Pumping hot water upstairs

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Situation : House with downstairs bathroom, cold and hot water (from central heating) tanks are on ground floor. Wanting to add an upstairs en-suite bathroom, the problem is how to get hot water upstairs. One solution would be to move the HW tank upstairs (presumably this could be fed from mains), but this entails lots of plumbing of central-heating feed to it.
Can you buy a pump/pressure switch type system that automatically turns on when the upstairs hot tap is opened to pump the hot water up....
I'm envisaging something like a pump (with non-return valve), and maybe a small 'air reservoir' type arrangement (as used on sealed CH systems) to make the volume/pressure behaviour 'softer', so the pump maintains a positive pressure in the pipe/resevrvoir, and the pressure drop when the tap is opened turns the pump on, and the rise created by the pump acting against the closed tap turns it off. I'd guess adjustment may be tricky to stop it oscillating on/off....
Anyone know of a system to do this...
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Err, you don't have to move the hotwater cylinder, just the header tank for the hot water system. So you don't have to rearrange the supply tot he hot water cylinder, indeed you don't have to move the HW cylinder at all. Just make sure that either (a) the cold water tank is higher than the taps in the bathroom or (b) that you have a sealed (mains pressure) system.
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On Sun, 28 Sep 2003 12:15:00 +0100, snipped-for-privacy@malloc.co.uk (Steve Firth) wrote:

I've now had a look at the system, figured out how it works, and come to the same conclusion, i.e. move the cold water tank to the loft. However there is a problem - the access to the loft is only about 1x2ft. So does anyone know anyone who makes something like a collapsible water tank - mabe made of floppy polythene that is made rigid by a frame....?? Or do I have to connect lots of little tanks together..?
...and how do you determine how big the cold tank needs to be - instinct tells me it should be bigger than the hot water cylinder, but I suppose it depends how fast it fills....?
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Mike Harrison wrote:

The round ones collapse pretty well. They don't have a frame. The water pops them back into shape.

50 gal is normal. How big is the current one?
HTH IanC
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Don't write off the mains pressure systems. You may actually find it less work (or cheaper if paying someone) to install a mains pressure hot water cylinder of some sort and not bother sticking anything in the loft. Either a mains pressure unvented cylinder or some form of heat bank would achieve this. Purchase costs are about 600+VAT for either, plus fitting. However, if your mains water supply is good enough, these will be vastly superior to a gravity fed system. If your hot water cylinder is old, it might need replacing soon anyway.
Christian.
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On Mon, 29 Sep 2003 11:24:32 +0100, "Christian McArdle"

visit the Library later today...) I vaguely remember reading somewhere that pressurised HW systems now come under building regs and must be installed by a registered plumber. This is a DIY and 'do it cheaply' job to turn a room that's too small to call a 3rd bedroom into an ensuite bathroom to improve value for selling the house next year.
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On Mon, 29 Sep 2003 11:42:21 +0100, Mike Harrison

In fact they all come under Building Regulations now.
For pressurised cylinders installation the issue is safety and is covered by part G.
For all cylinders, conservation of energy applies and is covered by part L1.
http://www.hmso.gov.uk/si/si2002/20020440.htm
If you use contractors who are members of the appropriate organisations (e.g. IoP), then they can self certify and issue a certificate. Alternatively you can submit a building notice.
Especially considering that you are selling the house, it would be prudent to do things by the book and do the necessary applications if you plan to DIY.
As a side note, are you sure that reducing the number of rooms will improve the value? You may think that a room is too small to be called a bedroom but the standards for the minimum size of a bedroom, especially for a child, are for quite surprisingly small. Creating a two bedroomed house (albeit with an en-suite may result in a lower value than a three bedroomed house or make it difficult to sell. I would contact a couple of local estate agents and get a view from them.
.andy
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But presumably there is no building regs requirement if all I do is move the cold tank to the loft, not touching the hot system except to raise the vent pipe to the level of the cold tank and take a feed off for the new bathroom.

