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Old 04-22-2024, 06:23 AM   #1
CBears
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Adding a Water Heater Recirculating Pump

On our maiden voyage we were not pleased with the way the tankless water heater functions at all. Getting hot water to any of the faucets took quite a while which needlessly fills the gray tanks. In addition, there is no way to run just a little hot water, it always has to be high flow.

I am thinking about putting in a recirculating pump under the kitchen sink. I'm thinking something like this video but with good quality lines and a better quality pump.

https://youtu.be/4_yE8coTkUI?si=At-0NRRGjE9vBYVn

I've got a couple of questions:
  • What have been others' experiences with doing this?
  • What pitfalls might I encounter?
  • AC or 12V? The only 12V circuit near there is 15amp and is already
    running all the lights in the front of the trailer.
  • I'm thinking a pump just like the SeaFlo water pump that came with the trailer. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance for the comments.
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Old 04-22-2024, 09:49 AM   #2
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You should make sure that the water pump is designed to handle hot water and continuous use. I doubt that a standard RV water pump can handle hot water and being on all the rime. Also, most RV water pumps make a lot of noise.
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Old 04-22-2024, 10:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBears View Post
On our maiden voyage we were not pleased with the way the tankless water heater functions at all. Getting hot water to any of the faucets took quite a while which needlessly fills the gray tanks. In addition, there is no way to run just a little hot water, it always has to be high flow.
Yup, that was my experience with the tankless we naively installed into my son's first home, a relatively small 800sf to boot. That and the maintenance headache involved in lubing that particular brand and model soured me on tankless forever. I was really saddened to learn that Keystone now ships tankless exclusively on my model Cougar. Looks like it gives them a new kitchen pan drawer (they reclaimed the fusebox space by moving it into half of the old WH cavity).
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Old 04-22-2024, 11:17 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Hblick48 View Post
You should make sure that the water pump is designed to handle hot water and continuous use. I doubt that a standard RV water pump can handle hot water and being on all the rime. Also, most RV water pumps make a lot of noise.
Thanks for the reply.

It won't be on all the time. I'm thinking about doing it the way the guy in the video did. Switch that turns it on before you want to use the kitchen faucet. Then a temp sensor that turns it off when it reaches 90 or 100 degrees. I certainly would not want it running all the time, too much noise and propane usage.
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Old 04-22-2024, 01:26 PM   #5
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Maybe I am way too old school but I do not remember running across propane powered water pumps. Help me out here please as I am confused.
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Old 04-22-2024, 01:40 PM   #6
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Maybe I am way too old school but I do not remember running across propane powered water pumps. Help me out here please as I am confused.
If the recirculating pump were to run all the time, the tankless heater would run all the time. It uses propane. I just want to run something for 90 seconds or so before I fill a sink to wash dishes so I don't run all that extra water into the gray tank.
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Old 04-22-2024, 06:39 PM   #7
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I'm interested in just how much noise is emitted from the circulation pump. Those used in household systems for both hot water and baseboard or in floor hydronic systems don't make any noise at all. The new ones are sealed with magnetic coupling to drive the impeller. Years ago they were cast iron with a shaft seal and driven by four light weight springs for the coupling.
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Old 04-23-2024, 12:02 PM   #8
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I'm going with a SeaFlo pump just like the one that came with the trailer in the water pump bay except, it will be 110AC instead of 12V. 3.5 GPM at 45 PSI.

The way I'm going to do it, the unit will only run for a couple minutes at a time and they are rated up to 140 degrees F so shouldn't be a problem there. It will be mounted under the sink in the kitchen so will make some noise however that will remind us to shut it off.

In my old trailer, the pump was under the sink anyway and loud AF! I'm going to take the info I learned reworking my water pump bay to make things quieter. I think I'm going to build a box to house it in and line it with some of the egg crate foam that @WNY Bullet used in his rebuild also.

Just clicked buy on the items in Amazon a few minutes ago. Wheels up on this project this weekend.
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Old 04-28-2024, 12:39 PM   #9
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Tankless water heaters are a big joke on RVers. I'm looking to yank mine out and replace it with a 6 gallon tank type.

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Old 04-28-2024, 03:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post
Tankless water heaters are a big joke on RVers. I'm looking to yank mine out and replace it with a 6 gallon tank type.

Ken
We thought about doing this as well. Our last water heater had issues of its own so Iím going to try to make this new one work well instead. We can always replace later if need be.
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Old 04-29-2024, 08:07 AM   #11
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Started the project last weekend. I'm going with the 120VAC SeaFlo pump so need to run electrical to under the sink in the kitchen.

During my last electrical project, I pulled the outside outlet off the trailer because I thought it was bad. It wasn't (explained in another thread) but I did notice that the manufacturer seemed to use a canon ball shot to drill the hole in the side of the trailer for the outlet. It was hooked up precariously to say the least. Notice the hole on the left that didn't even land in actual siding.

I used a deep, residential, old work box so had to enlarge the hole a bit. This allowed me to straighten things up a lot. I put some blue painter's tape over the area first to reduce tear-out when using my multi tool to make the cuts.

I also bought a good quality residential, weather proof outlet cover to use. Got things wired up with a new 12/2 line to go to the kitchen, outlet installed and cover in place. The cover came with a rubber seal to go between the cover and the trailer side but I still surrounded the cover with Geocel GC28100 Pro Flex RV Flexible Sealant for good measure.
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Old 04-29-2024, 08:17 AM   #12
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The outside outlet comes through the wall behind the drawers in the kitchen in the 25mle. The quickest way to run electrical between there and under the kitchen sink was through the outdoor kitchen area. There is about 6 inches of dead space between the wall under the kitchen sink and the back wall of the outdoor kitchen area. That will provide a nice place for the old work residential boxes I need to house the switch and outlet.

