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Water Takes Too Long to Heat

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Hopefully we can help Patrick in Mississippi get rid of those cold showers.

    Patrick, what’s going on with your hot water heater?

    PATRICK: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the hot water heater in particular. It’s just whether it works out. It just takes forever for hot water to get from the heater that’s in the attic or, you know, I’ve got a (inaudible) floor building, house, home.

    TOM: Right.

    PATRICK: And it’s in the attic and it just takes forever, I guess, to get it either to the kitchen sink or even into a shower or anything. And I was just wondering if there’s any way to speed that up at all.

    TOM: Well, there is but there’s an energy cost. It’s possible to have your domestic water set up so that there’s a return loop so that you have water always flowing to each fixture and then back to the water heater. The problem with that is your water heater is going to run a lot more frequently because it’s always going to be cooling down as you bring that cold water return loop back. So it’s a tradeoff between wasting a lot of water just to get the hot water up to the faucet or paying more in energy cost because you have a domestic hot water loop that’s constantly being reheated. You understand?

    PATRICK: Yeah. Well, let me ask you a question. I know there’s – somebody told me about two other options. One is those little instant heaters you can attach to a line.

    TOM: Well, an inline heater but – like for example, in the kitchen – I think you’re talking about Instant Hot which is used for tea and things like that.

    PATRICK: Well, I don’t know whether – yeah, I guess. Somebody told me you can go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and buy these things that would – as the water comes to the – you just hook up the cold line to it and this way it’ll heat up the water for you so it doesn’t have to even draw hot water from the …

    TOM: Well, that’s a different form of water heater. Yeah, that’s a different kind of water heater. But the same issue applies.  Now, if it’s closer to the fixtures, it’s going to take less time to get there. But that’s really the two options.

    PATRICK: OK. So would it be, you think, cost efficient maybe to put a small hot water heater somewhere else in the …?

    TOM: If you can split the zones up so that you have, say – I don’t know if it’s a two-story house but say you had second floor on a water heater that was in the attic and the first floor on a water heater that was in the basement, it would take less time for those fixtures to get hot. But again, remember, now you’re paying for the energy it takes to run two water heaters.

    PATRICK: Well, I was thinking maybe just in the kitchen, maybe somewhere near the sink; put a small hot water heater up there for the dishwasher and anything else in that area.

    TOM: You could do that. That’s kind of like what you would do if you had a small office. You’d have a small water heater just for the office.

    PATRICK: And I haven’t looked into that. How cost efficient, I mean as far as hot water …?

    TOM: Well, let me put it to you this way. The cost of buying that water heater and paying to run it is going to be more than the cost of buying the water that you’re wasting with just the single water heater. OK? It’s not going to save you money but if you really are bugged by the fact that you’ve got to wait so long for the hot water (Patrick chuckles), then it’s OK to buy it; we’ll give you permission. OK?

    PATRICK: (chuckles) OK, I appreciate it.

    TOM: Alright, Patrick. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

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