Question Regarding My Hot Water


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Old 11-20-13, 07:22 AM
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Question Regarding My Hot Water

Last month, my wife and I purchased an eight year-old home that had originally been built by the first homeowner who was a plumber, but unfortunately passed away last year. From what I've been told the heating system in the home is fairly robust, likely since the homeowner wasn't going to skimp on his own digs. The boiler runs LP and has five FHW zones and a hot water "zone".

Photo of the furnace and hot water system:

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Just above the hot water tank appears to be a temp gauge of some sort connected to a circulator, but the cover is off and one of the terminals is unscrewed. (The electricity is off in the pic because I didn't want to risk getting zapped taking the pics below.)

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I do know the previous owners wife was trying to save money on her gas bill before she sold the house, so I don't know if this has anything to do with that. I still have hotwater. My goal is to save money as well, but I'm just wondering what the hell is going on here.

Also, if this doesn't control my water temperature, what does? There is a green mixing valve in front of the hot water tank.

In my previous houses I've had independent water heaters with their own controls, so this a bit new to me. Any help figuring out WTF I have going in would be appreciated.
 
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Old 11-20-13, 08:54 AM
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Looks like the indirect water heater is being used like a tankless water heater, that plummer should have tossed his ideas around here before he decided to do that. It must have cost him a ton in fuel. That's likely why he disconnected that thermostat. With an indirect your boiler should have gone done to 80F or colder during summer months while the hot water wasn't being used a lot... Was that the case?
 
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Old 11-20-13, 08:54 AM
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I can't see a whole lot in the pics, but it appears to me that what you are looking at is a "Domestic Hot Water Recirculation System". This system constantly pumps the hot water through the domestic piping in order that there is always hot water available instantly at the taps, rather than having to run the water for 2 minutes before it gets hot.

That's what it looks like anyway... I'll take a closer look at the photos this evening when I have more time.

By the way, I can not tell a lie, I put that envelope at the bottom of that pile of garbage!
 
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Old 11-20-13, 08:58 AM
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connections

trace the other end of the thermostat and see where its being wired to, and the connection points
 
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Old 11-20-13, 12:35 PM
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That aquastat operates the recirc pump. When the water in the line cools the pump will come on .

Looks like its set for 80f...

The green mixing valve controls how hot the water gets to the taps... Since the boil heats to 180f you dont want that at the faucets... The grn mixing valve should be set for 120f water or so...


The aquastat at the bottom of the indirect controls when the boiler fires to warm up the water in the indirect...
 
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Old 11-20-13, 02:55 PM
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@NJTrooper, Post #3: that's what I thought it was given my limited plumbing knowledge.

If that's in fact the case, how do I connect the terminal properly (there's two screw holes)? And if I do so, how much fuel would I save by just sucking up waiting for the hot water when I call for it? Frankly, I don't wait very long now, even when I take a shower in a bathroom that's two floors up on the other side of the house.

Also, the mixing valve is all the way to max. Is that what controls the overall water temp?
 
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Old 11-20-13, 03:00 PM
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The aquastat at the bottom of the indirect controls when the boiler fires to warm up the water in the indirect...
And this should be set around 130-140

DHW recirc systems CAN save money and water, but not if they are 'free running 24/7'.

How many times have you gone to a sink and turned the hot water on and waited... and waited... for the hot water to come up? Every time you do that, how much cold water is going into the water heater and needs to be brought up to temperature?

So for say a half gallon of hot water to wash your hands or something, you are actually using say THREE gallons. That's a waste.

Putting a recirc system on a timer set to the times you will be most likely to use hot water, or a DEMAND PUSH BUTTON that you press in anticipation of hot water use can be economical.

I'm sure it was disconnected because the lady was told it's a waste of money to circulate the hot water 24/7, and they were probably correct.
 
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Old 11-20-13, 03:06 PM
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how do I connect the terminal properly (there's two screw holes)?
Can you get a better lighted picture of the control? and also let us know the model of the control? From that we can tell you which it goes on.

And if I do so, how much fuel would I save by just sucking up waiting for the hot water when I call for it?
See previous post... I wouldn't let it run 24/7... how much you save depends a lot on your usage patterns. Don't forget though, it's not only the FUEL, but also the WATER, because the water that runs when you are waiting is wasted.

the mixing valve is all the way to max. Is that what controls the overall water temp?
Yes. As Lawrosa said, that should limit the hot water temperature to 120 at the taps.
 
