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Old 11-08-2012, 11:18 AM   #21
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As I'm thinking of it the electrical unit would heat the water until the hot water arrives from the main system. Has anyone out there tried something like this?
I thought of it, but the undersink electric water heaters were pretty expensive I thought. My other bathroom is located at the opposite side of the house from the on demand water heater and it takes a while to get hot water to the sink.

So, I guess I'd suggest installing the waterheater in the center of the hot water system to minimize the delay.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:22 AM   #22
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I have been considering putting in small electrical on-demand hot water heaters under the kitchen and bathroom sinks to have instant hot water. As I'm thinking of it the electrical unit would heat the water until the hot water arrives from the main system. Has anyone out there tried something like this?
I thought about it, but an on-demand unit, even a small one, would require a beefy electric circuit. Then, I wondered about a small conventional heater of perhaps a gal or two which would get me the little bit of hot water which was all I need most of the time. I did not know if such things exist, but then I thought about more maintenance, more things to leak under the counters and sink. And then, having the thing running all the time may not give me the savings I want.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:26 AM   #23
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But it is connected to a humongous 'tank' - your water supply. At over 5 GPM, a big leak would deliver that 50 gallons whether there is a tank or not. And a small leak would be the same either way.

A water heater should have a pan leading to a drain, so it usually isn't a big deal anyway.

-ERD50
The leak was not from the pipes but rather from the bottom of the tank that got corroded.

As for a pan under the tank I am not sure that it is a standard practice or a requirement to have a pan connected to a drain if the unit is located in the basement at least it was not the case in the three houses I owned before this one.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:26 AM   #24
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Tell me more about this return circuit--I've never heard of them before. My bathroom is at the far end of the house from the water heater and I would like not to run lots of water down the drain every time I want hot water there.
It is just a 1/2" copper pipe that runs from the farthest end of the hot water line back to a T connection on the drain valve on the bottom of the water heater. Natural convection circulates the water.

If I was retrofitting, I'd definitely use PEX.

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Old 11-08-2012, 11:27 AM   #25
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We have a little electric pump that is installed inline from our gas hot water heater. We get almost instant hot water even at our faucets farthest from the hot water heater. In our old home it was nothing to wait 30 seconds or more for hot water. Now we have it in just a few seconds.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:29 AM   #26
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.......
As for a pan under the tank I am not sure that it is a standard practice or a requirement to have a pan connected to a drain if the unit is located in the basement at least it was not the case in the three houses I owned before this one.
Not a requirement, but a darned good idea, because all water heaters eventually leak. A pan is only a few bucks.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:33 AM   #27
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It is just a 1/2" copper pipe that runs from the farthest end of the hot water line back to a T connection on the drain valve on the bottom of the water heater. Natural convection circulates the water.
That might not work in all houses, particularly mine where the pipes zigzag every which way. I knew how they were run, because I had the whole house replumbed.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:49 AM   #28
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Tell me more about this return circuit--I've never heard of them before. My bathroom is at the far end of the house from the water heater and I would like not to run lots of water down the drain every time I want hot water there.
it's best to put them in with the rest of the plumbing and is relatively cheap to do at that time. mine is certainly dreamy. open faucet, instant hot water. it does require a small electric pump, but it doesn't pull much electricity.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:51 AM   #29
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We have a Tagaki tankless water heater. We love it. The main reason we chose it was because it freed up a closet in our new house, and because the water tank in our old house ended up leaking and causing a mess.
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Old 11-08-2012, 12:23 PM   #30
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The leak was not from the pipes but rather from the bottom of the tank that got corroded.

As for a pan under the tank I am not sure that it is a standard practice or a requirement to have a pan connected to a drain if the unit is located in the basement at least it was not the case in the three houses I owned before this one.
Are tankless units less likely to leak? I dunno.

I think some people are talking about a recirculator pump with tankless units. Note that that requires a small tank heater - else you would be recirculating cold water, as the tankless only delivers on demand.

-ERD50
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Old 11-08-2012, 12:28 PM   #31
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I don't think 1 minute is unusual, but it is still annoying. I have been considering putting in small electrical on-demand hot water heaters under the kitchen and bathroom sinks to have instant hot water. As I'm thinking of it the electrical unit would heat the water until the hot water arrives from the main system. Has anyone out there tried something like this?
I have a friend who did exactly that. Exactly. He really wanted to save water and was willing to pay a bit more for that extra shot of electricity for the beginning stream to not be wasted.

He was disappointed, however, because the point of use heater had a water hammer problem.