This was the advice of an estate agent. As well as being small and a silly shape, the third room is only accessible off another bedroom.
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I think you are right.
However, building regulations approval for replacing a cylinder will be very cheap and simple. It only relates to certifying that there is sufficient insulation on the cylinder (it will have a "Part L" certificate on the side) and that there is a cylinder thermostat capable of turning off the boiler when it is fully heated. It is nothing to be scared of and doesn't require a certified person to install.
The building control officers are usually very nice people and, quite frankly, won't really care about what you do, as they are far more interested in telling people how far to dig their foundations, or to replace their joists with ones half an inch wider.

That will probably make it worthwhile. No-one likes a 2+1, at least no-one actually looking for a 3 bed. Reminds me of one house I looked at which was described as a 3 bed, but one room just consisted of what could be described as a particularly wide corridor upstairs. I wouldn't have even described it as a 2+1. Certainly no scope even as an en-suite.
Christian.
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On Mon, 29 Sep 2003 16:06:38 +0100, "Christian McArdle"

Thanks for the info - as this is a 'minimum cost' install, and the present GCH system is on the old side, and seems to be somewhat confusingly set up, I think the option of changing as little as possible and just moving the cold tank to the loft will be the cheapest and easiest (even if we have to hack out a bigger loft hatch or connect several small CW tanks!), It also frees up some potentially useable space under the stairs (where the CW tank is now), and would allow a bigger HW tank to be installed in the future (to allow 2 baths to be run off 1 tank!) if desired.

..but there is also the issue of building permission application fees - I think it's well over 100 quid in the borough concerned (Walthem Forest) - not sure if this applies to all types of work, but was certainly the case when we were investigating DIYing window replacement.
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wrote:

This is problem now that building regulations are extending into relatively trivial areas. A year or so ago the cost of building regulations approval for replacing a cylinder here was about 190 pounds - the same as employing someone to do the complete job!! (The fees were on a sliding scale - and that represented the minimum fee).
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So what happens if one has a gravity fed HW system?
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They are basically banned. (Assuming you mean gravity circulated indirect heating). Oviously, you don't have to bring an existing system up to date until replacement is needed.
Christian.
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"Christian McArdle" wrote | >So what happens if one has a gravity fed HW system? | They are basically banned. (Assuming you mean gravity circulated | indirect heating).
So what does one do in the case of solid fuel boilers which can't be shut down totally?
Owain
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Solid fuel boilers are exempt.
i.e. it says
| Timing systems would be inappropriate for systems with solid fuel | boilers which operate only by natural draught.
The requirement for a hot water cylinder thermostat to operate a boiler interlock comes under a paragraph refering only to gas and oil systems.
| Gas and oil fired hot water central heating system controls should | switch the boiler off when no heat is required whether control is by | room thermostats or by thermostatic radiator valves: | | a) The boiler in systems controlled by thermostats should operate | only when a space heating or vessel thermostat is calling for heat.
As far as pumped primary circuits are concerned, it indicates using pumped primaries as a method of complying for the requirement to reduce primary circuit losses. However, it isn't an absolute requirement. I suspect you would need to lag the primary circuit to reduce losses if the pipes will remain hot for long periods. That might have difficulty establishing gravity flow, though, as it might affect the thermal characteristics of the circuit. I don't know how this rule would be interpreted in practice.
Christian.
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"Christian McArdle" wrote | >So what does one do in the case of solid fuel boilers which can't be | >shut down totally? | Solid fuel boilers are exempt.
Ah. I wondered if the Gov'ment had banned those too, to encourage solid fuel users to convert to storage heaters installed by NICEIC members.
Owain
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How absolutely absurd.

Why should it be banned at all? It's a way of making efficient use of a solid fuel room heater. Are those banned as well?
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Sorry, I was only talking about oil and gas fired heating systems. With solid fuel, it appears that almost anything goes, although if the boiler has a fanned ventilation system, this should be timed and thermostated like oil and gas.
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They are not banned. As long as you have a 2-way valve on the gravity primaries and a cylinder stat, all is fine.
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You also have to show that you are limiting primary circuit losses. It indicates that the preferred method is to used a pumped primary circuit with a reasonably rapid recovery coil and thermostatic control, so the pipes don't stay hot for long. With a gravity system, you would have to show an alternative method for reducing primary losses, as the heat transfer will be much slower and the pipes will stay hot and, thus, be inefficient.
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