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Old 08-06-10, 02:02 PM   #1
trikkonceptz
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Default Pre-heating shower / sink water

One of the things I hate the most is waiting for the hot water to come through my piping for showers or even washing dishes, etc ...

I know to address this type of concern tankless heaters were invented which deliver nearly instant hot water at any outlet installed near it, but even that solution is expensive when multiplied by water outlet sources ..

Therefore I thought of something else for new home or remodeled home designs. Why not run the hot water lines through the attic to the sources? This is almost ideal for those of us living in places like florida where attic temperatures stay well above 100 degrees year round.

By doing this the water in the pipes is already hot the instant you turn the water on. The only draw back is excessive heat when you open the hot water tap. In fact the ambient temperature of the pipes will likely force you to use less hot water altogether making this a win win. Enclose your water heater with a compartment open to the attic and now you have even better heat insulation for your heater, making it work less too.

As a by product we should be saving water as well not having to wait for the hot water to pour out ..

Am i missing something here?

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Old 08-06-10, 02:53 PM   #2
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You could do that. You still have the pipe in the wall that will be room temperature that you'll have to run out of the faucet before you get the hot attic water though. Also, you'll have to wait that much longer to get the actual hot water from your water heater.
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Old 08-06-10, 03:26 PM   #3
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You are right about having to wait for the water out of the tank, but the water in the line will be heated by the ambient air temp in the attic, as far as the water in the wall, its only three feet or less embedded in Sheet rock, that water should also get heated by the water in the rest of the pipe resting in the attic I figure.

I may attempt this at my mother's house, she is getting ready to remodel the house and our bullet list is;

Solar Attic Fans
Solar Water heater system
Changing the 22 year old windows for newer energy efficient ones
Changing light bulbs out for CFL or LED depending on avail
Tearing up old stained carpet and replacing it with Cork board flooring
Updating a/c air exchanger
Adding zone a/c system to home
*Modify plumbing through attic to utilize existing heat source
*Encase water heater tank in a room open to attic to use heat as additional insulation.

This is not happeneing all at once. In fact one project at a time and watch the results, its exciting and then motivating to continue to drive down your energy costs, kinda like Hypermiling ..lol

I'll start a thread once we start the first project, gathering 3 months of current energy usage as a baseline.
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Old 08-06-10, 05:20 PM   #4
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Remember to protect against freezing. Running a line through the attic sounds good until it bursts on the one night a year that might be cold enough to do so... Perhaps in the "winter" you will have to throw on some tube insulation that can be taken off when temps warm up. Similarly, you may want to have the option of closing off the attic from the water heater. Here in Alabama, lots of people have their entire water heating systems in the attic, and lots of people have their lines freeze on cold nights. One guy I work with had his tank burst when he was at his parents house for Christmas-New Years... He had shut off the water to the house, and shut off the gas. This meant the water heater cooled, then froze, but didn't flood his house, or in this case, garage (since his was in the attic over his garage).
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Old 08-06-10, 05:30 PM   #5
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Wise advice, however in the 39 years that I have been in S. Florida temperatures have NEVER dipped cold enough to freeze anything. However making sure the piping lies underneath the existing insulation would be a wise move ..

Thanks ...
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Old 08-06-10, 06:26 PM   #6
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It pays when building a house to install the HWC centrally to the serviced outlets or closest to the areas of highest usage, eg bathroom, laundry. In out house however the distance to the kitchen is a 20 meters pipe run, with unacceptable delay and hot water wastage. I installed a smaller water heater directly under the floor below the kitchen sink, now the delay is 1 second, so it must pay for itself over time. Another solution would be use install instantaneous heaters, so initially they supply the hot water then turn off as the heated water arrives from the main HWC.

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Old 08-09-10, 12:26 AM   #7
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Is using smaller diameter pipes for hot water an option? That way there is less water to pour through the faucet before the hot water makes its way there. Old houses sometimes had large diameter pipes b/c the pressure in the city's water system was low, today you could get away with smaller pipes.

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Old 08-09-10, 07:29 AM   #8
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I imagine you could do that. You will loose some water pressure going to a smaller diameter pipe, but I have no idea how much.
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Old 02-06-11, 11:48 PM   #9
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There are small on-demand electric hot water heaters that are designed to fit inside a bathroom sink cabinet, that might preheat the water, but most of them are flow-limiting - meaning they limit the flow to ensure proper heat. What you want is one that just heats to the best of its ability without impeding water flow. I suspect that the solution would involve spending more money on an on-demand tank less heater, or on a hot water tank, that would make the electric shower head obsolete.
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Old 06-16-11, 12:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piwoslaw View Post
Is using smaller diameter pipes for hot water an option? That way there is less water to pour through the faucet before the hot water makes its way there. Old houses sometimes had large diameter pipes b/c the pressure in the city's water system was low, today you could get away with smaller pipes.
I'm planing on installing some 1/2" PEX pipe and I've noticed the ID isn't
too small, but when you look at the fittings, the ID of most of those is small!

Anyways, one thing I did to help fight the hotwater delay is to insulate the hotwater runs.
It helps the hot water get there a little faster, when it's been used lately
and is still holding some heat.

Anyways, I think using PEX will help out with HW delays, since it's not as heat conductive as copper.

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