Whether good or bad, this era in which we live is one of immediate gratification.
People are rarely patient for anything, and even when they are, it’s not for very long.
Yet there’s still something which normally requires us to wait – hot water.
Most of us have to wait for quite a while just for the shower to get warm in the mornings.
Many people have simply accepted the wait, but there is a much better way!
Water heaters are normally positioned in a basement or garage.
This should be close to the bathroom or centralized such that hot water supply can easily reach any part of the house.
Even then, it can be a long wait.
Hot Water Recirculation: Tank or Tankless?
Tankless water heaters can certainly help shorten the wait, but a dependable setup can be quite expensive.
Alternatively, a system of recirculation can be less expensive and significantly decrease the delay times.
With recirculation systems, hot water is pumped from the water heater to the fixture at the farthest location.
This helps substitute any cooled-down water along the delivery line and giving hot water within seconds at the tap.
A new construction has a dedicated return line which takes cooled-down water back to the water heater.
The cold water line can have the same function in existing homes.
Quick Tip: Ensure to insulate your hot water pipes so that the water inside can stay warmer for longer periods.
Hot Water Recirculation: Methodology
Formerly, these pumps operated nonstop, cycling water round the clock to ensure fast delivery.
You can lower the load demand on the pump and save energy using timers.
This can be a bit tricky and require a rigid schedule from your home.
Producers have developed some advanced methods of improving the efficiency and adaptability of systems.
Two of the most popular include Grundfos and ACT pumps.
Along with timer-controlled units, the Grundfos Comfort Series also has models with an “Auto Adapt” function.
This technology studies the hot water routines of the home, and prompts the pump to operate when you really need it.
This all happens without any timers or controls.
A true demonstration of technology, these systems can identify changes in usage under 24 hours and adapt hence.
Hot Water Recirculation: ACT D'mand
A different method is used by the ACT D'mand Kontrols System.
Rather than run on a timer or continuously, the pump is manually activated when you really need hot water.
- When the time comes to take a shower, water is moved through the pipes from the press of a button.
- The pump moves cold water which would otherwise flow out from the showerhead back to the heater.
- Quarter or half an hour after the pump is activated, hot water is guaranteed upon opening the shower valve.
If you are uncomfortable with pressing a button, now you can make use of motion sensors.
The pump is triggered as soon as you step into the bathroom or wherever.
A single pump can be run by up to 10 sensors, so water won’t be wasted in any room.
The D’MAND system uses a thermal sensor which spontaneously shuts off the pump when the water flowing through it gets heated by 6 degrees.
In addition to saving energy, this also makes sure hot water does not get into the cold line upon return.
Hot Water Recirculation: Grundfos
In the Grundfos system, the cold line is isolated by temperature-sensitive valves whenever hot water is identified.
Note: Any system in which the cold water line serves as the return line, a small degree of warm/cooled-down water will enter the cold line upon activating the pump.
This clears when the cold valve is opened.
These kinds of recirculation systems offer the right solution to the challenge of water wastages and having to wait for hot water.
Even though the operation of the pumps consume a considerable amount of energy, the decrease in waste is quite worth it.
Besides, cleaner and renewable sources of energy is being relied upon now, and the possibility of running out isn’t there.
Energy can be converted in many ways into usable forms, but it is completely different with water.
It can be transported and cleaned up, but you can’t make it into something more. So why not try to conserve what is available.
Certainly, conservation has other methods while having access to hot water.
As previously stated, tankless water heaters can supply the whole household or a particular fixture.
These consume power only when in use and immediately heat up water, thereby removing waste either way.
Hot Water Recirculation: Tankless
Tankless water heaters can as well be used as “boosters” for a fixture or room.
These are fed by a present standard heater to immediately provide hot water when needed.
There are also small devoted booster units available which trigger at a particular point when water begins to finish from a traditional water heater.
For kitchens, a tankless point-of-use water heater can save energy and time when preparing hot foods or drinks.
Quick Tip: Just in case you are not ready for a tankless heater or recirculation system, you can try out something lower.
Evolve ShowerStart offers an easy-to-install valve.
This valve lowers the flow from a showerhead to a drop when the water is heated, thereby saving energy and water.
Sometimes it may seem like we are getting somewhat distracted by our demands for instant gratification.
This is a very different case.
Something which may seem here like an expensive indulgence actually is among the most efficient, practical things which you can do.
No wasting, no wanting, no waiting – it’s all a lot easier than you imagine.
Please read our article on Tankless Maintenance Guide