water heater question

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brit1

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Looking to downsize and buy a smaller home. Saw one I liked but the owner had added a sink/toilet to the water heater and stacked washer/dryer area and it looks cramped and unattractive. Only other place for water heater would be in the garage, wondering if that would be ok as I don't mind spending the money to redo the bathroom.
 

maxdad118

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Keep it close to the bathroom if possible so your not waiting for hot water for a shower or bath! You can put it outside in a shed too and insulate the shed. Be sure and put combustion and ventilation openings if it’s gas.
 

bud16415

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Sounds like the past owner needed a closer location for a partial bathroom and made due with what was there. Without knowing the layout of the house it is imposable to be specific about what could be done.


If you live in freezing climate I wouldn’t want it in the unheated garage.


If the toilet and sink are not needed by you just remove them and cap the pipes.


Welcome to the forum.
 

Sparky617

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If you have gas available a tankless water heater could be a real viable solution. New tank water heaters are getting bigger as the government requires additional insulation now. Here in NC it is pretty common for water heaters to be in the garage, as basements are pretty rare. They also stick them in attics which I don't like or recommend.

Thing with tankless water heaters is you really need them to be close to the points of use. They aren't great if you have a house with points of use on opposite sides of the house. Standard recirculating pumps defeat the energy-saving design of a tankless. They do make recirculating pumps for tankless, you activate them manually before turning on the taps and give them a minute to get the hot water to your point of use.
 

pjones

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If you have gas available a tankless water heater could be a real viable solution. New tank water heaters are getting bigger as the government requires additional insulation now. Here in NC it is pretty common for water heaters to be in the garage, as basements are pretty rare. They also stick them in attics which I don't like or recommend.

Thing with tankless water heaters is you really need them to be close to the points of use. They aren't great if you have a house with points of use on opposite sides of the house. Standard recirculating pumps defeat the energy-saving design of a tankless. They do make recirculating pumps for tankless, you activate them manually before turning on the taps and give them a minute to get the hot water to your point of use.
I quite like my tankless water heater. I don't see it would be any different being on one end of the house or the other, just like a hot water tank you are waiting for the water to get through the pipes before hot water arrives. Also, similar to a hot water tank, you want to place it close to the area of most use so to minimize the cold slug of water that needs to be cleared out before the hot water becomes useable. Although I agree that the recirculating pump is not very efficient and kinda negates the efficiency gain that you expect to see with a tankless unit. With all that being said, you still get endless hot water and about twice the lifespan when compared to a tank so in my opinion there is still benefit to installing a tankless unit even in a large home.
 

bud16415

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@pjones


Circulating pumps are less heat efficient but do save water if that is of a concern where you live. My old house was a well and septic system and the only cost associated with water was the electric to pump it. Any wasted water went back into the ground where it came from. We now pay for city water so there is a cost with wasting it. I did my whole house with .50 PEX as a homerun except I ran two .75 PEX to the second floor to supply the whole bathroom. Seemed logical at the time, but in practice the tub, shower and sink are only used one at a time and the larger PEX just means more wasted water clearing the cold out.


Circulating pumps become very efficient in places like a hotel with a central water heating unit with many users.
 

Diehard

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A circulating pump can be arranged to be turned on for a minute or so when required. Cost for minutes of use is negligible.
 

bud16415

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A circulating pump can be arranged to be turned on for a minute or so when required. Cost for minutes of use is negligible.
Yes that would be the best of both worlds.


I would assume you still have to wait for hot water just it wouldn’t be wasted. I have never seen one set up. Do you push a button to start a pump for a minute and then it lets the water be turned on?


If I had a large house with two different ends needing water I think I might just have two tanks or two tankless units rather than the complexity of circulation. I do know some friends that put a small taknless just for one bathroom on the far side of the house.
 

Diehard

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Yes that would be the best of both worlds.


I would assume you still have to wait for hot water just it wouldn’t be wasted. I have never seen one set up. Do you push a button to start a pump for a minute and then it lets the water be turned on?


If I had a large house with two different ends needing water I think I might just have two tanks or two tankless units rather than the complexity of circulation. I do know some friends that put a small taknless just for one bathroom on the far side of the house.
Yes there are numerous ways to set it up, based on needs, and/or personal preferences. It seems many are set up with settable timers. Some with temperature sensors, so it just runs the circulator to maintain a preset temperature in the return line. And/or set up in combination with an over-riding manual switch.
I am against those retrofit recirc systems that use the existing cold water line to circulate back to the water heater. Research impurities that get picked up in water heaters and hot water lines, and you will know why.
 

Jnieto0560

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My home has an electric water heater in the garage, it's never had a problem due to a colder space in over 20 years, then again, I live in the Carolinas, which has a moderate climate. I would however seriously consider an instant use water heater. If you are doing a bathroom remodel you can place on in there (I'm assuming electric) in an inconspicuous place as part of the design. I didn't see whether this heater was whole house or just for that bathroom which would make a huge difference in where you place it.
 

Sparky617

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I have a recirculation pump on my tank type gas water heater because my house is pretty spread out with the master bath as far away as possible from the water heater. My circulation pump is located in the bathroom and pushes the water back towards the water heater via the cold water line. It shuts off automatically when the water at the pump reaches 95F or so. It also has a timer that allows you to limit the hours it runs. With a tankless water heater, this type of recirculation pump defeats the savings of a tankless because it will cause the water heater to cycle up everytime the pump starts automatically circulating the water. With tankless you want the recirculation pump to be on a switch and you hit the button to start it when you want hot water, let it run for a minute or two to get the water hot up to the tap and then it would be shut off. Here in NC, they will mount gas powered tankless water heaters in garages, attics, crawlspaces, and even on the outside walls. We just installed an outdoor unit at our church to support two bathrooms with showers and a washing machine. If it was just hand washing we probably would have used a small on-demand unit. Given the showers, we would have needed a large tank, for the rare occasion when the showers would be used. In our case, a gas tankless made the most sense. We also installed a new gas tankless in the commercial kitchen on the other end of the building.
 

Diehard

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Yeah unless you just changed your schedule.
Just let me press a button a couple a couple of minutes before I hit the shower.
Although people like things that can think for them, even when it's not always correct.
 

Flyover

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Yeah unless you just changed your schedule.
Just let me press a button a couple a couple of minutes before I hit the shower.
Although people like things that can think for them, even when it's not always correct.
Ditto. I like the idea of technologies that use elegant engineering tricks to save energy, but the complexities of people's lives mean that truly being able to predict when people will need hot water requires such sophisticated calculations they would end up relying on computers that would themselves draw a lot of energy or else a connection to other computers, thus jeopardizing users' privacy.

The best way to automate is to form a good habit.
 

Puddlesx5

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Why not just tie the circulation pump in with the bath fan. Every time the fan is turned on the pump starts. Both run on 110 volts.
 

BAD

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I have a similar situation.

I let the hot water in my hand basin run while I brush my teeth. Then I step into the shower.

(I'm a mechanical engineer with a penchant for simplicity. :) )
 

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