Improving Water Heater and Pressure

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Old 01-24-21, 10:59 AM
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Improving Water Heater and Pressure

Hey Guys,

I have a buddy with a ski house. It has "city" water, in that is is plumbed into the house under pressure. The association pulls from a private well, but for argument lets assume it behaves as a city supply.

His water heater looks old, and small (~50 gal). Problem is when the water supply feeds the tank at demand it is mixing in the supply of ~38F water (did I mention its a ski house on a mountain?). The system is also under pressured.

My thoughts were to increase the size of the WH to 60/80 and find something newer with dual elements. I can upgrade the electrical to spec with ease. We could then set at high temp and use a mixing valve to bring the water down to a more usable 120-130.

For the pressure, I was thinking he may benefit from a well-trol tank with a pressure booster pump to bump up the line pressure to something more "usable." Is this something that can be done? Is it possible to feed a small well pump with city supply to increase and hold water/pressure in a well-tank?

All help is appreciated.

Thanks,

Bryan
 
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Old 01-24-21, 11:12 AM
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Pressure has nothing to do with how fast the water heats.

You need more hot water reserve and faster recovery.
That means a bigger tank with larger elements.

You could add an "on demand" booster pump that only ran when required.
 
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Old 01-24-21, 11:26 AM
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Thanks for the reply PJmax!

I am aware we are dealing with two different issues. Heat, and pressure. I'm aware that the WH needs to be upgraded. The next question was if a mixing valve would help.

And then the 3rd was how to increase the pressure in the system.

I'll look more into booster pumps. Me experience is with residential well systems, submersible pumps, and bladder tanks, hence my inquiry into how to boost the pressure. Maybe this question is best posted in the well forum?
 
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Old 01-24-21, 11:37 AM
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So what is the house water pressure?

50 gal is not a small WH, being a "ski house" how much hot water is being used at any given time!

Doesn't make a lot of difference where you post, we read them all!
 
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Old 01-24-21, 01:12 PM
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23 PSI. Its a shared well, run through the HOA. Apparently the previous owner signed off on it, which transfers over to my buddy, the new owner. He basically bought the problem with the house. State regs, as I'm told is 30-45psi. He's at the top of the mountain. Not sure where the well is, above or below.

Problem with the shower is that is gets damn cold very fast. Its not like at 23 PSI we are moving much water. Two quick showers in the water is cold. Someone once told the previous owner the problem is because the return water is 35-38F as it enters the house in winter. So it quickly drops the temp in the WH as it fills. I don't know...???

I will verify that the T-Stat is set appropriately and then take output temp measurements. This doesn't add up in my mind...
 
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Old 01-24-21, 01:16 PM
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the return water is 35-38F as it enters the house in winter. So it quickly drops the temp in the WH as it fills. I don't know...???
Yes..... that is absolutely the problem. The larger the storage tank the less this is noticed.
Yes.... you should opt for a larger tank and heat the water hotter. Then use a mixing valve.
This will be costly but I guess it's expected in this scenario.

How is the house heated ?
Sometimes a pre-heat coil can be considered.
 
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Old 01-24-21, 01:35 PM
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Electric Heat... Yeah, I know...
 
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Old 01-24-21, 05:37 PM
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You mentioned finding something new with dual elements? Does the existing 50 gallon water heater just have one element?
 
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Old 01-24-21, 05:52 PM
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I'm not sure, but given how quickly it craps out, and the age of the unit by looks I wouldn't be surprised...
I'm having my friend confirm make/model, t-stat settings, and exit temp when he is next at the house... Probably next weekend.
 
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Old 01-25-21, 05:42 AM
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Inlet to WH should have a "drop tube" that routes cold water to the bottom of the tank. Maybe missing/damaged? Steve
 
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Old 01-25-21, 05:59 AM
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I would confirm that the existing water heater is working properly. Water entering the tank at 38f isn't that unusual and a 50 gallon tank should easily provide a good hot shower, especially at such low pressure. I would not be surprised if only one element in the heater is working.
 
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Old 01-25-21, 08:51 AM
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(copied from another forum)
If the incoming water is unusually cold you can run it through a few dozen feet of finned pipe dissected from hydronic baseboard radiators to preheat the water. Then the water heater will seemingly heat more water faster.

Mount the finned pipes on the wall or ceiling but out of reach of heads, arms, knees, etc.

The fastest heating tank style electric water heater for a 30 amp circuit has two 5500 watt elements. Less expensive models including some 50 to 60 gallon may have two 4500 watt elements.Except for a few industrial grade models that require two 30 amp circuits, all operate only one element at a time but over 20 gallon require two elements for proper operation.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 01-25-21 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 01-25-21, 10:23 AM
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to preheat the water.
Probably not much unless the room is very warm and also not much volume. Fin tube only works well in an enclosure.

A pre-heat tank at room temperature will provide a better buffer.
 
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Old 01-27-21, 07:23 AM
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I would not be surprised if only one element in the heater is working.
I would expect to find a bad lower element.
 
 

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