Isn’t it curious that, even if you turn on your hot water faucet first, you are still greeted by cold water for a couple of seconds? As a matter of fact, if you live in a rather large house, you may even wait for up to two minutes for your hot water.
Let’s skip talking about inconvenience in this case! The more important issue is that you waste water – a lot of it. Every single time you wait for hot water to come out of your faucet, you waste cold water and, inherently, money towards the utility bill.
Luckily, this issue can be solved quite easily! You see, when you turn off the hot water faucet, the hot water in it doesn’t return to the heater and, instead, stays put. Obviously, it will get cold in a matter of minutes. This can be solved with the best hot water recirculating pump out there – as such systems send the water back in the heater.
Therefore, let’s take a look at some hot water recirculating pump reviews and then learn everything about these products – the how’s, the what’s, and so on!
What Is a Hot Water Recirculating Pump?
In short, a hot water recirculating pump – or system – is responsible for putting hot water where you want it, in a timely manner. And by timely we mean fast. This type of water pump is usually installed on your water heater – even though we’ve heard of some unusual builds as well. The pump’s primary use is to return the unused hot water all the way back to the water heater.
As mentioned above, a hot water recirculating pump is the solution for hot water on demand – no more cold water in your faucets! Naturally, it is not everything about the convenience and pleasure of having hot water in your faucets whenever you want it. As you won’t have to let cold water run in vain until it gets hot, a hot water recirculating pump helps you save thousands of gallons of fresh water annually.
The lack of such a pump means wasted water and higher utility bills!
What Is the Main Purpose of a Recirculation Pump?
The main purpose of a recirculation pump is, by definition, to ensure the user that hot water is always available, as close to the consumption point as possible. This way, it greatly reduces water waste and energy consumption and increases comfort.
You can also see a recirculation pump as having two purposes:
- First of all, such a product increases convenience within a household. You no longer have to wait for cold water to warm up and you can shower or such as soon as you turn on a particular faucet.
- On the other hand, it is an amazing tool when it comes to saving water and decreasing utility bills via a low energy consumption product. Such pumps are environmentally friendly because they not only save water, but also energy.
In short, a recirculation pump is here to provide you with instant hot water at low costs and reduced waste!
What You Should Consider When Buying a Hot Water Recirculating Pump
When it comes to hot water recirculating pumps, we could say that the market is full of options but lacks guidance – so to speak. Basically, you can find a lot of models and types of pumps, but very little advice in terms of things that you should consider when buying one. Therefore, in the following lines, we’ll tell you what you should take into account when you are looking for a hot water recirculating pump to save you water.
Having a timer on your pump means that you can schedule it to shut off when you want to. In short, you get hot water only during peak usage times – depending on your settings. Remember that, even if your pump doesn’t come with a built-in timer, you can get one fitted into it easily.
Naturally, durability refers to materials. You will want a pump made of high-quality stainless steel, especially if you want it to last more than three to five years. There are accounts of pumps that have lasted for as long as 10 to 15 years, mainly because they were made of high-quality materials.
Pump Housing Material
Even if highly durable materials are important, you should also consider the use of the water pump. For example, pump housing made of cast iron renders the pump not viable for potable water use – as cast iron causes rust within the system. If you want to run potable water through the pump, then you will have to search for one with aluminum pump housing.
Traditional vs. Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters usually require pumps with more power. If your water supply is based on a shallow well pump, for example, a recirculating pump will have a very difficult time heating the water. As we mentioned in the review section, most hot water recirculating pumps don’t have the necessary power to work with either the highest-quality gas tankless water heater or an electric tankless water heater. In this respect, you must take your water heater into account before buying a pump.
Unlike a submersible well pump, for example, which has to be primed only once, most hot water recirculating pumps don’t have to be primed and can run with some air in the lines. However, there are pumps that have to be primed and will not work when air is present in the lines.
