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Hot water recirc pump question

Posted by gwentm (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 23, 10 at 21:47

We just had a Watts Instant Hot Water Recirculating System installed because it was taking almost 2 minutes to get hot water. What happens now is that we get luke warm waher when we turn on the faucet in the beginning, then it turns colder and about 1 minute later or so we get hot water. Is this the way it is supposed to work or is there some adjustment we need to make?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

No it isn't. The idea is hot-right-now. Otherwise, what's the point?

Are your pipes insulated?


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

The pipes are most probably not insulated. They run from the hot heater through our ceilings.

All, Apologies for the double post of this question. My post originally did not show up so I redid it. Then they were both there!


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

Hot water recirc. system without insulated pipes can get pretty expensive. The warm/cold differential you've described when turning on the tap is tell-tale. You're getting differential heat-loss in your pipes depending on their length and placement. When you turn on the tap it more-or-less reads out to you via the changing temps until the real hot water hits.

You can fix it by recirculating at a higher rate than you currently are. However, with the obvious energy loss you've already described with your piping the expense of this convenience will likely be large. If you've got electric water heater, especially, you may be in for a shock.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

The Watts system https://www.wattspremier.com/products.php?product=Instant-Hot-Water-Recirculating-System is similar to the Laing Autocirc system I've had for a long time http://lainginc.itt.com/LG-pump-Autocirc.asp

These systems does not operate the same as a conventional recirculating system.

When everything is right you can walk up to the faucet where the thermo valve is installed and get hot water that instant with tepid temp water at the cold for an instant.

There will be times when the hot is warm and will be hot in a few seconds and there will be times where the hot will be hot instantly with a few seconds of hot on the cold side.

My house is a perfect candidate for these system with the WH at one end and the kitchen at the other. I prefer the style where the pump and valve are one rather than the pump at the WH and the valve at that farthest faucet. The all-in-one seems to work better.

IF there is now way to install a proper recirc system, then these systems are the next best thing.

Mine has saved me many, many gallons of wasted water at an indiscernible cost for the electricity and the convenience of hot water (pretty much) now where we had to wait up to two minutes.


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Hot water recirc pump

I just remembered... there is a difference between the way the all-in-one Laing system and the separate pump and valve Watts and Laing systems work.

With the all-in-one (Laing Autocirc 1) the temp sensor turns the pump on and off so the pump ONLY RUNS when the temp drop requires it to.

http://lainginc.itt.com/pdf/IM_01.pdf

With the separate pump and valve system (Laing Autocirc 2 and Watts) the pump runs constantly unless you set the timer to turn it off at the desired times or you turn the pump off altogether.

lainginc.itt.com/pdf/IM-18.pdf

That's why I preferred the all-in-one design.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

You do not have a real circulating system.

The system you have pushes cooled hot water back into the cold water line.

It save the cost of running the return pipe, at some sacrifice in performance.

Insulating the hot line will help some, but may not solve the entire problem.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

Yea, yea, yea, this was all discussed ad nauseum in other threads and poo pooed by plumber after plumber but here is a dose of reality for you...

For those of us who own homes built on a slab adding a REAL recirc system after the fact will only pay the entire mortgage on some plumbers home and most likely destroy our home in the process.

Likewise, ripping out a house full of sheet rock to insulate the pipes is a similar exercise in throwing good money after bad.

The Lang autocirc RETROFIT recirculating pumps, in the right instance and in the right home can be a cost efffective solution to waiting minutes for hot water while not running cool (hot) water down the drain.

And brickeyee, do you even remember that you posted in one of those threads discussing this subject?

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/plumbing/msg0619470923586.html

You and I have banged heads about this before and your anecdotal opinion pales to my 7+ years of actually living with the system and saving money in lower water bills month after month and year after year while never waiting more than 10 seconds for hot water at the farthest faucet from the WH which used to take up to two minutes.

As I said in that linked previous thread "If I was building new or could retrofit a proper recirc I would do as lazypup laid out but not wanting to rip out walls and with the house on a slab the Laing Autocirc does a fine job".


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

brickeyee,

Did you miss the statement "These systems does not operate the same as a conventional recirculating system" in my post 4 up from this one?

The OP was inquiring about the system they had installed and that was what I addressing since I have experience with that type of system.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

Justalurker, You wrote: "The Lang autocirc RETROFIT recirculating pumps, in the right instance and in the right home can be a cost efffective solution"

What is the right instance in the right home for the Laing to work? I am on the first floor of a high rise apt. Below me is the basement and my water pipes flow from the hot water tank through the ceiling. The master bath is on the opposite side of the apartment and the kitchen sink backs up to the master bath. Would it work for me? If it would, I have some addtitional questions about the timer.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

"Did you miss the statement "These systems does not operate the same as a conventional recirculating system" in my post 4 up from this one? "

Complain someone is agreeing with you?

Interesting.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

gwentm,

The optimal situation is where the WH is on one side of the house and the farthest faucet is on the other. The Autocirc 1 (all-in-one) works best for that. With the recirc pump at the farthest faucet all the fixtures between the WH and the pump will have hot water pretty much instantly.

