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rcatty 01-06-2008 09:03 AM

hot water recirculating/sediment confusing problem
I have been in this house for 10 years. I am on a well, and have two hot water tanks set up to work in parallel. I am getting a sediment discharge in my hot water, only from my upstairs faucets and showers. The hot water tanks were extremly dirty and it took several drainings and flushings to clear most of the debris. Apparently, I have a recirculating system, as I notice copper pipes entering the drain valves at the bottom of the tank. I see no pumps anywhere on the system, nor have I heard anything "pumping" since I have been in this house. The recirculating pipes branch off in two opposite directions to either side of the house. The recirculating system seems to work fairly well on one side of the house (although lately nowhere as good as in the past). I see no positive results on the other side of the house, where I traced that circulating line. Indeed that side of the house, be it upstairs or downstairs, never showed any benefits of instant hot water.

The recirculating lines are very hot for about 10-15 feet as they join the bottom of the hot water tanks. I see no check valve anywhere. I suspect I am getting backflow up the recirculating pipes with hot water off the bottom of the tanks. Is it possible that sediment off the bottom of the tank could be pushed up to my second floor faucets via the recirculating lines causing the sediment discharge? The upstairs faucets in the master bathroom with the fastest hot water, discharge the most debris. However, in a second upstairs bathroom there is discharge from one sink faucet and the bathtub faucet (the instant hot water, if installed in both faucets works poorly, if at all). Interestingly, I see no discharge from the second sink faucet in that bathroom. A third bathroom upstairs discharges in a similar fashion to this latter bathroom, but the instant hot water appears to work (this is on the same side of the house as the master bathroom, and must feed off the same branch of that end of the recirculator. The other bathroom, that works poorly, if at all, is at the far end of the house and has a long (25-50 foot) horizontal run to the water heater. I don't see how that could work properly on a gravity based system ? In summary, how do I stop this sediment discharge, and secondarily, how do I fix my recirculating system on the other side of the house? Thank you

LawnGuyLandSparky 01-06-2008 03:51 PM

The recirculating lines should have check valves. Opening a faucet should not draw hot water from the bottom of the tank. These systems usually work off natural convection and need no pump.

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