Best Hot Water Recirculating Pumps Comparison Chart
Watts 500800 Instant Hot Water Recirculating System
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Grundfos 99452459 Instant Hot Water Comfort Recirculation System
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Taco 006-B4 Bronze Circulator Pump ¾-Inch Sweat
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Grundfos 59896155 SuperBrute Recirculator Pump
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Grundfos 59896341 SuperBrute Circulator UPS15-58FC
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KOLERFLO 110V Circulating Water Pump Hot Water Circulation Pump
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Hot Water Recirculating Pump Reviews – Top-Picks
1. Watts 500800 Instant Hot Water Recirculating System
This product from Watts comes with a built-in timer and with a label stating that you could save up to 15,000 gallons of water per year. Naturally, these are only a couple of this pump’s benefits.
Every hot water recirculating pump does basically the same thing – saves you water. However, due to competition, you can expect products from different manufacturers to come with different benefits, features, and advantages.
- Ability to conserve up to 15,000 gallons of water per year.
- Maintenance-free product.
- It can reportedly be installed in less than one hour.
- The package contains all you need for set-up and proper functioning.
- If you own a home with multiple plumbing loops, then you can choose the version with additional sensor valves.
- Reportedly, it is not compatible with all hot water heaters.
- Heaters that feature heat traps will not be compatible with this pump.
- Apparently, even with this system, you will still have to deal with roughly 5 seconds of cold water.
Read More : Watts 500800
2. Grundfos 99452459 Instant Hot Water Comfort Recirculation System
The second product on our list comes with an impressive 5-star rating – but let’s see what it can do in terms of features. This Grundfos system can reportedly help you save up to 12,000 gallons of water per year and can be installed in less than two hours.
In addition to that, it is a retrofit solution, meaning that a return line is not required. Obviously, the system is fully compatible with all of the other Grundfos line cord products, making the replacement of parts and accessories quite easy.
- As mentioned above, it can save you up to 12,000 gallons of water per year.
- It comes equipped with a timer, thermal bypass, a 10ft line cord, and a hose kit.
- A nice addition is the battery back-up – if the power is lost, the system maintains its settings.
- Stainless Steel Circulator
- Reportedly, this pump can’t handle a lot of pressure and, thus, is not compatible with tankless water heaters.
- On the other hand, there are people that claim it will work just fine with tankless water heaters, as long as the pressure drop is not too high and can be handled by the system – naturally, this depends on the size of your home.
Read More : Grundfos 99452459
3. Taco 006-B4 Bronze Circulator Pump ¾-Inch Sweat
The Taco Circulator Pump comes with a rating of 4.6 out of five, making it one of the highest-rated products of this type. With mostly positive reviews and quite the list of pros, it could be a great addition to your home that would keep your water hot always.
Let’s see what this system can do.
- Its maximum working pressure is 125 psi.
- It can withhold liquid at a maximum of 220F and a minimum of 40F.
- Features a Standard High Capacity Output-Compact Design, which makes the system efficient, while quiet.
- Equipped with Direct Drive-Low Power Consumption
- It comes with a unique replaceable cartridge design that is also field serviceable.
- It is maintenance-free.
- No mechanical seal
- Reportedly, some products come shipped with threaded joints, instead of the advertised sweat joints.
- Also, before sweating, the unit has to be disassembled so that you don’t damage one of its interior plastic pieces.
- It gets warm to the touch as a result of continuous use, an aspect that some users seemed to dislike. However, it doesn’t get hot and/or dangerous.
Read More : Taco 006-B4 Bronze
4. Grundfos 59896155 SuperBrute Recirculator Pump
Yet another Grundfos product on our list – this one comes with a 4.1 stars rating and with some impressive materials. The system has parts built from ceramic, carbon, stainless steel, and cast iron. Therefore, you can expect it to be quite resilient/ durable. Let’s take a look at its pros and cons.
- Radial bearings and ceramic shaft
- The impeller is corrosion-resistant
- The pump housing is made of cast iron, making it viable for continuous use.
- Reportedly, it uses little energy and is rather quiet.
- User reviews state that the pump has no issue in feeding your faucets with hot water in a matter of seconds, even on cold mornings.
- Some people claimed that having to install a second set of copper pipes through your house is a rather big disadvantage, mainly due to the incurred expenses and labor.
- Reportedly, the product does not feature a purge outlet.
- Even though the pump housing is resilient – made of cast iron – it is not recommended for Domestic Hot Water Systems, as the product page advertises. The material will cause rust in your system.
