Circulating Hot Water for Freeze Prevention System

Discussion in 'General Plumbing Help' started by MDSinMI, Feb 10, 2019.

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  1. Feb 11, 2019 #21

    Diehard

    Diehard

    Diehard

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    @PlumbGate...Yes I know how they work and it wasn't made for this application.

    @Mikey...Yes the closer to the point of concern for freezing, the better, but of course could not be within that space.
    But why rely on a sensor located in a warm space to ensure that the water piping exposed to freezing, in another area, will always remain warm enough not to freeze. e.g.- temperature differential in warmer space(sensor location) requires more time for temperature drop than a cold space.
    Yeah that may not cause freezing of piping in the garage but it's a poor design approach.
    What was proposed was a simple circulator, no built in 24 hour timer and that Watts system cost at least twice as much as a simple circulator.
    A sensor would be nice but should be a type that could be located in the area of freezing concerns, which I believe the OP proposes.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  2. Feb 11, 2019 #22

    Diehard

    Diehard

    Diehard

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    Some of those thoughts entered my mind but they're no simpler than what the OP was proposing.
    Actually, if you enclosed the entire heater, etc., the fact that the heater is left on all the time, as mentioned, would probably be enough heat to prevent the piping from freezing. Provided, of course, that all the piping in the garage was within the insulated enclosure, as well.
    There are many ways to skin a cat and I believe the OP's main question was on the pump.:D
     
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  3. Feb 12, 2019 #23

    MDSinMI

    MDSinMI

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    Wow, stepped away for a day and look at all the replies! I'll address them one by one.

    BHP: If putting the water heater in a closet or boxing it in were easy or possible, it would have been done at the onset. It isn't easy--as there is no place for it in the home. Boxing it in where it's at is hardly possible either, there's just no room around it. There are code issues, ventilation issues, clearance issues, and more.

    PLUMBGATE: I'm well familar with the Watts system and competitive systems. However, they are made for a specific application of circulating hot water to service a faucet, and thus include a timer, and a special sensor valve pipe to connect the hot and cold lines together. I'm not interested in that, and I don't need a timer. They are also pretty costly.

    DIEHARD: I think you have it correct; the Watts circulating systems are not for this application. I suppose it could be adapted, without the sensor valve thingy, just using the pump: but as you probably have noted there are nearly identical circulating pumps without the valve, hoses, or timer that are half the cost...

    What I asked for is any notation of if I left something out in my drawing? I didn't show shut off valves to isolate and disable the system in the summer. Maybe I should put in an air eliminator or something else.

    Listen--as mentioned in the original post, in 25 years the pipe(s) have frozen exactly three times. Twice a long time ago, before I used heat tape (which failed this winter). Then, for the third time a few weeks ago. No pipes were burst, because it's a well system with the pump turned off. There's plenty of expansion room in the homes piping system to allow for ice. But, warm water, particularly flowing warm water doesn't freeze. If there is small flow, just in the affected area where the pipes run outside of the crawl space to and from the hot water tank, the pipes won't freeze. The hot water tank on vacation setting keeps the water warm.

    It's also a weekend home, so it goes through extended periods without occupancy and without any water flow. If we lived there all the time indeed I'd have a circulating system put in for the whole house, not just one faucet.
     
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  4. Feb 12, 2019 #24

    PlumbGate

    PlumbGate

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    So now I am actually not sure what you think a solution could be. Are you looking for someone to sprinkle fairy dust on your pipes and magically make them not freeze? You don't want to circulate water through the pipes, you don't want to insulate anything better, You don't want to drain and winterize the pipes - oh, and of course you don't want to spend any money. Short of a miracle, I am not sure what other solutions are left. I guess just roll the dice like you have been and hope there isn't a 4th freeze.
     
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  5. Feb 12, 2019 #25

    bbp

    bbp

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    BHP: If putting the water heater in a closet or boxing it in were easy or possible, it would have been done at the onset. It isn't easy--as there is no place for it in the home. Boxing it in where it's at is hardly possible either, there's just no room around it. There are code issues, ventilation issues, clearance issues, and more.

    So, if its not elevated or an FVIR heater,assuming its gas, you arent code compliant any way.
     
  6. Feb 12, 2019 #26

    MDSinMI

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    Well, Mr. Plumbgate, that's a pretty rude reply and against most forum etiquette.

    If you would bother to read the post, and understand with some clarity maybe it would make sense. It's not that I do not want to circulate hot water through my pipes. I do NOT want to circulate hot water through the entire house, that is not necessary.

    It's not that I don't want to insulate anything better, it's that moving a frigging water heater from a garage, to INSIDE a home where there is simply no place for it is purely impossible. Also, no person in their right mind would install a water heater in a place where water would cause damage. So, find a non-existent closet, waterproof said closet, add gas lines, replumb the supply lines etc.? Are you kidding me? That's a totally clueless response. When I say I cannot box it in in the garage, I mean it. Not possible.

    As for code compliance, the water heater was inspected in the garage when new and passed. It is elevated. And, all of you should know that all water heaters now produced in North America are Flammable Vapor Ignition-Resistant (FVIR) types. So, what's your point? It is elevated, it wouldn't have passed inspection without being 18" off the garage floor.

    And, Mr. Plumbgate, again you didn't read. The house is a weekend home. That means, it's used on the weekends, get it? You do not "winterize" a house on a weekly basis. You don't drain the pipes every weekend.

    And, Mr. Plumbgate, again you didn't read. I'm suggesting a plan and any plan costs money. It's not that I don't want to spend money, I don't want to spend STUPID money or the wrong money. I've seen some circulators for sale that cost nearly $1,000 and some for $60. Whatever parts chosen need to be the right parts, not the wrong ones.

    I asked for any smart, intelligent people to comment on my plan. What I got was a lot of drivel.

    I'm surprised nobody suggested I get a Rexnor for my garage...or convert to an electric water heater in the crawl space or any other useless and expensive ideas.

    I'll continue on with my plan since few here seems to be able to really read a post and comment thoughtfully on it.
     
  7. Feb 12, 2019 #27

    PlumbGate

    PlumbGate

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    I'm sorry you feel that way. I think several people gave you some good advice. This is an advice forum you can of course choose not to take it. For the record, the circulation pump only circulates hot water between the fixture (sink) where the thermostatically controlled mixer is located and the water heater. It does not circulate through the entire house. All you would need to do is find a fixture downstream from the pipe you are concerned about it freezing. The thermostatic valve cycles on/off enough to always keep the water in the pipes above freezing. I'd say for under $200 that's a workable solution. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. :thumbsup:
     
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  8. Feb 12, 2019 #28

    voletl

    voletl

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    So I got the solution

    Gallon
    Gallon of gas and a match burn the house down then start over....

    Hows that for ya?
     
  9. Feb 13, 2019 #29

    RenewDave

    RenewDave

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    Ok, I’ll chime in. MDSinMI, you are what we refer to in “the trades” as a “tool”. You want free advice, but you only want to hear what you want to hear. You are the smart guy and have the solution in your head that you want and are just here trying to get it., for free.
    Fairy dust IS your best answer. Gas is the second. I’ll give you a third, leave the water on while your not there! That will make it run, not cost you anything “out of pocket” and hey, super easy for you.
    And explain, “there’s plenty of expansion room in the home piping system to allow for ice”. If you freeze your vaca home up and there’s enough room for freezing and ice, then what’s the point of having this conversation at all? I’d like plumb all my houses with that one line. “
    We are plumbers, not heating guys, not insulators, not magicians not, well hopefully you get the point.
    FAIRY DUST! That’s classic!
     
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