On your instance it sounds like putting the Autocirc 1 (all-in-one) at the master bath sink or kitchen sink, whichever is farthest from the WH, if there's room and electricity.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

brickeyee,

YOU are complaining that I'm agreeing with you. In the arena of intelligent discourse I DEFINED my statement and went on to describe in what circumstances it would and does do a fine job based on first hand experience so as not to be misunderstood yet you still did.

In MOST instances retrofitting a REAL recirculating system in an existing home is not either cost effective or conducive to maintaining one's sanity due to the demolition required. Retrofit recirc systems do work in circumstances where they are correctly applied at modest cost with real convenience and money savings and that is FACT, not opinion.

So brickeyee, you go ahead and rip out walls and bust up slabs and buy pipes and fittings and then get the sheet rockers and painters in to get your house back into one piece and get a home improvement loan to pay for it all... I spent my $200 7+ years ago for a Laing Autocirc retrofit and was saving money the second I plugged it in. I continue to get HOT water within 10 seconds where I was waiting about two minutes and running water down the drain. Boy am I dumb, I can see where I should have done it YOUR way... NOT.

If you have something substantive to bring to this subject based on fact and not unsubstantiated opinion... we await your input.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

brickeye, I am very far from knowledgeable in plumbing issues and really don't understand where you and justalurker disagree on the best solution. Sorry if you thought I ignored your advice, it was unintentional. Guess I just don't understand what you mean by "These systems does not operate the same as a conventional recirculating system", exactly how it applies to my situation, and what you think my best solution is. Any help you can provide would be much appreciated.

justalurker, To your suggestion. We do not have an outlet under that sink so it would be an additional expense. We are not do it yourself plumbers and have already gone to the expense of purchasing and having the Watts system installed. We would have to be absolutely sure the Laing would work and be cost effective to rip out the Watts and put a different in a different system. I would check with my plumber except it looks like I might need a new one.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

The Laing Autocirc #2 and the Watts you have operate the same in that the pump is ON all the time except when you set the timer to turn it off. The temp valve at the farthest sink opens and lets the less than hot water run into the cold side till the water is hot then closes.

The Laing Autocirc #1 operates the pump ONLY when the thermostat in the valve senses that the water is cold.

In my experience the Autocirc #1 is more economical as the pump only runs when necessary. costs less in electricity, and outs many less hours on the pump.

The Autocirc #2 and the Watts is a derivative design to accommodate installations where there isn't an electrical outlet under the sink farthest from the WH.

Isn't there an AC outlet under the kitchen sink for a dishwasher?

Now, on to brickeyee...

I agree with him that a proper, REAL (OK brickeyee), recirculating system is preferable and that the service and return line(s) in that system should be insulated for best performance.

A REAL recirculating system has a hot water return line to the water heater from the farthest appliance or fixture and that water is recirculated with a pump at the water heater that can either always run or be on a timer.

The rub is that if the house is not plumbed with that return line when during construction it can be very expensive or VERY difficult to add that return line after the house is built. That return line will run though walls ceilings, floors, and will require a lot of expensive work to add it, if it can be added, and then cover it back up.

That is where brickeyee and I disagree. He is fixated on only the REAL recirculating system and I embrace the retrofit possibilities that are FAR less expensive, actually doable after the house is built and offer almost all the advantages of the REAL recirculating system.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

gwentm,

Let me try to explain this better...

The Watts system you have installs the pump at the water heater. You choose to set the pump always on or use the timer to selct time periods where you'll want hot water immediately at the sinks. In order for you to get that immediate hot water the pump must be running. With the Watts the pump pushes the hot water all the way to the master bath (or kitchen) and the thermo valve opens to let the clloed water go into the cold water line until the hot water arrives and then the thermo valve closes. The pump continues to run.

With the Autocirc #1 (the all-in-one model) the pump is installed right at that farthest faucet and includes the thermo valve. When the valve senses cool water it opens and turns on the pump which pushes the cooled hot water into the cold water line until the valve senses hot water and turns the pump off. The all-in-one design seems to work more defectively than separating the thermo valve from the pump by the entire distance to the water heater.

In order to have hot water waiting at the faucet the #1 pump operates less with no wasted pump time than the Watts where the pump is separated from the valve and runs all the time you determine that you want hot water waiting.

Sometimes the hot water will be right there and sometimes it will be tepid and a 10 second wait will get hot water and sometimes a little longer wait and with the Watts if the pump is off then as long a wait as before you had the system installed.

My experience is that the Autocirc #1 consistently delivers hot water quicker at the farthest faucet than the separate design of the Autocirc #2 and the Watts and that's why I kept the #1 model.

My advice to you is this...

Make sure the Watts pump is either set to be always on or the timer is set to rum the pump during the times you anticipate needing it. Maybe just leave the pump on all the time while you're getting used to the system.