- Not rated/suitable for potable water use.
Read More : Grundfos 59896155 SuperBrute
5. Grundfos 59896341 SuperBrute Circulator UPS15-58FC
The next Grundfos pump on our list comes with 4.5 out of five stars and with the same high-quality materials the brand has gotten us used to. Again, we can expect ceramic, carbon, and stainless steel from this model as well.
- The impeller is corrosion-resistant
- Cast iron pump housing
- Easy to install
- Viable for heavy, continuous use
- Reportedly, is it very quiet and capable of instant hot water as well.
- Some users mentioned that you would need a 2-in pipe extension and a stainless-steel piece of a natural gas unit, depending on the pump application.
- A standard water heater (either gas or electric) will require you to equip the pump with cast iron mounting plates.
- Several users complained that some parts of the system snapped during transport and recommend future buyers inspect the product as soon as they receive it.
Read More : Grundfos 59896341 SuperBrute
6. KOLERFLO 110V Circulating Water Pump Hot Water Circulation Pump
The KOLERFLO circulating water pump comes in a stylish, teal-green color. It is quite powerful – rate for 93/ 67/ 46 W – and can handle a maximum pressure of 145 psi. Moreover, the pump housing is made of aluminum (making the pump suitable for potable water use) and the impeller is corrosion resistant.
- Three-speed control settings
- Easy to install – all you need is just a wrench, to connect the pump to the pipeline of your home.
- Maximum of 15 seconds of wait time for hot water
- High efficiency and low consumption
- Resistant to high temperatures
- It has to be properly primed to reach its full potential.
- The pump cannot prime itself and will not push any water if there’s air in the lines.
- Some users reported that the pump is not quite suitable for solar hot water panel set-ups.
7. Happybuy RS15-6 Hot Water Recirculating Pump
The Happybuy hot water recirculating pump comes with a 4-star rating, as well as with different models, in terms of size, power, and efficiency. The main features of this pump are the NPT ¾ inch inlet and outlet. It comes with a corrosion-resistant impeller and aluminum pump housing – suitable for potable water use.
- Three-speed control settings
- Easy to install – roughly one hour.
- Instant hot water
- Due to its design, the pump helps keep the pipes from freezing during the winter.
- Highly efficient hot water recirculating pump, with low energy consumption.
- Users reported that they save up to three gallons of water with every shower when using this pump.
- The connections of the pump are indeed ¾, but keep in mind that they are not tapered, which may affect some builds.
- As a result of the above, you can’t get ¾ copper adapters, for example, to seal very well to the respective connections.
- The flange face is reportedly too thin and may cause the pump to leak.
8. BOKYWOX 120W 110V Food Grade Automatic Booster Pump
This BOKYWOX pump is advertised as a food-grade automatic booster pump. So, it is an automatic circulation pump, suitable for medium to hot water – with a maximum ethanol ratio of 1:1. The good thing about it is that it can be used directly in drinking water pipelines. Here are its pros and cons:
- Easy to install
- No leakage and no noise – viable for environmental protection.
- It can resist high fluid temperatures – up to 212F.
- It is highly efficient
- Not suitable for potable water.
- After the installation, the water will come with a taste of lubricating oil – reportedly, it disappears after using the pump 4-5 times.
- Even though it features brass adapters, you cannot sweat a ½ copper pipe to them – inform yourself before trying.
- Reportedly, it is not a US ¾ inch thread pump, but a British model with a compression connection.
Read More : BOKYWOX Food Grade Automatic Booster
Types of Hot Water Recirculating Pumps
Naturally, there is more than just one type of hot water recirculating pump. This is because, as you may know, there are water pumps that require the installation of additional pipes and so on – for example, some of the products described above. Therefore, there are two types of hot water recirculating pumps that you should be taking into account when choosing such a unit. Each type will require a different set-up, labor, and expenses.
Full Recirculating Pump System
The full recirculating pump system implies the use of an additional pipe, which is designated solely for hot water. The additional pipe will be installed in the plumbing of your home and attached to the pump, obviously. Naturally, the pump has to support this type of system, so make sure to check it carefully before you buy it.
