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Old 04-11-2008, 01:08 PM   #1
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What phase are you in?


I've got a question that I have not been able to get an answer for, even from Alaskan electricians. I just finished building a house that has bathrooms far from the hot water storage tank. I also live in an area of Alaska that does not have drinkable water and so I therefore pay 9 cents per gallon to get water delivered. The problem is that, due to the fact that the bathrooms are so far from the hot water storage tank, the bathrooms waste a lot of expensive water while waiting for hot water to arrive on site. Because of this, I installed a hot water loop that connects all the baths together and provides hot water without wasting any, driven by an electric pump that is controlled by an electric switch in each bath and the kitchen. And that's where the problem comes in ... because I don't want the pump commanded by a switch but by a timer instead, so that it will turn itself off when the kids forget about it. The power to each timer comes from the 20 amp GFI circuit in each bath and then goes to the pump. If one timer is already on and then another timer in another bathroom calls for hot water and is also turned on, then the separate 20 amp GFI circuits contact each other at the pump. If I put the bath and kitchen circuits on the same electrical leg back at the main panel, the circuits will not blow ... but is it OK to do that? What if I sell my house and someone else changes circuit breaker locations and all hell breaks loose? What is the code on this? Can I do this or will I have to install some sort of relay? I'm pretty sure that there is no such thing as a 4-way timer switch. If at all possible, I don't want to have to give up my timers. It still zero here at the house today and this last thirty days my house has burned $1536 in fuel. These oil companies are killing me with their $4.00 per gallon oil. Thanks!

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Old 04-11-2008, 01:39 PM   #2
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What phase are you in?


Have you considered tankless hot water units at each sink or between the two sinks? They can run on electricity or gas, whatever you have available.

http://www.tanklesswaterheatersdirect.com/

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Old 04-11-2008, 03:34 PM   #3
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What phase are you in?


The circulating pump should be on one circuit with switch lines running to each bathroom. You should not be cross connecting different circuits for any reason.
Actually the pump being outside the bathroom probably is not allowed to be on the bathrooom circuit especially since it sevices more than just the bathroom. If you had a separate pump for each bath and kitchen then it might be OK.

Last edited by joed; 04-11-2008 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 04-11-2008, 03:40 PM   #4
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What phase are you in?


Let me start by saying that I have no valuable input.

That being said, I just want to say that I find it humorous that the OP has internet, but has to have drinking water delivered!

What a society we live in where more people have internet than water!

(It's not intended in any way as a slam on the OP... just thought it was funny)
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Old 04-11-2008, 05:08 PM   #5
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What phase are you in?


what would be even more practical would be an aquastat (thermostat for water) at the endo of the loop as it comes back to the water heater. What that causes is; if the water at the aquastat is too cool, the pump will run until the hot water gets back to the aquastat. It then shuts off. When the water in the line cools to the point below you set, it will run again until hot water reaches the aquastat again.

This way, the loop is maintained with hot water and you have hot water at the faucets all the time.

This also alleviates the problems you are attempting to address and any code problems it may cause.

Now, if you believe it will waste heat during the night or other times you know you will not be occupying the house for lengthy periods of time, you can control all of this with a timer that will alllow the system to work only during the times you feel it is neccessary.
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Old 04-11-2008, 05:09 PM   #6
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What phase are you in?


MAybe the OP lives on permafrost?
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Old 04-11-2008, 05:13 PM   #7
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What phase are you in?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
The circulating pump should be on one circuit with switch lines running to each bathroom. You should not be cross connecting different circuits for any reason.
Actually the pump being outside the bathroom probably is not allowed to be on the bathrooom circuit especially since it sevices more than just the bathroom. If you had a separate pump for each bath and kitchen then it might be OK.
Thanks joed! I never thought to run a brand new circuit as a way to solve the problem. I kept thinking that I could solve the problem with what I had already. Since it terminates in baths and a kitchen, I assume the new circuit must also be a 20 amp GFI circuit? It will be way easier and cheaper to run a new electrical circuit than to manifold in a bunch of pumps back at the hot water storage tank! I appreciate your help, knowledge, and clear reason. Thanks, Clyde
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Old 04-11-2008, 05:29 PM   #8
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What phase are you in?


Quote:
Originally Posted by nap View Post
what would be even more practical would be an aquastat (thermostat for water) at the endo of the loop as it comes back to the water heater. What that causes is; if the water at the aquastat is too cool, the pump will run until the hot water gets back to the aquastat. It then shuts off. When the water in the line cools to the point below you set, it will run again until hot water reaches the aquastat again.

This way, the loop is maintained with hot water and you have hot water at the faucets all the time.

This also alleviates the problems you are attempting to address and any code problems it may cause.

Now, if you believe it will waste heat during the night or other times you know you will not be occupying the house for lengthy periods of time, you can control all of this with a timer that will alllow the system to work only during the times you feel it is neccessary.
Thanks, Cowboy. I appreciate your very clear and practical answer ... and I may very well be forced to go that route. Your answer, although not what I was looking for, does cover all the basses and also solves all the problems in a brilliantly simple way. Thanks, Clyde
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Old 04-11-2008, 06:07 PM   #9
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What phase are you in?


Since this is not a receptacle in the kitchen or bathroom I don't believe it needs be GFCI or 20 amp. It doesn't even need to be dedicated but it can't be on the bath or kitchen receptacle circuits. It could be on a lighting or basement general purpose circuit.
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Old 04-11-2008, 06:56 PM   #10
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What phase are you in?


Thanks, Joed, for all your knowledge and expertise. By the time I got your email, I'd already run another circuit .. and now you go and save me another $60 on the GFI circuit I don't need! You are greater than great! Clyde
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Old 04-11-2008, 07:21 PM   #11
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What phase are you in?


Quote:
Originally Posted by CBarnebey View Post
Thanks, Cowboy. I appreciate your very clear and practical answer ... and I may very well be forced to go that route. Your answer, although not what I was looking for, does cover all the basses and also solves all the problems in a brilliantly simple way. Thanks, Clyde
this is how it is done in many commercial buildings.
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Old 04-11-2008, 08:20 PM   #12
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What phase are you in?


Quote:
is it OK to do that
No.

Why can't you power the pump/timers from ONE circuit?






If you have access, and if your water pipes are above the ceiling, run a hot water line from the farthest bathroom back to the HWH and connect it to the drain at the bottom of the tank.

The repipe plumbers here use to do it and claimed it would recirculate hot water without a pump.

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