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Ever wonder why a hot water tap gives you cold water when you first turn it on? Depending on the size of your home, you can wait a few seconds or even minutes for hot water. This is not only uncomfortable, but wastes a lot of water.
The distance that hot water has to travel causes cold water to flow out first. When the tap is turned on, hot water is sucked into the sink through the sewage system. Turning it off retains water but does not return to the water heater. It stays in the pipes and it gets cold. The next time you need hot water, the cold water in the pipes must be pushed out with fresh warm water from the water heater. The more piping between the water heater and the tap, the more cold water is and the longer it lasts.
But there are some solutions.
You can have the installer install a recirculation pump. A hot water recirculation pump is installed on the water heater, returning unused hot water back to the water heater. It is designed to supply hot water on demand.
Option 1: Full circulation pump system
With this option, an additional pipe for hot water is installed in domestic installations. This system creates a loop from the water heater to the tap and back. Unused hot water is drawn through this loop by the pump, so when you turn on the hot water taps you quickly get hot water. Water doesn't stay in the pipes to cool off, and you waste less water because you don't have to wait.
You may be wondering how this affects gas and energy costs. If the water heater works continuously with a continuous flow of water, does it cost more? Not necessarily.
Many pumps are equipped with sensors and timers. The sensor turns the pump off when the hot water completes the full loop. The timer allows you to control when the pump is active. You can set it to turn off automatically at night when you are at work or on vacation. If your pump doesn't have these features, a hydraulic professional can help you add them.
This option is not for everyone. The cost of the pump and the additional pipe needed can be expensive. In addition, many home projects make it difficult to add the pipe needed for this system. If this solution is difficult for your home or budget, there is another option.
Option 2: Recirculating pump comfort system
The system uses the existing cold water tube to send unused water back to the water heater. This is a cost-effective solution for homeowners who are frustrated by waiting for hot water but are unable to install the first option. The comfort system can quickly deliver hot water to areas in your home that need a lot of time to get it. For example, if the water is far from the shower or kitchen, a recirculation pump will solve this problem.
You also don't need to install an additional pipe. This reduces the initial cost. These pumps typically cost somewhere in the $ 500-800 range, although exceptions apply. However, this system has its drawbacks.
The problem with this option is that because hot and cold water share the same pipe, cold tap water can be lukewarm or it may take time to cool down, especially if you have a swamp cooler. Some homeowners turn off the pump in the summer to solve this problem.
You may not realize that you already have a recirculation system. The previous homeowner may have disconnected the pump. It is worth checking if you already have it, especially if you feel frustrated by the time it takes to bring hot water to certain areas of the house. Your plumbing professional will help you locate the pump and make it work. You can also check it yourself at the top or bottom of the water heater.
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