Save Water and Energy with a Hot Water Recirculating System

Do you need to run your hot water for your shower a few minutes before it you finally can enjoy a hot shower? If you have a larger home, the pipes coming from your water heater can be long, filled with cold water. All that water is wasted when it goes down the drain. A solution to save on water waste and help lower energy costs is a hot water recirculating system that can be added to your existing plumbing system.

How Do Recirculating Systems Work?

There are a few different types of hot water recirculating systems. There are pumps that can be installed under sinks or over water heaters that deliver instant hot water to selected fixtures. A cross-over valve at the point of the fixture can be also used to deliver the hot water. The benefit is quick access to hot water when you need it, without wasting cold water in the hot water lines. The water in the lines is recirculated by the pump, keeping it in your plumbing instead of going down the drain.

There are on-demand, instant and traditional hot water recirculating systems. All offer quicker hot water without wasting the water in the lines. This can save thousands of gallons of water every year and help reduce energy costs. For those who want to save money off their utility bills or just care about limiting water waste, these devices can be an excellent addition to their plumbing system.

If you are interested in learning more about hot water recirculating system options, contact your local plumber. They can discuss the different options available and find the best solution for your home.

Posted on behalf of:
Metro Septic LLC
1210 N Tennessee St
Cartersville, GA 30120
(404) 973-2471

Why Go Tankless?

One of the most exciting developments in plumbing technology has been the advancement in tankless water heater systems.  As one would expect, tankless water heater systems do not have a storage tank for hot water, with the heater being capable of providing virtually an endless supply of hot water on demand, to every fixture in the home.  While these systems have been around for years and are very popular in Europe and Asia, they are becoming more popular here in the United States as a result of their savings in energy costs, longevity and reduced space requirements.  

It is estimated that approximately 20% of a home’s total energy costs are related to providing hot water to the home.  A great deal of this energy use is related to maintaining the temperature of the water being stored in the storage tank, even when hot water is being not being used.  This constant cycling of the system is expensive, as not only does the water needed to be heated initially, but is has to be kept hot.  With tankless systems, there is no storage system as hot water is made on demand, so there is no cycling of the system and no water to be kept hot.  

While traditional water heater components are fairly reliable, the primary cause of traditional water heater failure is rust in the tank, which leads to leaking.  A tankless system has a much higher lifespan due to the elimination of components that can rust or leak. 

Another great benefit of tankless water heaters is that they take up less space than traditional water heaters.  While traditional water heaters are floor mounted, tankless systems are much smaller and are often wall mounted.  In many cases, this frees up additional space in the water heater room for other uses such as storage.

Posted on behalf of Find Local Plumber


Should I Consider A Tankless Water Heater?

Tankless water heaters have always been very popular in Europe and Asia and are increasing in popularity in the United States in both residential and commercial properties for a wide variety of reasons.  The reasons include low cost, space saving characteristics, energy efficiency and ability to provide faucets hot water very quickly.  Like traditional hot water heaters, they are available in different sizes depending upon the needs of the property owner.

Tankless water heaters are typically inexpensive when compared to traditional hot water heaters.  The reasons for their lower cost include the relatively small sizes of even the largest tankless water heaters.   Smaller sizes mean less metal and other raw materials, which means reduced cost of ownership.

The space savings characteristics of these heaters are a result of not having a storage tank to store hot water until it is needed.  Often these heaters are placed under the sinks that they are supplying hot water to, while traditional water heaters are in the basement due to their size!

Traditional water heaters constantly cycle on and off as the heater maintains the temperature of the water being stored.  This is extremely inefficient and tankless water heaters only heat the water when it is needed, which results in a energy savings of approximately 50% when compared to traditional water heaters.

Many users of the tankless water heaters appreciate the near instantaneous delivery of hot water to the faucet.  This is possible due to the close proximity of the heater to the faucet.  Often faucets being supplied by a traditional water heater need to be run for a couple on minutes to allow the hot water to reach the faucet.

