Small Financial Hacks / Tricks Thread

I installed it at my parents’ place. 15 minutes on, 45 minutes off.


I get 100% reward Duracell batteries from Office Depot to give to family members who don’t want to deal with rechargeables. I use mostly Eneloops myself because alkaline batteries tend to leak.

You are probably right about my usage and recharge being part of the problem. Changing headsets is a non-starter for me. I get good reception over the entire 1/2 acre landscaped part of our property. I can perform all landscaping chores (cutting grass, trimming hedges, fertilizing roses, etc) while listening to music, podcasts, tv, or radio.

Thanks for the heads up on the HF alkalines. I’ve been using AC/Delco and Rayovacs for the last 5 years with pretty good long term storage, run-times, and prices.

Not exactly overlooking - Hate to admit it, but either I’ve gotten lazy or no longer have the bandwidth to deal with changing and recharging batteries every 1.5 - 2 days.

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Thanks! I had a plumber tell me they run a tube back to the drain of the water heater. He must have been talking abut a different type of system.

Didn’t realize there were thermally activated valves that allowed the pump to force feed the water back through the cold water piping so you do not have to run a separate set of tubes.
I’m concerned how robust that sensing valve is both new and after more than a year of service. Planning to research this pump system and see what people are saying.

I always assumed this is how it worked. I am definitely going to look into this, too.

I question the strategy now that I have kids toys that need batteries. The amount of things in my house that need AA or AAA batteries has gone up nearly 10 fold. That’s a lot of rechargeables. Plus, you better have some spares just sitting around for when that toy dies 5 minutes after they start playing with it. And while you’re changing that battery (they are all secured by screws now, so this takes a minute), they discover another battery operated toy and that one is dead too, so now you’re changing another one. Rechargeables are a terrible choice for many parents.


Moreso, the batteries can last in toys for quite a while (like when the toy gets stashed under the bed and forgotten about). That’s an awful lot of attention to pay to old toys, to ensure you salvage your rechargable batteries.


How the hell does that work? There’s nowhere for more water to go, it cant circulate unless a faucet is open. Trying to pump more through a line would just overpressurize the line.

I was all about rechargeable batteries over 10 years ago. But I stopped using them at least 5 years before my oldest kid came along (he’s 4.5 now). Once I no longer had 5 remotes and it seemed like everything new started to come with a built in rechargeable lithium battery, I stopped using rechargeables. My stash of NiMH AAs and AAAs was nearing its end of life and I made the decision not to reinvest in new ones since most of the stuff still running on batteries in my house lasted so long that it would take years to recoup the cost of new rechargeables. If I had a handful of electronics that ate batteries, I would have considered it, but those sort of things seem to be going the way of the dodo these days.

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That’s where I’m at right now. We have hot water heat, the pipes run across the basement ceiling between registers. I know insulating them will make hearing the first floor more efficient, but the mostly-finished, unheated basement stays very comfortable all winter. I’m not sure how much those exposed pipes are responsible for that.

When I first saw 3c3’s link to Lowe’s I too got curious about how it could work without installing extra piping. There are two different ways to recirculate and keep the tap hot – one is to run an extra pipe to dump the cold water. The other, and that’s how the linked pump works, is to push the cold water into the cold water supply. I’m thinking that may be difficult if there’s a one-way valve on the incoming line, and maybe even illegal, since pushing enough water out means your neighbors will get water that has gone through your entire house.


I did mention toys in my previous post. I’ve actually been very surprised by how long batteries (both rechargeable and not) last in toys. We also don’t have that many powered toys and we rotate them, so it hasn’t been a problem. But I get your point.

Speaking of your previous post, what’s the deal with your mouse? 2-4 days? If my mouse ate batteries like that, I’d probably get some rechargeables too, or a new mouse. I get months on a single alkaline AA battery in my Logitech wireless mouse at home. I just got a new one for the office today and this one takes two AAs. If I have to change them in less than 6 months I’ll be surprised. I’ll be back here to post about it if that happens. (Logitech lists the battery life as 24 months)


G700s. Probably 12-14 hours a day, for fun and profit. Fun drains the battery quicker.

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You wouldn’t dump it, you’d set up a return loop and it would go back into the water heater inlet. This is how large commercial buildings do it.

Nothing goes out because the water is flowing into the water heater at the same rate it’s being pumped (i.e. the cold water lines are flowing backwards, but to the water heater and not to the water meter). There is probably some incidental exchange with the incoming water supply, but not nearly enough that it would go all the way back to the meter unless the meter is practically right at one of the points of use.

I found the diagrams on this page useful, though note that it shows the pump at the far demand while the Lowe’s unit is installed at the water heater:


I guess the idea is that the pump is circulating the water at a higher pressure than the incoming tap, so that the backflow from the cold water line is used to fill the new void/vaccume in the hot water tank instead of fresh water from the meter?

The capabilities of the pump itself would limit how high it could get, but I’d be concerned about pressure building up when there is no release through a faucet.

The pump is simply recirculating… not really boosting the pressure.

The key is that you need a pipe (loop) from near your tap (sink, shower, where ever you want the quick hot water) back to your water heater.

The pump simply recirculates water from near that tap, back to the inlet of the water heater (NOT the drain). This keeps that entire “loop” from the water heater to the tap hot.

The pump is typically VERY low pressure – so even if it was “dead headed” accidentally (zero flow), the pressure would not be excessive.

To me, this is way overkill in a house. It makes sense in hotels, dorms, hospitals… places like that where the water heater is a large distance from the locations where hot water is needed. In these cases, there would be “loops” on each floor, going near multiple taps in order to keep them all in hot water at a moment’s notice.


Oh, thank goodness. That was not explained in the youtube video I found.

You’re correct in the description of how the pump works. However, the pump is very low pressure. It’s not nearly enough pressure to pump water back through the mains. All this pump does is feed the “cool” water in your hot water lines into your cold water line, and it only does this until the sensor at your faucet or shower senses that the water is hot. It then closes until the water cools down and it re-opens. The pump is designed to run continuously even if it isn’t pumping water (due to the closed sensor).

In our last house, we put the pump on a timer. In our current home, it’s on a remote.