Domestic Hot Water Heat Traps for Water Tanks - Do they save very much money?

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Don2222

Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
8,933
Salem NH
Hello

In the old days a U shaped heat loop was made with the copper tubing.

Now there are nice fittings with a flow ball to prevent heat from escaping the DHW Tank as show in the link and pictured below.

http://www.accentshopping.com/product.asp?P_ID=149924

Do these heat traps save much money??

Don


Info I found from the Internet Below
Heat Trap Fittings for Residential Water Heaters

Heat Trap Fittings for Water Heaters have 3/4 inch Pipe Threads and are easy to install.

• Cuts convective heat loss in the piping by as much as 60% during standby.
• Easy to install

How Heat Trap Fittings for Residential Water Heaters work
Simple, yet highly effective, Rheem / Ruud Heat Trap Fittings provide additional energy cost savings in the operation of any residential gas or electric water heater. In the hot water outlet fitting, a Teflon ball (heavier than water) seats to trap standby heat, preventing convective heat loss through the fitting. Similarly, a polypropylene ball (lighter than water) in the cold water inlet fittings reduces heat loss. When water is drawn, both balls are moved from their standby positions for proper water flow to and from the tank.

If your storage water heater doesn't have heat traps, you can save energy by adding them to your water heating system. Heat traps on your water heater can save you money on your water heating energy bill by preventing convective heat losses through the inlet and outlet pipes.

Heat traps valves allow water to flow into the water heater tank but prevent unwanted hot-water flow out of the tank. The valves have balls inside that either float or sink into a seat, which stops convection. These specially designed valves come in pairs. Heat Trap Valves are designed differently for use in either the hot or cold water line. Heat traps are a winning combination with pipe insulation for real energy savings!
Insulate Hot Water Pipes for Energy Savings

Insulating your hot water pipes reduces heat loss and can raise water temperature 2ºF–4ºF hotter than uninsulated pipes can deliver, allowing for a lower water temperature setting, which can save even more energy. Part of the benifits of insulating your domestic hot water supply piping is that you also won't have to wait as long for hot water when you turn on your faucet or showerhead, and that can help stop "run-off" to get hot water and that helps to conserve water too.

Insulate all accessible hot water pipes, especially the most critical area for heat loss, within 3 feet of the water heater. It's also a good idea to insulate the cold water inlet pipes for the first 3 feet because heat can migrate up the cold inlet pipe and be lost heat.

Use quality pipe insulation wrap, or neatly tape strips of fiberglass insulation around the pipes. Pipe sleeves made with polyethylene or neoprene foam are the most commonly used insulation. Match the pipe sleeve's inside diameter to the pipe's outside diameter for a snug fit. Place the pipe sleeve so the seam will be face down on the pipe. Tape, glue, wire, or clamp (with a cable tie ) it every foot or two to secure it to the pipe. If you use tape, some recommend using acrylic tape instead of duct tape, what ever tape you select make sure it will handle long exposure to heat.

On gas water heaters, keep insulation at least 6 inches from the flue. If pipes are within 8 inches of the flue, your safest choice is to use fiberglass pipe-wrap (at least 1-inch thick) without a facing. You can use either wire or aluminum foil tape to secure it to the pipe. You will get a nice saving from this simple project!
Lower Water Heating Temperature for Energy Savings

Illustration of a water thermostat with the dial set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can reduce your water heating costs by simply lowering the thermostat setting on your water heater. For each 10ºF reduction in water temperature, you can save between 3%–5% in energy costs.

There are two opposing risks when it comes to water temperature inside domestic water heaters; exposure to Legionella, the bacteria responsible for Legionnaires’ disease (pulmonary legionellosis), and the risk of scalding. (Note: External link - please return to continue your visit with us.)

Although some manufacturers set water heater thermostats at 140ºF, most households usually only require them set at 120ºF. If you have a dishwasher without a booster heater, it may require a water temperature within a range of 130ºF to 140ºF for optimum cleaning.

Reducing your water temperature to 120ºF also slows mineral buildup and corrosion in your water heater and pipes. This helps your water heater last longer and operate at its maximum efficiency.

Consult your water heater owner's manual for instructions on how to operate the thermostat. You can find a thermostat dial for a gas storage water heater near the bottom of the tank on the gas valve. Electric water heaters, on the other hand, may have thermostats positioned behind screw-on plates or panels. As a safety precaution, shut off the electricity to the water heater before removing/opening the panels. Keep in mind that an electric water heater may have two thermostats—one each for the upper and lower heating elements.

Mark the beginning temperature and the adjusted temperature on the thermostat dial for future reference. After turning it down, check the water temperature with a thermometer at the tap farthest from the water heater. Thermostat dials are often inaccurate. Several adjustments may be necessary before you get the right temperature.

If you plan to be away from home for at least 3 days, turn the thermostat down to the lowest setting or completely turn off the water heater. To turn off an electric water heater, switch off the circuit breaker to it. For a gas water heater, make sure you know how to safely relight the pilot light before turning it off.
 

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chuck172

Minister of Fire
Apr 24, 2008
1,045
Sussex County, NJ
Boy am I a sucker for gimmicks, I hope someone else has tried them before I do.
 

jebatty

Minister of Fire
Jan 1, 2008
5,796
Northern MN
All I know is that the hot water supply pipe for my wtr htr, which came with these, would be warm with no hot water flow. I made my own and installed the U-shaped traps, 1 foot rise/fall/rise, and now the hot water supply pipe is cold when there has been no hot water flow. The pipe is warm to the top of the rise, and then cold. The U-shaped traps were part of my hot water insulation plan, which resulted in 50% reduction in electricity for hot water.
 

DaveBP

Minister of Fire
May 25, 2008
1,157
SW Maine
Let me march right up and ask a just-poured-my-first-cup-of-coffee question.

On a domestic hot water system, if there are no valves open at any fixtures, where does the hot water circulate? Where's the path from hot to cold?
 

ewdudley

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2009
1,993
Cayuga County NY
DaveBP said:
Let me march right up and ask a just-poured-my-first-cup-of-coffee question.

On a domestic hot water system, if there are no valves open at any fixtures, where does the hot water circulate? Where's the path from hot to cold?

In many cases the hot water can travel up one side of a pipe and can return down the other side.
 

jebatty

Minister of Fire
Jan 1, 2008
5,796
Northern MN
Hot water rises by convection, because it is less dense than cold water, typically up the center of the pipe, and the water cooled at the pipe surface falls, causing convective circulation. The hot water heater will cycle from time to time to re-heat the tank, which is constantly cooled by convective circulation, as well as other heat losses.
 

DaveBP

Minister of Fire
May 25, 2008
1,157
SW Maine
Well I'll be damned. Sort of like a lava lamp within the pipe itself.
I've only ever had an instantaneous type water heater and wondered. Thanks.
 

DBoon

Minister of Fire
Jan 14, 2009
1,300
Central NY
I had these installed with a new water tank a few years ago. I only make hot water at night when rates are low, and before I had these installed when I turned the cold water kitchen faucet on first thing in the morning (right above the hot water tank) the cold water would run very warm for a few seconds, then go cold. Now, it doesn't do that. So I can't quantify how much they are saving me, but they seem to be doing the job they are advertised to do.
 
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