We’re sure that lots of people can attest to this; every time you turn on your hot water faucet, you will receive cold water for a couple of seconds.
In fact, a select few who live inside large houses even agree that they can wait for up to two minutes for hot water.
So aside from the convenience factor, the more important issue is water wastage. Every time you open up your faucet waiting for hot water, you’re wasting a lot of cold water at a time, and ultimately this affects or inflates your utility bill.
This issue, however, does have a really simple solution. You see, when you turn off the hot water faucet, the hot water doesn’t return to the heater; however, it simply stays in the same place.
And therefore, in a matter of minutes, it’s cold again. This issue, however, is resolved by using a hot water recirculating pump. The difference is that this sends the water back into the heater.
So let’s take a closer look at hot water recirculating pumps and exactly how they work.
- Watts Premier Instant Hot Water Recirculating Pump System
- Taco Cast Iron Circulator Pump
- Grundfos Super Brute Circulator
- Grundfos Recirculating Pump
- bayite Solar Hot Water Heater Circulation Pump
Best Overall: Watts Premier Instant Hot Water Recirculating Pump System
The Watts Premier Instant Hot Water Recirculating Pump System provides hot water for every faucet or shower as and when needed.
Ultimately, this eliminates water wastage and saves up to 15,000 gallons per year. It’s also easy to install on any water system and does not require additional piping.
If you’re looking for a quiet and maintenance-free operation, then you’ll be pleased to know that the unique design of the system enables just that.
The system also comes with a dual setting programmable timer that is built in to activate the pump when needed. Unfortunately, this will not function with a tankless water heater.
The kit does include the timer along with two adapters with rubber washers, valve mounting screws, and 2 12 inch supply lines, as well as a sensor valve.
- Easy installation
- Hot water on demand
- Sensor valve is not efficient
- Type: Recirculating pump
- Size: 6.25 x 6 x 5 inches
- Weight: 6.4 Pounds
Runner Up: Taco Cast Iron Circulator Pump
The Taco Cast Iron Circulator Pump is designed for use in hydronic heating systems.
It can also be used in chilled freshwater systems and domestic water systems. This pump is typically used in residential hydronic heating systems and is available in cast iron or stainless steel construction with flanged connections.
Therefore, it is also suitable for potable water systems. Contains a high-capacity output compact design, which is quiet and efficient at the same time. The unique replaceable cartridge design also makes it easy to use for years to come.
- Compact design
- High capacity output
- Replaceable cartridge design
- The electrical part requires better placement
- Size: 5 x 4 x 7 inches
- Type: Recirculating pump
- Weight: 6.2 lbs
Alternative: Grundfos Super Brute Circulator
The Grundfos Super Brute Circulator incorporates cast iron housing with a multiple speed setting that gives off low, medium, and high speeds, respectively. There is also a built-in removable check valve.
This is one of the most popular and versatile circulating pump models on the market today. The pumps performance parameters cover nearly all traditional heating applications from baseboards to radiant as well as fan coils, zoning, and many others.
Thanks to the variation in speed settings, you can set up the pump to match your systems requirements while the rotor design will allow it to be virtually silent when operating.
- Multiple speed settings
- Silent operation
- Breaks easily
- Size: 5.25 x 4.19 x 6.5 inches
- Type: Circulating
- Weight: 6.8 lbs
Best Circulating Pump with Timer: Grundfos Recirculating Pump
The Grundfos Recirculating Pump contains a built-in timer and has a flow range of 0-9 U.S. GPM. The system is maintenance-free, consumes a minimal amount of energy, and is easy to install.
Once it is set up, the operation is quiet as well. These pumps are specifically designed for heating systems.
They are also suitable for the circulation of hot domestic water for the entire home and the circulation of liquid in cooling and air conditioning systems. Created from bronze and stainless steel material, it’s built to last for years to come.
- Quiet operation
- Easy installation
- Valves become faulty quite easily
- Size: 10 x 10 x 10 inches
- Type: Recirculating pump
- Weight: 6.84 lbs
Best Low Noise Circulating Pump: bayite Solar Hot Water Heater Circulation Pump
The bayite Solar Hot Water Heater Circulation Pump is a circulation pump that is non-self-priming. It has a maximum flow rate of 2.1 GPM and comes with a power adapter.
One of its best features is that it is quiet when in operation, it is also submersible; however, it should not be immersed in hot water exceeding 50°C over 122°F.
- Quiet operation
- Flow-rate of 2.1 GPM
- Not long-lasting
- Size: 5.08 x 3.62 x 3.23 inches
- Type: Solar-powered circulating pump
- Weight: 0.66 lbs
Circulating Pumps FAQ
What does a circulating pump do?
When a circulation pump is installed, the hot water is delivered instantly each time the hot water tap is opened. This is because the pump keeps hot water moving to the plumbing systems so that the hot water is always available.
In homes that don’t have a circulation pump, the water from the hot water tap runs cold until the hot water from the tank eventually reaches the faucet. So over a period of a year, hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water is ultimately wasted while waiting for the water.
Installing a hot water circulation pump eliminates this problem as well as the additional cost and wastage of water.
If your home doesn’t have a circulation pump, and the remaining hot water stays within the pipes and eventually cools down. So when the faucet is opened again, you will first be greeted with cold water, which has to be pushed through the plumbing system before the hot water can come through.
So the water will run cols until the water in the pipes is replaced by hot water from the water heater tank. So this results in a lot of wasted water going down the drain.
A hot water circulation pump is also known as a recirculation pump and will eliminate this problem. Since your water is heated on demand, the water within your pipes always remains hot and ready to use.
