The ready-for-retrofit Comfort System is a one-pump, one-valve combo that's typically installed in an existing home by a professional, usually within a couple hours - without the need to install a return line to the water heater.

Tired of Waiting for Hot Water?

John Vastyan | Grundfos

The Wasteful Wait we Take for Gr
The ready-for-retrofit Comfort System is a one-pump, one-valve combo that's typically installed in an existing home by a professional, usually within a couple hours - without the need to install a return line to the water heater.
The Wasteful Wait we Take for Granted
Tired of Waiting for Hot Water?
New "Recirculating" Technology to the Rescue
John Vastyan for Grundfos

It's known that an average family of four wastes 11,000 gallons of precious water a year because of the unnecessary wait for hot water to reach showers and faucets. In larger homes, with more faucets and showers, and longer water lines between the water heater and distant bathrooms, the amount of water that's wasted can be much higher than that. In most cases, homeowners not only pay for the water that goes down the drain, but to get rid of it as well. And, heating costs increase because of it.

New, inexpensive technology prevents the wait, and the waste. Today, several manufacturers offer hot water recirculation (HWR) technology. Some systems provide hot water by activating a button at each sink; though these require an electric outlet under the sink. If it's not there, an electrician is required, and ultimately, you still wait for the hot water to arrive. Other systems circulate water continuously, though these systems waste energy by circulating hot water 24 hours a day.

Two of the most innovative systems available today were developed by one company. Comfort Series technology from Grundfos is the latest in HWR solutions. The ready-for-retrofit Comfort System is a one-pump, one-valve combo that's typically installed in an existing home by a professional, usually within a couple hours - without the need to install a return line to the water heater. The Comfort System - not to be confused with a much more expensive and involved "tankless" or "instantaneous" water heater - provides greater convenience and comfort, delivering hot water instantly from any water source the home.

There's even a timer on the pump to make it more efficient during evening and mid-day downtime. The unit begins working when the timer-activated pump at the hot water tank pushes hot water toward a valve beneath the furthest fixture in the house. The valve connects the hot and cold water supply lines.

As long as the water in the hot line remains cold, the valve stays open and the cold water is sent back to the heater through the cold water line. But when the incoming water reaches 98 degrees, the bypass valve closes, and the hot water stands ready to come out when the tap is turned on.

The Comfort Pump (or UP10-16) is designed for new home installations, when a dedicated return line is installed by the plumbing contractor, completing a separate recirculation loop. The one-piece HWR solution is easily installed at the water heater.

The one-piece hot water recirculation solution for new construction is installed at the water heater and relies on the installation of a return line for completion of the recirculation circuit, an easy specification when a home is being plumbed. The UP10-16 is the only HWR solution that combines an integrated check valve, isolation valve, 24-hour timer and an aquastat that can be set to stop the pump at a preset liquid temperature in the 95-150ºF range.

"Both of these solutions circulate water back to the heater so it's always hot and comfortable from the moment it's needed at the tap or shower," says Dave Yates, president of York, PA-based plumbing and mechanical firm, F.W. Behler, Inc. "These units conserve water, energy and cash."

"As a global innovations leader in the pumps industry, and well aware of the need to conserve water worldwide, we feel it's our obligation to developed this and other water-conservation technology," said Tom Phillips, a business unit specialist with Grundfos.

John Vastyan is a journalist and president of Manheim, PA-based Common Ground, a communications firm focused on the radiant heat, plumbing and mechanical, geothermal, HVAC, hydronics and water quality industries.

 

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