WH heat trap interfering with Hot Water Lobster?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by eric28805, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. eric28805

    eric28805 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Georgia
    I put in a Hot Water Lobster recirculating system and it doesn't seem to be working. After doing some research, it looks like my WH (5-year old Whirlpool Gold, 50-gallon) has heat traps that could be interfering.

    Is there an easy way around this? If not, is there a hard way around it?
  2. Fubar411

    Fubar411 New Member

    Messages:
    141
    Location:
    St Louis, MO
    If it is a Whirlpool, the flame-lock system could be goofing things up. What do you mean by not working?
  3. eric28805

    eric28805 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Georgia
    we just aren't getting the hot water any faster than before -- and the bathroom is almost directly above the water heater (two stories above)
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2010
  4. eric28805

    eric28805 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Georgia
    is flame-lock a gas thing? I probably should have included that my WH is electric
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,522
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Unfasten the hot and cold supply lines, reach into the pipes on the heater and "yank" the heat traps out. BUT, there is more to a convection circulation system than just installing a "Lobster" in the piping. IF the pipes are not sloped properly to insure convective circulation it will NOT occur, without a pump, no matter what you do to the piping.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2010
  6. 6t7gto

    6t7gto DIY Junior Member

    Messages:
    46
    Location:
    Bedford, Ohio
  7. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,828
    Location:
    New York, NY
    It seems awfully-expensive for what it is. The watts (grundfos) system with the pump and the end-of-line crossover valve and associated hoses is about $200. http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc...atts recirculating&storeId=10051#.UQAxVSdtUj0 Ten dollars less in some other places. The replacement valve (or extra valve) alone is about $45. Google Grundfos 595926 "Comfort Valve". The Lobster is, if I understand, basically just the temperature-controlled valve. So its price seems high to me unless I am missing something. For that money, you might as well get the pump, too.

    I installed the Grundfos pump and two valves (one for each branch of our hot water system), and it works very, very well. It was 11 degrees out last night, and at the furthest reaches of the house, the tap water in the morning was warm within 2 seconds and hot not much longer thereafter. Before the pump and crossover valves, we would have to run it literally more than a minute on a morning like this before it was anything but ice cold. (Our plumber said, "Just seemed like a minute." Nope. More than a minute. I timed it repeatedly.)

    That said, there is NO WAY this thing "saves energy" as the literature would have you believe. The water has cooled more than enough by the time it gets back to the water heater that it isn't going to let you start with "warmer water". As a practical matter, it will come out a cold tap long before it makes it back to the heater, unless it's a very short run in which case the system won't add much. So much of the marketing material on that site is crap. However, with the pump the system does indeed get you hot water much faster than before.
  8. 6t7gto

    6t7gto DIY Junior Member

    Messages:
    46
    Location:
    Bedford, Ohio
    Thank you for the reply and the link.
    David
  9. DeLuke

    DeLuke New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Florida
    We have installed several Hot Water Lobster Instant Hot Water Valves in a variety of plumbing systems (water heaters in attics, basements and garages...pipes through crawls and concrete...reverse "pipe slopes") with great success. Since the water heater itself creates the pressure to circulate the water through the system, we found that the only thing needed is an open circuit between the HWL Valve and the hot water tank (no check valves or heat traps). Our customers rave about them.

    D. Luke
  10. mikeplummer

    mikeplummer Plumber

    Messages:
    190
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    the hot water heater creates pressure that's useful for circulation?? interesting.....
  11. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,130
    Location:
    IL
    This system uses the cold water feed, rather than a separate return line.

    It seems to me that either the return cold water into the heater should be at a bottom for a gravity system, or the dip tube should be somehow insulated.
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