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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Holladay, UT
    Posts
    556

    Talking Recirculating Pump

    This was not during a paid inspection but the other day I saw a recirculating pump hooked up to the drain at bottom of water heater. Is this allowed and if it is how would you drain your water heater if needed. I would appreciate any feedback on this. Thank You.

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    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
    Posts
    5,827

    Default Re: Recirculating Pump

    That sounds like a retro fit pump on a system that was not built with a return line when the home was built. The best type is one that has a return line that returns the water to the cold water line. This would then leave the drain port open for use.

    As for draining the WH. Folks still do that? Honestly I have never drained a water heater in any of the homes I have owned over the past 25 years. Never had a problem with sediment building up and my gas water heaters have been lasting about 12-15 years before they need to be replaced. I know that some folks swear by draining water heaters every year, I just have not seen the need to do it.

    I guess if you ever did need to drain a WH that has a recirculating pump on it you could just disconnect it.

    This is a diagram of a typical system that you are talking about.

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    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 02-17-2008 at 09:07 AM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    375

    Default Re: Recirculating Pump

    Tom,

    I ran into a similar set-up this week. The circulator (a Taco Brand Model 003) was installed on the sill cock drain of the water heater. The plumber had installed a T-fitting so that the drain could still function. This seems to be in accordance (as an option) with this document that I found at the Taco website. Hope this helps.

    http://www.taco-hvac.com/uploads/Fil...ry/102-100.pdf

    Eric


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    375

    Default Re: Recirculating Pump

    I didn't realize scott had posted that drawing. It is very similar to the install drawing in the PDF.

    Eric


  5. #5
    Joshua Hardesty's Avatar
    Joshua Hardesty Guest

    Default Re: Recirculating Pump

    Whenever I've needed to install a return line through the drain port of a heater, I've always done it with a tee -- one side goes to the heater, one side comes from the recirc line, and the other goes to a drain. I don't know if it's allowed your way or not, but were to come across a setup like that I'd be very worried about swapping the heater out and not making a big mess without being able to drain the water through a garden hose out of the house.


  6. #6
    Mark Jones's Avatar
    Mark Jones Guest

    Default Re: Recirculating Pump

    I've done them both ways, but it seems to make more sense to return the warm circulating water straight into the bottom of the tank, rather than to lift it to the top of the tank, and then push it back down through the cold dip tube. (minor detail )

    I always use a 3/4" T as well, because as Joshua said, it's easier to drain the tank with a hose than with buckets when it's time for replacement!


  7. #7
    Tony Lippell's Avatar
    Tony Lippell Guest

    Default Re: Recirculating Pump

    I recommend a Hot Water Lobster instant hot water valve over any other recirculation system! I've had recirculation systems in my homes for over 8 years now. They've saved me a lot of time and money, but pump systems always caused me problems. I went through 3 pumps over the first 5 years! They were costly, noisy, and didn't last long enough.

    I did some research and found the Hot Water Lobster that is pump free, creates no noise, and uses no electricity! Itís has a valve that automatically opens and closes based on your desired temperature setting. The Hot Water Lobster is only $179.95, has a 10-year warranty, and is very easy to install. It only took me 10 minutes. I bought one for my home and another for my cottage. It is great that I can keep my furnace off at the cottage during winter and not worry about my pipes freezing! I've had both units for 3 years now and am very impressed.

    Here's they're site:

    www.hotwaterlobster.com


  8. #8
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: Recirculating Pump

    That is part of a design that keeps "warm-hot" water in a circulation path a long distance for the W/H. You don't have to wait for the cold water to clear out of the lines at the "distant" bathrooms.

    I did a 5500 s.f. home today that had two 50gal ganged W/Hs and a Taco recirculation pump that kept warm water at the most distant bath sink/tub in the home.

    Common in the larger/'spensive homes.


  9. #9
    Joshua Hardesty's Avatar
    Joshua Hardesty Guest

    Default Re: Recirculating Pump

    Yeah, I did a 10bath/4 story home recently with two 75gal heaters in the crawlspace with a recirculation system. We get a call about 9 months later saying hot water takes forever to get to the fourth floor bathrooms. We go over to see what's wrong and the electrician never wired the pumps. 8|


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