H2O Heater automatic pump..??!!

Anybody know what these are? Gas water heater is installed in the basement. There is a timer pump on the drain valve that goes up and follows the floor joists into finished space. The only thing on the exterior of the house is this weird SMALL piece of copper tubing. Thoughts, comments, experiences?

P8240042 (2).JPG

That’s a “loop” (aka recirculating pump).

I don’t know what the exterior piping is.

Looks like tubing for propane. Any chance this house had a propane DHW tank before it had natgas?

I doubt it had propane. Built in 2001 and not real common in these residential neighborhoods around here (Longmont, CO.)

The second picture looks like exterior gas and water plumbing for an outdoor grill and refrigerator/ice maker.

Never mind. On second look, I didn’t see what I thought I saw. :wink:

That circulating hot water may be used as a radiant heat.

Could that 1/4" piping be some sort of drainage pipe?

It may be but if it’s on a timer, one would think it would be for domestic use so as to provide instant hot water in the mornings or from preset periods when hot water demand is higher. To have it shut down, say overnight, is an energy conservation feature.

I’m involved in a litigation in a supposedly highly efficient all-electric house (with HP/AC) where the costs are much higher than projected. It has a 60 Imperial gallon electric hot water with 24 hour recirculation. Poor pipe insulation and the continuous heat loss is putting bills up:

(1) the straight cost of electric resistance `supplied heat loss from the pipes takes away from the running time of the heat pump at approximately 50% heat savings. There could be 2000-3000+ watts of pipe heat loss all day that prevents the HP running at its most effiecient levels during the mild shoulder seasons when COP’s of 3-5 are attainable!! This may be enough to keep this well insulated airtight house comfortable.
(2) in the summer, this is an added internal heat gain that causes the AC to run longer.

Both of these items are costing the homeowner!!!

Here’s another opinion…
In some areas hard water causes build-up int he bottom of a heater resulting inpremature failure. Givne that there is a timer involved, I’d guess it is a blow-down system that automatically bleeds a small amount of flush water out of the heater on a timed schedule.


I don’t subscribe to the “efficiency theory” of adding a timer to an electric water heater.

The timer may keep the heater from coming on in the middle of the night, when there is no hot water demand, but this also allows for the tank to cool overnight. The heater then has to work longer in the morning to bring the tank back up to temp.