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Old 11-20-13, 03:20 PM
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On the inside of the grey cover should be a model number.
 
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Old 12-03-13, 01:16 PM
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Model number of the aquastat if I'm not mistaken is a Honeywell L6006 1018.

Sorry it took me so long to reply...holidays and all. My wife and I are screwing through propane--approximately 40 gallons in the past 10 days alone with a 2200sq/ft house heated around 63 degrees--and I'm wondering if this water recirc has anything to do with it.
 
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Old 12-03-13, 03:08 PM
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Honeywell L6006
The three screw terminals should be labeled " R B W " and you want the wires connected to the R & B terminals.

I'm wondering if this water recirc has anything to do with it.
Not if it's not running...

My wife and I are screwing through propane--approximately 40 gallons in the past 10 days alone with a 2200sq/ft house heated around 63 degrees
Seems a bit high... what else are you doing with the LPG besides central heating and domestic water?

I imagine you are cooking... drying clothes?

How cold has it been lately? (tell me the zip code of the nearest bigger town to you and I can estimate 'degree days' and run some numbers)
 
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Old 12-03-13, 03:20 PM
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I just checked my BTU usage... and it's pretty much on par with yours.

28 gallons of #2 fuel oil since 11/22, about 10 days. Fuel oil at 140,000 BTU / GALL gives about 3,920,000 BTU burnt during that period. Basically same size house.

40 gallons of LPG at 91,000 BTU/GALL give about 3,640,000 BTU burnt past 10 days.

Not too much difference, a bit better actually since I only use my fuel for heat. Your weather has likely been a bit colder than mine.
 
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Old 12-03-13, 03:52 PM
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As of the terminal hookups, thank you very much for the info.

As for the BTU usage, I appreciate you looking that up. My zip code is 02330, and it's been between 35 and 45 for the past week. I'm just glad to know it's not the system and that's the expected BTU usage. My range is propane; dryer is electric.

Question: Is there anyway to add a timer to my present set up without messing with the actual plumbing? I have a humble confidence with electrical, but I don't know **** about plumbing, and I don't know if there are any special considerations with putting a timer on a aquastat.
 

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Old 12-03-13, 04:35 PM
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Is there anyway to add a timer to my present set up
How about a programmable thermostat?

Disclosure: I've had a couple of programmable 'stats, and didn't like them.
 
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Old 12-03-13, 04:49 PM
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Disclosure: I've had a couple of programmable 'stats, and didn't like them.
I have two in the home also... Never use the feature. I set it and forget it.
 
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Old 12-03-13, 06:28 PM
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My zip code is 02330
OK, in order to do an 'apples to apples' comparison, I use a term I call B/D/S which means (to me):

BTU / DEGREE DAY / SQUARE FOOT

This figure takes all the variables into account, BTU used, the temperature, and the size of the home, reducing these to a 'constant'.

In the past ten days your area had 304 'degree days'. This is a number that's derived from how many degrees below 65 your average temperature was. (downloaded from weatherunderground.com)

I'm almost exactly the same at 301 DD.

So, for your home I came up with 5.44

My home is running about 6.48

So you're doing slightly better than I... that is, IF your gallons used and the time period of 10 days is accurate.

Still, not too bad really.

Does your propane supply have a meter on it?

Is there anyway to add a timer to my present set up
You're talking about a timer for the hot water recirc system I believe?
 

Last edited by NJT; 12-03-13 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 12-03-13, 06:38 PM
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You're talking about a timer for the hot water recirc system I believe?
Was following gilmorries lead on the t stat thing....

recirc is a waste of fuel IMO. Rather waste water that goes back to the ocean then burn fuel for a convienence... Fuel burns once..

Just my thoughts....
 
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Old 12-03-13, 06:57 PM
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recirc is a waste of fuel IMO
If it's a 24/7 system, I agree 100%.

I don't agree if it's an 'on demand pushbutton' or a timer system.

I know for a fact that when I go to the kitchen sink and want some warm water to wash my hands, that I'm wasting at least 3 gallons of water waiting for the hot to come up. This is 3 gallons of water wasted, and 3 gallons of ice cold well water feeding into the water heater that needs to be reheated.

