A hot water recirculation pump is a system that pumps hot water to faucets quickly. Without one, it often takes quite some time for running water to become hot. Considering it may take a full minute for hot water to arrive for a shower, it could mean that you waste 2.5 gallons of water per shower.
However, as with everything, there are always positives and negatives to this system as well. Before we look at both the pros and cons of hot water recirculating pumps, let’s learn a few more things about them!
How Does a Hot Water Recirculating Pump Work?
When you use a hot water recirculating pump, you get a continuous flow of hot water through the pipes. The water is already warm at the point of arrival, so there is no more wait or waste. While the systems may work differently, the main idea is that they keep the hot water circulating through the pipes.
The water may end up back in the boiler or run through the cold water pipes, but overall, the best hot water recirculating pumps will give you instant hot water whenever you need it. This is significantly more convenient than having to wait several minutes for your water to heat up.
Do Hot Water Recirculating Pumps Save Money?
If you wait for a minute to get hot water and you use low-flow fixtures, you waste about 1.5 gallons of water for a shower and about 2 gallons utilizing the kitchen sink. If you use regular fixtures, you dump down the drain about 2.5 gallons of water for every shower.
A very conformist estimate per year leads to a person wasting about 5,000 gallons. It does not mean a lot of money, but it can mean a significant budget if you have a large home, a large family, and fixtures sitting more than 100 feet distance from the water source.
Furthermore, wasting 5,000 gallons of water each year does not meet people’s water conservation efforts, either. Just like water filters, recirculating pumps do a great job for your budget and the environment, aiming to deliver fresh and safe drinking water from the tap, with no wastes and no buying of plastic bottled water.
Given the fact that we’re quickly running out of non-renewable resources and that we’re likely to encounter a water crisis in the near future, saving as much water as we can is absolutely critical.
Do Hot Water Recirculating Pumps Save Water?
In short, yes, they can save a lot of water. If you think about a rough estimate of 4,000 – 5,000 gallons per person per year and you multiply it with the number of family members, you can easily understand why a hot water recirculating pump helps you reduce your water footprint tremendously.
Besides, hot water isn’t just used for showers. Perhaps you have to cleanse your face with a special scrub that requires access to hot water. Being able to quickly take care of your hygiene and cosmetics without waiting for water to heat up can mean the difference between precious time saved or wasted.
Do Hot Water Recirculating Pumps Save Money on Electricity?
It all depends on the type of pump you get. The traditional ones usually consume more electricity than an under sink hot water recirculating pump. The answer here is that they won’t save you money if the utility bill is of concern, but they are still worth it as they are low-end electricity consumers overall.
The level of convenience you receive from a hot water pump, however, is almost priceless. There are a lot of circumstances in which we need warm water, and being able to cut down on time spent waiting for it can be a huge advantage.
After all, time is of the essence and we’re always running out of it. To make matters worse, not only do scientists estimate that we’re going to have a water crisis in the eventual future, but an energy crisis is on the way as well, so we better start saving up on both as much as possible.
How Much Does Hot Water Recirculation Pump Installation Cost?
It mostly depends on what type of system you choose for your home.
- Under-sink hot water recirculating pump: it can cost zero dollars if you pick such a device and install it yourself. Your only concern here is to make sure you have a power source in the vicinity of the pump.
- Traditional full recirculating hot water pumps need a professional plumber to take over the project. They can be pricy depending on services rendered but should not cost an excessive amount under any circumstance.
- Tankless water heaters with recirculating pumps also need a professional hand for installation and maintenance. They are not easy to mount yourself without the proper know-how.
Before you get any such system for your home or business, make sure you also check our hot water recirculating pump reviews and pick the best brand and model for your needs. It can be hard to reach a satisfying conclusion on the topic so it’s always better to read up first.
Pros and Cons of Hot Water Recirculating Pump
Cons of a Hot Water Recirculating Pump
Let’s start with the cons, so you know what to expect before you decide on buying a hot water recirculating pump.
Some pumps can be noisy, particularly as they get older. Some of the quietest hot water recirculating pumps on the market today are the Watts Hot Water Recirculating Pump and the Grundfos Hot Water Recirculating Pump (the 59896775 model).
