Multiple plumbing issues and water heater questions
I have a few issues surrounding my plumbing and hot water heater and the behavior of it and optimization of the system. I will use bullet points below because I am not certain that all of the issues are related, but want to get thoughts on each.
The components of the system are as follows on a 20 year old, ~6400 sq ft two level house.:
The water line enters the house on the right side, goes through a pressure reducer (not sure if it even works anymore) and then through PEX across the entire width of the house and into the left side garage, where it goes through some Aquasana filtering, a Us water systems salt based water softener, and then into the hot water heater or cold water for the house.
There is a Grundfos UP15-10B7 Circulator pump on the hot water heater, and the water heater is a State Industries GS6-75-XRRS with an expansion tank. All of this, except the Aquasana and the water softener, was installed before we moved in last year. I think the water heater was installed in February of 2016.
Here are some of the issues:
1. Recently I have noticed a good bit of water coming from the relief valve / pipe and onto the floor of the garage. I put a bucket under it and it has filled a roughly 2 liter bucket in a week’s time. I have tried turning down the heat on the unit, but to get it low enough to where I don’t “think” I am seeing much new water, the water is too cold in the house and my wife and kids complain. Is this likely a malfunction in the tank, or could there be another reason? I had thought the expansion tank was supposed to fix these issues…
2. The first shower of the day is quite a bit colder than the rest. I assume this has to do with the circulation pump and the water staying in the long maze of pipes instead of the hot water heater? Would a timer or something on the pump fix this, where it only starts recirculating a couple of hours before we get up in the morning? Other ideas?
3. We have had pretty bad water hammer in the house since we moved in a year and a half ago, and have yet to really fix it. I have done many of the suggested remedies (cutting off the water supply, bleeding from all the taps in the house starting with the upstairs and furthest, etc.) I also installed water hammer arrestors on the washing machine hot and cold inlets, as these cause a LOT of hammer, but even those did not keep it from coming back pretty quickly. I can pretty easily create water hammer in the house just by turning faucets on and off, despite that the water pressure at the faucet is not higher than normal. Some are even somewhat low in my opinion.
4. I did try last night to just unplug the circulator and see what happened this morning. It took a solid 4 or 5 minutes for hot water to flow to my master bath shower (on the other side of the house from the garage hot water heater) and the temperature never rose to the normal level we are used to.
I do think I need to get the pressure valve replaced, as I had a cheap pressure gauge from Home Depot that I put on the hose spigot and was getting a reading over 80, or even 90 or so, but it broke pretty quickly and filled with water, so it was likely unreliable. I do think the water pressure is too high coming into the house, though, even though I do not have excessive pressure in the shower or in the house. I worry that reducing it at the source may take too much away inside.
Thanks so much for any advice!!