First house, first issues! (Water temp)

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Polsy, May 1, 2014.

  1. Polsy

    Polsy New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Colorado
    Hey Guys,

    Myself and the Mrs just bought our first home on the outskirts of Denver. Place seemed great and our inspection went off without a hitch! Although I have now discovered an issue when it comes to the sinks.

    I've attached some images of the space under our kitchen sink and also our water heater. They're both energy efficient, which at first I thought was great but now I'm beginning to believe that it may be the cause of the issue. What it boils down to is, it takes a lifetime for the water to heat up. The bathroom sinks are a little better but the kitchen one takes a good 3-4 mins to get warm, that's a lot of water wasted.

    [​IMG]


    I've played around with the valves under the kitchen sink, I thought the previous owner may have shut the hot water flow off completely, but alas, that was not the case. The valve on the right (Which I was pretty sure was the hot flow) only seemed to control the pressure. The valve on the left, seemed to control the cold. As far as I can tell, the silver valve (by itself to the right) doesn't do anything. I've also attached a pic of the control panel on the heater. It's set to it's hottest setting...

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Any help on this would be massively appreciated guys. I don't really want to get a guy in as money is a bit tight after the house purchase. I'm a big fan of DIY and can do a good handle full of things. Plumbing seems to be my downfall however.

    Cheers

    Matt
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2014
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,157
    Location:
    IL
    I think the silver knob lets you turn off the cold water to the kitchen sink. The black hose probably takes hot water to the dishwasher.

    You may have a 3-port thermostatic mixing valve that mixes hot and cold water . [​IMG] Those placed near the water heater will limit the water temperature sent into the pipe to the faucets.

    Such devices installed near the point of use can do their safety temperature limiting job without slowing receiving hot water much, but placed near the water heater are bad IMO. Others disagree. See if you have one, and if so, see if it is adjustable.

    There are systems that recirculate the hot water with an added pipe and a pump to give instant hot water. They use energy but save water and time.
  3. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    Messages:
    606
    Location:
    NC
    The brass colored valves on the left should both be hot. The brass valve on the right side of the “T” looks like it is shut almost off and that goes to your kitchen faucet. So turn it back on, that might help. The brass valve on the left of the “T” probably goes to your dish machine. The chrome valve should be the cold water to your kitchen sink.
  4. Polsy

    Polsy New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Colorado
    I can't say I can see the mixing valve from the pic. I'm at work at the moment and cannot check. I will verify when I get home this afternoon.

    We don't have any kids in the house, so the safety aspect is kind of lost on me. Would you recommend a new heat delivery system?
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,157
    Location:
    IL
    If you are interested in spending at least a few hundred dollars for a recirc system that can give you quick hot water, say so.. Then others who have experience with such systems will probably have a recommendation. I know that some systems have the pump run all the time, and some have the pump on a timer.

    There are no-pump systems, but they seem less popular. How easy it would be to run a return pipe will affect the install a lot.
  6. Polsy

    Polsy New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Colorado
    Hmmm, maybe somewhere down the line. It's a pain, but it is liveable.

    Not too sure why this system was installed in the first place. The house is 4 years old. I'm from England originally so it seems strange not to have a boiler system
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,537
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    When you open the hot faucet, you have to drain all the "cool" water out of the pipe before the hot water can arrive. How long it takes to do that depends on the distance to the water heater, the size of the pipe, and how fast the water is flowing out of the faucet. There are retrofit circulation systems which will deliver the hot water faster, but still not instantaneously. You are used to smaller residences and completely different delivery systems.
  8. Polsy

    Polsy New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Colorado
    So I should fully engage the valve that regulates the flow of the water under the sink and that would be my best bet?
  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,157
    Location:
    IL
    Open all 3 valves all of the way. They should not be used to modulate flow. I don't know if "engage" means to open or close. To engage a shutoff valve would seem to imply closing it.

    Check for that possible tempering valve.

    Consider going to a less restrictive flow restrictor on your problem faucets to let the cold water pass more quickly.
  10. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    409
    Location:
    California
    Consider an under the sink tankless water heater. Not very energy efficient, and high maintenance, but it could be you solution. It is electric, installed at the point of use and delivers (close to) instant hot water.
  11. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,943
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    In your case, I like to install a recirc to the kitchen sink, with an AquaStat on the return before the pump. That bumps the recirc and keeps the line warm.
    I bring the recirc into the botoom of the water heater, and that also totally mixes the tank so that the entire tank is heated and ready to go. No more wasted water down the drain. :)

    On your water heater, set at high like that, you're getting 180 degree water. Unless you have a tempering valve on that, it's too hot.