Moving on, the full recirculating pump system creates a loop – from the water heater to the faucet and back. The system will draw the unused hot water back through the aforementioned loop with the help of the hot water pump. Therefore, when you’ll be turning on your hot water faucets, you will be quickly greeted by hot water. The system prevents the water from getting cold by drawing it back into the heater via a quick delivery.
There are a couple of things that keep this system viable, even though it is considered expensive by some people;
- The water heater is running continuously, with water in an endless loop within it. Despite that, the system does not affect energy and gas costs as much as you’d think.
- Most pumps come with sensors and timers that increase their efficiency and decrease their energy consumption.
- For example, a sensor will shut off the pump as soon as it finishes a loop.
- On the other hand, a timer will let you control the active times of the pump.
- Lastly, the cost of the additional pipe can be quite high. This is why a lot of people choose the other option.
Recirculating Pump Comfort System
Unlike the previous system, this one will make use of your current cold-water pipe to send the unused water to the heater. In this case, pumps come with a simpler design, so to speak, and are very affordable.
This is the most cost-effective solution when it comes to hot water recirculating pumps and systems. If you don’t afford or simply don’t have the time to install the previous option, then this is the one for you!
The comfort-type system is able to provide you with hot water quickly, towards the areas of your home that have an issue with getting hot water fast. If your water supply is far away from your kitchen or shower, a recirculating pump using this system will solve all your issues.
Here are some of the key aspects of this type of hot water recirculating pumps;
- No need to install any additional pipes, thus lowering the initial cost of the system.
- This type of system does have its drawbacks. For example, since hot and cold water share the same pipe, the cold faucet may contain lukewarm water or even take some time to get cold.
- If you have a swamp cooler, the issues we mentioned above may be somewhat more serious. This is why most users turn off their pumps during the summer.
The Pros and Cons of Installing a Hot Water Recirculation Pump
As we mentioned a couple of times so far, everything in life comes with both advantages and disadvantages. However, as the saying goes – you must take into account the full half of the glass, rather than the empty one.
Still, we are ready to introduce you to both the pros and cons of installing a hot water recirculation pump in your home. In the end, it will be up to you to decide whether you want one to solve your hot water issue or not.
- Small and compact – can fit under a sink.
- Built-in or fitted timers allow the pump to run when you are not at home.
- It is very easy to find a pump on Amazon – and at great prices as well.
- Very easy to install, operate, and perform maintenance on.
- A system based on a hot water recirculating pump wastes less water.
- Capable of providing instant hot water to any type of system/plumbing/house.
- Certain models affect the cold water, making it lukewarm or getting cold after a couple of seconds after turning on the cold-water faucet.
- Hot water recirculating pumps require a power source near the installation – which may be dangerous if the pump happens to leak.
- Such pumps are characterized by low output in cold climates.
- If your pump runs on a timer and you need hot water for a time when the pump’s timer is not set, then you will not enjoy instant hot water.
Do Hot Water Recirculation Pumps ACTUALLY Save Money?
Whether hot water recirculation pumps save money or not is an aspect worthy of debate. That’s mainly because there are people claiming they do not save money and are a waste of time and energy.
To prove or disprove the above, let’s take a look at the costs of having a hot water recirculating pump in your home:
- One of the cheapest pumps you can buy costs around $200.
- As you will most likely have a timer pump, let’s assume that you set it to run for 3 hours per day, during peak times. Depending on the unit’s wattage, you will spend around $20 to $30 per year on energy.
- Obviously, we do have to take heat loss into account as well. This depends on the temperature difference and on the distance from the heater to your faucet. Let’s assume that, as a result of heat loss, you’ll lose around $100 a year.
- Now, in terms of saving water, 5000 gallons round up to approximately $25 in savings, depending on the price per gallon. As most pumps claim to save around 15,000 gallons a year, let’s say that you would save around $75.
Analyzing the results, you can see that, even though having a hot water recirculating pump doesn’t save you money, it is quite a cheap deal. You will spend around $100 per year to have such a pump run inside your home.
Now, given that you save water worth $75, it is safe to say that a hot water recirculating pump is a good deal. After all, without one, you’d have to pay close to $200, while having to wait for cold water to heat up!
How Do You Install a Hot Water Recirculation Pump?