How can this NOT be economical?
 
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Old 12-04-13, 05:38 AM
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My 500g underground tank has a % meter on it. It was at 80% after a delivery on 11/21. Yesterday it was at 72%. As long as my math is correct, 8% down should put me at 40 gallons used.
 
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Old 12-04-13, 05:43 AM
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Yes, I was talking about adding a timer to the recirc pump.

The electrical setup there is [control mod] > [recirc pump] > [aqua stat]. Assuming that the aqua stat switches the power ON to trigger the circulator, can't I just add a timer switch on the HOT between the aqua stat and recirc pump? My only concern would be presence of a useabe neutral, as the switch would likely need it's own power supply.
 
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Old 12-04-13, 07:57 PM
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can't I just add a timer switch on the HOT between the aqua stat and recirc pump? My only concern would be presence of a useabe neutral, as the switch would likely need it's own power supply.
There may be a timer module available for that pump...

What make/model is the recirc pump?

Wade through some of the google links and see what you can find...

Let me google "domestic hot water recirculation pump timer" for you
 
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Old 12-04-13, 08:13 PM
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I think a timer like this would be best, no????


 
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Old 12-05-13, 08:14 AM
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Yes, that would work... they are relatively inexpensive, and pretty easy to wire up...
 
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Old 12-05-13, 09:06 AM
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My only concern would be presence of a useabe neutral, as the switch would likely need it's own power supply.
I believe that particular Intermatic timer is for 240-V electric water heaters, and has a double-pole, single-throw switch, and rated for something like 40A. For a typical 120-V circulator. You want a 120-V, SPST switch, rated maybe 20A.

The white neutral is not "unused." It is carried along with the "hot" conductor, and terminated in the 120-V timer, pump relay (if used), and the pump. The aquastat, if it's 120V, should come after the timer and ahead of the pump. If the 'stat is 24V, then you would just switch the 120-V power to the pump and the pump relay, and let the relay close in whether the pump is interrupted or not.

I have used such timers for domestic hot-water circulators. Power outages, which we have too many of, cause the timer to fall out of synch.
 
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Old 12-05-13, 09:40 AM
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So some clarification:

What I called the [control mod] is actually a 6 zone Taco Switching Relay. I popped it open, and noted the recirc system is actually wired right into the 120v relay feed--essentially bypassing anything in the box.

The circulator for the whole house circ is a Taco 006-B4 115v 1/40th HP with a rated draw of .52 amps.

If there is a timer add-on for the circ, I'd definitely jump on that. I have seen other 120v timers online made for plumbing applications, but most seem like overkill--which is fine, if that's what's required to do it correctly.

Would this work? Taco T265-1 00 Analog Timer - Amazon.com

Also, I noticed there's a small white wheel behind the terminals of the aqua stat, with numbers in 5 intervals. What's that all about?
 
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Old 12-05-13, 09:51 AM
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Also, I noticed there's a small white wheel behind the terminals of the aqua stat, with numbers in 5 intervals. What's that all about?
probably the differential... The # of degrees you want the circ to kick back on after hi limit is reached. Say its set for 120F and a 10 diff. The aquastat will kick on the circ after the water has cooled 10 degrees at 110f... Keeping the water in the hot line hot all the time...


I believe that particular Intermatic timer is for 240-V electric water heaters, and has a double-pole, single-throw switch,
I have seen other 120v timers online made for plumbing applications, but most seem like overkill--which is fine, if that's what's required to do it correctly.
It may be. Its only for example.. I have one for my pool pump 120V..

Basically you wire the circ to the timer and the timer load side to the pump.

Set the timer for the times of day you want instant hot water at the faucets... usually morning hours and evening when use of water is active.


T101
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 12-05-13 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 12-05-13, 10:38 AM
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Basically you wire the circ to the timer and the timer load side to the pump
Does it matter if it goes before or after the aqua stat? I can't imagine it would...
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 12-05-13 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 12-05-13, 11:12 AM
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The aquastat goes to the taco panel right? From the taco take the line going to the pump and wire it to the timer. Then make a new whip and wire from the timer to the pump..

Best off putting timer by taco. Then remove leads from taco to that pump and wire to load side of timer. Then only small whip needs to wire from taco to timer line side...
 
