Feb 17, 2015

Recirculating Pumps Save Hot Water and Offer You a Better Bathroom Experience - Sustain U Water Saving Series **UPDATE

What is a Residential Recirculating Pump?

Laing Autocirc Undersink Instant Hot Water Circulating Pump


Circulating pumps are often used to circulate domestic hot water so that a faucet will provide hot water instantly upon demand, or (more conserving of energy) a short time after a user's request for hot water. In regions where water conservation issues are rising in importance with rapidly expanding and urbanizing populations local water authorities offer rebates to homeowners and builders that install a circulator pump to save water.

Why would you install a Recirculating Pump? How much will you save?

In typical one-way plumbing without a circulation pump, water is simply piped from the water heater through the pipes to the tap. Once the tap is shut off, the water remaining in the pipes cools producing the familiar wait for hot water the next time the tap is opened. By adding a circulator pump and constantly circulating a small amount of hot water through the pipes from the heater to the farthest fixture and back to the heater, the water in the pipes is always hot, and no water is wasted during the wait. The tradeoff is the energy wasted in operating the pump and the additional demand on the water heater to make up for the heat lost from the constantly hot pipes. 

We have a passion for turning the world Green but for many of you it's all about $ which keeps capitalism humming. So what's the breakeven on the purchase of this pump. As with many Green products it seems the
more folks affected by the item the quicker the break even. If you live by yourself then this pump will likely take you a while to get a cost benefit. If you are in a 3 or 4 bath house with 2 or 3 kids then the payback is likely to be on the order of 2 years at most and then it will be straight savings against your utility bill.;

Are There Different Types of Recirculating Pumps?

While the majority of these pumps mount nearest to the hot water heater and have no adjustable temperature capabilities, a significant reduction in energy can be achieved by utilizing a temperature adjustable thermostatically controlled circulation pump mounted at the last fixture on the loop.

Thermostatically controlled circulation pumps allow owners to choose the desired temperature of hot water to be maintained within the hot water pipes since most homes do not require 120 °F (49 °C) degree water instantly out of their taps. Thermostatically controlled circulation pumps cycle on and off to maintain a user's chosen temperature and consume less energy than a continuously operating pump. By installing a thermostatically controlled pump just after the farthest fixture on the loop, cyclic pumping maintains ready hot water up to the last fixture on the loop instead of wasting energy heating the piping from the last fixture to the water heater. Often installing a circulation pump at the farthest fixture on hot water circulation loop due to limited available space, cosmetics, noise restrictions or lack of available power. 

Recent advancements in hot water circulation technology allow for benefiting from temperature controlled pumping without having to install the pump at the last fixture on the hot water loop. These advanced hot water circulation systems utilize a water contacting temperature probe strategically installed at the last fixture on the loop to minimize the energy wasted heating lengthy return pipes. Thermal insulation applied to the pipes helps mitigate this second loss and minimize the amount of water that must be pumped to keep hot water constantly available.

Can I install the Pump Myself?

Below is a video on installing a Laing pump. It is pretty easy if you are handy although you will require a 120v AC plug near the pump to power it. If electricity scares you a bit you would want to call the plumber or electrician to put a plug in for you. A professional depending on region would probably charge up to $200 for the install.

Which is the Best Manufacturer to go with on these pumps?

There are a few major manufacturers of residential plumbing recirculating pumps-they are all good companies and make good product-the choice is often based on your own personal affinity for a given brand or what your installer chooses.

Laing Pump Thermotech division of Xylem Water is the manufacturer we generally offer at Conservastore.
Laing offers a pump whose advantage is that the pump is placed at the faucet farthest in the plumbing loop from the water heater. This seems to do a great job of learning the temp at the coldest point of the system and thereby maintaining a constant temp that is agreeable
This is Conservastore Part #01-0228 and Laing Model # e1-bcanrt1w-06 and part#LHB08100093 and formally model ACT-303-BTW

Schematic of  a Recirc Pump Working

Laing has other models that may fit your requirements better:

A newer model from Laing is designed for the ever growing offering of Instantaneous of Tankless water heaters. The Model # is ACT E10 and the Part # 6050E7000

Laing now also offers a pump that is installed at the water heater but communicates with the farthest faucet in the home wirelessly. No recirculation line is required and no power source under the farthest sink is needed. Suggested savings is 12k gallons of water per year.
The Model # is ACT-4 and the Part # 6050E4050

Other good manufacturers of recirculating pumps include (click on the manufacturer name to go to their website)




If you live in a standard residential home with 3 or 4 bedrooms and 2 or 3 baths the relatively inexpensive cost of a recirculating pump will really save you water and utility bill cost over your life in the home

