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Chilipepper, heating water faster

by: Vern Uyetake, Bill Lund, a Lake Oswego resident and inventor, created a product that should keep homeowners warm year round. The Chilipepper Appliance attaches below a sink and allows water to heat up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit without turning on the faucet and wasting water while it warms. Lund said the gadget costs about $2 a year to operate at home. He also said the product reduces sewage output since less water flows into the sewer or septic system and it also reduces greenhouse emissions.

For many, receiving hot water slowly is a daily problem.

Whether it's being startled early in the morning by the immediate contact of ice-cold water on your delicate skin or turning on the water and waiting minutes, many waste this increasingly precious resource.

What if wasting water in the shower or from the faucet, just to achieve hot water, can be eliminated?

Lake Oswego resident and co-creator of the Chilipepper hot water demand system appliance, Bill Lund, has a solution.

'It is the only product that I know of that adds convenience to your life and that saves water and energy,' Lund said of his Chilipepper.

Whether you are an environmentalist keen on water conservation or you don't have the time to wait for the temperature to change, you can purchase this motorized appliance that pumps hot water rapidly without running a drop.

Instead of turning on a faucet and waiting for the water to turn hot, the Chilipepper adjusts the water to the hotter temperature before the knob is even turned.

According to Lund, the Chilipepper, which can easily be installed under a sink, works with any kind of water heater. With the push of a button water is pumped in a big loop from the water heater through hot water fixtures around the house and sends cooled off hot water back through the cold water piping.

Hot water can flow through the entire house, but Lund said that it depends on the plumbing. For example, if the Chilipepper is located in a downstairs bathroom that certain room may get the hot water slightly faster in some homes than other rooms. So, install it where hot water is used most - such as in a master bedroom.

The Chilipepper has long been in the making even before its online release date in 1998, with Lund experiencing his fair share of ups and downs.

Lund has been an inventor his entire life. It was not long before he surrounded himself with all kinds of tools and gadgets, constantly thinking about his new passion.

'My kindergarten teacher called my mom into a conference, wondering why I scribbled all over my paper during drawing time. My mom said, 'Those are not scribbles. These are wires that he plays with,'' Lund said with a laugh.

Until moving to Oregon in 1998 with his wife Kathy, Lund grew up and lived in Stockton, Calif. In 1980, Lund met Dennis Metzger, a friend of his brother's girlfriend. Metzger came to Lund, who at the time was trying to develop an asparagus harvester, because he wanted to know about patents.

The two soon went into business together. After an unsuccessful attempt to market creative playing card clips, the two men purchased and licensed the 'hot water saver' in 1984.

At first it started off as an energy conservation device, but Lund and Metzger soon discovered at trade shows that energy was not a high priority at the time. But hot water was.

'When we started, no one cared about energy saving. But people wanted hot water quicker,' Lund said.

Lund then decided to create a hot water 'demand' system by adding a pumping valve. While the two men had a tangible idea they could not iron out all the kinks, and in 1990 they went their separate ways. For the next seven years, Lund became a digital artist with his brother.

But like all passionate people, Lund could not be kept too far away from his calling. In 1997, as he grew tired of being an artist, he got back in the entrepreneurial side of things.

'I'm an inventor. That's what I needed to be doing. I needed some workbench time,' he said.

With Metzger in California and Lund in Oregon, the two reunited to introduce the Chilipepper. On the grounds of rapid hot water, along with the environmental and money benefits, the Chilipepper slowly became a popular item.

People from all over the country are purchasing this product, with popularity highest in Florida, Texas and California. According to Lund, they have also had requests from Israel, Australia and England.

Besides bringing hot water faster, pumping approximately three gallons per minute as described on the appliance's Web site, the Chilipepper has all kinds of interesting features. There is a circuit that shuts off the pump when the water temperature reaches 100 degrees, so hot water doesn't flow in the cold water line.

The Chilipepper even offers more convenience. There is a wireless remote offered so you don't have to walk in the room to push the button on the Chilipepper to begin heating the water.

Lund is always trying to improve the appliance. Just last month he and Metzger came out with a new model that is more efficient, less noisy and less expensive.

While hot water is the main attraction, the Chilipepper is a sustainable product. It reduces sewage output since less water flows into the sewer or septic system, and it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Lund explained that only about two dollars worth of electricity per year is used to run the Chilipepper.

'You feel like you are saving the environment,' Lund said.

The Chilipepper can only be purchased for $179.99 on its Web site, at www.chilipep

perapp.com. It comes with a one-year warranty and a 30-day, unconditional money back guarantee. The price includes shipping and handling.

Lund explained that his next goal is to market the appliance in stores.

Lund may not have realized it at first, but in a growing environmentally conscious society, his decision to create a hot water demand system over 15 years ago that also saves money and energy could set the bar for future inventors.