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 Control for Hot Water Recirc Pump
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Darbysan
Starting Member

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 12/26/2017 :  10:15:57 AM  Show Profile  Send Darbysan a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
New to the forum, and need some help! I've been away from automation for a while. I used X10 about 10 yrs ago on a previous house, but have not kept up with technology. I've searched on the forum here, and read many posts, but most are older, and some had technology that is no longer available.

The Story: I have a rather unique situation. House was built with copper pipes buried in the slab, but without insulation! If I don't run the recirc pump, it can take up to 15 minutes to get hot water to the kitchen. Wife is not happy!
If I run the recirc pump 12 hrs/day, it costs us about $150 for hot water ( Electric HW Heater). I lose about 12K btu/hr through the slab.
I can limit my real need for the recirc pump to early morning for the Master Bath, and Morning, Noon and Evening for the kitchen. Other areas ( spare bedrooms, etc) are close enough that just turning on the hot water gets it there quick enough.

I can get by with setting the timer on the pump, but would like something a little more on-demand. Otherwise, I have to guess what hours to set the timer, and probably setting more time than necessary just to be sure. I was thinking about a way to have the pump come on any time the MB or Kitchen lights are on. Solution needs to be fully automatic! Wife ( or I) cannot be trusted to turn on or off a switch just for hot water. Would love to have something that is triggered just by the light switch in the wall.
To complicate matters, the water heater and pump are on a different power meter and breaker box from the main house. Additionally, the MB and Kitchen are both on different breaker boxes off the second meter. Because of this power issue I didn't think I could get X-10 to work, and am sure that something better has come along since I dabbled in this tech.

Anyone got some ideas? Looking forward to learning from your suggestions. Many thanks.

Mike

oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
3678 Posts

Posted - 12/26/2017 :  7:45:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
How much power does the pump take?

How much are you willing to spend for this? Are you installing light switches or do you have to hire everything?
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Darbysan
Starting Member

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 12/27/2017 :  07:29:24 AM  Show Profile  Send Darbysan a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
The pump actually takes very little power, but the hot water heater runs almost constantly due to the heat loss of the un-insulated copper pipes in the slab. My daily usage of Electricity for the water heater would be about 60 KW, or at $.13/KWH, about $8/day ( $240/mo) if I run the recirc just 1/2 of the day. If I don't run the recirc pump, it takes 15 minutes of water running at the kitchen sink or MB shower before hot water finally appears ( after first warming my 4000 Sq Ft Slab!). If I didn't have the slab issue, I would expect my HW bill to be about $30/mo, so it's costing me over $200/mo.

After talking with my wife yesterday, and getting her "schedule" for when she wants hot water immediately available, my thoughts of turning the pump on and off won't really save any money. Time to start looking for another solution. Probably needs a re-pipe through the attic to fix it properly.
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stusviews
Moderator

USA
15854 Posts

Posted - 12/27/2017 :  10:28:32 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
We did have to wait nearly 5 min to get hot water in the rear bathroom, but with this recirculating pump set on a schedule, our water bill went down a lot and our electric bill went up a bit.

Most of the run from the hot water tank and rear bathroom is exterior copper, but we're not in a very cold area. Around here water is more valuable than electric, although electric costs more.

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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
3678 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2017 :  03:00:39 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Darbysan

The pump actually takes very little power, but the hot water heater runs almost constantly due to the heat loss of the un-insulated copper pipes in the slab. My daily usage of Electricity for the water heater would be about 60 KW, or at $.13/KWH, about $8/day ( $240/mo) if I run the recirc just 1/2 of the day. If I don't run the recirc pump, it takes 15 minutes of water running at the kitchen sink or MB shower before hot water finally appears ( after first warming my 4000 Sq Ft Slab!). If I didn't have the slab issue, I would expect my HW bill to be about $30/mo, so it's costing me over $200/mo.

After talking with my wife yesterday, and getting her "schedule" for when she wants hot water immediately available, my thoughts of turning the pump on and off won't really save any money. Time to start looking for another solution. Probably needs a re-pipe through the attic to fix it properly.



That is a bunch of money. Have you considered on-demand systems installed at each point of use?
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Darbysan
Starting Member

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2017 :  07:55:36 AM  Show Profile  Send Darbysan a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
[/quote]

That is a bunch of money. Have you considered on-demand systems installed at each point of use?

[/quote]
I have considered them. Just adding two would solve 95% of my issue, but the installation is going to be tricky ( because the pipes are in the slab). It is going to require some re-piping that will be beyond my DIY skills, and I hate having to hire someone else

I put an interim measure in place a couple of years ago that cut my bill in half (Heat Pump Water Heater add on (x2)), but one of them has failed, and the second one is the same age, so likely to fail as well sometime soon. No one repair's them, and the cost to return them to the factory is about the same as replacing them with new. Thought before I get into replacement that I would go through the process of evaluating other options.
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