# Jack & Jill----Singing along in the shower----to the Dead Band

By
Home Inspector with Charles Buell Inspections Inc.

Sorry----this is not about the Grateful Dead Band----and only “loosely” about Jack & Jill in the shower----and certainly not about them being in the shower together.

Once again I am going to venture into the never ending world of water heaters.

Put on your seat belt for this one Barbara Duncan, this is perhaps the most difficult thing I have ever had to explain to people about water heaters.

The question varies, but it usually goes something like this.  Jill asks, “How come some times there seems to be plenty of hot water for both me and Jack to take showers----and other times there is not?”

Well Jill, it is probably due to “deadband.”  While deadband can be an issue with gas water heaters it is very common with electric water heaters.  You see, the thermostat on your water heater has a range at which it turns itself off and turns itself on (Jill could not help but think about how this might apply to her and Jack in other more interesting ways).  It is this “range” that causes the problem (how true, how true, thinks Jill).  Some water heaters are worse than others (DEFINITELY true, thinks Jill).

Let’s say that Jill starts out with a fully heated water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  She takes a nice leisurely, relaxing shower and uses most of the hot water----but not quite enough to get to the low point of the thermostat to make it kick back on to heat more water.  Now Jack comes along an hour later (after the lazy butt sleeps in)---all set to take a nice long hot shower (Jill is thinking cold shower)----only to run out of hot water as the thermostat finally kicks in to heat more water.

To simplify things, I have drawn a little graph to help visualize the basic concept.

So what is the solution?  There really isn’t one that doesn’t involve keeping the heater at higher than safe, recommended temperatures (120 degrees Fahrenheit).

Keeping the heater at higher temperatures (so that there is more water to dilute) also means that the thermostat’s low range is always going to be higher than what is a satisfactory temperature for a nice long shower.  Installing tanks with more storage capacity is another solution as well.

Perhaps the best solution would be to install what is called a “tempering valve.”  This is a clever device that allows you to have the water heater set at say 130 degrees Fahrenheit and mixes a little cold water into the stream whenever you use hot water so that you don’t ever get more than 120 degree water out of your faucets.  This also protects the heater from the growth of bacteria in the tank that is encouraged by 120 degree water.

Sounds like Jack will be in plenty of hot water now.

Now you can crank up the other Dead Band when you are in the shower----with or without your sweetie.

Charles Buell

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Seattle Home Inspector

WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
1. Debbe Perry 01/01/2011 10:27 PM
Topic:
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Rainmaker
314,306
Carol Culkin
Reece & Nichols - Leawood, KS
Overland Park

Charlie - I love a man who doesn't mind that he has to take an occasional cold shower.

Nov 12, 2009 05:08 AM #20
1,337,003
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Nutsy----if he could sing

James---those always do the trick

Carol---comes with the territory:)

Nov 12, 2009 05:15 AM #21
Rainmaker
1,868,393
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

And here I thought the dead band keeps the water heater from falling over during earthquakes...

Nov 12, 2009 10:05 AM #22
1,337,003
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Jay, me thinks your "head-band" might be a little too tight:)

Nov 12, 2009 10:07 AM #23
Rainmaker
233,787
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

Great information Charles.  I had never heard of this.

Nov 12, 2009 01:25 PM #24
1,337,003
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Reuben, if you google it---there is more good info out there.

Nov 12, 2009 01:30 PM #25
Rainmaker
511,328
Robert L. Brown
www.mrbrownsellsgr.com - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

Something new to learn everyday. I leave the heavy lifting to the experts. Thanks for the post.

Dec 22, 2009 07:22 AM #26
Rainmaker
511,328
Robert L. Brown
www.mrbrownsellsgr.com - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

Something new to learn everyday. I leave the heavy lifting to the experts. Thanks for the post.

Dec 22, 2009 07:22 AM #27
Rainmaker
511,328
Robert L. Brown
www.mrbrownsellsgr.com - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

Something new to learn everyday. I leave the heavy lifting to the experts. Thanks for the post.

Dec 22, 2009 07:22 AM #28
Rainmaker
638,244
Maria Morton
Platinum Realty - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758

Thanks,  Charles! Another fine story by the Seattle WA Home Inspector! Hey, would a tankless water heater eliminate the Dead Zone?

Feb 08, 2010 03:03 PM #29
Rainmaker
1,267,958
Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON

Hey Charles, Jill here, just wondering, could you post on the pros and cons of the tankless water heaters? Jack was asking.

Apr 07, 2010 01:31 AM #30
1,337,003
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Robert and Maria---sorry did not realize you had snuck in here :)

Al and Peggy---I will work on that----good idea.

Apr 07, 2010 01:38 AM #31
Rainer
326,036
Jeffrey Jonas- Minnesota Home Inspector
Critical Eye Property Inspections / JRJ Consultants - Owatonna, MN

Charles, very creative way of explaining a common problem and solution. Enjoyable!

Jul 02, 2010 04:10 AM #32
1,337,003
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Jeffrey, thanks, and thanks for waking up this older post :)

Jul 02, 2010 05:00 AM #33
Rainer
326,036
Jeffrey Jonas- Minnesota Home Inspector
Critical Eye Property Inspections / JRJ Consultants - Owatonna, MN

My pleasure. It's a common scenario and question I field almost weekly. Never hurts to bump good info from the past. :)

Jul 02, 2010 11:48 AM #34
1,337,003
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Valerie, they won't necessarilly save you any money do to their much higher initial cost.  If sized properly and the house is not too large you may have a never ending supply of hot water as advertised.  But sizing is very important and of course the bigger the heater the more the cost and the further away the pay back.  You can buy a LOT of 250 dollar heaters for the cost of one on-demand heater.  There is no simple answer to your question unfortunately.

Aug 31, 2010 04:45 AM #36
553,825
Larry Story
Total Care Realty - Greensboro, NC
Total Care Realty, LLC, Greensboro, NC Real Estate

Jack,

From your description you seem to make poor little Jill out to be a real villain.  Now you really would not think that she is capable of scheming to that level of detail would you??

Oct 05, 2010 08:26 AM #37
1,337,003
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Larry, I find that most Jills hole their own :)

Oct 05, 2010 08:51 AM #38
Rainer
171,130
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

The 'old school' tempering valves were called the hot water tap and the cold water tap respectively.  You turned on one to get a good flow then added the other to raise or lower the temperature to the desired level.  You did this mixing by 'hand' before you got in the shower.

It didn't matter if the hot water was boiling from the tap, you just mixed it. Start with the cold , get the flow and then raise the temperature by adding hot and reducing cold. Simple.

Jul 09, 2011 01:19 PM #39
1,337,003
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Robert, you are digging into my past :)  Something to be said for both old school and new school I guess :)

Jul 09, 2011 01:29 PM #40
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