We think it was the brand of heater and installation. Plumber tried to fix it a few times and failed. I would say just be aware of his problem, but don't think it is the norm. At w*rk all our auxiliary wash sinks have these and they work fine without a hammer problem. The only thing anyone complains about is that you have to have decent flow for them to turn on -- which is true of the whole house tankless too.
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Old 11-08-2012, 12:42 PM   #32
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Thanks. I will probably try insulating the hot water pipes to the extent they are accessible first and see if that helps at all.

If that isn't sufficient, I may try one of these in the kitchen since it is already set up for electrical with the nearby dishwasher. Also, we use the kitchen hot water more often than the bathroom sinks
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Old 11-08-2012, 01:08 PM   #33
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Thanks. I will probably try insulating the hot water pipes to the extent they are accessible first and see if that helps at all.

If that isn't sufficient, I may try one of these in the kitchen since it is already set up for electrical with the nearby dishwasher. Also, we use the kitchen hot water more often than the bathroom sinks
Hard to understand how a 2.5 Gallon unit can cost $169, while a 40 Gallon unit costs $208. The volume and forces from water pressure are so much higher on a larger tank - that's a lot more material (6.77x the weight - one measure of cost for something as basic as this).

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Old 11-08-2012, 04:02 PM   #34
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I looked at tankless when I was getting ready to replace my old 40 gallon natural gas heater. I just couldn't see the payback or benefit. I picked up a new heater off Craigslist for $125 (guy bought the wrong one and couldn't return it). My gas bill with hot water, stove, clothes dryer and BBQ runs about a buck a day, even with a return circuit that always keeps hot water at the farthest tap.

The tankless would just about have to run for free to give a reasonable payback.

Just read this and am curious...

Did the return line come with the house or did you install it later

Do you have mulitple lines on the return? IOW, my house has 3 full baths and a half bath along with the kitchen and a wet bar... basically all corners of the house... from the banging of the pipes when my dishwasher was having problems, they are not centrally located.... so I have at least 5 separate runs.... I would hate to think that I would need 5 returns...
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:11 PM   #35
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Just read this and am curious...

Did the return line come with the house or did you install it later

Do you have mulitple lines on the return? IOW, my house has 3 full baths and a half bath along with the kitchen and a wet bar... basically all corners of the house... from the banging of the pipes when my dishwasher was having problems, they are not centrally located.... so I have at least 5 separate runs.... I would hate to think that I would need 5 returns...
My water heater is at one end of the basement. The main hot water line pretty much runs from one end of the house to the other, thus one return line. It was installed when I bought it.

Your main hot water line is probably centrally located with branches to the faucets. If so, a return line from the farthest faucet area should do the trick. You may have a little cold water in the branch lines.

Newer Pex installations use a manifold and multiple home run lines.
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:30 PM   #36
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We have a little electric pump that is installed inline from our gas hot water heater. We get almost instant hot water even at our faucets farthest from the hot water heater. In our old home it was nothing to wait 30 seconds or more for hot water. Now we have it in just a few seconds.
That's a convenience a lot of folks will appreciate. People installing them need to be aware that they are creating a 24/7 loop of hot water, which will lose energy. Insulating the supply and return line can help, but it will always be losing heat. The heat loss for a 50' supply line and a 50' return line can easily be much more than the heat lost from a large water heater (in effect doubling the "storage" heat loss of the home's hot water system). And, that doesn't count the energy used by the recirc pump (not much).
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:39 PM   #37
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That's a convenience a lot of folks will appreciate. People installing them need to be aware that they are creating a 24/7 loop of hot water, which will lose energy. Insulating the supply and return line can help, but it will always be losing heat. The heat loss for a 50' supply line and a 50' return line can easily be much more than the heat lost from a large water heater (in effect doubling the "storage" heat loss of the home's hot water system). And, that doesn't count the energy used by the recirc pump (not much).
A friend at w*rk says it costs him about $20 a month in gas. That's quite a bit. So he echos what you say.
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:30 PM   #38
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A friend at w*rk says it costs him about $20 a month in gas. That's quite a bit. So he echos what you say.
Hmmm... ours does not cost us anywhere near this. We have a 50 gallon hot water heater and a nat gas stove/oven . Our bill was 33.69 last month for nat gas usage. BTW the hot water heater temp is set high, I've been sneaking it down a little bit each month until DW says its not hot enough.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:36 AM   #39
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Hmmm... ours does not cost us anywhere near this. We have a 50 gallon hot water heater and a nat gas stove/oven . Our bill was 33.69 last month for nat gas usage. BTW the hot water heater temp is set high, I've been sneaking it down a little bit each month until DW says its not hot enough.
The guy lives in a huge house. I would guess it has a very long home run.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:58 AM   #40
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The guy lives in a huge house. I would guess it has a very long home run.
If in a cold climate, half the year the lost heat is used to warm the house.

If in a hot climate, not so good.
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