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Subject: Hot water
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JakeS4
(Texas)

Posts:10


11/14/2018 11:27 PM  
Hello everyone. I apologize if this question has been asked before, I searched for it but nothing comes up.

I live in a high-rise condo, where the water heating is owned by the HoA. A few days ago, the HoA shut down all water supply to repair a faulty pipe. Ever since then, the hot water in my unit hasn't been the same. It is lukewarm and not as hot as before.

I tried to convince the management that I am not imagining things. When they came to measure the hot water temperature out of my kitchen faucet, a max temperature of 107F was recorded -- which they said is just fine. 107F is just slightly above the body temperature, and that is the hottest setting in the kitchen?

My question is, is there a minimum acceptable standard for hot water, that an HoA must provide? What is the temperature of your hot water?

I would be grateful for any advice.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8413


11/15/2018 12:59 AM  
Depends on the situation. They say one of the things that wastes the most energy in a home is a Water heater. Plus settings can be too high. I would google the ideal water temperature a hot water tank should be set for. It may be that they turned it down for safety or energy saving reasons. Who knows, it may be broken. Which would be an additional expense. Those HOA members should be having the same problem too.

Former HOA President
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2623


11/15/2018 4:47 AM  
That wouldn't be a HOA issue.

Melissa suggested googling this question and here's what I found -

"The Department of Energy recommends having your tank-based hot water heater set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit for most people, but if you've never adjusted the temperature on your hot water heater, it's probably set to 140 degrees, which is the default setting from most manufacturers."

My plumber once told me 140 is too high, and people have been scalded this way, thus the 120 standard. It may be the hot water was set too high to begin with and has been adjusted. If you're taking a shower, it can take some time for the water to warm up to your liking, so that may also be an issue. Nonetheless, notify the board - if others are having the same problem, they may already be aware and are working on it.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1263


11/15/2018 5:08 AM  
107F is too low.

You’re on the right track ... find out from your neighbors what their temp is ... try various outputs within the condo unit.
AugustinD


Posts:1886


11/15/2018 6:32 AM  
A residential hot water temperature of 107 F is not fine. Texas, like other states, requires landlords to provide hot water at a minimum temperature of 120 degrees F. See https://codes.findlaw.com/tx/property-code/prop-sect-92-052.html . I realize JakeS4 lives in a condominium. I think it is possible that the HOA could be argued to be a landlord for the purposes of providing hot water. Still, I think this statute, if not applicable, could at least buttress his case if he needs to use an attorney.

I think it is possible that it takes a few days for a large boiler/water heater, such as that for multi-dwelling service, to heat all the water. Also I would think chances are good that others will complain. Wait ten more days. Report back if the water is still only 107 degrees F or so. Subsequently write a polite letter quoting the statute above. Do not get into a dispute over whether the HOA is a "landlord" just yet. I think this is a sanitation issue and a big deal. If you end up writing this polite letter, raise the issue of sanitation as well. Let the Board think about this.

Hopefully an idiot HOA manager is not involved and arguing on the wrong side of the law.

KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6541


11/15/2018 8:21 AM  
Augustine answered your question well, it seems to me. And his advice spooks great.

How many stories is your building? Where are the boilers or water heaters located? Is the water heated by gas?

Ours are on the roofs of our 25 story twin towers. We have a closed loop system which constantly circulates the water throughout a stack. We have reheaters too which keep water hot.

I can agree that it might take a few days for the water to your condo to get to the right temp. This is an area where our friend RoyalP can help.

RoyalP


Posts:0


11/15/2018 10:35 AM  
OP,

A 'hi-rise' has a recirculation system for DHW.

For safety reasons no 'unit' should have over 115 degree water. Albeit many codes PERMIT 120.

For practical economy max outlet temp should be achieved at a fixture within 30 seconds.

There are many types of recirc. systems, many of which require 'balancing'.

Give the new system 7-10 days to 'settle in' and give time for 'call back' service.



Purchase an ACCURATE long stem thermometer.

Run water into a glass or cup WITH the thermometer inserted for 5-10 minutes, many accurate thermometers require 3-7 minutes to 'read'.

It is possible that your previous temperature, to which you were accustomed, was way too high.

The 'typical' comfortable temperature for washing and bathing = 105 degrees F.


IMO, personally, 110 delivered is PERFECT - I have my PRIVATE heater set for 110-115.


