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  • Minizmize wait for hot water dilemma.

    Hi,

    I have a new construction and I was wondering about the best way to minimize the wait for hot water. Here is some background.

    I was contemplating getting a hot water recirculation pump so that I could minimize the wait for hot water at the faucets, tubs and showers in a new 3 story residential 3100 sq ft house. The plumber I am sub-contracting said water will get to the fixtures fast if I put 2 hot water on different levels also eliminating the need for the recirculation pump. I said ok to go ahead. He ran the pipes inside the house but along the exterior wall to the fixtures making the plumbing runs much farther then if they were just on a straight route. One plumbing run is more than 50 feet from the hot water tank to the fixture. A Straight run would have shortened that 50 foot long run to about 20 feet.

    When I suggested that the hot water piping runs should be as short as possible, he claimed that his layout would get the hot water to where it was needed faster than any other method. When I asked, "Isn't the shortest route between 2 points a straight line?" he replied, "I've been doing this for more than 15 years... you just have to trust me." Then he added, "oh if we make the lines shorter if someone flushes the toilet when someone else is taking a shower they will get scaled because of the pressure drop. We spoke in the beginning about ways of minimizing the wait for hot water at the fixtures and I just don't get how longer pipe runs help minimize the hot water wait. Going with hot water heaters in different locations... yes that I can see how it helps.

    But how can hot water get to a fixture in a 50 foot line faster than it would in a 20 foot line? I get the impression he trying to take advantage of the situation and me because I see the pipes run inside chases instead of through knock-out holes in the I-joists... meaning it was much less effort on his part to not have to pick up a hammer and knock out a few holes and feed the pex through the holes. If I insist that he fixes it, should it be on his dime or mine?

    Thanks for the help in advance!
    Last edited by dannywild; 05-07-2008, 08:50 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Minizmize wait for hot water dilemma.

    Originally posted by dannywild View Post
    Hi,

    I have a new construction and I was wondering about the best way to minimize the wait for hot water. Here is some background.

    I have a new construction and I was contemplating getting a hot water recirculation pump so that I could minimize the wait for hot water at the faucets, tubs and showers in a new 3 story residential 3100 sq ft house. The plumber I am sub-contracting said water will get to the fixtures fast if I put 2 hot water on different levels also eliminating the need for the recirculation pump. I said ok to go ahead. He ran the pipes inside the house but along the exterior wall to the fixtures making the plubing runs much farther then if they were just on a straight route. One plumbing run more than 50 feet from the hot water tank to the fixture. A Straight run would have shortened that 50 foot long run to about 20 feet.

    When I suggested that the hot water piping runs should be as short as possible, he claimed that his layout would get the hot water to where it was needed faster than any other method. When I asked, "Isn't the shortest route between 2 points a straight line?" he replied, "I've been doing this for more than 15 years... you just have to trust me." Then he added, "oh if we make the lines shorter if someone flushes the toilet when someone else is taking a shower they will get scaled because of the pressure drop. We spoke in the beginning about ways of minimizing the wait for hot water at the fixtures and then he goes and increases the piping lengths.

    How can hot water get to a fixture faster in a 50 foot line than it would in a 20 foot line? I feel like he is not being up front with me because I see the pipes run inside chases instead of through knock-out holes in the I-joists... meaning it was much less effort on his part to not have to pick up a hammer and knock out a few holes and feed the pex through the holes. Am I right? If I insist that he fixes it, should it be on his time or mine?

    Thanks for the help in advance!
    How many plumbers did you have look at your project before you settled on this person? Wait, doesn't matter at this point.

    I'd have to say unfortunately that you might have to pay to "fix" it. You agreed to his supposed expertise as a plumber. I have not seen your project but based on what you say I wouldn't have done it this way.

    I would have put in a single properly sized water heater with either a circulating pump or if the water is in the basement a recirculating loop without the pump. I've never had a problem doing things this way. (Yet.)

    You can still probably correct this with some of the new recirc pumps with small bypass/check valves at the endpoints. Make sure it's ok with the inspection dept. as some see it as a possible cross connection.

    All plumbers are not the same. Good Luck!

    J.C.

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    • #3
      Re: Minizmize wait for hot water dilemma.

      Your plumber sounds like an idiot the way you described him.

      As JC said, Recirc lines are the way to go, and yes the shortest distance is a straight line of course!
      Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

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      • #4
        Re: Minizmize wait for hot water dilemma.

        dump the plumber and get another one with some common sense, all your shower and tub fixtures are pressure balanced and have scald guard protection. go with your gut your on the right track, i could go on but it would be pointless being this is free advice, but i would get another opinion, and redesign the system. he who gets it right the first time wins. good luck.

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        • #5
          Re: Minizmize wait for hot water dilemma.

          I must concurr with you gentleman. The offending plumber is clearly a dolt.

          Bring me his head on a stake.
          sigpic

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          • #6
            Re: Minizmize wait for hot water dilemma.

            In these days of high energy costs, an electric circulation pump is not an option for myself.

            I feel the best design if building new is all hot water using sinks located back to back and upstairs right above the other sinks. Then locate the hot water heater very close to this area or in a basement right below this area.

            For my house the hot water piping was galvanized and run in the crawl space (which gets very cold). The hot water was very cold for quite awhile. It not only had to travel the distance, but also had to heat up the pipe before I would finally get hot water!

            I switched my hot water piping to plastic CPVC which has a very low "thermal mass" (if piping is cold, it takes very little heat energy away from the water as opposed to a metal pipe). Then I ran the CPVC in a straight line in the ceiling below the insulation (from the water heater to the sinks).

            Heat rises and the ceiling is warm below the insulation. So this keeps the pipe warm.

            I now get hot water much sooner than before and the hot water stays hot in the piping much longer. This was a lot of work because I could not cut the lower portion of the ceiling joists as this would weaken the ceiling. So I had to add 1 inch strips of wood and lower the ceiling a bit to make room for the piping.

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