Thanks to the following for the text that is the basis for this article: Wikipedia, Laing Thermotech division of Xylem

This is from our Sustain U series of articles that attempt to inform the lay public about different Green hard good items that can make lives easier and of course save resources and save money

Conservastore is your source for Water Saving -  Click here for our entire catalog

Here is the Conservastore offering of Recirculating Pumps for Residential Water Heating-Click Here

Laing Autocirc Undersink Instant Hot Water Circulating Pump

Laing ACT E10 Autocirc Tankless Water Heater Recirculating Pump


This blog was first written in Feb 2014 and revised in Feb 2015

Feb 5, 2015

Saving Water with Kitchen and Faucet Aerators

An easy and inexpensive way to start saving water is by installing low flow aerators on your faucets. The aerator is the part of the faucet that controls the flow rate (the amount of water that comes out of the faucet). faucet aerators conserve water, while shaping the stream uniformly and reducing splashing. Water is delivered in softer, almost ticklish mini jets, rather than a standard gush.

Standard faucets have a flow rate of about 2.0 GPM (Gallons per Minute). This means that for every minute 2 gallons of water flow out. Low flow aerators reduce the flow rate to as low as 0.5 GPM which is a 75% reduction in the water used.

When looking at this from a short-term angle the benefit seems minimal however when you apply this to a long term focus, there is a massive savings on the amount of water used and on your water bill.

1.5 GPM Dual Spray Kitchen Low Flow Faucet Aerator with Swivel and Pause Valve
1.0 GPM Low Flow DualThread Faucet Aerator Kitchen & Bathroom


 Visit us at Conservastore where you can find a variety of aerators and other water saving solutions

Feb 3, 2015

Top 10 Energy Conservation Tips

How to Save Energy

1) Turn off your computer, lights, stereo, TV and other appliances when not in use.

2) Unplug adapters (like your cell phone charger and MP3 player) when not in use, as the charger will use energy 24/7 even when your item is not charging. Use a power strip for items (like an entertainment system) and turn power strip off when not in use (anything with a remote control is constantly drawing electricity).

3) Use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) instead of incandescent light bulbs.

4) During the daytime, use natural lighting when possible-open your blinds to brighten up the room. During the night, close your blinds or curtains to keep the heat in your room.

5) Save energy with no effort by enabling your computer's energy-saving features. Always turn your computer off if you will not be using it within the next hour.

6) Consider energy-efficient computer systems and monitors when you replace a system. Flat-screen monitors use 50-70% less energy.

7) Turn your refrigerator temperature down (while retaining a healthy level). Most refrigerators are set at a temperature that is unnecessarily cold, resulting in accidentally almost-frozen food.

8) Buy ENERGY STAR®-qualified models.

9) Use cold for the wash cycle (instead of hot) when you do your laundry, and always rinse in cold. Colder water also ensures your fabric colors will not run!

10) Consider using a clothing rack or hangers to air-dry your laundry instead of using the dryer. This will help the quality of your clothing last longer and the extra humidity from the drying clothes can also make your room feel warmer!

Visit us at Conserv-A-Store where you can find  Energy Saving Products and Solutions


Jan 20, 2015

Top Green Bathroom Renovation Tips --- Turn your Bath Green

1. Waste Water Not, Want Not
Saving water is the most important thing to consider when doing a bathroom makeover, as the toilet alone can use as much as 27 percent of household water. Although much of the waste is caused by bad habits, installing and maintaining water-saving bathroom fixtures is an enormously important step. Here's how: Start by installing low-flow showerheads and faucets; next, fix any leaks as soon as they happen (including continuously leaky toilets, which can waste as much as 300 gallons of water every day). A further step is to set up a gray-water system that collects water from the sink and shower and feeds the toilet and the garden. You can also read our How to Go Green: Water guide for more helpful ideas.

2. Come Out of the (Water) Closet
Given the amount of time each of us spends in the bathroom, we think we should all be able to enjoy it. So why do American bathrooms resemble closets? In a traditional Japanese bath, for example, the view framed by the window is an important part of the design of the bathroom. Make sure your bathroom includes windows, for natural light, the view, and ventilation. Forget the American dream of a bathroom for every bedroom (and then a powder room for the guests!). Put the toilet in a separate space to isolate bacteria -- it takes up just a little more space, and is almost as good as having a second bathroom as one person can be using the toilet while another is using the sink or tub.

