luck warm water to shower.... help!

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Old 03-01-09, 09:08 AM
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Cool luck warm water to shower.... help!

We are in the process of remodeling and I am doing the plumbing.

To make this really simple draw a T on a piece of paper. The vertical part of the T connects to the hot water heater and is 3/4" copper. The left side of the T is 3/4" copper that runs to the kitchen, a secondary bathroom and the laundry room. This side of the supply line is reduced to 1/2" at the kitchen sink and that 1/2" line feeds the remaining fixtures on this side of the T.

The right side of the T was immediately reduced to 1/2" and feed the main bathroom (shower and sink) only.

We are in the process of adding a new basement bathroom directly below the main bathroom and I was concerned that a 1/2" supply line would not be sufficient for both bathrooms. So I upgraded the 1/2" supply line to 3/4" and then broke off with 1/2" T fittings for the main shower and faucet and then again to the new shower and faucet.

So basically I have a straight 3/4" supply line from the hot water heater that has 4 T fittings (each 3/4" to 1/2") for each faucet and shower. I hope that makes sense.

The problem is that since doing this our main bath/shower is only getting warm water even with no other fixture on. Initially it is hot but then it drops down to luck warm and we can't seem to get it any hotter.

So the question is should I have only upgraded the supply line to 3/4" to the first fixture and then continued with 1/2" to the other fixtures?

Sorry for the long description... any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
 
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Old 03-01-09, 09:26 AM
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You're getting thermal expansion off the water heater, created by the heating of water.


Install the tee further away from the heater and that will solve the problem.

Not having a thermal expansion tank on that heater will always allow this reversal of flow.
 
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Old 03-01-09, 09:45 AM
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Thanks for the reply and the suggestion.

I just googled thermal expansion and think I understand what you are talking about. However I don't believe my system is closed as we are on a neighborhood well and I certainly don't have a backflow device inside my house. So not sure how this affects it and this wasn't a problem until yesterday when I added the plumbing for the new bathroom and sink. These aren't in use either by the way, we just roughed them in and waiting on drywall.

I upgraded the supply line to 3/4" over 2 months ago with no issues.

As far as moving the T this might be possible. I would have to come out of the water heater with a L fitting and then could use a T further down the line to re-attach everything.

I am not questioning moving the T would help but can you help me understand that? Moving it further away would make it harder to backflow is that the case?
 
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Old 03-01-09, 09:59 AM
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Walk into any home that has a water heater, after they just taken showers or used hot water for any reason, and with the water in a standstill position with no movement in the water, no leaks in the house,



put your hand on the cold water inlet of the water heater...it will be warm to the touch because that water is "growing" out of the tank because the water is expanding due to the water molecule activity. This mostly occurs after the water heater has cycled a heating pattern, and no water has been used. This is where in a closed system, having a PRV on the main line is useless because you can go right above the PRV's setting as a result of this added water pressure.


Perfect example; put water in a pot on a stove and put a lid on it. Turn the heat up and that lid will try to pop off when it gets hot enough.


IF I cut the water lines to a water heater immediately after the water heater has produced a ready-to-use cycle of hot water...


that water will continue to "grow" out of that tank for hours, even though there's no source of heat at that point.


Closed system or not; thermal expansion is created when you heat water....no two ways around that statement. The enforcement of a thermal expansion tank is necessary when a closed system is present.


On all remodels I did years ago, the bad move was always setting up tees near the water heater. Guaranteed complaint from the customer, I've been the fellow called in when this situation has created itself and the fix is moving the tees further away from the water heater.


The sizing of the water lines is irrevalent in regards to thermal expansion.
 
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Old 03-01-09, 10:17 AM
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Makes perfect sense and I will install a thermal expansion tank... end of story.

I can also move the T further down the line as well and start there. One more question if you don't mind.

I turned up the heat on the water heater which helped the situation but when I am in the shower and turn on the sink which is the first fixture in the line the hot water is directed there and it gets almost instantly cold in the shower. Is there a way to resolve this? Will moving the T off the heater help this situation as well?
 
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Old 03-01-09, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by bwendt View Post
Makes perfect sense and I will install a thermal expansion tank... end of story.

I can also move the T further down the line as well and start there. One more question if you don't mind.

I turned up the heat on the water heater which helped the situation but when I am in the shower and turn on the sink which is the first fixture in the line the hot water is directed there and it gets almost instantly cold in the shower. Is there a way to resolve this? Will moving the T off the heater help this situation as well?


Thermal Expansion tank is a good idea, but find out what your static line pressure is. The bladder pressure must match the static line pressure.

If your water pressure is high, anything over 60 and moving towards 80 is where problems start, most of those thermal expansion tanks you cannot precharge above 75psi.

It's best to get a pressure gauge and report back your findings.


On the matters of that shower valve and temperature settings,


I as a licensed plumber am not allowed to turn a thermostat up any higher than 120 degrees given the liability.

Your shower faucet if recently installed should be a pressure-balanced assembly to protect from fluctuations that cause these swift temperature changes.


What is the make and model of your faucet, and how many handles. No real way to fix your situation if it is not a pressure balanced valve.
 
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Old 03-01-09, 10:39 AM
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I can get a pressure gauge installed and will report back. This goes on the cold water side correct? I know at my dad's house he has a pressure regulator on their inlet line but I don't have one of these.

I have no idea on the faucet itself. It is at least 20 years old and looks to be pretty cheap so I doubt it has any adjustments. I know the new faucet I purchased for the basement bathroom does have adjustments. At some point we are also going to remodel the main bathroom so will replace at that point. If anyone needs a lime green tub or toilet I am your man!

Also a recommendation from another post on this same subject. The new faucet I installed in the basement is not in use and is in rough-in state. This basically means that the main value is not installed so the hot/cold lines are wide open to each other. This goes back to exactly what you were saying about the cold/hot water mixing.

I feel pretty dumb at this point, I am going to install the value and turn off the faucet or install some ball values on these lines.
 
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Old 03-01-09, 08:24 PM
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Just a thought here..You say that you just roughed in the plumbing for the bathroom.......Does this include a new shower valve??And if so are the nipples for the tub spout/shower head capped??This might simply be a case of flow through the shower valve if it is in the on position or if there is no cartridge in the body yet......
 
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Old 03-02-09, 07:32 AM
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sounds like a problem in that shower valve unless the sink also has the problem.

i have no clue what the other posters are talking about since it has nothing to do with your problem as far as i can see/understand.

your piping is pretty much the best way you could do it
 
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