    The double handle under the kitchen sink with the hammer arrestor should be the hot.
    The hammer arrestor is for the dishwasher.
    The single handle should be for the cold.
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  12. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,948
    Location:
    New England
    Some valves are designed to modulate flow, but the shutoffs underneath your sink are not...as said, open them all up fully. In the USA, except for commercial and some special uses in a home, the water is not supposed to be warmer than 120F, and you do NOT want your WH set as high as you have it unless you add a tempering valve to bring the output level back down. Having it run hot does let you have what effectively operates as a bigger heater, since you're mixing in some cold with any hot coming out. THe things that can get hotter water in a residence (but may not be needed as they may have their own heaters built-in) are the dishwasher and the washing machine.

    WHen the tank is a long distance from the point(s) of use, as HJ said, you have to flush the lines of the water sitting in them before you get any hot. With the hot valve at the kitchen sink shut down quite a ways, it did two things, limited the flow of hot, making it easier to get something you might find tolerable (all hot would be scalding hot with the WH set at max), and it extended the time to flush out the hot line. Note that most faucets in the house are flow restricted (a tub filler and washing machine are not, along with an exterior hose bib), so that can slow the delivery of hot since it just can't flow that fast.

    You have two choices...add a small tank right at the sink, typically fed from the hot supply, to give you hot until you've flushed the lines, or, put in a recirculation system to keep the hot moving. It can also help if you insulate all of the lines, if they're not already insulated. It might help keep it at least warm after the last use for awhile, but by no means indefinitely, especially in a cold climate.
  13. DaveHo

    DaveHo Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    SE PA
    I think this is your answer. The valve feeding the hot to the faucet is almost closed. Also, the single valve to the right, which is the cold to the faucet, also looks closed. How far is the water heater to the faucet?
  14. Polsy

    Polsy New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Colorado
    It's upstairs. I'd estimate 25-30 foot
  15. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,830
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Okay, sounds like you just want the current setup to do the best it can, without adding anything new.

    With 30 feet to the faucet, it shouldn't be taking that long a time for hot water to reach the sink. And if there isn't a tempering valve anywhere in the system, then the water at the sink, when you try to draw just hot, should be scalding after the hot water from the heater reaches the faucet (i.e. after the water that cooled while standing has run down the drain). Also, not to be dumb about it, but are you sure that you understand how what I assume is a single-handle sink faucet works? Lever all the way to the upper left for just hot, all the way to the upper right for just cold (usually). It's possible that it's reversed, b/c your explanation of how you think it's working is a little odd. In fact, there also might be something off about the sink valve, although that seems unlikely to me.

    Open all 3 of those valves in the cabinet under the sink, which means turn them counterclockwise all the way (i.e. to the left), open your kitchen faucet exclusively on hot, and see what happens. After running for 30 seconds or so, you should have scalding water out of that heater coming out of your sink. If not, maybe you're not getting really hot water out of the heater (or you have a mixing valve). Put your hand on the output pipe on the heater. With the water running, it should be very hot. If it's not, it might be the heater dip tube has failed or some other problem with the heater.
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  16. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,341
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Nothing really new to add, others have covered this pretty well. I would just put in a plug for a recirc. system with a return line. This would give you virtually instant hot water. These come with or without a timer. There are valid arguments both ways, but it is my personal opinion that running the pump full time makes pretty good sense. The pumps do not use very much energy, I doubt if you will be able to tell the difference in you power bill. If you use a timer and want hot water during the Off time, you have to purge the cold water from the line so the system is useless during that time. Biggest problem might be running the return line in an existing home.
  17. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,830
    Location:
    New York, NY
    We have that Grundfos comfort system that recirculates it into the cold water line at the end of the run. So no new piping, just some work at the water heater and an easy DIY installation at the far end of the run. Since we put it in, WOW. What a difference. Wish we had done it a decade ago.
  18. Polsy

    Polsy New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Colorado
    Thanks for all the help guys! It really is appreciated. Lots to discuss with the boss this weekend!

    I think I might stay on this site.....you guys really do know your stuff!
  19. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,830
    Location:
    New York, NY
    The folks on here really care, and the pros are at the top of their profession.

    Let us know what you decide, and how it works out.
  20. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,948
    Location:
    New England
    FWIW, from a longevity and sound perspective, you should not try to get water to flow faster than about 5fps in your pipes. Need more water? Use a bigger pipe, not push it faster (higher pressure). So, with some simple math, you can figure out how long at max flow (not a normal faucet is flow restricted, so that complicates things), you can figure out how long it should take for hot to get where you need it, but you'll also need to know the diameter of the pipes. THen, some of that hot water will be cooled by warming up the pipes along the way, and only when that reaches an equilibrium, can you get the max possible hot water at the point of use.
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