I have a three story house with a water heater in the basement. I go
to the bathroom on the top floor to brush my teeth. It takes about 30
seconds or more for the water out of the faucet to become warm. Is
there a robust solution that would shorten that time to about 5
Many thanks in advance,
You brush your teeth with hot water? OK.
1. There is the device that is constantly circulating the water,
don't recall what they are called, someone else will.
2. You could add one of those instant hot warer electrical heaters in
that bathroom. Don't put out any volume but should be more than
adequate for the brushing of teeth and a cup of coffee.
You brush your teeth with hot water? Hmmm.
You could install a point of use heater under the sink, or they sell
recirculating pumps that use the cold water line as a return. Neither will be
cheap and the latter has the drawback of making your cold water lukewarm.
"Tell me what I should do, Annie."
"Stay. Here. Forever." - Life On Mars
I have a similar house, and here is what worked for me (I did this when
the bathroom walls were removed for a remodeling, but I think it could
have been done with the walls in place, although you would need access
to the top of your current supply line.
Install a second line between the top of your current supply line and
plumbed to the bottom of your water heater, forming a loop. Put a check
valve in where convenient to limit water flow to one direction. Put
insulation on the original line. The loop will be filled with hot water
so you will have instant hot water in the bathroom. When idle, there
will be slow circulation of water, rising in the insulated line, and
returning, slightly cooler, in the new line.
The advantage is there are no pumps, etc, to break. The disadvantage is
possible energy loss, in that you will be creating in effect a radiator,
which will allow heat into the house (since I air condition less than
three months of the year, I don't see this as a problem; it is actually
supplemental heating in the winter. If it was a problem, I would put a
shutoff valve in the line and give up my instant hot water during the
summer months). Difficulty of installation could be a problem,
depending on your house. When I had this done, the plumber had never
heard of it and actually invited some cohorts over to see it. They even
had a wager on whether it would work. It did.
I know you can find sites on the web selling pumps that perform a
similar function, but I like to try to keep things simple and avoid
extra equipment that has a potential to break.
Aaron Fude wrote:
Exactly. I had this setup when living in a 5th floor walkup in Manhattan.
The high ceilings below made it the equivalent of living on the 6th floor.
So without such an arrangement it would have been a real long time.
I now have a four story house. I use the bathroom on the top floor. Now
that I'm paying for the hot water I only use it when taking a shower, and
then I do have to plan ahead to get it to warm up.
Don <www.donwiss.com> (e-mail link at home page bottom).
I have a larger ranch-style home with a similar problem -- very long runs
that can take a minute or more to get warm water, and then it gradually gets
warmer over another minute while it heats up a 100 foot of copper . For
appliances like the dish washer, it never would get hot water to it as it
would not run long enough to heat the lines..
The builder installed a 1/40 hp (1/2 amp) motor/pump and a timer and an
insulated return line to recalculate the hot water. I have it set so it
comes on before I get up in the morning and turns off after I leave for
work. It comes on again in the evening for a few hours and then turns off
for the night.
It works terrific. With the timer I am not circulating hot water 24 hours a
day. When it is running, the water is almost instantly hot. There are four
bathrooms and a kitchen in different parts of the house, so it would not
have made sense to try to install demand-style heaters in all of these
locations. There is a manual switch I can flip anytime to turn it on (doing
laundry during the middle of the day on the weekend, etc.).
When I was running new lines from my basement water heater,
I used a half inch line to the tub, and 1/4" lines to the separate
fixtures such as toilet, cold faucet, hot faucet. With each line
coming from the water heater, rather than branching off at the
It resulted in being able to have the toilet be flushed without
causing the shower to get hotter, and the hot water shows up
a lot quicker to the faucet. After all, it's an issue of clearing
out the cooler water, and with less volume, it takes less time.
With the smaller orifices of water-conserving fixtures, I've not
seen a problem with inadequate volume for tooth brushing, etc.
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