Watts Instant Hot Water Recirculating System

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adamw

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Does anyone have any experience with this particular brand of Hot Water Recirculating System? The install seems simple enough. The comments I've seen on the cold water no longer being cold kinda bugs me. Is this really true if it is installed and operating correctly?

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=77814-18701-500800&lpage=none&cm_mmc=search_gps-_-gps-_-gps-_-Watts%20Instant%20Hot%20Water%20Recirculating%20System

Also, how does it work? What is the role of the valve between the cold & hot lines on the furthest fixture?

Thanks!
 

Jadnashua

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All recirculation systems pump hot water through the pipe...since it isn't going down the drain, the water has to go somewhere (thus the name recirculation). Unless your house was plumbed with a dedictated return line, that valve connects the hot to the cold line, and runs the water back to the water heater via the cold line. So, both the hot and cold line will have hot or at least warm water in them. The valve closes when you demand water at the sink, but until that hot or warm water is pulled from the 'cold' side, you may not have any cold at all.

It depends on the cross-over valve when it closes and how much hot is in the cold line. the RedyTemp system I have has an easily adjusted knob on it where you set how hot or warm you want the water before it shuts off. I've got mine set so that after a toilet flush, it has used up the warm water that is in the cold side. The water is set to be warm, with hot not far behind (thus, I don't ever get truly hot into the cold line).

The best way is if you have a dedicated return line, otherwise, it is a compromise. The system I have was the best compromise of the systems available at the time.
 

adamw

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After reading dozens of reviews, Home Depot and Lowes websites, it seems there are two consistent complaints from people about this product:

1) Cold water isn't cold right away anymore. So now instead of waiting for hot water, you have to wait for cold water.

2) The temp sensor valve they give you goes bad fairly often. 6-18 months and costs $34 (plus shipping) to replace.

3) While you are saving money and water by not having to run the water to get hot, your water heater will be running more often to keep the lines hot. So it may save water, but increases your gas bill, and a little on electric for the pump.

So it sounds to me like this thing (at a cost of $190) is not a real money saver, but more of a convenience item. Also at the cost of no instant cold. And while you may save water not having to wait for hot, you waste water waiting for cold.

So do any of you guys have real experience with this particular system? I'd love to hear your opinions on it.

Thanks!
 
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Jimbo

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WIth no dedicated return line being available, retrofit recirc systems pump from the hot side back into the cold side. The side effect is that you will temporarily have warm water on the cold tap. ( The systems usually have a temp. control, so the water is pumped until 80º is achieved, not the full hot temp)
 

Zl700

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There is a thermostatic wax valve and they shut down at 104 degrees, while sending the lukewarm back via the cold side. The low flow circ deadheads till it reopens. Yes it can now take 4-8 seconds to purge the warm water for colder but it is usually not that bad.

The idea was to provide comfortable warm water at the fixture for hand washing.

Most crossover manifolds fail prematurely due to water quality issues.
 

Gary Swart

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My experience is with a Laing system that uses a dedicated return line. This did not present a plumbing problem for me as my pipes are all exposed in the basement. I have used this for over 5 years with zero problems. I love instant hot water. If possible without major problems, add a return line and use one of the systems that use the return line. Laing is good, but there are others.
 

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Perhaps you can tell us your situation and what you're trying to achieve. Do you have a tankless or a tank? How long is it taking to get hot water and how far is the furthest facet? Is the house occupied all day or just certain times?


As for the wats, I have one but not impressed. It has low "head" which my understanding means ability to pump against the flow (my layman understanding). I think with the Watts you get what you pay for...
 

Jadnashua

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Any of the recirculating systems can work with a dedicated return line, if you have it available.
 

Doherty Plumbing

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Does anyone have any experience with this particular brand of Hot Water Recirculating System? The install seems simple enough. The comments I've seen on the cold water no longer being cold kinda bugs me. Is this really true if it is installed and operating correctly?

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=77814-18701-500800&lpage=none&cm_mmc=search_gps-_-gps-_-gps-_-Watts%20Instant%20Hot%20Water%20Recirculating%20System

Also, how does it work? What is the role of the valve between the cold & hot lines on the furthest fixture?

Thanks!

