New tank water heater slow delivery

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by objetty, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. objetty

    objetty New Member

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    Mar 1, 2016
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    San Diego, California
    I recently replaced my old tank water heater. The delivery of the hot water now is tremendously slower than prior to the replacement and I'm looking for faster delivery and/or ideas on why the difference.

    Two things that were also changed at the time of the installation of the new tank:

    1) a new pressure regulator at the water main was installed as the old one was broken

    2) the recirculating pump was taken out of the circuit. The recirculating pump was broken and never used in the years before. It was even unplugged...

    Appreciate any ideas/help.

    Thanks,
    Barry
     
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Are you talking getting hot water to the point of use? The recirculating line might have been working just via convection without the pump, and closing that line off now means whatever stagnant, cold water in the line must be fully purged before hot water is available. Also, the new WH might have better heat traps. A well-designed recirculation system can end up more economical than one without in wasted water, pumping costs, and the associated sewer disposal fees verses a smaller energy cost, not counting the convenience factor.
     
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  4. Smooky

    Smooky In the Trades

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    When the recirculating pump was taken out of the circuit did you put in a section of pipe or what? Is that line closed off or what?
     
  5. objetty

    objetty New Member

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    Thank you and apologies, I was not clear on the problem.

    Yes, it takes much longer to get the hot water to the point of use.

    I suppose the convection idea is a possibility. Are you saying the water can pass through the circuit even though the pump isn't functioning, a sort of passive circulation due to temperature differences?

    As far as heat traps are concerned, the initial heater was installed new in 2001 (got lucky to get 15 years out of the tank) - has the technology improved that much?

    I was thinking that probably just need to reinstall the circulating pump and start using it. I just wondered if somebody with more knowledge/experience might see an obvious problem/solution that I don't.

    Thanks again,
    Barry
     
  6. objetty

    objetty New Member

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    The line was closed off. It would be reasonably easy to reinstall the pump... for a plumber.
     
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Yes, if the layout was 'ideal', you may have gotten some recirculation without the pump. It all depends on the layout, slope, and placement of the pipe. Since the new tank probably has things at slightly different locations, it may no longer work without the pump running.

    Heat traps are designed to limit convective flow, and if installed on the new tank (they do save some energy), that may stop passive recirculation. n It is important to insulate the hot water and return lines to save some energy.
     
  8. objetty

    objetty New Member

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    For further clarification, the circulating pump was situated in line with a copper return line that entered the lower part of the tank. My guess is the circulating pump and plumbing were installed during the construction of the house.

    It does not appear to be a retrofitted like some I've seen on youtube where the pump is placed at the hot water outlet and the return line utilizes the cold water pipes.

    I hope that helps. Thanks.
     
  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    So, objetty, are you going to put in a section of pipe to replace the pump plus remove the heat trap on the hot side?
     
  10. objetty

    objetty New Member

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    at this point, i'm not quite sure what i'm going to do. the only thing i have considered is having the circulating pump reinstalled and begin using it if there is no other easy solution. this is my fishing trip to see if i can learn of other potential solutions before doing so. given i have the pump and the return line is capped near the heater, what would be a ballpark figure to pay to have the pump reinstalled by a licensed plumber? seems like it would be a pretty easy job, but i'm not a plumber.

    thanks.
     
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    A proper recirculation system needs a check valve and usually, some sort of sensor to either close off the crossover, or shut off the pump, otherwise, it will end up being quite inefficient. ANd, if using the cold water line as the return, it will get that line up to full hot. By using some sort of sensor (or a dedicated return line), you can limit how much hot ends up in the return line. On mine, I have it adjusted so that at the sensing point, the recirculation stops when it is just warm, but since the tub/shower is closer to the WH, it is hot there. This also means that just flushing the toilet will purge the cold (return) line so that there's 'normal' cool/cold water there at the sink where the crossover is.
     
  12. standardairconditioner

    standardairconditioner HVAC'ker

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    This may be a good time to call a licensed professional.

