Hot water quicker to vanity


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Old 04-10-24, 07:10 AM
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Question Hot water quicker to vanity

The 1/2" copper pipes in our basement are insulated and distribute hot water from our water heater to a vanity sink in a guest bathroom; that's about 75' away from the water heater. The bathroom is not used much, so when we do turn on the hot water faucet at the vanity we have to let the (cooled down) water run for a minute or two before the hot water reaches the faucet. (Not a big deal, but it seems like a waste of water and is annoying....especially in winter).

Is there a simple, inexpensive way to maintain at least a warm temperature at the faucet without having to let the hot water run for a minute or two? Other than a "no freeze"/winter heat tape, is there some kind of heat tape or other device made that can be set to automatically maintain at least a warm water temperature at the vanity at all times?
 
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Old 04-10-24, 07:26 AM
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Normally this is done by recirculating the hot water. A loop in the hot water piping is installed from the furthest point in the house back to near the water heater. A pump then circulates the water so hot water is available near each fixture. The systems work but they can waste a fair bit of energy since the hot water pipes essentially become radiators.

You could use a heat tape though many have a thermostat that turns off at about 45f. You might get some warming in winter but probably nothing during summer.

Another option is to disconnect that fixture from the main hot water system and install a small tankless water heater under the sink or nearby. This would require running a dedicated electric circuit.
 
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Old 04-10-24, 08:31 AM
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Thank you very much. I was afraid of that, as a nearby friend had such a loop installed in his home and received quite a bill when it came time for him to change his water heater. I guess we'll just have to be patient and, for the relatively infrequent use that our guest bathroom sees, let the water run for a minute or two. (I feel rather guilty doing that when I think of people around the world who value every drop of water they can collect). Again, thanks for the quick and excellent response.
 
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Old 04-10-24, 09:08 AM
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It is tough when your options are wasting energy or wasting water.
 
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Old 04-11-24, 10:25 AM
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It is tough when your options are wasting energy or wasting water.
My intention is to save water but still provide "instant" hot water at shower locations. I think water is a more valuable resource than energy. My hot water is heated indirectly from my gas-fired heating boiler and is energy efficient.

A year or so ago I installed a recirculating pump at the hot water heater and a thermostatic crossover valve below my third floor bathroom sink in order to run less water in the shower at startup. It pumps hot water up to the valve and returns water back down the cold water pipe to the HW tank until the water warms up at the valve. Then the valve closes until the water cools. One problem with that arrangement is that the cold water at the sink can start out warm--not so good for drinking.

I am currently having my second floor bathroom renovated and I wanted to avoid the same problem there by locating the crossover valve at the shower control and away from the sink. The plumber suggested running a recirculating pipe instead and I agreed. Although the two bathrooms are stacked, they are fed by separate risers installed at different times and recirculating in one will not also provide "instant" hot water to the other. The third floor shower piping is currently accessible in the second floor ceiling so a separate recirculating pipe is being installed for that and the crossover valve is being removed.

After the renovations are complete we will be moving our bedroom (and laundry) to the second floor and the third floor will get little use. The plumber is installing valves on each recirculating pipe at the water heater so the third floor return can be closed to save energy when not being used for long periods.
 
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Old 04-12-24, 09:34 AM
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Install small instant water heater vanity won't use much
 
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Old 04-12-24, 12:22 PM
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You might consider a point of use electric water heater. They are relatively inexpensive and since it sounds like it would be used infrequently it might not be too expensive.

One of the benefits of being on a well and living in an area that averages 50" of rainfall annually. I never worry about wasting water. The "used" water ends up right where it started.
 
 

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