BEST OF LUCK

as a resource: Anti-Scald



RoyalP


Posts:0


11/15/2018 10:43 AM  
to get more technical:

to prevent scalding at the fixture outlet: max 115 recommended

to prevent Legionaire's in the holding tank: min 160 recommended

ergo:

an Anti-Scald mixing valve must be installed to temper the tank water (160) down to a useable temperature of 105-110 in the distribution system at the fixture discharge point(s)

to maintain said temperature THROUGOUT the building requires:

well insulated piping

a proper and balanced recirculation system

$$$$$$$ by the wheelbarrow

RoyalP


Posts:0


11/15/2018 10:48 AM  
ps.

for TEXAS:

SBCCI or International Plumbing Code (1996), MAXIMUM 120°F.

Measured at ANY unit.

Since no piping system is perfect, they probably 'aimed' for 110.

Your 107 is 'within the ballpark'.




I will wager 50-50 that when you measure ACCURATELY you have 110
RoyalP


Posts:0


11/15/2018 12:04 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 11/15/2018 6:32 AM
A residential hot water temperature of 107 F is not fine.[b0 Texas, like other states, requires landlords to provide hot water at a minimum temperature of 120 degrees F. See https://codes.findlaw.com/tx/property-code/prop-sect-92-052.html . I realize JakeS4 lives in a condominium. I think it is possible that the HOA could be argued to be a landlord for the purposes of providing hot water. Still, I think this statute, if not applicable, could at least buttress his case if he needs to use an attorney.

I think it is possible that it takes a few days for a large boiler/water heater, such as that for multi-dwelling service, to heat all the water. Also I would think chances are good that others will complain. Wait ten more days. Report back if the water is still only 107 degrees F or so. Subsequently write a polite letter quoting the statute above. Do not get into a dispute over whether the HOA is a "landlord" just yet. I think this is a sanitation issue and a big deal. If you end up writing this polite letter, raise the issue of sanitation as well. Let the Board think about this.

Hopefully an idiot HOA manager is not involved and arguing on the wrong side of the law.





the exact quote from the law is: (B) arises from the landlord's failure to provide and maintain in good operating condition a device to supply hot water of a minimum temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

the TANK (device) must be 120 min to stop legionnaire(s)

the actual DELIVERD must be 120 MAXIMUM as per plumbing code


eg. else the landlord could supply 190 degree water and meet the referenced law


the rules and code and law can be quite complex at times, albeit NOT complicated
AugustinD


Posts:1886


11/15/2018 12:19 PM  
Royal, thank you for the correction. Even the NYC government is saying 120 F is the minimum required, per https://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/1815/residential-heat-and-hot-water-requirements .

But on further thought, this fails the common sense test. I hang out from time to time at natural hot springs. Maximum temperature I have seen is typically about 107 F, and I cannot soak in water at this temperature for long. A few degrees more would be intolerable.
MarkM31
(Washington)

Posts:469


11/15/2018 12:23 PM  
Nice to see Royal back
RoyalP


Posts:0


11/15/2018 12:56 PM  





see again: https://inspectapedia.com/plumbing/Hot_Water_Temperature_Laws.php#AK


temper the info with knowledge of legionnaire(s) disease prevention and scalding prevention


any holding tank needs to be 140+ to prevent disease

the fixture output needs to be 120- to prevent scalding

for all intents and purposes a commercial hi-rise requires a tempering valve at the tank outlet to meet both requirements


landlord/tenant law was written by lawyers, not plumbers, to ensure adequate supply of hot water


IMO: ..... "shall be supplied to all individual fixture groups at a temperature not less than 105 and not more than 115 (105 through 115)" ..... would be perfect

matters not whether it could be interpreted as inclusive or exclusive, 105-115 or 106-114, as there would be no practical or measurable difference
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6541


11/15/2018 1:37 PM  
Good stuff from RoyalP.

I can't quite remember the details, but as I recall during our '09-'10 contraction defect litigation with our developer, one issue was the valves that Royal mentions. According to our expert plumber, they'd never been balanced. Now, if I'm thinking about this correctly, your problem pipe may have had erosion or corrosion. I think that either suggests the valves need to be balanced. And if so, yeah, it'd take a while for your water to be at a correct temp.

A good PM would notify residents on the website and maybe even with flyers about how long it make take to have all water at the correct hot temp.
RoyalP


Posts:0


11/15/2018 2:45 PM  
Kerry,

just for your personal interest

'google' or 'bing' [reverse piping return]

inherently self balancing as all loops have = developed length




JakeS4
(Texas)

Posts:10


11/15/2018 3:55 PM  
Thanks Melissa, Shelia, George, Augustin, Kerry and Royal! Everyone has been really helpful.

It is a 30 stories condo, my unit is on the higher floors. Today I got a chance to speak to one of my neighbors, they also noticed the same problem.

It has been a week since the pipe repair, but the situation does not seem to be getting any better.

