Water heaters are effective but often sluggish, especially when it’s very cold or the hot water tap has been off for a while. This doesn’t mean anything’s wrong with your plumbing. Nonetheless, who wants to waste precious time waiting for hot water when cleaning, making a cup of tea or coffee, or taking a shower? Truthfully, you don’t have to, and can get instant hot water by following the tips below.
Cover Water Pipes with Insulation
Insulation not only protects pipes from freezing. It also helps reduce heat loss. Water is therefore kept warmer until it reaches your faucets and fixtures. Insulation can keep pipes warm until you need hot water, reduce the wait time for it, and help lower energy bills.
Install a Hot Water Recirculating Pump
A tank-type water heater works hard to heat and re-heat water in the tank. But all this work doesn’t do much for cold water sitting in your pipes. In fact, quite a bit of water may already be in your plumbing when you turn on the hot water faucet. Hot water from the tank can only reach the tap when the excess in your pipes has drained; sometimes this takes up to a few minutes.
A recirculation or booster pump draws hot water directly from a tank water heater. Cooled off hot water is sent back to the water heater via the cold-water line, heated up again, and delivered to the tap. This avoids running the tap until you get hot water, which can waste quite a bit of it.
There are two types of booster pumps:
- Recirculation pumps can be mounted to the water heater itself. A 120-volt pump mounts to the hot water line and includes a timer. At the sink farthest from the water heater, a thermostatically controlled bypass valve is installed; hot water is automatically circulated through the hot water line at pre-set times.
- An electronic recirculation pump also runs at 120-volts. It has electronic controls plus a zone valve that is thermostatically controlled. Depending on the model, it may be turned on with a push button, remote control, or motion sensor. Installed at the most remote sink, the pump may also work for other sinks using a remote control depending on the type installed.
Install a Hot Water Dispenser
You can connect a hot water hookup directly to your sink. Able to produce near-boiling water, an instant hot water dispenser has its own small water tank, often large enough to meet your needs for washing dishes or cooking. Capacity varies with each model. Other features to look for include adjustable temperatures, higher capacities, and even integrated faucets.
The tank connects directly to your plumbing. Water is instantly heated by an electric coil as it enters the tank. It’s important to note that water can be much hotter than would typically be the case from a faucet. But you can have hot water to remove stains, make instant soup or tea, or use heat to remove a label, loosen a jar lid, or melt grease or stuck candle wax.
Upgrade to a Tankless Water Heater
Tankless water heaters heat water on demand. They only work when you turn on the hot water faucet, saving energy. One downside is it can take the heat exchanger time to heat up, so you may start off with lukewarm water, or have to wait until cold water in the pipes has drained. The process generally takes 10 to 15 seconds.
You can get hot water faster by installing a point of use tankless water heater. The unit may fit under the sink or in a nearby closet. Another option is a condensing water heater. It runs more efficiently thanks to a second heat exchanger, but is more expensive. The cost may not be justifiable unless you use a lot of hot water.
You can also add a recirculating pump to a tankless hot water heater. Some models even have one built in. While a pump creates a loop to your water heater, setting this up can be expensive. An under-sink comfort system is a more affordable option that connects the hot- and cold-water lines under your sink. Water is heated and sent to the cold-water pipe; it then goes back to the heater; you’ll usually get hot water as soon as you turn on the fixture.
Contact Sky Heating & Air Conditioning
Whether you have a tank-based or tankless water heater, we can help you get instant hot water. Our trained, licensed technicians provide high-quality repairs and maintenance. They can make adjustments or recommend the most appropriate solutions for your needs. To get started, schedule your visit online or call 888-927-3943.