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Old 05-18-2016, 12:32 PM   #1
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Seneca - Conserving water waiting for it to get hot...

We have a Seneca 36FK and 98% of our trips are Dry Camping for multiple days. Water is a precious resource that is wasted waiting for the water to get hot in any of the faucets or shower (regardless of the type of Water Heater you have). We even try to capture as much of it as we can for the dog bowls, but it is more than they will drink.

So - decided to rig up a bypass to run the hot water - back to the Fresh Water Tank. Our Kitchen sink is the farthest from the Water Heater, so we put a bypass solenoid valve in the hot water line, and let the running water flow back into our Fresh Supply.

First - routed a half-inch ID poly water tubing from the Fresh Water Tank to the Kitchen Sink area. This took a bit of work opening each of the outside cabinets to access the area where the plumbing and electrical already are routed, and tied the discharge end of our line to one of the vent connections.

Second - Purchased a 12v Brass Solenoid valve with 1/4 inch connections and began to plumb the Tee into the Hot Water line under the sink. For FK owners, the easy way to access this is to remove the outside TV. Six screws holding the bracket and it is out of the way. I mounted the valve on a piece of scrap so that everything would remain secure on rough roads and plumbed the TEE between the Hot Water connection on the sink.

Next - I wired the solenoid valve to a push-button (Normally Open - Momentary Closed) switch and mounted the switch on the cabinet facing right next to the Kitchen Sink. A perfect switch is a everyday doorbell switch at the Home Depot - just pick your decor!. The power came from the Red/White wires that power the outdoor Stereo with a 2A fuse inline.

How it works??? Push the button on the cabinet for about 15-20 seconds (time varies because of the lousy tankless water heater) The Water heater kicks in and you have now run the equivalent of 3/4 of a gallon of water to get Hot Water to the tap (but back into your fresh tank). Let the switch go and use your sink with Hot water right away.

Here are a couple of pictures...

Steve & Stacy
2015 Seneca 36FK (with a 2016 Coach on the chassis)
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Old 05-18-2016, 12:37 PM   #2
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Old 05-18-2016, 01:36 PM   #3
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Get a patent for the kit.
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Old 05-18-2016, 01:48 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by SloPoke View Post
... Water is a precious resource that is wasted waiting for the water to get hot in any of the faucets or shower (regardless of the type of Water Heater you have)....
I had read of a similar system for houses, back before bottled water became a 'thing'.

Those used a solenoid and local pump at the most distant (from the water heater) faucet to circulate the cooled-off water back into the water heater via the already existing cold water line. A push-button at each point of use triggered the system for a fixed period of time.

I do like your system. Just dump the cooled off water back into the fresh water tank. Zero waste. You gotta run the pump to eject the cooled-off water and heat the water that will eventually cool off anyway.

Neat!
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Old 05-18-2016, 03:10 PM   #5
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That's "DAM SKIPPY" right there !!
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Old 05-18-2016, 05:35 PM   #6
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I hope to do something very similar to my Seneca for the same reason, to conserve water when dry camping. I have a TS, so I am certain the plumbing layout is different. But similar to SloPoke's FK my kitchen sink is also the furthest fixture from the water heater, so that is where I will likely tie in too. I already swapped out my unreliable Girard tankless for a 10-gallon Atwood XT gas/electric water heater, so consistent hot water is always there just waiting. This mod will bring it to the sink, but the shower also benefits since it branches off before the kitchen sink.

One addition I am researching is a timer circuit that will hold the solenoid open for a pre-determined (and hopefully adjustable) period of time. It's not that holding the momentary switch is that difficult, but the DW would better appreciate being able to just press a button and then climb in the shower knowing hot water will be there in 3 seconds instead of 30!

Thanks SloPoke for providing more motivation to get this done!
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Old 05-18-2016, 06:52 PM   #7
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One addition I am researching is a timer circuit that will hold the solenoid open for a pre-determined (and hopefully adjustable) period of time. It's not that holding the momentary switch is that difficult, but the DW would better appreciate being able to just press a button and then climb in the shower knowing hot water will be there in 3 seconds instead of 30!

Thanks SloPoke for providing more motivation to get this done!
I am very interested in seeing what you come up with for the timer... for those who still have the original water heater and for those who have upgraded back to a "tank heater" will have a different experience. Tankless timings will likely be a lot longer than those with Tank heaters. And I expect Tankless timings will be subject to the ambient temperatures as well.

I would think that an adjustable(tunable) circuit will be good for the timer, and then all it takes is one push of the button.
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Old 05-18-2016, 07:08 PM   #8
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You inspired me to research the timer, I found this device which looks like it would work very well. You can even remote-mount the potentiometer (maybe next to the pushbutton?) to alter the delay, perhaps useful if you were cold weather camping.

I-30: Adjustable Timer from 1 Second to 3 Minutes Voltage . 12V. D.C: Cebek
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Old 05-19-2016, 06:16 AM   #9
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Great idea and well done!
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Old 05-19-2016, 03:19 PM   #10
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Great idea..... I may need to incorporate this mod in my 32RLDS.
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