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Old 03-02-2012, 06:51 AM   #1
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I know I can run off to 'Mr. Answers for Construction Methods' and maybe get an answer. However, I would rather find out the answer to this question by those that are living the experience...Hot water gravity loops. Anyone have one or know of someone that has one and what do you think? Does it work? This might be a 'swing and a miss', but I hope someone out there might know.

btw...Our current home was built in 1996 as an 'Energy Advantage Home'. The only thing the home builder neglected to inform us was the gallons of water we would waste each time we would want to get one drop of hot water to our Master Bath.

btw part II...Mark - You might need to forget about the recirc pump I told you about in another thread. It appears the little units use more than they return.

btw part III...Still not convinced the little 'Instant HW Units' are the way to go. I like to have water pressure out the ying-yang and from what I have read so far they cut it down some.

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Old 03-02-2012, 06:51 AM   #2
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I know I can run off to 'Mr. Answers for Construction Methods' and maybe get an answer. However, I would rather find out the answer to this question by those that are living the experience...Hot water gravity loops. Anyone have one or know of someone that has one and what do you think? Does it work? This might be a 'swing and a miss', but I hope someone out there might know.

btw...Our current home was built in 1996 as an 'Energy Advantage Home'. The only thing the home builder neglected to inform us was the gallons of water we would waste each time we would want to get one drop of hot water to our Master Bath.

btw part II...Mark - You might need to forget about the recirc pump I told you about in another thread. It appears the little units use more than they return.

btw part III...Still not convinced the little 'Instant HW Units' are the way to go. I like to have water pressure out the ying-yang and from what I have read so far they cut it down some.
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:35 PM   #3
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we installed one in a buddies of mine's log cabin we built about 12 years ago.

that's all i know

no pump.

Let me get some info from the plumber who installed also a buddy and the guy that lives there on how it works and is working to this day.
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:43 PM   #4
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Guess I need educating or at least to find out what it may be called here. Not familiar with that term at all.
Plan a separate water heater for the master bath Jim. Running hot water a long distance is a killer.
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Old 03-02-2012, 03:00 PM   #5
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You run a return hot water line from furthest fixture. You plumb it into the hot water heater's drain spigot. You remove any backflow preventer on the hot water supply side. Thermal properties of heated water take over and hot water rises out of HW heater and the cooler water in the return lines "sinks" into the bottom of your water heater. This slow circular motion keeps hot water available at furthest point. You must insulate the lines, except for last 15ft of return.

and always insulate ALL hot water lines....
every little bit helps.
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Old 03-03-2012, 05:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by nopeitsherhemi:
You run a return hot water line from furthest fixture. You plumb it into the hot water heater's drain spigot. You remove any backflow preventer on the hot water supply side. Thermal properties of heated water take over and hot water rises out of HW heater and the cooler water in the return lines "sinks" into the bottom of your water heater. This slow circular motion keeps hot water available at furthest point. You must insulate the lines, except for last 15ft of return.

and always insulate ALL hot water lines....
every little bit helps.
That's precisely it! To me it sounds great. No electricity, no moving parts. I talked to a couple of friends in competitive businesses, yesterday, to see if they had any insight with their clientele and found none.
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Old 03-03-2012, 06:58 AM   #7
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Thanks David! Sure sounds good. Almost to good to be true. Not having a recirculating pump is a big plus.
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:31 AM   #8
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I have more info, but will post when we get home. Havet wo houses, one with pump onewithout one
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Old 03-04-2012, 04:49 AM   #9
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In the log cabin we built, there is a loop for both bathrooms.
the shower on the first floor has INSTANT hot water, the sink, no
and the upstairs bath also does not get hot as quick, but it is quicker then a "normal" plumbing setup.
the hot water heater is in the basement of this home.

in my other buddies house, who has been plumbing for 25+ years, and is the one who installed the plumbing in the cabin also.
he put in a loop but added a pump, this is what he says of his house.

<UL TYPE=SQUARE> You need to insulate the hot water line with at least 1" thick insulation and then it will cost you almost nothing to run the pump especially if you use a pump with a timer.
Best way I know of is a timer on the pump set at high usage periods or leave it run 24/7

What type of water lines is he using?

Copper, Pex or CPVC or something else?

If Pex is he using the manifold system or just a standard branch line system?

Tankless water heater or tank type?

Gas or electric?

Crawl space or basement?

If he goes tankless it pretty much defeats the purpose.
All I've seen, cause the heater to run constantly to keep the water warm.

Won't be to bad if he uses a 2 stage style so that it runs on the lower stage for heating the recirc water.

My self if I had natural gas I'd use several smaller tankless water heaters located by each bathroom group and one by the kitchen unless it's close to a bathroom. This way there are fewer hot water lines to run, no recirc line and not constantly heating a tank full of hot water.
Down side is you have to have a place to put the heaters and run more gas lines.

If he's in the country my advice is copper or CPVC.
Pex is not rodent proof and if mice, rats, squirrels or any other critter needs water they can smell it through the pex and will chew a hole to get to it.
Had it happen at my house, mice chewed through my dishwasher line to get water.[/list]
hope it helps,
any-other questions i can send them to him or you can PM me and i will get his email address to you.

good luck
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:45 AM   #10
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Thank you David! I appreciate you contacting a professional on this. A pump with a timer was my first thought as well. The more I read into it, the more I begun to have doubt and came across the idea of a gravity loop. Thinking on those nights when it drops to -10 in the mountains and that pump would be in constant motion just didn't appeal to me. My design has incorporated material such as copper piping and a propane boiler with a storage tank (we're going with underfloor heating) in a crawl space surrounded by ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms). While I have been told the crawl space will hold close to a warmer temperature, as the livable space above, I have some doubt. So insulating the pipes 1" is nice to know!
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