Squeeze the most efficiency out of your hot water plumbing system, save water, and save energy with demand pumping, and if appropriate, a tankless water heater.
Homeowners today have an opportunity to substantially reduce the amount of wasted water and energy normally lost when the hot water system is used. Reducing water usage and saving energy also reduces the amount of green house gases released into the atmosphere and reduces your carbon footprint.
When it comes to modern plumbing systems, we find that they are quite wasteful of both water and energy. The familiar tank type storage water heater we are all used to are less efficient than modern tankless water heaters.
Tankless Water Heaters, electric and Gas, save energy, but not water!
Upgrading to a tankless water heater will not necessarily save you a lot of money, be it will save energy. One must evaluate the need for a tankless heater on an individual basis. If you suffer from running out of hot water then the tankless water heater will solve that problem easily. Another factor would be the type of fuel available. If your home has access to gas then that is a good thing because gas is the least expensive method of heating water.
Electric tankless water heaters typically are not able to supply enough energy to obtain high flow rates at high temperature rises. The large models typically require very large gauge wiring and need their own circuit breakers.
Saving Water & Plumbing Layouts
Saving water is another area where modern plumbing layouts could use some improvement. Homes have gotten much larger than they used to be, although total square footage does not tell the whole story. Generally large homes have longer pipes, and often larger diameter pipes as well.
In the past a common way to prevent an excessively long wait for hot water was to use a hot water circulating system where hot water was continuously pumped through the hot water plumbing system. This is hugely wasteful of energy and quite costly to run.
Since once a house has been built, changing the piping layout is usually prohibitively expensive, another method must be utilized to overcome the water wastage resulting from the homeowner needing to purge the cooled off hot water from the pipes in order to obtain hot water at the fixture. It needs to get hot water to the fixture rapidly without running water wastefully down the drain.
Hot Water Demand Systems
There are a number of hot water demand systems on the market that will provide the homeowner with fast hot water without running any water down the drain. They do so without the need for any changes to the plumbing system.
These systems consist of a electronically controlled pump that is placed under the furthest sink from the water heater, and they use the cold water line as a return for the cooled off hot water in the hot water piping.
When the pump is activated it pumps the water quickly in a loop from the water heater to the fixture, returning the cooled off hot water to the water heater inlet through the cold water line. When hot water reaches the pump, it shuts off preventing the hot water from getting into the cold water line. Now when the home owner turns of the hot water fixture he gets instant hot water.
Tankless water heaters take longer to deliver hot water to the fixtures than a tank type storage water heater. This makes demand hot water pumps very attractive as an accessory for a tankless water heater.
Almost any home will benefit from the installation of a demand system.
For a truly green hot water plumbing system, install a hot water demand system and if applicable for your situation, consider a tankless water heater as well.