switched recirculating pump advice

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Brian.Hoard, Mar 31, 2013.

  1. Brian.Hoard

    Brian.Hoard New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Haymarket, VA
    Hi,
    I am installing a new water heater and am thinking this is a good time to add a hot water recirculating pump.
    All of my bathrooms are near the water heater, so they don't have to wait for hot water.
    But the kitchen is at the other end of the house, and it takes about 90 seconds to get hot water there.

    I have seen the Grundfos comfort system pumps and timers, but I am thinking I would just like to have a manual switch at the kitchen sink. So my thought is instead of turning on the water in the morning and letting it run for 90 seconds, I would just press this switch, and the system would pump the water, filling the pipes and then automatically shut off when it was hot.

    Since we don't really keep a schedule at our house where a timer would work, as we may use hot water at the kitchen at any odd time in the day or night, I don't think I would benefit from a timer. And having the system always be hot all the time seems like that would be wasting energy if we aren't using it. I'm not sure.

    I plan on going into my crawl space where the pipes run to the kitchen and wrapping them with 1" fiberglass insulation. So I know that should help somewhat. They are 1/2" copper and not insulated at all now.

    I am open to your advice on what might be the best approach for this. I am interested in high quality parts and something that will not break down and cause problems. But allow hot water at the kitchen without wasting water.

    Thanks for any help.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,806
    Location:
    New England
    I'd use a good quality foam insulation on the pipes rather than trying to wrap fiberglass - less chance of gaps and fiberglass is a great air filter, but not the greatest insulation if there's any air movement. I have a RedyTemp recirc system. I put it under the vanity in the upstairs bathroom, and since it is the furthest away from the WH, everything else gets warm quicker, too. Not all houses are setup where that would work. Since you only care about that one sink, this would work for you and is about the easiest thing to install around (although it is not the least expensive). Mine's now about 8-years old and going strong. You could install the thing in about 10-minutes with no cutting of pipes or soldering anything IF you have a free outlet under the sink (this is fairly common if you have a garbage disposal or a DW nearby). If you do not have a dedicated return line for the recirc, then any system you install will need a thermostatic cross-over at the fixture. The RedyTemp's is inside the box with the controls and pump. As a result of having it all there, it will take up more space under the sink, and that may be an issue. The cross-over for the other units is smaller, but then you need to plumb it in back at the WH and supply it with power there. Also makes turning it on/off harder. The RedyTemp, being right there under the sink would be easier to turn on/off when desired. ANy of them will work. This one's the easiest to install. Disconnect the supply tubes from the shutoffs. Move them to the outlet of the RedyTemp, install a new set of supply hoses from the shutoffs to the inlet of the RedyTemp, plug it in and you're done. The way the thing gets controlled, there is a receptacle on the front of the box, fed from the line cord. Then a short plug. IF you just plug that in, it is on all of the time. If you plug a timer or some remote control box into the receptacle, then plug the short power cord into it, then whatever controller you chose would power the pump. If you want to rewire, you could add a timer that controlled the receptacle the thing is plugged into - something like a bathroom fan timer would work. Hit it for say 5-minutes, and the thing would run for that time then shut off (well, it actually shuts itself off after it gets hot at the fixture).
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2013
  3. Brian.Hoard

    Brian.Hoard New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Haymarket, VA
    Thanks for your advice jadnashua. I'll have to check into this RedyTemp thing. I also like your idea of using a bathroom timer. That may be the easiest to set up.
    My old aircraft electrician brain was starting to think of creating my own switch with a little red led on the switch to know when it was hot. But no need to overcomplicate things.
    This improvement is part of many that I'm doing to this house. So I am already running new wiring, new plumbing, etc. So easy installation is not really a factor. But since you mention you've used this system for over 8 years, that sound like a good one. Also, thanks for your advice about using foam insulation. I'm sure that is much easier to install as well. I have about 25 feet to do, and as crawl spaces go, it's not fun under there.
  4. Brian.Hoard

    Brian.Hoard New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Haymarket, VA
    In looking at the RedyTemp solution, I'm reading in their installation manual that they actually provide an easy way to connect a momentary switch to the unit. They mention using a non-illuminating doorbell switch. So you give this a press, and the recirc pump will cycle for one cycle, then shut off. This is exactly what I was looking to do. Thanks again for the advice.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,806
    Location:
    New England
    My sister and brother-in-law have a house in Haymarket...they've got it rented for now and are living in England for another couple of years...nice area. Good luck...any of them would work, but I think this is the easiest to install and offers some advantages over other designs, as well as deficiencies (mostly because it costs more).
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