Since moving our plumbing service business to Lees Summit, Missouri we’ve tried to downsize our home. Since the business is run out of our home a lot of organization has gone into it. The first of many upgrades to the smaller house I made was to upgrade the water heating system.
I’ve never been a fan of large water heaters. They tend to be a lot of unnecessary upfront expense. And I don’t feel there’s enough value to justify it. I prefer a dual standard tank style water heating system. It’s simple. And if there’s ever a need for maintenance and I’m not around my wife can find help easily.
Dual water heater installation
Installing the dual State 40 gallon natural gas water heating system was pretty straight forward. I opted to install it with both hot and cold water shutoffs in a parallel piping configuration. This allows for hot water to be drawn from both tanks at the same time equally. It also allows us to shut off one water heater in the case of tank failure without losing hot water.
Hot water recirculating options
The next project was installing a hot water loop. I’ve installed hot water recirculating loops before that involved a pump. Some were installed at the time of the home being built. This allows for a pipe to be run to the furthest fixture. But these use a lot of electricity.
And some were retrofitted. They needed special bimetal connectors that cross connect the hot and cold water pipes. But these needed maintenance every few years. They also introduce a little warm water to the cold water side of a plumbing fixture.
I wanted a maintenance free option that was good for the environment. I also wanted a hot water heat loop my wife wouldn’t have problems with if I wasn’t around. So I installed a thermosyphon.
A thermosyphon is a gravity heat loop. I just like saying thermosyphon. I feel smart when I do. But it’s pretty simple. A thermosyphon is a passive hot water recirculating pipe using convection. A hot water pipe is connected to the bottom of the water heater. It’s then connected to the point in your home that you want instant hot water. In our case it was the kitchen sink.
After running the extra pipe you insulate the whole pipe except for the last 15 feet closest to the bottom of the water heater. Then insulate all the hot water pipe starting at the top of the water heater and ending at the fixture. This will create a situation in which all the hot water pipes in that loop will be hot except that last 15 feet. Since cold water is heavier than hot water, the cold water will fall to the bottom of the water heater. This will push the hot water toward the fixture in the loop. Once the “engine” is started it will run continually.
Benefits of the thermosyphon
The results are instant hot water at our kitchen faucet. We can now turn on our dishwasher and know that it’s hot water cleaning our dishes and not the cooled water that’s in the hot water line due to no recent use. We use a lot less water since we don’t let it run until it’s hot. And there’s no pump. I don’t know the exact figures but I’m sure that the savings on water more than makes up for the extra hot water heating due to the uninsulated section of the heat loop and constant heating of hot water.
Not everyone is a candidate for a thermosyphon. If you have no basement or don’t have enough access to your water pipes, you’ll have to be happy with a hot water recirculating pump. But there are options. There will be more about this on my website plumbing services page later.
Lees Summit hot water recirculating systems
For now, I’ll just say that Lees Summit has been very good to my family and my business. And I’m very grateful. I look forward to serving my plumbing customers and neighbors. And hopefully can offer this new hot water recirculating service to them. For more information about our water heater services go to our water heater services page or water heater DIY page under water heaters.