- This topic has 15 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 17 years, 9 months ago by Crankshaft.
7 Dec 2005 at 1:35 am #277728william Leland
I’m new to the board, been doing a lot of reading, now I need to ask your opinion. This could be a novel so I’ll avoid that by keeping this as direct as possible.
I had an addition added onto my house. We just finished a few weeks ago. The additon included a new laundry room, half bathroom, master bedroom, master closet and master bathroom. The original house and the addition are on a slab.
We specified the fixtures we wanted for the bathroom in the contract but the builder or his plumber never inspected the existing plumbing and hot water tank to see if it would meet the requirements of the fixtures we wanted.
Plumber tied the new additions plumbing into the hot and cold connections of an existing sink. He used ball valves and copper lines. The lines from the sink go through a wall, behind the stairs, down another wall and into a manifold in the floor. None of these pipes are accessible now, all are hidden by drywall (including the manifold).
The pipe run from the manifold to the shower is about 20 to 25 feet. The sinks are a bit closer, the tub about the same distance as the sink. The laundry tub is closest to the manifold. The half bath is farther away but on a different circuit (it’s hooked to the lines from an old bathroom that was removed).
At our kitchen sink we can get the hot water temp up to 120 degrees. At the sink at which the addition is hooked up we can get 120 degrees, the laundry tub maxes out at 113 degrees, the master bath sinks top out at 106 to 108 degrees and the shower won’t go above 102 degrees.
The weird part is that we can get 120 degrees for a short while at the tub.
Taking a luke warm shower is getting old and no fun.
We do have a 40 gallon hot water tank which will be replaced by a 75 gallon tank soon. That is to help with filling up the large master bath whirlpool tub.
None of the hotwater lines in the slab were insulated before concrete was poured. Some have said they should have been, others say no need to.
My builder says it’s not his problem. He said we should have known what we needed when we specified the fixtures we did. He won’t pay for the bigger tank or offer any other fixes for the lack of hot water.
I have been told to get and install a hot water recirculating pump. Would this and a large hot water tank fix the problem? Is there a bigger problem that’s going to bite me later on down the road??
Any thoughts and insights are greatly appreciated. My wife and I are not very happy after all the money we spent and we can’t use the tub or take a decent hot shower.
7 Dec 2005 at 10:52 am #296994Retired plbg1Participant
Sounds like when they connected into the sink they connected into 1/2″ pipe, that means all of the Plumbing is on 1/2″ pipe.You dont have the vol. of water for that many fix. You can buy small pumps that ciculate the hw, go to local suppluhouse and check them out are get on the net they have drawings and show you how they hook up. Did you have the job inspected by the Plumbing insp. Let me know.
Art retired plbg
7 Dec 2005 at 11:26 am #296995CrankshaftParticipant
Yep, it’s 1/2 to 1/2 pipe.
Are you referring to the hot water recirculating pumps? Won’t that get the hot water to the faucets faster but not hotter? I’m going to have to put a bigger tank in but I’m not sure that will help. Are there any pumps that are better than others?
Yes. the city did inspect it before the slab was poured. It passed somehow.
7 Dec 2005 at 7:31 pm #296996PLUMBILLParticipant
It sounds like you live in a cold area as I do, some plumbing codes don’t require the hot water pipes under slabs to be insulated for one & two family homes however; it’s a good idea.
A Autocirc pump could help, but first have you tried turning up the water heater it can do wonders, also was the job inspected by the plumbing inspector?
7 Dec 2005 at 7:50 pm #296997CrankshaftParticipant
We’re in NE Ohio.
None of the pipes were insulated except where they come out of the slab. Even at those points the plumber cut most of the insulation back to the slab.
We can’t turn up the tank any more because it’s already giving us 120 degree water at all the other fixtures. I don’t want anyone to get scalded.
The job was inspected 3 times. before the slab was poured, rough in and final. The only thing the city says that might help us is an ordinance that requires the shower hot water temperature be 110 degrees minimum. Other than that, the city says it
s between me and the contractor.
7 Dec 2005 at 10:34 pm #296998PLUMBILLParticipant
Turn your water heater up, your water needs to be hotter, at 120 it will take longer then 5 minutes to burn you.
7 Dec 2005 at 11:57 pm #296999CrankshaftParticipant
What temperature should I end up setting the tank to?
8 Dec 2005 at 1:27 am #297000SelgasParticipant
Down here we set all storage water heaters at 55 dgrees C – I think in your case that would be very close to 135 degrees F.
This is law here to prevent the growth Legionella’s bacteria in stored warm/hot water, I am surpirsed that it is not the same law where you are.
If you feel that 135 degrees F is way too hot at certain fixtures a tempering valve can be fitted to overcome that problem yet allow higher temps at other outlets.
From your descriptive information you have provided I suspect that without seeing the detail that the sizing of the water piping in your addition is undersized for the outlets connected and the flow required to operate the faucets. This is not a simple fix – it really means that the pipework has to be increased in diameter to allow a better flow, insulation will greatly assist with minimising the heat loss from unwrapped pipework.
Selgas Services Ltd
Craftsman Gasfitters, Plumbers, Electrical Service Technicians
8 Dec 2005 at 2:44 am #297001wgptroyParticipant
Based on your description of the problem….there will be some heat loss through the copper pipes over that distance, but after running the water for a couple minutes it should stabilize as long as you have plenty of storage in the water heater. Upsizing the heater will help supply the needed gallons, but the temps should remain about the same.