2. Using Too Much Power
Even the most energy-efficient pumps will consume electricity and gas and maybe give your utility bills an unwanted boost. It is smart to install a timer so the pump is not working at night or when you are not at home.
Many such pumps come with their built-in programmable timers (like the Watts Hot Water Recirculating Pump or the Grundfos GRU-595916 Pump), so you can check an issue off your list. However, for many pump models on the market, you have to budget their accessories as well.
3. Potential Heat Losses
If the return pipes do not feature proper insulation, then they allow heat to escape. In turn, this leads to energy and money waste. In other words, always make sure you correctly isolate the pipes and plumbing.
For obvious reasons, any heat escaping from your pipes make it less likely the water that comes out of your faucet is at the temperature you want it to. This could be the reason why some days you feel as if the water is exceedingly hot while on others it doesn’t get anything more than lukewarm.
The elbows and bends of standard pipes are more prone to deterioration, and with a hot water recirculating pump, they may even rupture. Such damages can be costly to fix. This is unlikely to happen as long as you perform occasional maintenance on it yourself or contact your plumber accordingly.
5. Cold Water Delays
Most of us waste our water by waiting for it to warm up. However, with a hot water recirculating pump installed, it is cold water you have to wait for, so that is the primary tradeoff. Depending on what you need a hot water pump for, this can either be a horrible inconvenience or no problem at all.
For example, if the pump has been installed in a restaurant kitchen where there are multiple taps, then it’s not going to be that much of an issue.
6. Sensor Valve Costs
Hot water recirculating pumps do not last forever, even if they have long lives and warranties. Eventually, you will have to replace them. Some consumers report that you need to change the sensor valve every two years, so that also adds some costs worthy of factoring in your decision.
Pros of a Hot Water Recirculating Pump
Now that we saw the cons – and some of them can put you off, granted – let’s understand better why people are still using these systems and even look for the best hot water recirculating pump in the market to upgrade and replace their existing one every few years.
1. Instant Access to Hot Water
Nothing is more frustrating than standing at the sink, waiting for warm water to wash hands or dishes with. Frustration intensifies when you are an eco-conscious person that watches water wasting away while you wait for the shower to get warm. A hot water recirculating pump means instant hot water for any of your needs.
2. Water Conservation
In a typical household, we waste too much water every day just because the water is not warm enough. A hot water recirculating pump can conserve thousands of gallons of water per year, per fixture. When we live in a world where water is becoming scarce and we need to conserve it, hot water recirculating pumps become one of the sensible and reasonable answers to water conservation in the home and achieving zero waste lives in the bathroom.
A hot water recirculating pump is probably one of the smartest ways to reduce water use in a household. While you do need to calculate installation and maintenance costs, you also should know that some brands are incredibly affordable. If you install the pump yourself, you can have instant hot water in a matter of minutes for a couple of hundred dollars and no worries for years to come.
4. Advanced Technologies
Most modern hot water recirculating pumps feature sensors and timers that add to their value for money in the long run. Moreover, some of the best such devices last for years with little to no maintenance, so even if the initial costs seemed high, you would have a reasonable rate of investment.
It might seem silly to think it’s a waste of time waiting for a minute or two for hot water, but if you consider how often you stand around waiting in a day, week or year, it is not that silly anymore. Especially if you have a large family to manage.
6. Easily Available
You can find hot water recirculating pumps in almost any hardware store. Depending on the brand and model, they are accessible to all types of budgets. Most people buy them online, but if you want to see one for yourself, you will find it with no problems.
7. Straightforward Installation
As we said before, an under sink hot water recirculating pump or similar is a breeze when it comes to installation. Most of them come with detailed instructions, and you do not need a particular skill set to mount them to your existing water supply system.
If you’re dealing with a more specialized pump, then you’re going to need outside assistance, but even that doesn’t take too long a time or stress.
8. Easy Operation
It adds to the advanced technology we mentioned above on this list of pros. Just like installation, service is straightforward. Most hot water recirculating pumps come with automation. You can program the timers, or you can use the systems by merely pushing a button or two.