3. Don't Flush Resources Away
Almost everything about our toilets is wrong: Drinking water is used for flushing waste, which becomes "black water," which contaminates the "grey water" waste that comes from everything else in the bathroom (and could otherwise be reused). Black water is hard to clean and flushes away valuable resources (see the Getting Techie section for further discussion of gray- and black-water). For example, urine is a valuable source of phosphorus, and poo could be composted into fertilizer if it weren't hauled off to the nearest water treatment center. Plus, toilets aren't designed around the way our bodies work: Sitting, rather than squatting, has been linked to hemorrhoids, constipation, and colon cancer.

4. Build a Better Toilet
So, the ideal toilet would be a squat-friendly, urine-separating, composting toilet (like the one I installed in my cabin) with a pop-up bidet. But since these can be hard to find these days, in lieu of this imaginary ideal loo, we offer these small steps to help you green your commode:
  • Replace the lid of the tank with a washing lid -- a sink on top of the tank -- where the water for the flush first goes through a faucet where you can wash your hands.
  • Use a no-flush urinal, for the men (and agile women) in your house.
  • Install a low-volume toilet or dual-flush mechanism -- that's one for, er... a number one, and two for a number two.
  • Get the lowest toilet you can find, with an elongated bowl then adapt it for squatting.
  • For sitting toilets, buy a toilet seat that can be removed for cleaning.
5. Think About Your Sink
Beyond the big step of purchasing a hybrid sink-toilet, such as the one mentioned above, where the grey water from the sink is used in the toilet bowl, there are many other options to consider when choosing the right sink. First, the sink vanity height should be at least 36 inches, which will allow you to stand up straight while you wash, which is easier on the back. Next, consider a kitchen-type faucet with sprayer, so that you can rinse the sink easily -- you can save water and wash your hair with it, too. Finally, consider the materials and layout of your sink: Hospital-plumbing brass sinks, which have big paddle handles that you can operate with your elbows (so you don't have to touch 'em with your dirty hands), and go with recycled and eco-materials, such as natural ceramic or non-toxic cement, for your hardware and sink basin.

6. Cease Slippery Showers
Standing barefoot on a curved, smooth surface, while adding water and soap might not be the safest way to start your day, but that's what many of us do in the shower each day. Instead, we recommend building a shower stall, separate from the tub, or just forget about the tub altogether, as taking a bath can use seven times the amount of energy as taking a short shower. Install a handheld showerhead so that you can aim it up as well as down, and put in grab bars; no matter what your age, people slip in showers a lot. Consider a molded fiberglass shower instead of a tiled one, as they are easier to keep clean. Avoid vinyl shower curtains -- either PVC-free plastic or even hemp is a good alternative -- and if you get glass doors, use a squeegee to clean them after you shower, which will help you avoid using chemicals to remove the scum that forms otherwise.

7. Keep Yourself Out of Hot Water
More than 10 percent of our energy bills typically come from heating up hot water. Although the best way to reduce that number is to use less of it for bathing, washing your hands, and doing household chores (such as doing the laundry in hot water), you can also consider these options:
  • Set up a solar powered water heater -- they used to be either expensive or just not very effective; now many companies are selling evacuated tube water heaters for under $5,000.
  • Install a waste-heat recovery system (pdf) that preheats the shower water with the warm water going down the drain.
8. Ventilate Your Vanity
Bathrooms are warm and damp, a perfect environment for mildew and mold. You can attack this problem with chemicals and bleaches, or you can simply keep the humidity levels down below their comfort zone. Every house or renovation should include the installation of a Heat Recovery Ventilator, or HRV; if you build to any kind of standard, you need fresh air intake. When you bring in fresh air you need to balance it with exhausted air, so take it from the bathrooms. This will ensure that there is a constant flow of air and continuous removal of excess humidity. Increase the air flow in your bathroom further by using a low power consumption fan (preferably remote installation, where it is mounted at the exhaust point rather than the intake point). Include a timer switch so it will turn off after the bathroom moisture has subsided.

9. Don't Slip on the Floor
We line cover our bathroom floors with big, shiny, pore-less tiles, often radioactive granite; just the thing to slip on. Use non-slip tiles including a tiled baseboard, and put in a floor drain - let it take away excess water when you get out of the shower, instead of a using a soggy bath mat that keeps releasing moisture.

10. Select Mold Mitigating Materials
Use materials that don't promote mould and mildew growth, are eco-friendly, and are easy to clean. In Japan, a lot of baths are lined with cedar and wood; cork and water resistant woods have natural mold inhibitors in them. For floors and walls go with recycled glass or ceramic tiles, Marmoleum (a good old fashed linoleum material), low-VOC paints, and natural plasters like American Clay, which absorb and release moisture, mitigating the potential for mildew. For countertops, consider those made from recycled glass cullet, or compressed, sealed, recycled paper, such as Paperstone and Richlite.

Source: Planet Green

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