I have seen these before but never installed one because I would refuse to do so. These units seem goofy and I have never heard anything good about them!
 

Dcelite

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I've installed a number of similar systems (Grundfos comfort system). Used for a house on slab or a big two story where access to run a return line was limited. We insulate the hot water piping that we can get to. No complaints thus far. Just a few seconds of luke warm water when you turn the cold on at the furthest fixture.
 

adamw

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Perhaps you can tell us your situation and what you're trying to achieve. Do you have a tankless or a tank? How long is it taking to get hot water and how far is the furthest facet? Is the house occupied all day or just certain times?


As for the wats, I have one but not impressed. It has low "head" which my understanding means ability to pump against the flow (my layman understanding). I think with the Watts you get what you pay for...

I do have to run my water at the shower (furthest from the WH) for about 2-3 minutes for hot water to arrive. (I have not officially timed it yet). I would also like to be able to wash hands at any fixture with warm water. To do that now, takes too long.

It is a 2 story colonial with a basement where the WH is. House is 2200 sq ft, and I'm not sure how long the actual run is from the WH to the shower, but it can't be more than 40 ft.

I did already pick up the system from Home Depot, just can't decide if it is worth keeping or I should take it back.

I really appreciate all the insight guys! If there is more out there, please chime in!
 

hj

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watts

It is basically a Grundfos "Comfort" system and is probably made by Grundfos for Watts. The valve is to prevent "hot" water from filling the cold water piping once the hot pipe is warmed up. You know when it is time to replace the valve when you get HOT water from the cold piping. The advantage of this system, over the Laing "Autocirc" with the pump at the sink is that when the Laing control fails, you have to replace the entire pump. AND with the Grundos/Watts systems, if you fixtures are not in a "continuous" loop, so getting the farthest one hot also gives quick hot water to the rest of the plumbing, you can just add addition controller(s), where needed.
 

adamw

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.... you can just add addition controller(s), where needed.

What would be a reason for adding a 2nd or 3rd controller valve? I thought the idea of placing one at the furthest fixture would allow the entire system to have instant hot water.
 

hj

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ONLY, if the other fixtures are on the direct route from the heater TO that farthest fixture. Any connected to a different circuit, and that would be most likely in a house with bathrooms all over the place, will have more than one "route". In that case EVERY separate "route" will need a controller at the end. You test the piping, by opening the hot faucet at the sink where you intend to install the controller and let the water get HOT. Then open the hot faucets on the other sinks. ANY faucets with immediate, or quick, hot water are on that circuit. Any that require a lengthy flow are on a discrete circuit, and you will have to perform the same test on them to see if they are ALL on a second circuit, or it there are three or more loops in your system.
 

Zl700

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Yes the Watts system is based on Grundfos's older comfort system platform. Grundfos redesigned their new one and offered the old system as OEM.

"Low head" means basically it creates minimal pressure which allows it to deadhead "run with no flow" which happens when the manifold closes on temp. Deadheading on pumps is bad due to flashing, cavitation, and increased energy use. Because it is low head, it can handle that, with minimal complications.

Many times plumbing systems branch into several directions. Adding additional manifolds will send the warm water to all the arteries. What happens is the closest manifold will get satisfied and close and the circ pump then sends to the next closest with the least friction/distance. The valves as they open and close due to cooling off then just rotate, if pump is operating.
I had 3 in my last house and it worked well, one in kitchen, one in master bath, and last one in basement bath.
 
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adamw

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ONLY, if the other fixtures are on the direct route from the heater TO that farthest fixture. Any connected to a different circuit, and that would be most likely in a house with bathrooms all over the place, will have more than one "route". In that case EVERY separate "route" will need a controller at the end. You test the piping, by opening the hot faucet at the sink where you intend to install the controller and let the water get HOT. Then open the hot faucets on the other sinks. ANY faucets with immediate, or quick, hot water are on that circuit. Any that require a lengthy flow are on a discrete circuit, and you will have to perform the same test on them to see if they are ALL on a second circuit, or it there are three or more loops in your system.

Good info! Thanks!
 

Thatguy

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What specs do you need?
Power in, flow rates, guaranteed heating performance. . .
Even if the specs don't violate the laws of physics, there still may be the 'not as advertised' factor.
 
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