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Thread: Pex water lines

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    Grumpy old man johnsmith9875's Avatar
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    Default Pex water lines

    I have 2 homes, one is relatively new with what I'm guessing is Pex or something thereof, and my older home has copper water lines.

    The older home seems to get hot water to the shower faster, and the new home seems to take an inordinate amount of time to get the hot water to the shower. Is this due to the heat conducting capabilities of copper keeping the water warmer throughout the line, or did the dummies who built my new home run the lines in the cold zone somewhere? I haven't had any leaks or frozen lines though, even last year when the temps dropped to -5 Fahrenheit, just wondering about it though.

    Also, where is the distribution block normally located? all I see is a simple water shutoff in a closet, that's it. Are they allowed to hide it under drywall?

    Cranky as ever,

    John

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    There does not have to be a "distribution" block, so you may not have one. How long the hot water takes is a function of HOW they installed the piping, and every home, even the same floor plan, could be different depending on how the plumber felt that day. Copper will typically lose heat faster than plastic, and since plastic pipes have a smaller i.d. and thus less stored water it should evacuate the cool water faster, so that should not be the cause of your problem.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Are you guessing the new house has pex, or are you guessing? There are other plastic pipes that it could be, cpvc for one. Depending on the age, there may be some others, that have had problems. I would be good to know.

    The distance to the WH, how the pipe is run, whether it has any insulation on it, and the diameter of the pipe will all affect how long it takes to purge the line of stagnent cold water before hot arrives. Also, depending on the age, the newer place will likely have flow restricted showerheads and vanity faucets, which would lengthen the time it takes to purge the lines.
    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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    Homeowner
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsmith9875 View Post
    I have 2 homes, one is relatively new with what I'm guessing is Pex or something thereof, and my older home has copper water lines.

    The older home seems to get hot water to the shower faster, and the new home seems to take an inordinate amount of time to get the hot water to the shower. Is this due to the heat conducting capabilities of copper keeping the water warmer throughout the line, or did the dummies who built my new home run the lines in the cold zone somewhere? I haven't had any leaks or frozen lines though, even last year when the temps dropped to -5 Fahrenheit, just wondering about it though.

    Also, where is the distribution block normally located? all I see is a simple water shutoff in a closet, that's it. Are they allowed to hide it under drywall?

    Cranky as ever,

    John
    If your shower valve has a temperature limiting device that limits how much hot can flow,purging the line can take alot longer. Same for the showerhead. If it limits flow it will take longer to get the hot to you from the water heater.

    Temperature limits can be adjusted to allow more hot to flow and more flow means you can purge the hot water line and bring it up to temp.

    Remember hot water burns.

    The ideal way to handle the situation is to add a water heater closer to the fixture or a circulating hot water system installed.

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