Why do you sometimes have to wait a few seconds or longer until hot water comes out of your faucet? That’s a question we get from a lot of homeowners. People tend to think that it’s a problem with the water heater. Most of the time, however, the water heater is actually working fine. You really have to wait for hot water because of the distance from the water heater to the fixture you’re trying to operate.
In some cases you get hot water very quickly because the fixture is located close to the water heater. If the fixture is far away, the pipe running to the water heater has to be longer. The water sitting in the pipe will also cool down if the fixture hasn’t been used recently. You’ll have to wait for all that water to clear out of the pipe before hot water starts traveling to that particular fixture.
It’s even worse if you have a bathroom that’s over a crawlspace or concrete slab. The water pipes running under that area are surrounded by a cold environment. If it’s a crawlspace that isn’t insulated very well, the water will cool down much more quickly. During the wintertime that means the pipes will cool down just fifteen minutes after using hot water. You’ll have to run the water again for up to several minutes until you get hot water.
One thing that most people don’t realize is that they’re actually wasting water during this time. All that water running down the drain isn’t being used, of course. Everyone has to pay for the water one way or another. Even if you have a well, there’s an associated cost with using water. It could be through pump repairs, water treatment systems, or maintenance costs. If you have city/municipal water, there’s a direct cost in the form of a monthly water bill. You even have to pay the energy costs from your water heater. (Remember, you’re sending cold water into the system so it can be heated.)
Think of how much money you’ll save if you don’t have to wait as long for hot water. One of the solutions we recommend is to install a hot water recirculation system. We have a model that can be retrofitted into an existing home. We can install it in a home with an unfinished basement by physically running a pipe over to the fixture to recirculate the water.
The recirculation system has a pump on the water heater. It’s running on a timer or thermostat so that when the water cools down, it gets circulated back in the system. The benefit of doing that is you’re actually adding a lot of warmer water back into the water heater. Because hot water is very close whenever you decide to use the fixture, you’re not going to have to run water down the drain. These systems are very energy efficient and they ultimately save you money in the long run.
If you want to save money, conserve resources, and spend less time waiting for hot water, or give us a call at (540) 483-9382. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about installing a water recirculation system in your home.