So as soon as the hot water tap is opened, hot water is delivered straight away. However, this may sound really good but there are still some things that should be considered when deciding to install a hot water circulation pump.
Some of the advantages of a circulation or recirculation pump are that they have been around for years and are used by high-end hotels and restaurants to provide on-demand hot water to guests.
Nowadays, it’s available to homeowners to take advantage of. So you have a list of benefits you will enjoy by installing a circulation pump inside your home.
Hot water is delivered almost instantly via the circulation pump as soon as the tap is opened. So you have the ability to access instantaneous hot water, and this is probably the main advantage.
Hot water is available immediately, so less water is wasted. There is no need to wait for the water to heat up in a tank; therefore, water wastage is also eradicated.
So in areas where water is in short supply, this can be a particularly priceless tool inside your home. A huge benefit is its ability to save significant amounts of water, thereby saving you tons of money.
Ease of installation
Installing a circulation pump is definitively easy, and you probably already have the required tools. The majority of pump models are designed for the average home plumbing system, so there are no special permits that are required to add the pump to your water heater.
Ease of operation
As a general rule of thumb, circulation pumps are straightforward and easy to operate.
Recirculation pumps can be found anywhere with a variety of manufacturers and options to choose between.
The convenience of instant hot water is nothing short of amazing, but it does come with a price.
However, there are still very few disadvantages to installing a circulating pump. And here are some of them.
There is a wide price range to choose from; however, it’s a good idea to buy a high-end model. Purchasing a high-quality pump will ensure that you get maximum savings down the road.
Many of the early circulating pumps worked nonstop and were more expensive to update because they were using electricity constantly. Additionally, they also needed your water heater to work harder in order to keep the water hot 24/7.
Thankfully, the current models are made with energy conservation in mind and are developed to give you hot water on demand, instead of continuously running. So ultimately, it saves you money and more energy, more of the time.
Your plumbing system will constantly be filled with hot water, and the only way you will experience heat loss is through the pipes themselves. However, by insulating your hot water pipes, you can keep the heat loss at a minimum.
Where is the circulating pump usually located?
When it comes to central heating circulation pumps, they are usually located near or inside your boiler. Alternatively, it may be located in your airing cupboard or next to your hot water cylinder.
How long does a circulating pump last?
If your central heating system is installed correctly and maintained regularly, you can expect this pump to last for a very long time. Usually, they keep going for well over ten years, and some last for 20 years or more.
They are usually quite robust and reliable, so you may never have to think about this component or know where it is located within your heating system.
However, the quality of the installation and the quality of the pump itself makes a huge impact on how long it lasts and how efficiently it works.
How much does it cost to install a circulating pump?
A hot water circulation pump will cost you approximately $200; however, most can be installed by the consumer.
In some cases, you may require a plumber. In addition to the fixed costs, there are also two other variables to consider which is the energy used by the pump and the additional water required as well.
Ultimately, they are designed to save money since the systems can save water and energy in some situations. They operate continuously and have the potential to use more energy as compared to the energy saved from hot water loss.
The cost to install ultimately will depend on the plumber you hire, but as always, you can negotiate.
Can I turn off my hot water recirculating pump?
There would be no reason for you to shut off or turn off your recirculating pump under normal circumstances.
Under special circumstances such as going on vacation, you would probably turn off the water to your house and in that case, switching off that the circulating pump is recommended.
This is because if it runs dry for an extended period of time, it can lead to damage. So you should unplug it rather than allow it to run on dry.
If it is also sitting idle for more than a couple of weeks while you’re on holiday, minerals in the water could cause it to stick when you get it back in service. This usually means that you will have to disassemble the pump and free the impeller before it can work again.
What is the difference between a pump and a circulator?
While a pump and circulator pump may look exactly the same, and they both create a pressure differential to move water or liquids, the difference is obvious when you look at the application.
It’s called a pump when equipment is used to physically “lift” water to counteract atmospheric pressure.
A perfect example of this is a submersible well pump that lifts water from below ground to move through pipes to its end-use. However, when it reaches an irrigation system, it must have enough pressure to operate the irrigation system.
A circulator, on the other hand, is used to move water in a hydronic heating or cooling system. A circulator will be used in hydraulic systems, usually electrically powered centrifugal pumps.
This is because they only circulate liquid within a closed circuit and only need to overcome the friction of the piping system as compared to lifting a fluid from the point of low potential energy to the point of high potential energy.
So circulators are most often used to move domestic hot water so that it will provide hot water instantly or on demand. Ultimately, it is used to move hot water domestically and conserve energy in a short time after the user has demanded the hot water.
In cases where water conservation issues arise, rebates are offered to homeowners and builders that install circulators to save water.
Thanks to advancements in technology within the industry, circulators are fitted with built-in timers to limit operations during specific hours of the day so that a minimal amount of energy is lost and little water is wasted.
Further technology included in these units allows them to cycle on and off to maintain hot water temperatures so that it doesn’t need to continuously operate equipment and consume more electrical current.
The best circulating pumps for your home come with a series of benefits, such as having hot water on demand, so there’s no more standing around and waiting for the water tank to heat up.
This is because you get instant hot water as you turn on the faucet. Aside from that, the circulation pump is eco-friendly and ensures that you experience as little water wastage as possible.
Wasting water is also an expensive habit, especially in times of drought.
With the circulation pump, you save money by keeping the water heated, so you use a minimal amount of energy for reheating, and while it may sound like a costly piece of equipment to run and maintain, there are different kinds on the market, so you should choose the one that works best for you.
- Basics of a Hot Water Recirculating System
- How Does A Hot Water Heater Work?
- What Type of Water Heater Should I Get?