Jump to content

Oddball water heater plumbing


Richard Moore
 Share

Recommended Posts

Your guess is as good as mine. [:-bigeyes This plumbing from the drain valve (20 year old water heater) went into the attic on this rambler, but I couldn't see where it went from there. No circ pump if that's anyone's guess. I think it may have gone to the laundry closet, but no idea why they would take it from the drain valve.

Click to Enlarge
tn_20102280836_0004.jpg

50.08 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_20102280850_0010.jpg

54.32 KB

Then there was the cold water feed to the water heater. A stop valve either side of the tee but none that would actually allow the water heater to be isolated for change-out and leave cold water to the house.

Click to Enlarge
tn_201022801125_0051.jpg

57.01 KB

Maybe that is what this in the crawl is for...

Click to Enlarge
tn_20102280126_0093.jpg

42.72 KB

I'm recommending the new water heater be installed by a licensed plumber who can figure out this mess. I'm thinking the water-heater-only guys would be as confused as I was.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's someone's homemade tempering system and the upper valve on the inlet line controls how much cold water flows to the hot side somewhere in the house. I think the line at the bottom is functioning like a gravity loop. the hot water rises, like it does in a hot water system and as the water up at the top cools it returns to the water heater via that doohickey installed where the drain sillcock should be.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

(Ah, I see that Garet and I had the same thought.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are the plumbing supply lines run in the attic? If so it may be a gravity hot water circulation system (no pump involved). I'm considering installing one on my own house.

Yes, at least some of them. Let's assume the house was plumbed for return to the tank, do you think there would be enough convection flow for that to be effective for a rambler with the bathrooms at the other end of the home from the water heater? I have my doubts! There sure wasn't "instant" hot water at those bathrooms. Of course, the valve may have been closed. I was too busy scratching my head to bother trying it.

"Homemade tempering system"...I guess I'd have to ask why? Home was plain Jane 90's, 3 Br 1¾ Ba, apart from this set-up. Wouldn't it have been simpler to install a tempered tub/shower faucet system at the bathroom if they really needed it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK...I heard from the agent today. I'm not sure this makes any sense, and it is secondhand, but according to her the seller, who wasn't the one who originally installed this, says it is some type of circulation system to "use the hot air in the attic to help heat the water". He also said that the "pump" was in plain view in the attic. I'm guessing he meant this white box thing that was buried behind about 12 feet of junk stored in front of it.

Click to Enlarge
tn_201032231642_0062.jpg

56.97 KB

Nothing I've ever seen before. Just looked like more "stuff" to me. Oh, and it also turns out that he discovered I'm not "ASHI certified" and, therefore, supposedly unqualified to suggest my client even ask him about this. [:-banghea

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm now convinced that this was a solar hot water set-up at some point in time.

Copyright: Solar Developement, Inc. Florida

Download Attachment: icon_adobe.gif solar1.pdf

18.08 KB

I don't think so. Along with being the original, 20-year old water heater, it looked to be the original roofing and had no signs of anything ever being mounted on it. But...who knows? It is possible they planned for one and never installed it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How warm can an attic get in Seattle? I would also doubt the efficiency of solar power in Seattle as well?? Perhaps that is why the system was abandoned?

Well, if it's anything like Portland, a few hours to the south, it can get up to 180 degees.

Solar water and PV panels do very well here as well, even on overcast days.

-Jim Katen, Oregon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

PV is a fool's errand. On a small scale it works just fine, but when you want to power anything bigger than a calculator or charge the battery in your cell phone the complexity of the system compounds the pay back to well beyond the service life of the equipment. Just looking at the fundamental purpose of residential PV systems proves my point: convert the tiniest portion of energy from daylight into electricity and store it in a battery so that we can flip a switch and turn on the lights. It's kinda funny when you think about it. If PV were a practical and scalable solution it would have been advanced as far as the laser has been in the last 50 years.

As far as solar thermal working well in the North, one of the largest US manufacturers of solar thermal technology is in Ithica, NY. They have dozens of functional systems in their community form simple thermosyphon DHW systems to car wash water heating systems. Even at this latitude in winter, a system must be fully charged with Heat Transfer Fluid and the controls fully functioning before the collectors can be installed or the HTF will flash to steam and blow up the manifolds. From at or near freezing to steam in a couple of minutes, how's that for collector efficiency?

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Geothermal is efficient anywhere. But it's not cheap. Right now, PV is actually a very good deal.

PV still isn't a good deal. The real pay back, (not the subsidized pay back) is at least 30 years if there are no equipment failures.

That said, I got a quote today for a 5kW system because with subsidies the price per watt is under $2. I don't think it'll ever be more affordable for the individual or more expensive for the masses than it is right now. I'm jumping into the wallets of every New Yorker and every US citizen and I'm going to spend the money I take on my electric bill.

By the way, I'd like to thank each of you for contributing your portion of my solar system. Sadly, I won't be sharing any savings I experience by selling my surplus power back to my utility at the government mandated full retail price.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...