As you’ve seen in the review section, most, if not all hot water recirculation pumps can be installed very easily. For some, you will need just a wrench, while others may require a couple of other tools, depending on the pump type.
However, here is a basic guide on how to install a hot water recirculation pump. Make sure to refer to the user’s manual before taking our word for granted, to make sure that your model doesn’t require any additional or specific steps.
Tools and Materials – you will need a recirculating pump kit (including check valve and flex supply tubes), a screwdriver, channel-type pliers or pipe wrench, a bucket, and a towel.
The pump will require a 120-volt outlet. Some additional parts and plumbing work may be required, depending on the configuration of the pump and/or of your home’s plumbing.
To install your hot water recirculating pump, follow these steps:
- Shut off the water on the shut-off valves found on the cold-water pipe that is running into the water heater. Make sure that the water flow is completely stopped. If the flow fails to stop, you may need to shut off the house’s main water supply.
- Disconnect the flexible water supply line found on the hot side of the water heater. Keep a towel or rag close, as residual water may come out of the pipe.
- Screw the pump on the hot side of your water heater. Make sure that the face with the timer is turned towards a direction where it can be accessed from.
- Reconnect the hot water line to the top of the pump and then tighten the assembly with channel-type pliers. Make sure that there are no kinks that may restrict the water flow.
- Move to the sink farthest away from the water heater. Here, you will install the check valve. Shut off the faucets’ water by closing both of the supply valves that are controlling the cold and hot water supply tubes.
- Then, you will have to disconnect the supply tubes of the faucet from the shut-off valves found under the sink. You will now have to connect the check valve to the supply tubes of the faucet.
- The existing supply tubes that come down from the tailpieces of the faucet have to be screwed onto the top two outlets that are on the check valve. The hot water line has to be positioned on the left and the cold one on the right.
- Run the new water supply tubes from the check-valve to both hot and cold shut-off valves. Make sure that these are connected to the proper valves.
- Once the new supply tubes are tightly connected, the check valve can be mounted to the wall, with the help of the screws that came with the kit.
- The water has to be then turned back on to both the water heater and the sink faucet. You have to let the water run at the far sink until all the air is out of the water lines. Before plugging the pump’s power supply in, make sure that there are no leaks.
- Finally, you can set up the pump via the timer.
As you can see, it takes only 11 steps to install your very own hot water recirculating pump!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I really need a hot water recirculating pump?
Basically, if it takes more than 45 seconds or so for the water running down your faucet to get hot, then you have to strongly consider getting such a pump inside your household.
- Does a hot water recirculating pump take a lot of space?
Not at all. These products are usually very small and installed either under your sink or near the water heater.
- How long does it take to install the hottest water recirculating pumps? It is a difficult process?
As you’ve seen earlier in this article, the process is not difficult at all. You just have to make sure that you are disconnecting and connecting the right valves and water lines. In terms of time, it will take you a maximum of 2 – 3 hours to fully install a hot water recirculating pump.
- How to avoid and prevent corrosion in a hot water recirculating pump?
Such pumps are usually affected by flow-accelerated corrosion. This can be a very costly problem – you should check the water pump for such issues regularly. The corrosion itself is caused by the water’s aggressive chemistry or excessive flow velocity. Because of this, the pipes get eroded by the water inside of them. The main parts that get affected by this issue are elbows, bends, and the tees around thin walls. In order to avoid and prevent corrosion, it is recommended that you choose a lower capacity hot water recirculating pump, as well as reduce the abrupt changes in pipe directions in your home’s plumbing.
By now, finding the best hot water recirculating pump should not be an issue for you! After all, we’ve provided you with all of the information needed to make a wise choice when it comes to buying such a product.
On top of that, we’ve also looked into several hot water recirculating pump reviews and presented you with some of the best products currently available on the market. However, don’t hurry and keep in mind all of the things we’ve mentioned so far. While hot water recirculating pumps are a great way to save water – and money – they have to be installed and taken care of properly. You should regularly check for leaks, signs of corrosion, and/or rust, and make sure that the pump is working at its full potential.
In the end, we hope that our article gave you just the information you needed and that you are ready to get and enjoy a hot water recirculating pump!