Hot Water Recirculation Pumps

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May 14, 2021
Ghost flushing
May 14, 2021

Dear Ask the Plumber,

Lately I have been hearing a lot about “Hot Water Recirculation Pumps” and I think I might be a candidate for one but at this point. My house has a 32” x 52” foundation and the hot water heater is in the basement at one end of the house directly under a master suite with toilet, vanity sink, bath and a washer and dryer. I get hot water there quickly, however there is another full bath at the opposite end of the house almost 50 feet away and it takes a while before I get hot water there.

I am told these pumps save water, cut down on energy bills and get hot water to places further away from the hot water tank faster. What can you tell about how they work?

Dear Out,

Nobody likes waiting for hot water, especially in the cold winter months, not to mention watching gallons of water go down the drain. There are two types pumps used. The most common model is a demand-controlled system that comes on from a switch or motion detector located near each fixture. This turns on the circulation pump which stops water from entering the return line; the pump moves room temperature water from the line back into the water heater. The hot water flows to the farthest tap and the sensor then shuts the pump off, leaving the hot water ready for use. A second type of system, an integrated loop system, which uses more energy, keeps hot water circulating through the pipes so it is always available for the taps. In either case you will notice a difference in your water bill. Within a few years you will have saved the money you paid to install the hot water recirculation pump.


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