It takes several minutes for the hot water in my house to reach the kitchen faucet (which is the furthest away from the hot water heater). How can I improve this situation? Should I add a second tank or a circulation loop? Thanks in advance.
Charles ~ El Paso, TX
Hi Charles. I know homes built on slabs are popular in Texas so if your El Paso house has this type of foundation, it may be contributing to the hot water circulation problem. As you have discovered, the farther away a fixture is from its source of hot water, the longer it takes for the hot water to arrive when it's needed. Slab homes have their square footage spread out so there can be some very long supply lines from the hot water heater location.
Installing a second hot water heater is definitely an option, but keep in mind that you are paying to heat the water in the tank even when the faucets and fixtures are turned off. Adding a second tank will almost certainly increase your monthly gas or electric bills, but on the other hand, it should put an end to your circulation problem.
However, I think the best solution to your issue might be to install a tankless hot water heater. These can provide an almost unlimited supply of heated water and because there is no hot water tank, they are much more efficient than a conventional system. They only heat water when it's needed. Tankless hot water heaters can be powered by either electricity or gas and most contractors around El Paso who specialize in plumbing repairs should be able to install the system.
If cost is a concern and the only place you have a problem with waiting for hot water is the kitchen, consider adding an instant hot water faucet. They are normally located adjacent to the kitchen sink and the heating unit is situated in the sink cabinet. The water supply line simply ties into the existing lines serving the primary kitchen faucet. These handy water heaters can provide water hot enough for instant coffee or soup and the water is completely heated when it comes out of the faucet. Installation can often be done in a couple of hours.