing a "comfort" system in their home, flushing a toilet, watering your lawn or any number of cold water consuming events, would now be placing demand on the homes water heater, they'd have made a different choice. Hot water line siphoning info explained http://www.redytemp.com/hot-water-circulators.php

    The link basically describes how water siphons out of the hot water line into the cold line anytime the comfort systems undersink valve is in it's default "normally open" position. And, that using "cold water" when their valve is open, places demand on the homes water heater consuming energy and shortening the life of the water heater.

    In short, "comfort systems" sacrifice efficiency and the consumers lifestyle and are popular not because they do a great job, they don't, but for the sole reason that there's a power plug in the garage where the water heater is making installs easier for people who sell them. I can't count the number of times I've heard about "comfort system" owners so fed up with waiting so long for cold water they resorted to unplugging the power cord to the pump on top of their water heater.

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