Author Topic: Recirculating hot water pumps  (Read 3446 times)

igthebold

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Recirculating hot water pumps
« on: May 30, 2012, 12:24:15 PM »
In my old house I had a recirculating water pump, which was really handy, since it meant hot water was there within 2-4 seconds, instead of forever, which is what it seems like in my new house.

I'm considering installing one here, but I'm considering the energy implications. As I understand it, the pumps themselves don't take much to run, and the heat loss from the water can be mitigated by properly insulating the pipes.

Of course.. my public utilities bill is precisely the same every month, which means I'm either not paying for water by usage, or they only read the meters every few months. But that's a different matter entirely.

Bakari

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Re: Recirculating hot water pumps
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2012, 10:53:45 PM »
They do take more than no energy to run - and they run 24/7, as I understand it.
And insulation will help, but spreading heatloss across the surface area of the entire pipe network in the house seems like a big radiator.

A couple years ago I realized one day that I was always turning on the hot water to wash my hands, but I would start washing right away for lack of patients and not wanting to waste water.  Then, by the time the hot finally reached the faucet, I'd be done.  This was happening basically every time.  So then I just stopped turning on the hot water.  Eventually I put half-broken handles on the hot water of both sinks as a reminder.  Not the only place I use hot water is the shower.

And you know, even though I have insulated pipes and an instant water heater, I seem to have gone from filling my propane tanks once every few months to about once or twice a year.
Doesn't even feel like a sacrifice.  Just feels normal.  Its amazing what you get used to, and how quickly.

gooki

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Re: Recirculating hot water pumps
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2012, 02:59:10 AM »
You can get ones that run on a timer, or manually activated (push button).

igthebold

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Re: Recirculating hot water pumps
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2012, 06:55:55 AM »
So then I just stopped turning on the hot water.

You know, that helps. The times I use hot water are:
  • Showers and baths (for the two youngest children)
  • Washing dishes in the sink
  • Warming eggs to room temperature for cooking (it makes a difference, especially when beating egg whites)
  • Washing hands

I can easily eliminate the washing hands part, and for warming eggs I can just think ahead and let the eggs sit out for a bit before cooking. Takes forethought, but so do so many frugality techniques.

What about washing dishes in the sink? We have some pots and things that are not dishwasher safe, though I know the dishwasher is more efficient than filling a sink with water.

I suppose in theory I could replace the dishes with dishwasher safe versions and leave handwashing for the truly pathological cases. But in practice, I'm probably going to stick with the current plan. Cooking is a joy for us, and dishwasher safe pots and pans are often not as good as cast-iron, etc.

Bakari

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Re: Recirculating hot water pumps
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2012, 07:28:10 AM »
instead of filling the sink, why not wash dishes the way you wash your hands, brush your teeth, or take a shower (if you are in the navy): quick rinse if necessary, scrub with wet soapy sponge, once all dishes are scrubbed off, then rinse them.
Less water than filling the whole sink, less water than the dishwasher, plus no electricity.  I use cold water for this too, and haven't found it to clean any better or worse than before.  It helps to fill bowls/pots with water if they are going to sit, which does cut into water savings, but makes for much less scrubbing

igthebold

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Re: Recirculating hot water pumps
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2012, 07:53:57 AM »
instead of filling the sink, why not wash dishes the way you wash your hands, brush your teeth, or take a shower (if you are in the navy): quick rinse if necessary, scrub with wet soapy sponge, once all dishes are scrubbed off, then rinse them.

I used to do that with a sponge, but then I read in a couple different places that the sponge quickly becomes a biosphere unto its own, as far as bacteria and fungi are concerned. A bit like the ďdonít leave your toilet lid open when you flush,Ē recommendations.

I do agree that I could probably do it without hot water, but, perhaps subjectively, itís always felt cleaner when hot. Iíll give it a shot tonight, though.

Interestingly, since you bring up navy showers, thatís how Iíve done them for a long while now. What got me thinking about the recirculating pump was the fact that I probably use more water bringing the hot water to me than I do actually showering.

skyrefuge

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Re: Recirculating hot water pumps
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2012, 08:27:46 AM »
I used to do that with a sponge, but then I read in a couple different places that the sponge quickly becomes a biosphere unto its own, as far as bacteria and fungi are concerned. A bit like the ďdonít leave your toilet lid open when you flush,Ē recommendations.

That sounds like 6-o'clock Local Investigative News nonsense: "After the break, our I-Team with some shocking news about door handles!"  None of those stories ever say if the microbial life they detect is actually *harmful* at all.  Surely not, because have you actually ever heard of anyone falling ill due to sponge-bacteria or open-lid toilet-flushing?  Anyway, you don't have to use a sponge, you can just use a rag, or whatever else you use to currently wash your dishes (and those things are surely full of bacteria too).  Or do you just submerge them and clean with your hands?  (which are also full of bacteria.)  I've never even considered filling my sink up with water, but then again, I'll reuse a dish for days with just a quick rinse between uses (if even that), and not for frugality/conservation reasons, but just because it seems like unnecessary work to make it spotless.

igthebold

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Re: Recirculating hot water pumps
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2012, 09:13:59 AM »
Surely not, because have you actually ever heard of anyone falling ill due to sponge-bacteria or open-lid toilet-flushing?

You never know.. you remember that time [bad thing] happened to you? It could've been bacteria! ;)

Anyway, it's a fair point. I'll give it a try. We wash dishes nightly and don't plan to change that.