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Old 12-05-13, 11:39 AM
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Does it matter if it goes before or after the aqua stat? I can't imagine it would...
You don't want the timer to stop when the aquastat is satisfied...or when there is not a heat call. You might need to look at a schematic for your controls.
 
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Old 12-05-13, 04:38 PM
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The aquastat goes to the taco panel right?
I don't think it would... it's not a boiler control I don't think... it for starting and stopping the recirc pump.

I believe that there is ANOTHER aquastat on the tank itself that controls the indirect temperature.

You don't want the timer to stop when the aquastat is satisfied...or when there is not a heat call. You might need to look at a schematic for your controls.
Agreed... You want constant power to the timer, so it should go before the aquastat.

Can you tell how the wiring is run? Is there 120VAC going to the pump box, and then the wires to the aquastat coming out of that? Sketch out a diagram maybe so we can better assist?
 
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Old 12-05-13, 04:56 PM
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There is one for the tank and one for the circ yes..

This is it with no cover I believe..





What I called the [control mod] is actually a 6 zone Taco Switching Relay. I popped it open, and noted the recirc system is actually wired right into the 120v relay feed--essentially bypassing anything in the box.
What I read here I assumed the aquastat went to the taco to control the circ...???
 
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Old 12-05-13, 05:21 PM
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What I called the [control mod] is actually a 6 zone Taco Switching Relay. I popped it open, and noted the recirc system is actually wired right into the 120v relay feed--essentially bypassing anything in the box.
What I read here I assumed the aquastat went to the taco to control the circ...???
I read that as saying that the 120VAC feed is just coming out and going to the recirc pump, not that the Taco panel has any control over it.
 
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Old 12-08-13, 08:26 AM
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There is one for the tank and one for the circ yes..

This is it with no cover I believe..
In the front of the tank about a foot off the floor there is what appears to be an aquastat with thermostat wires coming from it which go to the Taco panel.

I read that as saying that the 120VAC feed is just coming out and going to the recirc pump, not that the Taco panel has any control over it.
Correct.

Opening all the electrical covers to the circ and Taco panel, the 120v hot wires run directly to aqua stat, then to the circulator in the picture. While the hot 120VAC physically pass through the Taco panel and the circulator as in the picture, it makes no load connections at either.

The benefit of running the wires through the circulator pump is that it would be easy to wire a timer either before or after the aquastat, in any location. Is something like this suitable? Taco T265-1 00 Analog Timer - Amazon.com Most of these add-on circ timers also have a built-in aquastat, but do appear that they can run on one function or another.
 
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Old 12-08-13, 08:44 AM
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the 120v hot wires run directly to aqua stat, then to the circulator in the picture.
Then in that case, the easiest place to wire the timer would be next to the Taco panel. Break the 120VAC feed coming out of the Taco and run it into the timer, then out of the timer to the aquastat.

I think this Intermatic T101 would do the job... a bit overkill for a couple amp pump, but simple and reliable and not too $$$.

T101

Shop Intermatic 40-Amp Mechanical Residential Hardwired Lighting Timer at Lowes.com
 
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Old 12-09-13, 07:22 AM
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What about the one I linked to in #33?
 
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Old 12-09-13, 07:35 AM
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I honestly didn't look past the fact that it was almost twice the price of the T100...

I'll take a look later and see if it's suitable.
 
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Old 12-09-13, 06:59 PM
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Obie, regarding your propane usage... propane is awful, much worse than oil, at least every time I get numbers from other people. I'm in a similar sized house and in Nov 2012 we were going through $95 a week @ 3.14/gal. We just got our natural gas conversion done at the end of October and just got our November bill... $153. Even more so, we only kept the house at 62 on propane and keep it at 67 on the natural gas. So if you can get NG, get it!
 
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Old 12-09-13, 07:32 PM
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I just came from natural gas at my old house. It was roughly 1350 ft/sq with a FHA furnace...we rarely had a winter bill over $160 despite half the house having no insulation in the walls. Perhaps I'm just having trouble adjusting to the idea that $350/mo winter heating bills will be unavoidable, as I'm pretty sure there's no NG service on my street.

NJTrooper, sorry, I clicked on the T101 timer and saw that it was almost $200...for a quantity of four. I saw something similar at Home Depot today for around $40. That plus a few feet of 14/2 BX shouldn't put me out at all. I'll try to tackle it this weekend.
 
 

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