Spatially challenged

Back in January, I described two useful plumbing gadgets. One of them was the the on-demand hot water circulation pump. I had to install it in a pretty tight space, in the plumbing wall.

Well, it turns out that I have to re-install it, because that day, I was somewhat spatially challenged.

Typically, the pump is installed under a sink, laying on the bottom in the vanity or base cabinet.

That orientation does not work in the plumbing wall, because I only have 5 1/2 inches to work with. The dimension of the pump, however, is 7 1/2 inches from front to back.

It got much more promising once I turned the pump up by 90 degrees. The pump depth is only 5 1/4 inches. Just about slim enough to fit into the plumbing wall.

I was happy with that solution — happy that I found a way around the spatial constraints — and I installed the pump accordingly.

It turns out that there is a good reason why the pump is typically laying on its side, with the cylinder cartridge in a horizontal position.

The cylinder cartridge contains the pump motor. The pump motor must be in a horizontal position for smooth operation and longevity’s sake. If the cylinder cartridge with the motor is in a vertical position, the motor has difficulties to maintain the same rotation. It may get out of whack and become unbalanced and noisy, and it eventually may break down.

How could I have known? To begin with, I could have followed the installation instructions more closely. Not only that, but we have a number of other water pumps in the utility room. And they are all installed with the cylinder cartridge in a horizontal position. Let’s call that a hint!

I was of the opinion that I did not have the room in the plumbing wall to position the cartridge horizontally. But all it took was to turn the pump by 90 degrees counter clockwise.

I am telling you – spatially challenged!

About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

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