h a l f b a k e r y
Strap *this* to the back of your cat.
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This is a device that can be attached directly underneath a faucet or, preferably, integrated within the faucet. It combines the functions of multiple devices to produce water of the desired temperature without requiring the user to let it run. This is an alternative to a recovery system (see link) where
the water is allowed to run into a holding tank while you wait for it to warm up/cool down.
If it's integrated into the faucet it acts kind of like a fly-by-wire (pour-by-wire?) system, sensing the angle of the lever and the water temperature and mixing the water as desired. The advantage in this situation is that if the water in the pipe happens to be hotter or colder than usual, it adjusts to produce the right mix every time.
If both pipes contain hot water* or cold water, it uses its Peltier device or heat pump and/or heating coil to correct the water temperature. These heating and cooling functions have been described before (second and third links) and cooling is used in water fountains.
As a retrofit device (below the faucet) it might have a valve on each pipe to change their relative pressures. It would still require a lever position sensor. This probably wouldn't work as well because it might compete with the faucet's built-in mixer.
*My house has solar water heating. In the summer, the water gets so hot that I almost burn my hands when I wash them. When I turn the bathroom faucet on it's lukewarm. It quickly heats up enough to scald even if I turn it all the way to cold. One would think that if the lever is all the way to the right it would only draw from the cold pipe.
Waiting Water Wecovewy by [squeak] [notexactly, May 02 2010]
No-Wait Hot Water Booster by [MarinaInMa] [notexactly, May 02 2010]
Under-sink Peltier Device by [AO] [notexactly, May 02 2010]
Sloan Temperature-Controlled Faucets
Seems similar; Been around for a while by a major manufacturer. [jurist, May 02 2010]
Prior halfbakery discussion? [jurist, May 02 2010]
A couple of steps further into technology... [jurist, May 02 2010]
||Is this idea different from the temperature-controlled lavatory faucets and shower controls that have been around for (at least) most of this decade? <link> Sloan makes several varieties; And I think I remember an American Standard or Hansgrohe unit that had a digital LED thermal readout that displayed the pre-set temperature.
||You're solving the wrong problem. If your faucet is giving you hot water when you've got it all the way to the cold side, then something is wrong with your faucet, not with your solar hot water heater. If your cold water is heated when it shouldn't be, resulting in two hot sides, then your solar hot water system is installed incorrectly.
||Providing "instant" hot water is not a new idea, whether it be by peltier device, electric heaters, or other method.
||Temperature controlled faucets are widely baked; in fact they are required equipment for new-construction showers and baths where I live.
||[jurist] While those three faucets regulate the water
temperature, they don't heat or cool the water themselves
in case the water in the pipes has warmed/cooled to room
temperature. They don't eliminate the wait for the water
temperature to change.
||If you have a (long since baked) device called a "Hot Water Recirculator" then your problem is half-solved -- when the temperature of the "hot" water at the faucet is below some threshold, that tepid water gets pumped back to the home's hot water heater through either a dedicated hot water return pipe or the cold water supply pipe.
||If turning the water all the way to cold gives you hot water, then you've got some serious plumbing problem. Fixing them is probably beyond the scope of the halfbakery. Well, unless some HB-er wants to write an idea for a robot plumber :)
||If turning the water all the way to cold gives you tepid room temperature water, and what you want is cold chilly water, then the problem is solvable with a (long since baked) water refrigeration system.