Re-plumbing the house - Tankless water heater, pex, cpvc, polybutylene
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    Re-plumbing the house - Tankless water heater, pex, cpvc, polybutylene

    Over the last couple of years we have worked on sealing the house better (new siding with house wrap, new windows / doors, caulk, insulation etc), replaced the 2 HVAC systems with a single variable capacity zoned system, sealed the crawl space and replaced the garage doors with insulated doors. Now on to the plumbing.....

    Our split level home was built in two phases, the two story (living quarters above garage) and then the main floor (over crawlspace). There is a mixture of CPVC, PVC and polybutylene. The PVC is holding up well, the poly has a couple of seeping joints and the CPVC is getting brittle. On the main level the genius builder put the water lines in the attic. We currently have two small tankless water heaters located within the living space and vented through the ceiling / attic / roof. Each water heater is only good for running one appliance at a time, they both have standing pilot lights and have no efficiency rating.

    I am starting the project with a new water heater, a Rinnai RUR199iP. It is Energy Star qualified with an energy factor of .96. It should save us on propane, not enough to offset the cost but that is not the only reason we went with a new heater. The current heaters require a minimum flow of .5 gpm to activate which makes it hard to get hot water out of a faucet at a low rate. The new heater will activate at .25 gpm. Also, the new heater will direct vent, it vents right out the back wall vs having a vertical vent through the ceiling / roof. This will further our ability to seal up the house.

    I am using PEX throughout the house, replacing all the old various pipes. I can't decide whether to have a manifold with all home runs or to run a loop through the house. The water heater has a feature that can be enabled that circulates hot water so you have near on demand hot water. I would imagine this would reduce its energy efficiency though. I need to read up on this.

    Anyway, here is the new water heater installed.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 20190401_193642.jpg  
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    RodW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psrumors View Post
    I can't decide whether to have a manifold with all home runs or to run a loop through the house. The water heater has a feature that can be enabled that circulates hot water so you have near on demand hot water. I would imagine this would reduce its energy efficiency though. I need to read up on this.
    One of the main advantages of tankless units is that you don't have to heat water until you need it. Continuously circulating hot water through your pipes will definiely affect energy use, and possibly the shorten water heater's lifespan as well. A small hot water storage tank in the right location(s) may balance efficiency and performance. Take a look at this article (PDF file).

    http://www.chandlerdesignbuild.com/f...hbDecJan08.pdf

    I'm not a plumber, but I've been looking into this issue for quite a while due to the length of our hot water plumbing runs.
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    i ran a pex hot and cold water oversize mains in my case in a attic area with valves at each appliance drop......oversized the pex due to if you use the brass fittings they restrict flow at each joint to one pipe size smaller

    also ran a my hot main as a circulating hot water loop....using a main single tank water heater (propane) i figure it costs me about 5-7 $ a month in propane if i turn on the water circulating loop pump (on a timer) i loop out about 80'
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    Quote Originally Posted by RodW View Post
    One of the main advantages of tankless units is that you don't have to heat water until you need it. Continuously circulating hot water through your pipes will definiely affect energy use, and possibly the shorten water heater's lifespan as well. A small hot water storage tank in the right location(s) may balance efficiency and performance. Take a look at this article (PDF file).

    http://www.chandlerdesignbuild.com/f...hbDecJan08.pdf

    I'm not a plumber, but I've been looking into this issue for quite a while due to the length of our hot water plumbing runs.
    Maybe since we have owned tankless heaters for the last 20 years we are accustomed to how they work but we dont have issues with the cold water between showers. Also , we know the limitations of our tankless heaters being small so we dont over tax them and drop the pressure.

    That article is 12 years old, I wonder if that installer is doing things differently today with the advancements made in the tankless heater systems. There is no way I would add a tank to a tankless system, I would just install a tank and stay away from tankless before doing that.

    Our new heater will deliver near 12 gpm, more than enough for multiple appliances. I am also plumbing it in such a fashion that should we desire a second tankless to the farthest run, a small bathroom, we could just install a small tankless in the crawl space.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttazzman View Post
    i ran a pex hot and cold water oversize mains in my case in a attic area with valves at each appliance drop......oversized the pex due to if you use the brass fittings they restrict flow at each joint to one pipe size smaller

    also ran a my hot main as a circulating hot water loop....using a main single tank water heater (propane) i figure it costs me about 5-7 $ a month in propane if i turn on the water circulating loop pump (on a timer) i loop out about 80'
    I'll have to look closer at that. I was doing the mains in 3/4" but may have to go to 1". I just cut into 100 foot rolls of 3/4, yuck
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    I had all the copper plumbing in my house replaced with PEX. I wanted the manifold set up with the pretty red and blue lines. The plumber talked me out of it. He said he would be glad to do it and take my money, but in his opinion it was a waste of $$. So one big loop is what I have.
    I don't circulate the hot water, but it does get to each faucet rather quickly.
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    I really like the manifold setups. They work great and the even the water pressure in the entire house. As a retrofit it might not be the easiest thing to do but I really like how it works in my home.

    This is a shot of the plumbing instal I did for my in-laws new house.
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    I see no reason no to manifold. It reduces the volume of cold water between the heater and the faucet of choice. Meaning it gets there faster.
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    I have all of my water going through "manifolds", and I put that in quotes because I don't have true manifolds in place. I split my hot water off in to 3 branches for different zones of the house, that way I can kill just a section for repairs/upgrades. The cold splits from my pressure tank in to 2 branches; raw water and filtered. Raw water goes to my hose bibs, filtered water heads to the softener and filter, that way I'm not wasting salt on outdoor uses. Coming out of the filter, I go to 4 branches, 3 mirror the hot water branches and 1 supplies the hot water heater.
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