If you have a single handle shower control, check to see if it has a temprature limiting device. Most have simple devices that limit the travel of the control/handle towards the hot setting. Most of the time, these come from the factory at a setting which is less than “hot”. Hopefully the faucet manual did not get thrown away…..it should have information about how to adjust the limiting device if it indeed has one. Again, this applies to single handle controls.
Thats the simple thing to look for……now to get more complicated. Many shower and tub valves today are not only temperature limiting, but also pressure balancing. The balancing mechanism is an internal mechanism which can sometimes become fouled when debris that may be in the pipes is flushed through the lines when the water is turned on for the first time. This can sometimes cause the hot and cold water to mix at the control valve even if the faucet is not on at the time.
I suggest getting a plumber to look into these possibilities, but if you do it yourself, dont forget to turn the water off before you start taking things apart or you may get a shower you wont forget……lol……Some configurations are quite complicated to put back together if you are not familiar with the way the parts fit. Pay close attention to how the parts are arranged.
If you cant find a manual for the faucets you have installed, it should be easy to come up with something online, or maybe at the supply house where it came from.
Be sure to let us know what you found out about this problem.
Troy’s Plumbing Proverb #1: Do it yourself plumbing is fun as long as things go like you assume they should.
Troy’s Plumbing Proverb #2: Never assume.
8 Dec 2005 at 10:27 pm #297002CrankshaftParticipant
Now it sounds like we’re getting somewhere. So now I’m thinking bigger tank, higher temperature, tempering valves and a recirculating pump.
I’m looking at getting a Bradford White 75 gallon power vent tank. Any pros or cons to these? Any others I should consider?
I’m also looking at the Redytemp recirculation pump. Good or bad?
Who makes a good tempering valve??
12 Dec 2005 at 3:23 am #297003nicktheplumberParticipant
Your main problem is that your addition circuit is supplied by 1/2″ pipe taken of the end-run to a sink, which is inadeqauate to supply the flow rate (gallons/minute) required by your additional fixtures. To do this job right, your builder should have had at least 3/4″ from the water heater and split that to the new addition and your pre-existing plumbing. Yes, you can raise the thermostat to try to get hotter water to your addition, but you will waste energy and stress your water heater. The job should have been done right to begin with. Now, apparently, it’s all covered up and will cost mucho bucks to repair. How did it pass inspection in the first place?
17 Dec 2005 at 2:37 am #297004CrankshaftParticipant
It passed inspection because, as the inspector said, they looked for code violations not functionality. It doesn’t make sense to me.
I had a plumber out today. I got him through several referrals. He couldn’t believe what they did. This is what he’s suggesting we do.
Install a new 50 gallon gas hot water tank to replace the 40 gallon tank.
Then install a 50 gallon electric tank in the laundry room of the additon. He said that he would take the hot line to the addition, cut it and put it into the cold connection on the electric tank. Then from the hot side back into the addition plumbing. He said that the gas hot water tank would fill the electric tank and then it would maintain the temperature instead of trying to heat the water. That would save me on my electric bill. He said I wouldn’t need a recirculating pump or tempering valves.
How does this fix sound? My elelctric system will handle the smaller tanks.
17 Dec 2005 at 8:45 am #297005SelgasParticipant
Perhaps I am missing something here or else I plain can’t follow the ;proceedings to date. I thought your original post was concerned with the FLOW and the temperature of the the water in your addition?? This being the case the last post you made suggested installing a new 50 gallon gas tank and connecting the hot water from that into another 40 gallon electric water heater – in fact this will increase your gas consumption dramatically as it will be trying to cope with double it’s normal capacity. If you choose to turn off the electric supply to the second cylinder it will just become a storage medium for the gas water heated water. None of this work will increase the flow or pressure you are currently experiencing and in my opiniuon for what it is worth would be a waste of hard eared cash. To fix the problem correctly the pipework should have the diameter increased and the water heater should at the least be located central to the drawoff required.
Selgas Services Ltd
Craftsman Gasfitters, Plumbers, Electrical Service Technicians
17 Dec 2005 at 2:11 pm #297006CrankshaftParticipant
We have flow, although the washer takes longer to fill and the tub takes forever to fill. So, yes, we do somewhat of a flow problem but I think we can live with that as long as the water is hot. The plumber is suggesting that the electric tank will hold hot water from the gas tank and maintain it.
The plumber said that the 40 or 50 gallon electric would be more than enough for the shower, laundry room and sinks. It will even be enough for the tub. He also said that the new gas tank would be enough to supply it and the rest of the house. Remember that we won’t be running a lot of hot water fixtures at once, it fact it rarely happens.
So, this isn’t a good idea?? I can’t afford to tear the place up and replace or reroute pipes.
18 Dec 2005 at 11:28 am #297007Retired plbg1Participant
Why dont you seperate the WH and hook each one up seperate from each other and use one for part of the building and use other one for other part of building.
22 Dec 2005 at 3:14 am #297008CrankshaftParticipant
My new plumber said that separating the 2 systems would not be a good idea. He said that so much pipe was run in the slab that a standalone electric wouldn’t be able to do the job. He’s recommending a 65 gallon elecltric in series with the 40 gallon gas hot water heater.
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