    We can spit any dollar amount to you here, but it is still circumstantial. Your best answer would be yourself to get multiple quotes from multiple licensed professionals.

    If it was "a pretty easy job", every homeowner would be a DIY and never need licensed professionals.
     
  13. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

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    Just Turn the faucet on and wait..... WTF???
    that is what I have been doing at my house for 15 years...
    at my house it takes about a good 60+ seconds to go across 90 feet to get to the
    far off bathroom..... I have gotten used to it and learned to live with it because
    I am not installing a pump which wears out the heaters faster , thins down
    the copper pipe and pisses away energy..........and I am a plumber that can do it on the cheap

    also I dont want my kids to think life is going to be all " instant hot water" when they
    finally move out on their own.....

    If your wife is the one who is gripeing about the slow hot water then either grow some balls
    and tell her that is the way its gonna be or call a plumber and have that recirulation line put back in......
     
  14. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    If you lived in a densely populated desert where limited water is piped in from hundreds of miles away, that might change your thoughts.

    What would you charge in Indianapolis to install a replacement circulation pump and remove the heat trap on the hot side of the WH?


    I am guessing that the new WH does not have a separate low input port. In that case, if you wanted to get recirculation working by gravity/convection, and if you don't have a mixing valve, the recirc line would have to tee into the drain line at the bottom of the new WH and the hot-side heat trap would need to be removed. If you use a pump, coming in at the bottom would be best, but the recirculation water would commonly come in with the cold.

    If there is a mixing valve, that might complicate things; I don't know. You did not say there was a mixing valve added.
     
  15. standardairconditioner

    standardairconditioner HVAC'ker

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    This is normal operation of a water heater.

    It is NOT a defect, it does take time for water from the tank to reach your spout. It's a lot of distance.

    Then put it back in if you want "instant" hot water. It's your money.
     
  16. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

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    there is both a hot and cold side trap in the nipples on top of your heater that would have to be removed

    you could install a tee on the bottom of the unit and simply install the pipe back into the bottom...
    they sometimes work by gravity alone without the need of a pump.... if the pump had been turned off for
    a long time its probably gonna work fine that way....

    to install a pump and do the plumbing necessary I would throw a figure of $600 at you..

    plus plane tickets and a nice place to stay......
     
  17. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    With that tee, I am thinking that keeping the cold-side trap would not cause a problem.
     
  18. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    You'd only need to remove the hot side heat trap if you wanted to try a gravity, convection loop. When running a pump, it would be able to open up the hot heat trap.

    Note, though, as I said before, unless your pump has a check valve in it, you need a check valve otherwise, when you open up the hot to use it, it would also be pulling from the bottom of the tank in parallel, diluting your hot output.

    Many people pay not only for the water they use, but for sewerage costs, and if on a well, the electricity to pump it out, and maybe dilution of the leach field or a sewage ejector pump. The energy costs for recirculation can be less than what is wasted down the drain without it, especially if you have a timer on the thing so it does not run overnight when things are generally colder, and nobody's calling for 'instant' hot water.
     
  19. objetty

    objetty New Member

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    San Diego, California

    Thanks to all for the comments. From what you all have responded, it's pretty clear to me that my previous set up benefitted from some convection circulation through the recirculation loop and now since that loop has been broken, it takes much longer for the hot water to get its destination.

    Given that I live in southern California in the middle of a several-years-long drought, pay for water use and sewage based on water use, it time to call the plumber and get the pump reinstalled.

    Thanks for taking the time to help me to understand how this works.
     
  20. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

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    if you are gonna install a gravity loop in the system without a pump, you must NOT install a check
    valve or it will not work at all.... the check valve stops the flow of gravity and heat through the pipe.

    I would remove all heat traps in the system , maybe you can do the hot one first and see if it works without
    taking out the cold one but I would eliminate them all..........

     
  21. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    If you do not have a checkvalve, when you open the hot line for water, it will pull from both the top and the bottom of the WH...not a good situation. Not all checkvalves will work in this instance, and their location can make a difference between success and failure.
     
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