Hot water fast

Moved into a 1978 built two story home. The weird thing is we get instant hot water upstairs in both bathrooms. In all the homes I have lived in you would have to run the water a bit to get hot water. In this house the water is very hot instantly. Is this something that was designed in the home, or could I have some type of plumbing problem?
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The first thing that comes to mind is a very slow leak somewhere near the upstairs, hopefully not behind a wall. This would explain the constant hot water supply to the upstairs. I would start looking around for discolored walls, 1st story ceilings or area's that look moist. Even if it were a direct line upstairs with 1/2 inch copper it would still take a few seconds to get hot water.
Am I correct in understanding that *as soon as you turn it on*, you have hot water immediately?
Doug
: Moved into a 1978 built two story home. The weird thing is we get instant hot : water upstairs in both bathrooms. In all the homes I have lived in you would : have to run the water a bit to get hot water. In this house the water is very : hot instantly. Is this something that was designed in the home, or could I have : some type of plumbing problem?
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Here is some more info, the water heater is a 50 gal gas heater. There does not seem to be and type of pump or loop. The water in the basement, and the 1st floor kitchen and bath do not get the instant hot water like the 2 baths upstairs. I have checked very carefully for any leaks and have found none. In the 2 showers upstairs they have the type of faucets that are combo, in that you just adjust one knob, so they get very hot water all at once, may take 2-3 min before enough cold water is mixed to allow you to enter the shower. Our children are older now 13-22 yrs so its not that big of a concern, if I had younger children i would be more concerned about this. It just seems odd to me, and would like to figure out why this is. Don
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I believe one or more of your single handle faucets is leaking internally from the hot line into the cold line. This can allow a thermosiphon back into the cold water system or flow of hot water thru the valve whenever another cold water faucet is opened to create a pressure differential. This is not too uncommon and can be detected fairly easily if you have access to feel the lines near the leaking faucet(s). Replacement of faucet internals may fix the leak. Also carefully check the internals for improper parts or assembly. Don Young ( snipped-for-privacy@wwisp.com) (Remove numbers to reply)

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Hello Tigerpaw40, Generally Tigerpaw40, is that the speed of the heat to the tap is directionally proportioned to the proximity of the hot water tank. If it is close to the taps, then expect water sooner than any taps that require more pipe to get the water there. We are in a 4 level split home and we shower right over the HW tank and get hot water almost immediately. However, in the kitchen, about 20-30 feet more pipe to warm up and further away, we have to wait a little longer....bottom line (In your situation) is that the hot water tank has been placed in a close proximity to achieve the quickest heat possible in all locations...good for you! Jim

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There is a chance that there is a thermosiphon loop in the hot water system.

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Now, THAT'S an interesting idea. I don't suppose there's a picture on the web somewhere that diagrams that, is there..?
- Wm
--
William Morris
Tailor, Seamlyne reProductions
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Really easy. A loop with one end at the hot end and the other to the bottom of the heater. Assuming the heater in below the distribution lines the hot water will rise and the cold water in the line will fall creating a slow movement through the pipe from the top (hot) end to the bottom (less hot) part of the water heater.
As I understand it, it does not always work all that well with out a pump assist, it consumes energy and it requires a return line, not always easy to add after the fact.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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I used to run a 18 story office building. The bottom 9 had hot water supplied by a WH in the basement, the top 9 by one in the penthouse. The pump motor went out on the lower unit and I found it on my morning rounds. I shut it off and started looking for a replacement. The construction company used stuff that met the specifications of the building, but only barely. I called many places looking for a motor to replace the bad one. I finally found one about the time I realized it had been almost 2 weeks and there was no complaints from the tenants about the lack of hot water in the bathrooms. From that I figured either one of 2 things: 1) no one ever used hot water to wash their hands(if they were doing it at all) or 2) something was happening to the water. I walked into the pump room and grabbed the supply and return lines of the hot water system. The hot side of the WH was indeed hot about 5 feet out and the return line was warmish. This was at about 7:15 AM and there weren't too many tenants there. I rode the elevator to the 8th floor and turned on the water in the men's room. It got hot quicker than I thought possible. Thermosiphon!
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They work and work well. Mine runs the length of my basement and has no more than 8 or 9 feet of elevation distance. Henry Ford did it with a whole lot less in the Model T.
RB
HeatMan wrote:

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True when the conditions and installation is good. I have heard of a lot of stories where it did not work all that well.
If I ever have the opportunity to add it to my home or build it into a new home I will do so. I did not mean to discourage anyone.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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I didn't see you discouraging anyone. This system was a straight up and down with only the 2 elbows at the top of the loop. It (the thermosiphon system) was one of the few things that went right in that building and that was an accident!

a real literal kid...)
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HeatMan wrote:

26 Counties of the Republic (The South) and 6 Counties of the North equal one whole country, people and island as it was before the English
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Joseph E. Meehan

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It may have a design that keeps the hot water flowing even when all the taps are turned off. That cost a little more to run, but is nice to have.
The time can also be reduced by using smaller pipe, but that can cause other problems.
As indicated a slow leak can also be indicated.
If that water is very fast at coming up to temp, then I would suspect the first.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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One option to consider. If the plumbing from the water heater to the upstairs sink goes up, or horizontal with no "down" dips, then it is possible the hot water is migrating up by convection.
I know that in several applications I've worked on, the installer has deliberately put in a dip (somewhat like a J-trap under a sink) to prevent hot from migrating up the pipes.
The other posters are also correct, you may have a small leak. Check around. If you don't have a small leak, then you very possibly have natural convection going on. If that's the case, just smile a big grin, and enjoy it.
--

Christopher A. Young
Jesus: The Reason for the Season
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Not much information to go on! You don't mention how your hot water is heated. Electric hot water tank? Electric 'instant' heater? Gas? From your home heating furnace (which could be gas, electric, oil or wood)? Most home owners have some idea what equipment provides their hot water because it is, usually, a significant component of your utility costs? Several suggestions, regarding your immediate hot water question. (Suggestions only; others more expert may provide further ideas.) 1) You have one of those water heaters that 'instantly' heats the water as it flows through. In other words there is no hot water tank or reservoir and water is heated only as required? These are often deemed to be more 'economical' because there is no reserve of hot water in a tank or cylinder to be kept warm due to lost heat over a period of time. AFIK they are more common in Europe than North America. They may require, if electric, fairly heavy wiring to cope with the short term 'demand' for heat. 2) Your conventional hot water heating tank/reservoir is immediately adjacent (perhaps in a cupboard in the wall behind) to your bathroom fixtures? 3) The hot water plumbing was installed with what I will call a "loop back" to the water heating source. So, even if the hot water heater is in say your basement ? as soon as the water cools down in the piping near your bathroom taps, it drops back down to the heater, to be replaced with warmer water! Hence the water at the tap is always warm. Haven't heard this discussed very often in this type of forum, in North America. 4) The hot water may be heated by your home heating furnace and circulating by convection so that the hot water tends to rise to the level of the bathrooms, which you indicate are upstairs. Respectfully suggest you become familiar with your system whatever type; if your hot water fails it would be best to know whether you have a gas, electric or other problem. Also if the hot water equipment, or some of it, is 1978 vintage it will most likely eventually need some maintenance. It may be necessary to close off water valves or shut off sources of fuel, in a hurry, perhaps to avoid/minimize damage. (In fact your insurance company will require you 'to take measures' to minimize damage or avoid injury etc.). Any help? Terry.
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