For many people, the path that water tales around their home is a complete mystery and perhaps it is better it stays that way! After all, one small miscalculation can lead to a very large leak which could destroy many irreplaceable items.
However, as well as having an expert in your hot water system on your speed dial, it’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of the plumbing concepts. This will help you to identify issues and know when to pick up the phone.
The Hot Water System
In essence, the hot water system involves a storage tank or an instantaneous water heater. This heats the water to the required temperature and then sends it along the pipes to the faucet where you’re waiting for it.
However, one of the biggest issues that many householders face is pipe size. T’s a common misconception that larger pipes will increase the amount of water capable of flowing through them and therefore provide you with a more powerful shower or stream of hot water.
Unfortunately, while the pipe can allow more water through it will allow it to cool more and the flow rate at your shower may well be regulated by the actual shower. In essence, you’re simply wasting heat by having hot water sat in a pipe for longer than it needs to be!
The Branched Hot Water Line
You may be wondering what this has to do with branched hot water lines.
There are several ways of organizing the pipes from your hot water heater to your fixtures:
- Branched Hot Water Line
In this type of system, the hot water is taken from the tank directly to the fixture that is furthest away from it.
This is the main pipe, each fixture between the heater and the final fixture has its own branch line coming from this main pipe. You’ll find this is a common approach in many houses, providing the branch lines between the main pipe and the fixture are relatively short you’ll waste very little water while waiting for the hot water to come through.
- Looped System
This approach sees the hot water go to the closest fixture and then to the next one, and so on. If you’re waiting for hot water at the last fixture it can take a long time to get there and you’ll waste a lot of water.
However, you can fit a low power water circulating pump to this type of system and have instantaneous hot water at every fixture.
- Home Run
The home run plumbing is the most wasteful option. In this system, every appliance has its own pipe to the hot water system. That means a lot of water is sat in the pipes cooling and heat is lost as the water travels to you, making it the most wasteful option.
If you don’t know what hot water set up you have then it’s time you took a look, or call the professionals to help, it can really help if you have any hot water-related issues.