LESLIE: It’s taking a long time for Bob in South Carolina to get his hot water. How can we help you?
BOB: Well, last spring I bought a home down here in Myrtle Beach and we love the place except there’s one thing that’s just driving me nuts.
BOB: We turn the hot water on in the kitchen and, like most places if you don’t have a, you know, constant flow, it’ll take a minute for the hot water to get there from the hot water heater. I can put with that but once I get the flow if I use it for a few minutes and, say, I turn the water off, it doesn’t have to be a minute and I turn it on again and it’s ice cold and I’m saying, “What happened to what’s in the pipe?”
TOM: Yeah, well you know, copper doesn’t make a very good insulator, Bob.
BOB: Well, it’s not even copper. We’re talking plastic pipe.
TOM: Plastic? Yeah, well that too. So it’s not going to stay warm for long.
TOM: You know, the farther the bathroom is away from the water heater the longer you have to wait. It’s a question of distance. What we’re seeing today in more and more newer homes is that we’re putting in multiple water heaters; typically using tankless water heaters because they’re smaller and they can be easily added to different areas of the house; doesn’t have to be centralized where all your HVAC equipment is and we’re shortening the distance that way. Now if you were to add a return loop that would sort of carry hot water back to the water heater, that’s a solution but it’s a real expensive one because you’re going to be heating water like crazy and it’s going to be costing you a lot of money to heat water that’s just circulating through pipes and not being used.
TOM: Bob, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.