9. Renewable Power Source Integration
If your home runs with solar or wind energy, a solar-heating hot water recirculating pump will fit in perfectly. Most of them work well with alternative energy and will save you even more resources and money if you install and operate them properly.
10. Residential and Commercial Applications
Whether you want a hot water recirculating pump for your home or your business, you can include them in your residential, commercial, and industrial plans. You need to pick the right make and model for your needs, but other than that, you are good to go!
Are Hot Water Recirculating Pumps Worth the Investment?
Now that we saw the pros and cons of the hot water recirculating pumps, our answer is 100% worth it.
What Is the Best Hot Water Recirculating Pump?
You can choose from many brands and models, depending on your needs. In our opinion, some of the best hot water recirculating pumps are Grundfos GRU-595916 Hot Water Recirculating Pump, Laing LHB08100081 Low Flow Hot Water Recirculating Pump, Watts Premier Instant Hot Water Recirculation Pump, Taco 006-B4 Bronze Circulator Pump, and BACOENG Hot Water Circulation Pump.
How Long Does a Hot Water Recirculating Pump Last?
Most pumps can last 10 to 15 years if you run them according to the manufacturers’ specifications and you provide them with the maintenance they need. The factors impacting their lifespan include the amount of water you use daily, the quality of water running through the loops, the manufacturing quality, etc.
Do You Need a Hot Water Recirculating Pump Together with a Water Heater?
If your home’s plumbing features a dedicated return line, then you can use a recirculating pump with a tankless water heater. The pump recirculates the water through the line from the heater and back. If your home doesn’t feature a dedicated return line – and many do not – installing one is hard and costly.
In Short: Hot Water Recirculating Pump FAQs
Let’s see some of the most frequently asked questions regarding hot water recirculating pumps and the answers we have for you today!
[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h2″ question-0=”How does a hot water recirculating pump work?” answer-0=”A hot water recirculating pump creates a loop between your water heater to the faucet and back to the heater. The pump draws back the unused hot water back through the loop. In other words, when you turn your hot water faucets on, you get hot water instantly. When the water has made a complete loop, the sensor shuts the pump off.” image-0=”” headline-1=”h2″ question-1=”What Are the Pros of Hot Water Recirculating Pump” answer-1=”1. Hot water instant access 2. Large amounts of saved water 3. Great prices 4. Hi-tech features 5. Time-saving 6. Widely available on the market 7. Easy installation 8. Easy operation 9. Adaptable to alternative power sources 10. Full range of applications” image-1=”” headline-2=”h2″ question-2=”What Are the Cons of Hot Water Recirculating Pump” answer-2=”1. Some of them are noisy 2. Some of them are significant energy consumers 3. May lead to heat losses 4. Corrosion 5. Delays in the circulation of cold water 6. Maintenance costs” image-2=”” headline-3=”h2″ question-3=”Do Hot Water Recirculating Pumps Save Money?” answer-3=”They save money in the long run.” image-3=”” headline-4=”h3″ question-4=”Do Hot Water Recirculating Pumps Save Water?” answer-4=”Yes. On average, hot water recirculating pumps can save up to 4,000 – 5,000 gallons of water per person per year.” image-4=”” headline-5=”h2″ question-5=”Are Hot Water Recirculating Pumps Worth It” answer-5=”Yes, 100%. They are excellent choices for your water conservation efforts. Some of them work great with alternative sources of energy, like solar power or wind power.” image-5=”” count=”6″ html=”true” css_class=””]
What Other Pros and Cons of Hot Water Recirculating Pump Do You Know?
When we consider that only 2% of the water on Earth is freshwater, we must start thinking about how we can conserve it by making changes to our homes. Hot water recirculating pumps represent an investment that is worth the cost when you think about all those times you wait for hot water to start running before you step into the shower, or how much precious water you have already wasted waiting to wash hands, dishes, or foods.
In case you are looking for the best system on the market, check out our top hot water recirculating pump reviews!
If you have your list of pros and cons of hot water recirculating pumps, feel free to share them with our community! We are always happy to learn new things from you!