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Modular Water Supply System

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The Utilihab Modular Water Supply system is a potable water supply network that employs manifold distribution modules to rout the water supply to different regions of a structure and to individual appliances. It employs a hierarchical distribution scheme akin to that of the Utilihab Modular Wiring System. The system has the following basic components;

Primary Manifold; a large manifold module with a variable number of output and input ports and often combining hot and cold ‘sides’ for output ports. Manifold units are designed to be mounted in a vertical utility space as a central control of the water supply. They are made of plastic and feature individual shut-off-valves for each output port, labeled with the fixture/appliance the port is linked to. In homes with a central water heater, two output lines are used for each fixture or appliance. Using on-demand water heaters, splitter units divide the main cold water supply to link to cold water and heater input. Using multiple inputs, they can combine water sources or multiple water heating sources.

Splitters: Simple branched plumbing connectors that divide the supply line for very closely grouped fixtures or appliances, particularly those using an on-demand water heater.

Quick Connect Plumbing: PEX tubing color coded for hot and cold water supply. PEX plumbing uses no welding, soldering, or glues to make connections and flexes easily to fit into the framing structure, attaching with simple T-nut mounted zip-ties to any available framing slot area.

Frame-Integral Pipes: In some building designs the standard Utilihab framing can be outfitted with fittings allowing its interior channels to function as supply pipelines with standard PEX connectors.

On-Demand or Tankless Water Heaters: these compact electric or gas water heaters are a popular alternative to traditional tank-based water heaters that offer higher energy efficiency with the potential for greatly reduced plumbing overhead, increasingly their suitability for DIY construction. Fixtures equipped with a nearby tankless heater need only a cold water primary supply line which is then split between the tankless water heater and the cold side of the fixture. The systems are automatically flow-activated. This savings in plumbing overhead may be lost, however, where central solar thermal water heating systems are used as these require a central manifold link. However, solar thermal heaters scaled just for tub/shower use can be installed in-line at the input of the tankless heater.

Cold Water Diverters: these are small but powerful water pump units mounted near a plumbing fixture or appliance that divert the initial cool/cold water from a hot water line back into the cold water supply so as to save that water rather than let it run down the drain. This water-saving system has the added benefit of preventing the cold shock one experiences turning on a hot water faucet and provides immediate hot water from the fixture. They may be manually operated or activated by a thermal sensor. [Note: see Chillipepper brand diverters]

Greywater Heat Exchanger: this simple device is used in-line with the drains of higher volume hot water fixtures such as showers and baths and is used to pre-heat input water to a water heater using the waste heat from the hot water drained. It can also be used in-line with solar thermal pre-heating. Somewhat expensive chiefly because of their scarcity in production, they can save considerable energy in an overall water heating system.

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