Thoughts on Hot Water Energy

As the primary maintenance guy for my home, I like under counter mounted sinks, because of the ease of clean-up. The raised lip of self rimming sinks is a constant challenge to clean up. No more, just sweep the water and /or crumbs directly into the bowl. Presto-no hassle!

As I work on the plans and details of New Cottage in the Woods, every action I take in my current home makes me reconsider all of the choices I’m making in my soon-to-be constructed new home.

I have grown impatient waiting for hot water to appear at whatever sink I’m using, at least in the master bedroom sink and the kitchen sink. The best news I found in researching to shorten this wait, while saving water, is the use of a circulating loop between the sinks and the hot water tank. This can be done without a primer pump and hence does not use extra energy. With the hot water tank located inside the conditioned envelope of the home, there is no lost heat.

We will be using photovoltaic solar panels to move away from the electric grid. This will work in tandem with an electric water heater, allowing us a power source, when the sun is down. The sinks will most likely be cast iron white, with the kitchen being done in a farm front stainless mulch-compartment mounted with a pull down faucet, I am not familiar enough with the new touchless features, but I want to investigate it.

Certainly at this point, I think we’re all convinced that for water supply PEX piping is an excellent choice. I like it because if it freezes solid and expands, it will not blow apart, there is no water hammer noise as it is flexible, and has some insulation qualities not found in metal pipes.

Example of a luxurious bathroom built by Rick Bernard of Bernard Custom Homes for the Barritz, popular in the 1980-90s.

As I look at the luxurious features I’ve been adding to custom homes for the Street of Dreams homes I’ve constructed over the years, I’m giving up on the luxo spa tub in the master bath. I never use the ones I’ve put in and they’re energy wasters. Instead I’ve fallen in love with an exterior jetted/bubbler/special lighted spa tub that are always ready for use and really don’t require any maintenance or consume much power.

I’ll still have my special custom tile shower, with a view into the woods, and a heated floor. I’ve built magnificent steam rooms, but the problem I’ve had with them is the energy consumed by them. Been there, done that, no more.

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