Three minutes never seems as long as it does when you’re standing in the bathroom at 6:00 AM with your hand outstretched into the icy waterfall that will not soon enough be your hot morning shower. If you have a slow water heating system in your house, then you know this routine. And you’re not alone – the average American household wastes 40 gallons of water per day.  At 14,600 gallons per year, this adds up!  It has a negative effect on the environment and puts a dent in your utility budget.

So is it Worth Calling a Plumber to Take Care of your Slow Water Problem? First, let’s look at why this happens

When you finish your shower, bath, face exfoliating session or otherwise hot water-utilizing activity, you turn a handle to shut the valve and stop the hot water from running. While the water stops pumping from your water heater to the exit point, nothing is pumping the excess water back into the hot water tank. While it sits in the pipes waiting to be used, it cools off. When you go back for hot water a few hours later, the newly heated water has to be pushed through the pipes and cannot exit until the cold water has been pushed out by the hot water.

So What are your Options?

Installing a tankless water heater, or on demand water heater, is often the first thing that comes to mind when a person gets fed up with their slow-to-move water-heating routine, but many plumbing companies, as well as consumers, will tell you that these devices are overpriced and disappointing. Instead of this option, consider some more feasible alternatives:

tankless water heater1. Install a Pump that Operates on a Temperature Sensor

What’s happening right now is that your water heater decides when to kick on based on the temperature and fullness of its hot water tank. The disconnect between your tank and your hot water device is causing your long wait time for the hot water. Instead of using this centralized system, have one of your local plumbing companies install a hot water pump that operates on a remote temperature sensor that is placed at the bathroom sink that is furthest from the heater.

2. Install a Recirculation Pump

For a couple thousand dollars, you can install a recirculation loop, or booster pump, in your home, decreasing your wait time by 60% to 80%.   The way this works is that the pump has two water lines –a hot water line and a cold water line – as opposed to one. When you are done with your hot water routine, the excess hot water is redirected from the pipes back to the water heater via the cold water line. To maximize efficiency when using a recirculation pump, install it between the water heater and the furthest fixture. If you can, insulate all the hot water lines, as well.

3. Water Heater Installation or Relocation

Depending on your particular situation, the answer to this slow water mystery might simply be to relocate your water hear so that it is closer to the point of use. This is your best option, for example, if you only have only 1 device in your house with which you frequently use hot water – such as a master bedroom in a house where only one couple resides. In other cases, installing a second water heater might give you the most bang for your buck.

If you’re still having cold water run too long, reach out to your local professional plumber at Shepherds Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning for expert advice!

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