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Old 02-12-2010, 03:24 PM   #1
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Hot Water Circulation Question


I have a hot water circulation system that works fine when the circulator pump is running. When the pump is not running we do not get hot water to the faucets. Is this notmal for a curculation system? Even if I turn the return line valve off I don't get hot water to the faucets. Any insight would be appreciated.

This is how the system is set up.


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Old 02-12-2010, 03:49 PM   #2
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Hot Water Circulation Question


To me this diagram looks like it is for radiant heat. A thermostat through a relay would turn on or off the pump. For drinking and washing water you normally bring in pressurized cold water from the city or a well. No pumps are required.

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Old 02-12-2010, 06:26 PM   #3
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To me this diagram looks like it is for radiant heat. A thermostat through a relay would turn on or off the pump. For drinking and washing water you normally bring in pressurized cold water from the city or a well. No pumps are required.
Thats how we normally hook up recirc systems....

I'm confused that the pump is off. The point of a recirc system is to circulate hot water from the tank completely around the entire loop. If the pump is off, the water in the line is cooling off and henceforth you will get cold water until the warm water is drawn through the lines from the water heater again. Why does the pump turn off?
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:20 PM   #4
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Hot Water Circulation Question


Is cold water coming out of the hot faucet, or is the faucet completely dead?
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:04 PM   #5
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Hot Water Circulation Question


Thanks for the replys. I have the circulation pump on a simple timer just so it's not running 24/7. Someone told me the constant curculation is not good for the longevity of the copper. Any opinion on that?

The problem is that if I get up real early for a trip or something and I forget to manually turn the pump on I will get no hot water in the shower of sinks.

There is flow but no hot water. I would think that if the pump is off I should still get hot water after waiting for it to come down the line.

Thanks.
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:07 PM   #6
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Hot Water Circulation Question


How long are you waiting? 15 seconds, 45 seconds, 1 minute?
Might not be waiting long enough.

Could be the wrong check valve is used in the return line. And that cold water is traveling back through the return line.
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:28 PM   #7
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Hot Water Circulation Question


Beenthere - I was thinking the same think about one of the check valves being bad. Look at the picture below. This is a check valve right? This is the one on the return line. The same valve is on the cold water side.

I've waited well over 5 minutes for the hot water by the way.

Thanks

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Old 02-12-2010, 11:34 PM   #8
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Hot Water Circulation Question


Yes, that is a swing check.
Its not installed right, so it may not be closing.

The tower should be straight up.
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:44 PM   #9
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The tower should be straight up
Well, if thats the case then both of the swing checks are installed incorrectly. I guess the plumber put them in sideways so that the shutoff lever would clear the swing valve. That sucks but makes since. I guess I will try to sweat them off and redoo it properly. Should I use a different kind of check valve or is the swing check the proper type to use?

Thanks
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Old 02-13-2010, 05:38 AM   #10
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Hot Water Circulation Question


Swing check is fine.

Just need to be installed right.
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Old 02-13-2010, 08:23 AM   #11
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Hot Water Circulation Question


You said you turned off the valve on the return line for test purposes. This way how long does it take to get hot water?
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Old 02-13-2010, 08:47 AM   #12
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Hot Water Circulation Question


Is this a new problem or has it existed for a while and your just getting around to it??

I agree with Alan a recir system should be on all the time or you are defeating the purpose of having one.

With that said if you want it on a timer I would only have it off late evening till real early morning just a couple hours a day.

I do not believe you will wear out the copper it should be such a low flow, or will you save money shutting it down.

It's there for convenience just use it for that.

Last edited by SULTINI; 02-13-2010 at 08:50 AM. Reason: changed spelling
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Old 02-13-2010, 09:52 AM   #13
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Hot Water Circulation Question


This issue has always been the case. The main reason it bugs me is that if the circulator pump ever goes out I will be without hot water until it gets replaced. I still do not understand why with the return line shut off I do not get hot water even after waiting a very long time. Could the return line have been plumbed wrong?
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Old 02-13-2010, 12:11 PM   #14
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Hot Water Circulation Question


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Originally Posted by westtx28 View Post
This issue has always been the case. The main reason it bugs me is that if the circulator pump ever goes out I will be without hot water until it gets replaced. I still do not understand why with the return line shut off I do not get hot water even after waiting a very long time. Could the return line have been plumbed wrong?
The problem with a recirc system and not having a pump on it is that your hot water line is plumbed in a loop, rather than direct line from point A to point B. Depending on which fixture you use, you should be able to get hot water a little more quickly than at others.

Do you have a 2 story house? In that case, it wouldn't only be a loop around the house, but also up the walls where your upstairs fixtures are at. You could have 300 feet of 3/4" hot water line in your house and it will take a long time to clear the cold out of there through a single faucet.

Turn 3 or 4 hot fixtures on at once, you should be able to get hot out of them.
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Old 02-13-2010, 02:10 PM   #15
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Hot Water Circulation Question


westtx28
In you first post you stated that even with the return valve closed you still get no hot water.

What that tells me is you isolated the recir system and you are still having problems , so here's what you should do.

1. Shut the recir pump off .

2. close all recir valves.

3. make sure cold water inlet valve is open all the way.

4. Now trouble shoot the system like the recir system was not even there.

5.When you find the problem and fix it then turn the recir system back on.

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