Now, 107F is what I have proof of them saying (in an email). Verbally, when I was present during the inspection, they had told me the temperature was 100F (using an infrared thermometer). Again, this is the hottest setting in the kitchen, and we had waited around for the water to warm up.

My main concern is actually the shower, which is somehow much colder than the kitchen faucet. I am shivering in my own shower As a 20-something young male, I don't think my body is being too picky -- something is definitely wrong with the hot water. Per your advice, I will invest in a long-stem thermometer.







RoyalP


Posts:0


11/15/2018 6:16 PM  
If they have it set for 107 in the basement then you probably do NOT have 'hot' water on the 30th floor.

Since your 'neighbors' are having the same issue .................

Piping tends not to be insulated as per 'best practices'.

A new 'system' or a repaired system could have resulted in over-cautious settings.

Y'all need to get together and PUSH for proper temperature (105+) actually delivered.

BEST OF LUCK
JakeS4
(Texas)

Posts:10


11/15/2018 7:00 PM  
Posted By RoyalP on 11/15/2018 6:16 PM
If they have it set for 107 in the basement then you probably do NOT have 'hot' water on the 30th floor.

Since your 'neighbors' are having the same issue .................

Piping tends not to be insulated as per 'best practices'.

A new 'system' or a repaired system could have resulted in over-cautious settings.

Y'all need to get together and PUSH for proper temperature (105+) actually delivered.

BEST OF LUCK




Thanks Royal!

I told the HoA manager what y'all said here. The response was: the boilers are located in the building and the building's hot water is getting to at least 128F. Just that I am only getting 107F. According to what you said, this is all fine and up to code.

So there is a code for the minimum temperature of the boiler, and there is a code for the maximum temperature out of the pipe. Is there no rule for the minimum acceptable hot water coming out of the pipe? If a unit is not getting any hot water, but the landlord/hoa has a boiler that is up to code, is there no regulation in place for this type of situation?




RoyalP


Posts:0


11/15/2018 8:02 PM  
For local legal questions re: Texas, consult a Texas attorney.

however

in general, for plumbing:

The plumbing codes define hot water as follows: Hot water - Water at a temperature greater than or equal to 110°F (43°C). This does not mean it is good design to store the hot water at 110°F.

There is not a storage type water heater that I am aware of that has a thermostat that is capable of maintaining a constant and safe hot water outlet temperature. Water heaters should have their temperatures turned up and a temperature actuated mixing valve should be provided on the outlet piping of the water heater. This is because most of the thermostats on storage type water heaters are located near the bottom of the tank to sense the incoming cold water.

see: https://www.phcppros.com/articles/1828-hot-water-system-temperatures-and-the-code


READ IT ALL


GOOD LUCK
JakeS4
(Texas)

Posts:10


11/18/2018 4:50 PM  
Thanks RoyalP!

An update: it has been over a week since the pipe repair on my floor.

My shower now gets hot -- as hot as before, but it takes at least 5 minutes of warming up each time.

What could be the cause of it? Seems like I have to burn through lots of cold water before I get to the hot water. Did they somehow move my pipe to a different position in the plumbing loop, so I am now the last one to get to the hot water? As far as I am aware, no one else is having this issue.

The HoA maintenance manager has closed my case, since the hot water temperature does reach an acceptable level.
RoyalP


Posts:0


11/19/2018 9:24 AM  
Jake,

How long you have to wait for hot water depends on three factors: the distance from the water heater, the diameter of the piping, and the flow rate. The effect of distance is pretty obvious: the further hot water has to flow, the longer it will take to get there. With a new house, you can keep plumbing runs short by locating bathrooms and the kitchen near each other.

The effects of pipe diameter and flow rate aren't quite so intuitive. The smaller the diameter, the faster hot water will reach the tap. That's because smaller-diameter pipe holds less water. Fifty feet of 1/2"-diameter pipe holds 0.8 gallons, while the same length of 3/4" pipe holds 1.4 gallons and 1" pipe holds 2.3 gallons. When you're waiting for hot water, all of the cooled-off water sitting in the pipe has to flow out before hot water from the water heater reaches the tap.

The flow-rate of a faucet or showerhead affects the wait for hot water because it governs how quickly the cooled water sitting in the pipes will be emptied out. If you have a water-conserving bathroom faucet that delivers only a half-gallon per minute (gpm) and most of the piping in the house has 3/4" piping, a 50-foot run from the water heater requires almost three minutes to get hot water to your sink.

The irony is that even as the flow rates of faucets and showerheads has dropped, plumbing codes are increasingly mandating larger-diameter piping--so the wait times for hot water have increased--a fact that's exacerbated by the larger houses we're building.

