Water Heater Rescue: Know-How, Solutions, Parts graphic
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Hummingbird: Manifold Plumbing

Hot manifold above the water heater, left, cold manifold, right

In most houses, there is no system to get hot water quickly to the farthest faucet. But when there is, it is usually a recirculation system, with copper piping running from the farthest fixture back to the water heater. Sometimes it is gravity-feed, but often an electric pump is used.

Gas line manifold

This is an effective way to save water, since without a recirc, formerly hot water having cooled off in the lines during periods of non-use, you would open the hot faucet and let the cooled water run down the drain until hot water flowed from the water heater to your faucet.

Good way to save water, good way to waste energy. When hot water is continually circulating, it's also continually radiating away heat, even when the piping is insulated.

Enter manifold plumbing, an effective way to minimize both heat and water loss and energy waste, while also quickly getting water to any fixture.

Photo No. 1 shows manifold plumbing used in conjunction with a direct-vent propane water heater. The manifold, of copper, sits on top of the hot-water outlet port, with a series of valves controlling individual PEX lines leading to individual faucets.

This photo was taken before the installation was complete, which is why the cold-water port doesn't yet connect to anything and why nothing is yet swathed in insulation.

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