Recirculating Pump Issues Please Help!

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apbnash

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To give a little backstory (and I apologize up front for the length)…. So we had a pex leak last summer and it was in our red recirculating line. We ended up re-piping our entire house, including the recirculation line. We already had a Grundfos pump since the house was built in late 2015 and it worked very well. We had nearly instant hot water all throughout the house. We only have one bathroom upstairs and the recirculating line did go up the wall in between the master closet and the kitchen to provide instant hot water for that bathroom upstairs. UnFortunately that wall is where our leak happened and it did almost $30,000 worth of damage to our home. We consulted with multiple plumbers and several of them recommended that when we re-pipe the house that we remove the recirculating line going up to the second floor and that we try to keep the entire recirculating loop in our crawlspace. That made a lot of good sense to us and so we proceeded with that plan. Even though our Grundfos had worked really well, it did go through a period of several years where it was extremely noisy. When we would ask plumbers about it, they would say that most likely something inside was wearing out and that eventually it would probably just quit and have to be replaced. Interestingly, after several years, it actually became quiet again. So it was working up until the time of the leak, but we decided to unplug it until we proceeded with the repipe in case it would make another leak more likely. So when we had our entire house re-piped my understanding was that the recirculation line was running from the hot water heater, which is in the garage all the way to the master bathroom, which is at the front of the house. That’s quite a distance away. I would estimate somewhere around 60 feet because we do have a very long and narrow house. so when we had it piped the plumber recommended that we have an aquastat put in. We do have a 50 gallon traditional, tanked, hot water heater. So when they put the aqua stat on the line in the garage, it seem to prevent the recirculating pump from ever turning on. And not only that, even when we ran our hot water for a while, it would never reach its full level of hotness. And our hot water heater was set on B at the time. So that’s about 130° or so. I do think the aqua stat was perhaps not put on in the proper location and so that definitely could’ve prevented it from working properly, but the plumbers came out the next day and removed the Aqua stat but recommended that we have a new recirculating pump put on because the theory was that maybe our recirculating pump was not working properly. So they put another Grundfos recirculating pump that had a built-in timer on our system and I was going to set it to turn off every night because our previous pump did not have a timer and it ran 24 seven. So when they put on the new pump it did Seem to work and we were getting hot water easily in less than 10 seconds. It may have been slightly slower than before, but I just chalked it up to us having a slightly different configuration on our recirculation line and it really wasn’t a big deal to wait seven seconds for hot water versus three seconds. But the timer on the brand new pump would not work. It was an old-school dial and it never would run so the plumbers came back out and put a simple basic digital plug-in timer onto the new pump. So that seemed to solve our problems, but I was a little bit bothered by the fact that the brand new pump didn’t have a working timer and so I reached out to Grundfos to see if I could have it switched out under warranty. Because I really preferred the dial timer and thought that it was easier to use than the plug-in digital timer. So when I reached out to Grundfos, as you may know, they don’t really have a technical support line so you have to go through a distributor if you want to talk to someone. So distributor here was nice enough to offer to come out to the house and see for himself what kind of recirculating pump I had and just offer whatever help and advice he could. Well, when he came out, he looked at it and he said oh you have a comfort system and he asked me if we did not have a dedicated recirc line. I said no, we do have a dedicated recirc line and he said well then you don’t have the right kind of pump. And he was a little surprised that it was working as well as it was but I told him that other than the timer being broken it actually seemed to be doing a decent job. I told him it was maybe a little bit slower than the first pump but I just assumed it was because we no longer had the recirculation line going upstairs and I’m not sure how else they may have changed the layout of our recirculating line in the crawlspace. So he told me about a brand new alpha pump that was coming out that was made for pex and that you could select The size of your pex and it would keep the flow rate within the manufacturer guidelines. So he thought considering the leak I had that this was going to be a good idea for us. At the time he thought the pump was coming out last October but it turns out it didn’t really come out until this spring and even still it’s in very low supply. So I finally received my new Alpha HWR earlier this month and was able to have it installed at the beginning of this week. I had very high hopes for this pump and even though it’s a lot more complex than the two pumps I’ve had before I felt like it was probably going to be the safest bet for us because it has something called Flowsense which is supposed to prevent the flow rate from being too excessive for the pex. Well, this pump does not seem to be working. It’s so frustrating because of all the problems that we’ve had the past year with our plumbing. So it has many different options and it’s mostly controlled through an app on your phone using Bluetooth. So when the pump first got installed, I chose to have it controlled by a mode called constant flow. And you can set the flow rate and so I set it to 2.2 gallons per minute because that should be within specs for our three-quarter inch recirculating line pex. And I also set the timer so that it would turn off at night when we did not need it to be running. Well, I noticed pretty quickly that the water was not turning warm as quick as it should. In fact, it was taking as long as it would as if we did not have a pump. So I kept it in that setting for the first night and then the next day reached out to the Grundfos rep and he talked to some people and recommended that I put it in the auto adapt temperature control mode. So that works where if the water is below 95° the pump will turn on and if it reaches 102 the pump will turn back off. So it runs intermittently. Well, I have not noticed any difference in how fast the hot water comes and it’s just as slow as it was in the other setting. Also, another thing that is strange to me is that when the pump is running, you can look at the gallons per minute on the face of the pump and it always shows either 0 gallons per minute or it will briefly go to .5 gallons per minute before then going back to 0 gallons per minute. I was expecting it to show something more along the lines of 2 gallons per minute when it was running so that right there makes me think something is not right. But I don’t know if it’s something wrong with the pump or if it’s something wrong with the way the pump was installed. So I’m going to attach some pictures Which I’ve already sent to the Grundfos rep and he feels like it looks like it’s installed correctly. I have not ever been under our house because I’m claustrophobic and I don’t think I would know what I was looking at anyway so I can’t send pictures of the layout of our dedicated recirculation line, but I was told from the people who installed it that it goes from the water heater directly to about the middle of our master bathroom, which is on the opposite side of the house. So I have reached out to Grundfos and I’ve also reached out to the plumber and I really don’t have an answer and I was hoping that if I came to this forum that you all could give me some ideas about what’s going on. It’s very curious to me that the comfort system was working as well as it was because we do have a dedicated recirculating line. But this one just literally does not seem to be working at all and I feel like it’s probably because it’s not actually moving the water around like it should be but it’s very frustrating. So please help . See below for pictures.
 

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LLigetfa

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Break up that wall of text into paragraphs to make it readable. There is a file size limit for pictures.
 

Jeff H Young

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Holy Crap! is that a book your writing
Break up that wall of text into paragraphs to make it readable. There is a file size limit for pictures.
its too much for me to concider reading but hopefully others can follow this and help
 

Tuttles Revenge

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Summary. After leak, House was replumbed and a dedicated return line from middle of house. Two new grundfos pumps have not worked correctly. Current unknown model of Grundfos alpha pump is not registering flow. need to know how to diagnose and what steps to take next.
 

Tuttles Revenge

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There is a magnetic tool that is used to detect if the motor is turning since they're generally too quiet to tell. Also you can feel or take measurements if the return side of the recirc line is as near as hot as the supply side of the water heater. Since that is its function, the pipe returning water from the far side of the house should eventually return hot water to the tank for reheating.

A photo that shows the pump and its associated piping in relation to the water heater could help too.
 
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