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Old April 25th, 2012, 03:14 PM   #1
Yota Bill
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Default replacing water heater, should I also install a timer or circulation pump?

I do have a well, so my only charge for water is the electric to run the pump, no separate water bill. I also have to wait about 30 seconds to get hot water at the bathroom, but that's really not a big concern for me at this point.

Since I am replacing the water heater anyway, I was wondering about the timers and circulation pumps on the market. I can see how the timers would save on the electric bill, which is really what I'm interested in. The circulation pumps also claim to save money, but I don't really get that, except maybe for the city dwellers with a water bill. Even then, isn't the water bill low enough that the payback would span a very long time?

So who uses them? Thoughts or concerns with them from experience? Pro's and con's?
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Old April 25th, 2012, 04:38 PM   #2
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i wouldn't count on much of a savings, but they are nice. The retro fit version is about $180-$200. It doesn't use a dedicated return line, but a cross connection tee at the furthest faucet. The traditional system uses a 1/2" line from the furthest fixture to the bottom of the heater.

If you are doing it yourself and have questions, let me know
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Old April 25th, 2012, 08:58 PM   #3
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If your hot water lines are not insulated you will loose an increadable amount of heat raditing out of the pipe, which will cause your water heater to run twice as much, so if you decide to put a pump on, which is nice as you will have hot water to the end fixture all the time, include the cost and time to put arma flex on the pipe or you will pay through the ass and heat your house (partially) with your water heater.
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Old April 25th, 2012, 09:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougstephvoor View Post
If your hot water lines are not insulated you will loose an increadable amount of heat raditing out of the pipe, which will cause your water heater to run twice as much, so if you decide to put a pump on, which is nice as you will have hot water to the end fixture all the time, include the cost and time to put arma flex on the pipe or you will pay through the ass and heat your house (partially) with your water heater.
Well, I am planning on that...but not till the solar panels are mounted and plumbed in. That will be to pre-heat the water before going into the water heater, and to help heat the house.

I think I'll skip the pump, though I do need to insulate the plumbing in the crawl space. I don't really see a reason not to install the timer though, so the water heater isn't kicking on when the house is empty.
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Old April 25th, 2012, 09:48 PM   #5
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You can also mount a thermostat on the return line to shut the re-circ pump off/on.
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Old April 25th, 2012, 09:51 PM   #6
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Rob, I do have a question about the pressure tank. It's a larger one, about 20-24" diameter and roughly 3 feet tall...looks like a 32 gallon from the pics I am seeing online.
How do I tell if this thing is still good? It has air pressure at the schrader valve, about 15-18 psi, if I remember correctly, but when I rock it, it doesn't seem to have any water in it. Isn't it basically a bladder in the middle of the tank, with air pressure pushing on one side and water pressure pushing on the other? It is plumbed in directly where the line from the well comes in, and there is no shut off valve unless its directly on the bottom, so I would think it would have at least some water in it.
If it does need replaced, can it be replaced with multiple smaller units? Could it be mounted in any position other then standing straight up? I see there are vertical and horizontal units, but if its pressurized and separated by a bladder, why would it matter other then how its base is physically mounted.
I am adding in a 125-150 gallon storage tank in a small laundry room, which is already pretty cramped, so I need to make some room. The storage tank is for a solar water heating system, that will be separated from the rest of the plumbing, but used to pre-heat the domestic hot water, and aid in heating the house.
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Old April 26th, 2012, 11:37 AM   #7
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The expansion tank is there on well systems because when the water is heated it expands and has nowhere to go. With city water, the city main equalizes pressure fluctuations, so an expansion tank is not needed.
The tank does not hold water. Only air. Replacing the large tank with multiple smaller tanks should work fine, but I'm not familiar with code requirements for this off the top of my head.
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Old April 26th, 2012, 12:40 PM   #8
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OK..so can I mount it horizontal rather then vertical, or is there something about it that won't function correctly that way?
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Old April 26th, 2012, 02:32 PM   #9
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Orientation doesn't matter.
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Old April 26th, 2012, 02:37 PM   #10
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Just make sure they are supported properly. If the diaphragm in the tank ever leaked, the tank would fill with water. Keep that in mind.
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Old April 26th, 2012, 02:41 PM   #11
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Good bit of info.

http://www.watts.com/pages/learnAbou...pansion_select
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Old April 26th, 2012, 03:09 PM   #12
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I think he talking about the supply pressure tank on the well system not the small expansion tank that goes next to the boiler?
I beleive they make different models that can be installed vertical or horizontal.
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Old April 26th, 2012, 03:56 PM   #13
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An expansion tank on either system serves the same purpose. Both are closed loop systems that have to accommodate thermal expansion.
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Old April 26th, 2012, 04:02 PM   #14
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oh, I thought one was for thermo and the other was so your well doesn't kick on everytime you turn on the faucet. Learn something new everyday.
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Old April 26th, 2012, 07:55 PM   #15
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It would be supported just above the floor. More then likely I would build a set of legs that clamp around the tank, similar to a horizontal version, and then bolt it to the concrete floor or to the wall.
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