There are a number of different sizes of tankless water heaters available, which are capable of meeting the hot water demands of almost any residential or commercial structure!   Next time your traditional water heater goes bad, take a look at tankless water heaters!

Posted on behalf of Bynum & Sons Plumbing, Inc.

Hot Water Circulation Systems

Are you tired of waiting for the water to get hot in your shower, bathroom sink, or kitchen?  Letting the water run while waiting for it to warm up is a huge waste of time, money and water.   You may have considered installing a tankless water heater.  These have many advantages over traditional storage type water heaters including instant hot water for some types of installations, but there are disadvantages to tankless water heaters, not the least of which are the conversion costs.

There is another, less expensive option for getting instant hot water.  A hot water recirculation system circulates hot water through the pipes so that when you turn on the faucet or shower, the hot water is immediately available.   There are three different types of hot water circulation systems.

The first type uses a pump to continuously circulate hot water through the pipes.  This is the simplest system, but also the most expensive to operate since the water circulation pump runs continuously.

The second type of hot water circulation system is similar to the first, but uses a timer to shut off the pump when demand for hot water is small such as at night and on weekdays when your family is away from home at work or school.  These systems use less energy because they do not run continuously.

The most cost efficient type of water circulations system is a demand type system.  In these systems, the circulation pump only runs when a button at the sink or shower is pushed.  After pushing the button to activate the system, the user waits a few seconds before turning on the hot water.  The pump shuts off automatically after the hot water reaches the tap. These systems are a little less convenient than the other two types of water recirculation systems, but they are much more efficient to operate and they reduce water consumption.

Hot Water Options

Do you have a bathroom located in the far reaches of your home where it seems to take forever for the hot water to get there?  Or maybe you are planning an addition to your home, or to convert basement or attic space into an in-law suite and you are concerned about the amount of time it will take for the water to get hot.  These are common problems that can result in a huge waste of water while waiting for it to get hot.

If you have a bathroom or kitchen in your home that is located far away from the water heater, waiting for the water to warm up is not only annoying but also a waste of money and water.  There are several options for addressing this situation.  The right solution depends on your particular situation.

One option is to install a tankless water heater at the kitchen or bathroom to supply hot water to just that room.  The hot water in the rest of the home will continue to come from your traditional water heater.  This can be an excellent option for homes with  a good location for the tankless water heater and access to propane or natural gas.  Installing an electric tankless water heater in an existing home generally requires upgrading the wiring which can be a problem.

You could also install a second, small traditional water heater to supply the bathroom or kitchen.  This is only a good option if you have the space for another water heater.

Finally, consider installing a hot water circulation system.  These systems continuously cycle hot water through the pipes so hot water is instantly available at every tap.  Less water is wasted, but your savings will be offset by the increased electricity usage to run the pumps.

Advantages and Features of Tankless Water Heaters

In the average American home, the hot water heater is the second-highest user of energy. Whether you’re looking for a way to reduce your carbon footprint or simply an upgrade that will shave some money off of your utility bills, a tankless water heater might be the perfect solution.

A standard tank-style water heater expends a lot of energy maintaining a store of hot water, even when you’re not using it. When you are using your hot water, however, the supply is finite. For large families, even managing to get more than one shower in during the morning rush before the water turns icy after the store is depleted can be a challenge. With a tankless water heater, water is heated only when you need it and doesn’t run out. A fifty-gallon electric water heater can require up to a full hour to completely recover it’s supply of hot water, but your tankless system gives you almost unlimited access. You never have to time your showers and baths against the use of washing machines and dishwashers again!

Most tankless water heaters also have ten to fifteen year warranties, and can last up to two decades before they require replacement. Traditional units usually come with a six-year warranty, and generally last about half as long as their tankless brethren. Water is heated only when you need it, which can cut up to 30% of your energy costs. Tankless water heaters are also ideal solutions for relatively small spaces, as they’re wall-mounted and don’t require the same amount of dedicated space as large, clunky tank models. The water that comes from your tankless heater may also be cleaner, as rust and limescale can build up inside tank models.