Evidently the recirculation on 'your' riser is inoperative or ineffective.

Can not 'trouble shoot' from here.

5 minutes is not so bad, except for the costly waste.

BEST OF LUCK
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6541


11/19/2018 11:37 AM  
If they have a closed loop system with reheaters, it should not matter where the boiler is. Ours are on the roofs in enclosed rooms of our 25 stories. It takes no longer for the hot water to get to the 3rd floor than it does to my 17th floor. Hot water always is circulating through the risers. Ditto high rise hotels. (And, no I won't look up anything--trying to learn about this area 10 years ago was enough for me--my interests are elsewhere.)

In my opinion, then there's something wrong with your system, Jake. Worn-out reheaters, or unbalanced valves or???? You may have to write to the Board and go to a board meeting to plead your case. If other neighbors still have to wait 5 minutes for hot water, encourage them to come with you to a board meeting.

If you have a full-time building engineer on the premises, as we do, maybe you can find his office, leave him a note and see if he replies. He may be under (understandable) orders to not reply to residents. He also may not specialize in plumbing.
RoyalP


Posts:0


11/19/2018 11:40 AM  
perfect
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6541


11/19/2018 1:57 PM  
I reread Jake's recent post and he says no one else has this problem that he knows of. Is it possible, Royal, that there's something wrong in the piping, valves, etc., that he's responsible for? Way out of my league, but mixit valves or something else? Put another way, should he have a plumber come in and inspect his separate-use plumbing?

IF thee WERE lotsa residents having to wait 5 minutes for hot water, as a board member I'd be very concerned with the extra costs involved. One way the Board or manager can find out is to compare your condo water bill with last year's at this time to see if much more water is being consumed. Even if so, make sure other factors are taken into account, e.g., filling a pool in Nov. this year compared to not doing the same in Nov last year.
RoyalP


Posts:0


11/19/2018 2:17 PM  
an 'on site' (Jake's site) inspection would not be a bad idea IF, repeat IF, he is the only one having a problem


perhaps the 'others' find it acceptable to WAIT ?!


too many variables at this point to troubleshoot 'long distance'


(sabbatical is apparently over)
RoyalP


Posts:0


11/19/2018 6:32 PM  
Jake & Kerry,

this is typical:


RECIRC


ENJOY
JakeS4
(Texas)

Posts:10


11/20/2018 5:27 PM  
Thanks Kerry and Royal. It is good to feel supported and heard.

What is noteworthy is: my hot water problem began right after the pipe repair, which took place on my floor. The repair happened in the common area on my floor. (I do not know if they had entered my unit, but they shouldn't have without my permission.)

Could it be that the plumbers changed or messed up something during the repair?

The lead building engineer is also "complicit" in this. Him and the HoA manager closed my case.

I could go to the board, but I do feel powerless in part because I have the smallest percentage share in the HoA. The board members consist of influential businessmen, high-powered attorneys and so on..

What are my options here? Late last night, I had to wait over 10 minutes and it never even got hot. Seems to be a function of outside temperature. It got very cold last night. Not having reliable hot water is just too much for me -- I would consider selling it but I bought it 4 months ago.

RoyalP


Posts:0


11/20/2018 5:50 PM  
since the repair was 'local' to you,

50/50 possibility,

a balancing/stop valve was left closed on 'your' recirculation loop/riser

if so, a 'cold snap' would exacerbate the issue as the 'standing water' would REALY cool





BEST OF LUCK
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6541


11/20/2018 6:01 PM  
Well, I do think your next step is to hire a plumber to assess your particular situation in your unit. Might be best if he specializes in high rises? He will write on your invoice if he sees nothing in your unit that can explain your problem. He might even write what he thinks IS the problem.

Re: the board: after your own plumber's opinion, submit it and a plea in writing to the board to take a new look at your situation. Ask that it be an agenda item at the next board meeting. They do have the power to get a new plumber, to, for instance, check the work that was done in the common area on your floor. Royal suggests some things that might have gone wrong.

We've had 4 building engineers in the past 12 years and some knew very little about plumbing specializing in other things. The one we have now knows a lot about it and is really good. Good luck.
AugustinD


Posts:1886


11/20/2018 10:35 PM  
I think Kerry's advice, about hiring a plumber and getting her/his opinion, is great. Jake, you might also compute how much water is wasted each month because some 10 minutes elapse before hot water arrives at the tap and present this to the Board. I would estimate about 20 gallons is wasted every time you want hot water. Granted overall, this is not too expensive. But any condo board worth its salt and that is responsible for the water bills should factor this waste into its deliberations on the situation. What is happening still sounds unacceptable.
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