Residential Hot Water Conservation Is Harder Than Cold Water Conservation
Residential hot water conservation is one of the last things left that needs to be addressed for purposes of water conservation, and energy efficiency.
We have plenty of ways to conserve cold water, but hot water is not so simple. Green water conservation products abound, including low flow shower heads, sink faucets, toilets, drip irrigation, leak detectors, etc.
Residential Plumbing Layouts
Hot water however is harder to conserve due to the hot water distribution system, in other words your plumbing layout. With cold water you turn on the faucet and presto, out comes cold water. With hot water plumbing you turn on the faucet and presto, out comes cold water which you must purge to get the hot water.
The process of purging runs your precious water down the drain, increasing the amount of sewage that must be processed and treated needlessly. The longer the pipes the more water is wasted.
Low Flow Fixtures Waste Water in Hot Water Systems
Flow velocity is also a consideration since slow moving hot water loses more heat energy to the piping, and consequently causes a longer wait, and more wasted water. Low flow fixtures only really conserve water when the user simply leaves the water running for no reason.
If you are going to fill a pot, a low flow fixture does not change the amount of water you use� it just irritates you that it takes so long to fill. The same is true for things like filling a glass with water, or filling the sink with water.
If you don’t normally waste water by leaving a fixture running full blast while you do something else, then low flow fixtures won’t really save you any water. Just add to your daily frustration.
Real Hot Water Conservation is Inexpensive and it’s a Convenience.
Hot water conservation is easier than one might first think. There is a way to have hot water at the fixture when we want to use it instead of having to purge all that cooled off hot water first without consuming huge amounts of energy like hot water circulating systems do.
Not only do you eliminate the water going down the drain, but you get your hot water faster, reducing your stress levels. Less waiting equals less stress and less frustration. It brightens your day when you hop in the shower without having to wait there with your hand in the cold water waiting for the hot water to arrive. You start out the day with a reduced carbon footprint.
The hot water conservation product we are talking about is the hot water demand system, available from several manufacturers, some for under $200. A hot water demand system typically consists of a small pump that goes under the sink in the furthers fixture from the water heater.
When you want hot water you push a button, and the pump pumps the hot water to your fixture from the heater at high speed, and the pump shuts off when the hot water reaches the fixture. Instant hot water when you turn on the faucet.
Tankless and solar water heaters
Hot water demand systems work with both tankless water heaters and solar hot water heaters. Any kind of hot water heater works with a demand system. All you need is a source of cold water that is the same for the water heater and the cold water fixtures, and I’ve never encountered a house with a plumbing layout that used different sources of cold water for the fixtures and the inlet to the water heater.
With that being about the only limitation for demand systems, they should work with any kind of water heater no mater what the brand, model, or fuel type is.
Demand hot water systems typically use less than $2.00 per year in electricity since they only run for seconds and only when you demand hot water. This makes hot water demand systems inexpensive to install, and inexpensive to run, and a very green hot water conservation product.