Contact a licensed plumber in your area today to discuss the benefits and features of installing a tankless water heater in your home.

Hot Water Recirculating Systems

If it seems like you spend a lot of time waiting for hot water to reach your tap, check to make sure your water heater temperature is set properly.  A temperature that is too low will cause a delay in hot water reaching your faucets, but the real problem in most cases is that there is a long distance between the water heater and the faucet. Running the faucet while waiting for the water to heat up is not only annoying, but it is a big waste of water.

Installing demand water heaters at each tap is an option, but there are some serious drawbacks to this approach not the least of which is the high cost of a demand water heater system. Insulating the hot water pipes may help, but the most effective solution is to install a hot water recirculating system.

Your plumber can easily install a hot water recirculating system on your existing plumbing that will circulate heated water throughout your hot water pipes.  By circulating the hot water, you will be assured of immediate hot water when you open the tap.  There is a small energy cost associated with these systems because the recirculating pumps operate continuously, but some systems are equipped with timers to minimize operating costs.

In addition, operating costs are offset by the savings in water usage due to no longer needing to wait for the water to heat up.  For instant hot water without the expense of an on demand (or tankless) water heater, talk to your plumber about installing a hot water recirculating system in your home.

Demand Water Heaters

If you are looking for ways to cut your energy costs, consider having demand water heaters (also called tankless water heaters) installed in your home.  A standard tank type water heater wastes energy by keeping water hot 24 hours a day whether it will be needed soon or not.  The energy wasted keeping water hot during period of no demand is called the standby energy loss.

Demand or tankless water heaters eliminate the standby energy loss by only heating water as it is used.  When a faucet is opened or a shower is turned on, the water runs through the heater where it is heated  and then delivered to the tap.  The heating process only takes a few seconds so the supply of hot water is almost instantaneous.  However, just like with a standard tank type water heater, if the tankless water heater is located some distance from the tap it will take a little time for the hot water to make its way there.

The main advantages of tankless water heaters are the elimination of standby energy loss and an endless supply of hot water.  The primary disadvantages are a higher initial cost and a limited flow rate.  The limited flow rate can be a problem if multiple demands for hot water are made at the same time such as running the dishwasher and the shower.  If the demand exceeds the unit’s flow rate, it will not be able to keep up.  One way to deal with this problem is to install multiple demand water heaters that are dedicated to the heavy users of hot water like the washing machine, shower, and dishwasher.

The cost issue becomes less of a concern when you consider that the demand water heater is far more efficient than a storage type water heater.  In the long run, the energy savings will offset the increased initial cost.

Water Heating Energy Savings Tips

According to EPA estimates, up to 25% of the energy used in the typical home is spent on water heating.  You can save money on your energy bills by implementing a few water heating strategies.

Reducing your hot water usage not only saves money on water heating but also on your water bills.  Fix any leaking water fixtures such as sink, tub, and shower faucets as soon as you notice them.  Low flow showerheads are easy for your plumber to install and can save as much as half the hot water used in a typical shower.

Installing a water heater insulation blanket can reduce standby heat loss by up to 45%, especially on older poorly insulated water heaters.  These insulation blankets are readily available at your local home improvement center.  Installation on an electric water heater is something most homeowners can do, but if you have a gas water heater you should have the insulation blanket installed by a professional.

If you have an electric water heater, you may be able to save money by installing a timer that turns your water heater off at night and during the day while you are away from home.  Timers can be especially effective if your utility company charges more for electricity used during peak demand periods.  You can set the timer so that the water heater is turned off during these peak usage periods and heats water during low demand periods when electricity is less expensive.

Finally, when it comes time to replace your water heater, consider installing a tankless water heater and be sure to look for a water heater with the ENERGY STAR label.  You will save energy throughout the service life of the water heater.