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I am sure that I read an article in TOH about a new shower head that automatically shuts off after reaching 98 degrees. After searching through all of my old issues I can't find it. Does anyone remember this article?
These are readily available.
Saw some at HomeDepot just about a month ago. (early April 09) The ad on the box was that it let the water flow till it got Hot. Then it shut down to a trickle. Letting you do other things - till you hear no water running - and now know that it's hot. Step into the shower; flip the lever - and voiola' - hot water at the shower. Don't remember the price - not real expensive.
To save on the water bill (rather than flushing previously heated water down the drain) - you can rather easily install a weter recirculation valve & pump. Lang and Watts both make systems. This allows virtual instant hot water anywhere in the house; with no wasting - waiting for water to get hot.
A retrofit does have the disavantage of the cold water line is used as a 'return' to the hot water tank - so the cold water can get to be warm for a bit - you must run the cold for awhile - to get cold water. This can be fixed by puuting some water in the frig. (If you need real cold for cooking or drinking...)
New construct; or a major remodel can just add a seperate hot water return line. Avoids the above prolem. But the auto shut off for Showers is readily available...