How often do you hear about someone taking a shower only to have it cut short by a limited supply of hot water? This all-too-often annoyance happens because not enough hot water is available to use from the water heater tank. Add in a warm water load in the washing machine or family members taking multiple showers in a row, and the issue only gets worse. Additionally, in April of 2015, the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) changed the way water heaters must be manufactured. Many people who find themselves replacing their water heaters will have to downsize their water heaters due to the new regulations which further exacerbates the problem.
Luckily, there’s an innovative solution that can increase available hot water by up to 234% on gas water heaters and up to 125% on electric water heaters. The Tank Booster is a Thermostatic Mixing Valve (TMV) that mixes the hot water supply line from the water heater with cold water to achieve the desired outlet temperature of 120°F, as opposed to using just the heated water. This allows you to set the water heater to 140°F instead of 120°F, thereby reducing the amount of water needed from the tank to achieve the desired temperature at the outlet.
To install, all you need to do is turn off the main supply line to the house and drain the pipes at their lowest point. Then:
- Remove the hot and cold lines from the water heater tank, as well as any excess sealant or tape from the threads.
- Reapply plumber’s tape to both the hot and cold heater nipples.
- Deburr the hot and cold lines servicing the house.
- On the cold inlet side, thread the smaller brass tee onto the nipple, leaving the side thread facing the back of the heater.
- Connect the filter to the valve, and then thread the pair onto the hot outlet nipple, leaving the threads on the side facing the back of the heater.
- Install the flex hose onto the threads of both the hot and cold sides.
At this point, the Tank Booster is installed, and you’re ready to reconnect the heater to the supply lines using SharkBite water heater connectors. To do this:
- Take the flex hose with the ball valve and thread the female end onto the top cold water inlet tee on the heater.
- Take the other flex hose and thread the female end onto the top of the mixing valve on the hot side.
- Push the ball valve flex hose onto the deburred and marked cold water supply.
- Push the SharkBite end of the hot side flex hose onto the hot water supply (the one with the thermometer).
- Turn the heater temperature up to 140°F; Tank Booster is adjustable but is factory set to mix the water supplying the house down to a safe 120°F.
You’ve now increased the usable hot water capacity, boosted the temperature of the water in the tank to a point that kills Legionella bacteria, saved money, saved energy and reduced environmental impact.