Plumbing Design

Thursday, October 26, 2017

With an exploding world population and shrinking supply of fresh water on the planet, many say (and we agree) that water resources are the next gold standard. In many areas of the country, potable water costs have doubled and tripled in just the last couple of years.10 To survive the coming supply and demand problems, we are going to have to find ways to get the most from every drop.

Plumbing piping systems provide both hot and cold water delivery, so design considerations provide the greatest bene t for indoor water conservation. It is important to remember that water stays in the plumbing lines all of the time. So every time you turn on the hot water, you will be wasting all the water already in the line waiting for that hot water to get to you from the water heater.  is means you are paying for and wasting water that you never even use!

Efficient hot water delivery is achieved through a whole-system design approach, not just considering the type of water heater to be installed. Nothing can kill the efficiency of a high-efficiency water heater more quickly than a poorly designed distribution system. For efficient hot water delivery, you must have one of the following:

• Water heating equipment located within 20 feet (30 feet on 2-story homes) of all the wet locations in the house.  is could be a tanked or a tankless unit.
• A manifold plumbing system (replaces the main water line with multiple smaller lines run to each  fixture) with the manifold (split) centrally located within 10 feet of the water heater and no single branch line length exceeding 15 feet.
• A structured plumbing system (not a manifold system) consists of a main trunk line that services the entire house with smaller branch and twig lines to each wet area and  fixtures, with an on-demand water recirculating system installed at the  fixture(s) farthest from the water heater, and pump controls located at all wet locations along those long runs in the home.

Another critical element in achieving efficient hot water delivery is pipe insulation. No matter how efficient your design is in delivering hot water to the  fixtures, we still see significant temperature drops during transmission or while water is sitting in the lines waiting for the next draw to occur. Also, when the hot water pipes are not insulated adequately, there are substantial heat losses from hot water running through pipes within the conditioned space of the home that add to the cooling load of the air conditioner. Insulation is cheap, easily installed and means hotter water at the tap for you and your family with a lower temperature setting on the water heater. Insulating three-quarter-inch pipe with three-quarter-inch insulation will triple the time before the water cools down; insulating half-inch pipe with half-inch insulation will double the cool-down period.

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