Live with the Watts for a month and then see what you think. It can take a while to get used to just like running the cold water for a couple seconds to let out the warm water that the pump will have placed there. At first we thought about it and then just did that by reflex.

Neither system will give you rippin hot water waiting at the farthest faucet all the time but it will be a lot better than waiting a couple minutes.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

I've thought about these recirc systems. Do they have a momentary switch with a built in timer for residential applications? Say 30 seconds? I could push the button and only activate the pump just prior to use.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

Neither the Laing Autocirc or the Watts have a momentary switch and the timers are appliance style to set on periods and off periods.

There is a unit called the Chilipepper that has a momentary switch. http://www.chilipepperapp.com/

In my circumstance I preferred the original Autocirc design cause I'm too lazy to push a button.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

Bump so this post precedes the duplicate.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

Thank you for the chilipepper web link.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

Success! Evidently the timer was set to turn on and off too frequently. We changed the timer so that it was on all the time and we got hot water right away. Today we changed it to be off for most of the day 11-4, with just a few quick reheats to reduce electric bills. Thank you all for your help.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

Let us know how it works down the road.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

You can always put in a pex line as a return for a true recirculating system.

Just because you are on a slab does not mean you need to run new lines in the slab.

A pex line in an attic works just fine.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

"A pex line in an attic works just fine".

Doesn't work so well in locales where it could freeze.

I'm sure that Gwentm will be every bit as satisfied with her retrofit recirc as I (after 7+ years of living with it) and many others are with theirs and at a remarkably reasonable cost.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

justalurker, Will do! So far so good.

All, Our building manager is concerned that the Watts unit is plastic, might corrode over time, fail and cause a flood in the building. Is he over reacting?


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

Watts has been manufacturing plumbing valves, pumps, and such for about as long as there's been plumbing in the US so I'm confident that they know a little about what they're doing. I'll wager Watts knows more than your building manager knows.

Most water softener control valves are made out of plastic... there's plastic and then there's plastic.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

What happens when you turn on your hot water at a fixture when the recirc pump is running


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

If your question is "What happens when you turn on your hot water at a fixture when the (LAING) recirc pump is running" then the answer is... you get HOT water from the hot water faucet.

The reason that the Laing or the temp manifold of the Watts recirc pump is placed at the farthest fixture from the water heater is that all the hot faucets between there and the water heater will get hot water even quicker. In my installation... immediate hot hotter.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

Typo correction...

Last line of my previous post reads... "immediate hot hotter"

Should read... "immediate hot water"


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

"Doesn't work so well in locales where it could freeze. "

It will work just fine if you put it UNDER the attic insulation.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

@brickeyee

We hit single digits every winter and it was -23 F here two winters ago and the Laing worked fine and has worked fine for over 10 years without lines in the attic... so much for opinion.

The Laing Autocirc is a no plumber required, simple, quick, and non-destructive DIY install for around $200. It has paid for itself many, many, many, many, many times over with no downside.

If you don't like them then don't buy one.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

The cold water line recirculators are a cheap alternative to a real recirculation system.

Nothing more.

The instant hot water is only at the single instillation point, unlike an actual system with a dedicated return loop that can provide instant how water at every place served by the hot water line when the return is from the furthest location.

If you think having previously heated water with its greater load of contaminants leached from piping in your cold water supply is acceptable go for it.


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RE: Hot water recirc pump question

@brickeyee

As I've stated REPEATEDLY and CLEARLY in many threads discussing this subject on this forum...

A traditional recirc system is preferable to a retro fit if it can be done cost effectively and with acceptable inconvenience. For new construction it is the way to go.

Recirc as an after thought can be very expensive and very inconvenient. In those circumstances a retro fit recirc can work well with few compromises and at modest cost with ZERO inconvenience.

Your position that the only way is the traditional recirc flies in the face of my 10+ years of perfect service from the Laing Autocirc. How much experience do you have with a retro fit recirc? Any experience with the Watts recirc? The Chillipepper?

"If you think having previously heated water with its greater load of contaminants leached from piping in your cold water supply is acceptable go for it"

Another excuse but not a reason for not using a retrofit recirc. That water is flushed within the first seconds of opening ANY cold faucet. I've had a chemist buddy take samples and make sure.


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Stolen Hot Water Recirc System?

We have had a home warranty company servicing our plumbing needs (various plumbers) for several years. Several noticed and asked where the recirc pump was (since it wasn't at the heater) and I would show them the tidy maze of copper pipe in the closet under the stairs. A couple said, "I've never seen it done that way; but, yep, that'll work." There is a bathroom with a sink on the other side of the closet wall. At some point, the system (pipe maze) was taken. The picture I uploaded is all that remains. Somehow, the hot water continued to circulate until we recently had the hot water heater replaced. No one believes me. The home warranty company says, "no, it must have been a pump at the hot water heater."
I think we will have to file a police report but I'm not sure how to specify the system. Would it be termed a passive, positive bypass... How would I know if it is/was a closed loop system?
Seeking clarification...


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