I used a Forstner bit to drill holes from behind the drawers into the outdoor kitchen and from the outdoor kitchen to the dead space. I made sure to measure over a bit because the dead space starts about 6 inches to the left of the drawer area. I didn't want to poke through the wall there.

I didn't want the wire to show in the outside kitchen area so decided to use pvc conduit. I made sure to cut enough wire to run through the pvc between the two holes. I cut a couple pieces of 3/4 plywood, chamfered the edges and pocket holed them to the panel bracing to hold them in place. Then I ran the wire inside and strapped them down to the plywood. This makes everything sturdy, looks nice and protects the wire.
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Old 04-29-2024, 08:26 AM   #13
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The pump is going to be controlled by a switch so it can be turned off and on. It is going to be additionally controlled by a thermostat unit so, even when turned on, will quit running when the water in the hot line reaches 100 degrees or so.

I need to have a switch under the kitchen sink as well as an outlet controlled by the switch. I wanted to use residential old-work boxes and a commercial grade switch and outlet. Because I don't like to rely on the 1/4 inch ply they use for walls in the RV, I cut another piece of 3/4 plywood and chamfered the bottom edge to make it look nicer. I cut out the openings for the boxes and then pocket holed the board to the trim frame pieces.

I used my multi-tool to cut the openings into the wall panel and fished the wire through from the outdoor kitchen area. I then wired up the plug and switch and buttoned everything up.

I will probably go at some point and get a quart of flat gray paint to finish the boards I used for this project but, for now, it looks pretty good like this.

I'm still waiting on Amazon to send the rest of the parts for this project. I'm waiting on the pump, thermostat unit, anti-backflow, 36" braided faucet lines and some pex fittings. I'll continue the posts once I get these in and installed.
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Old 05-04-2024, 05:22 PM   #14
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Took the next step in the project today. Had to make a box to house the pump under the kitchen sink. I wanted it to be in a box so that nothing would fall on it and also to control the noise a bit.

Built the outer box walls, screwed the pump down to a 3/4 ply panel that will serve as the floor for the box. I used a thick rubber foot above and below each of the pump feet to dampen the vibration. I also am using two 36Ē braided lines to run to the existing plumbing. Then I glued the floor into the box, made a lid and did some chamfering to make it look nicer.

The pump has a filter on the incoming side and I put an inline anti-backflow on the outlet side. I didnít want the hot water side to draw any water from the cold side through the pump.

I still have to drill two holes in the front for the braided lines to exit. Iím also going to drill a hole in the back side for the electrical to exit. Lastly Iím going to drill a hole near the bottom so that, if there is a leak, the box will shed water. Hopefully that part never happens.
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Old 05-08-2024, 04:05 PM   #15
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Drilled the holes in the pump box and put some finish on it so it would look nice. Not sure why, I am going to put it under a sink behind a trash can. I still wanted it to look nice.
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Old 05-08-2024, 04:17 PM   #16
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Finished up the project last night and tested it this evening. My original plan was to put a shut off based on water temperature. This did work however it was slow to get the news that the water had reached temp so it kept circulating hot water back through the water heater. This caused the water to go over temp so I decided to not do that right now. If at some point we find it to be necessary Iíll have to come up with something different to do that.

For now if we want hot water in the kitchen, or anywhere else for that matter, we can turn on the recirc and wait for 30 seconds or so. We will nail down the time closer this weekend. Then shut it back off and when you turn on the faucet, instant hot water.

First pic is before under the sink. Next three are after with the final one being with the lid on the box. Nice thing is everything we had under the sink before still fits fine.

This solution may not be perfect but I think it is better than putting all that extra water in the gray tank every time we want to wash dishes.
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Old 05-08-2024, 06:28 PM   #17
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Drilled the holes in the pump box and put some finish on it so it would look nice. Not sure why, I am going to put it under a sink behind a trash can. I still wanted it to look nice.


What's the wood for the box? Curious because I like wood. Making some doodads for DW out of black limba (I call it black mamba-the snake, the get some of the family members up in the air).
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Old 05-08-2024, 06:33 PM   #18
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It is spalted soft maple from a tree I cut down. I left the logs a bit too long before slabbing because i was looking for some really good colors. Can’t really use the wood for much structural because it’s a bit soft but for boxes, lamps, etc. it works fairly well.
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Old 05-08-2024, 06:46 PM   #19
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I like spalted wood; it adds character and color. If you like working with wood and like unique figure check out the black limba I mentioned. They classify it as a hardwood but it isn't really to my mind but when you put a finish on it the wood pops; sometimes I can't decide if it's like a dark alligator skin or what....but it's pretty cool.
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Old 05-09-2024, 03:24 AM   #20
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I like spalted wood; it adds character and color. If you like working with wood and like unique figure check out the black limba I mentioned. They classify it as a hardwood but it isn't really to my mind but when you put a finish on it the wood pops; sometimes I can't decide if it's like a dark alligator skin or what....but it's pretty cool.
I will take a look, thanks. One thing that adds enjoyment for me is using lumber from my own trees and mill. So far Iíve got ash, honey locust, maple and walnut. I also like picking up a board or two of exotics when I see them. Iíll add ďblack mambaĒ to that list.
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