Everybody likes a warm shower especially when winter is just around the corner. For you to have hot water instantly at your convenience, you need to have a good hot water recirculating pump system.
When you have a large house, hot water circulation is vital. The water doesn’t reach all parts of the house quickly and you wait for it to be pumped for a couple of minutes. This may be a small inconvenience, however, it’s much more than that. That waiting time directly affects your bill and your overall water waste.
A good hot water recirculation pump will not only save your utility bill by cutting out the waiting time for it to run. Also, it’s not just about reducing your water consumption. The best part of hot water recirculating pump systems is that they’ll send the water back to the tank before it cools down in the water pipes. That’s another way to cut out the water consumption bill.
Then the question is, what is a hot water recirculating pump exactly, and which products are the best ones out in the market? Here, you can learn about picking the best one which suits your unique needs and the best available products you can find online.
The Best Hot Water Recirculating Pumps In Market
The Best of The Best
NEW 2019 model replaces Grundfos 595916 with 99452459 UP15-10SU7P/LC Instant Hot Water Comfort Recirculation System 9H with NEW Digital Timer
As a leading manufacturer of pumps, Grundfos offers the best product available in the market. There are many reasons to pick this as the best product available. This is the continuation and upgrade of another product, Grundfos 596916.
To begin with, this pump has very good technical specifications which will be a good fit for the average household. The head range is 0-6 feet, the flow range is 0-6.5 GPM. The motor works on 115V and consumes 25W. The water temperature range is 36-150oF. The maximum working pressure is 145 PSI. The material used is stainless steel. It has backup lithium-ion batteries in case of an electricity cut.
The best technical aspect of this product is that it is a recirculation comfort system, meaning that you don’t need additional plumbing to attach this pump. It uses the cold-water line to regulate the flow of hot water.
Aside from good technical specifications, this product shines in three main areas: this product is very silent, very easy to install, and the customer feedback is great.
According to the many reviews on Amazon, this is the most silent product you can find on the market. All the users of this product happily mention the pump works so silently that the only way to understand the pumping is working is to check its vibrations.
The other greatest aspect of this product is the ease of installation. All you have to do is to follow the instructions manual. Most of the users report that they could do the installation without any external help and prior plumbing experience. This is especially true if you have a flex line. Another reason for high satisfaction is that it fits most of the plumbing systems easily.
The last area where this product shines is customer feedback. According to other options, this one may seem a bit more expensive compared to the others, however, very few customers gave negative feedback. This is also a product that plumbers recommend. The only downside is the timer here but you can use an extension to turn the pump on and off manually.
Best Budget Option
KOLERFLO 3/4″ NPT Hot Water Circulation Pump Stainless Steel Recirculating Water Pump for Portable Water System (RS15-6 SS Green)
KOLERFLO RS15-6 is the best budget option available in the market for many reasons. The first is that this is truly a budget/performance product. If you are tight on a budget but in dire need of a hot water recirculation pump, this may be your choice.
This pump has good technical performance data. This product has three-speed controls that can suit your needs in different circumstances. The maximum head is 20 ft, maximum pressure is 10 bar (145 PSI) and maximum flow is 9.5 GPM. The pump housing is aluminum and the impellers are corrosion-resistant composite PES. The shaft is steel and the bearings are carbon axial.
The greatest aspect of this pump is that it uses your current cold-water plumbing to send hot water to your faucets. This prevents the pipes from freezing on cold winter days and helps your overall house heating since the plumbing will be heated with the hot water flow.
For this price and good reviews, this is the ultimate budget/performance product you can buy. The only problem you may encounter is that if the water is too hot the impellers may not withstand it.
When you’re looking at Amazon, this is the most popular product you can find among the hot water recirculation pumps. There’s a good reason for this. This is the ultimate value product since it’s average priced and has many benefits that it can offer.
According to the user reviews and manufacturer notes, this pump uses a thermostatically controlled sensor valve which enables the hot water supply line to bypass into the cold-water supply. This means that when the pump works, you get instant hot water through the whole house.
The best thing about this pump is the ease of installation and the timer. If you have a water heater with ¾” connections you can directly install the pump with a wrench. The material used for this product is cast aluminum, therefore you won’t need maintenance constantly. The timer has a dual setting programmable timer which directly helps you to reduce energy consumption and wastewater.
The only negative issue with this pump is that it will not work with tankless water heaters. Most of the complaints about this product are actually about this issue. Just in case, before you consider this product make sure that you have a hot water tank.
BACOENG 3/4″ 110V NPT Hot Water Circulation Pump Circulating Pump For Solar Heater Circulator US Plug
This is the second budget option if you are not sure you can afford the best budget product.
Just like the previous one, the BACOENG Hot Water Circulation Pump also offers three-speed control for your convenience. The water temperature range is 32-230 oF. The materials used in this pump are of quality. The pump housing is stainless steel, impellers are corrosion-resistant composite PES, shaft is ceramic and bearings are carbon axial.
This product has the advantages of high-temperature resistance if you like a really hot shower. It’s quite silent and the three-speed control helps you with low consumption. You can use this pump for water heating and floor heating as well according to how you install it on your plumbing system.
The only negative side of this product is that you need a recirculation loop, therefore additional plumbing.
Taco 006-B4 Bronze Circulator Pump 3/4-Inch Sweat
The list item on this list is from another well-known manufacturer, Taco. This manufacturer is known for the durability of its pumps. These pumps will surely last for a long time before you need a replacement.
Aside from the durability, the Taco Bronze Circulator Pump has good technical features. The head range is 0-9”. The water temperature range is 40-220 oF. The maximum working pressure is 125 psi. Rather interestingly, this is a bronze pump.
Another great aspect of this pump is that you can use it for potable water and other heating purposes. Most of the time when you’re buying a product if the pump is supporting heating purposes it doesn’t have the right materials for potable water. However, this pump being bronze gives it an edge on the matter.
The only con about this product is that you may need a little bit of extra help for installation if you don’t have prior experience. However, the manufacturer is quite helpful for this matter according to user reviews.
The Working Principle of Hot Water Recirculation Pumps
It’s not a secret that there are many ways to directly get hot water to roll down from your faucets at your convenience. Most of the time to have instant hot water, you should already have a tankless water heating system or one with a tank. When you turn on the faucet, the water runs down to your palms eventually.
The pressure of water in this case is regulated directly out of the tank. If the pressure from the tank is low, the hot water reaches your faucet in a remote part of your house rather slow. This causes the cold water to flow for a couple of minutes before the hot water arrives at your faucet’s plumbing.
Another problem is, without a recirculation pump the hot water just stays in the plumbing. The next time you turn on the hot water faucet, you will be greeted by cold water again because the hot water from the previous use was stuck in the plumbing and never returned to the hot water tank. There goes another gallon of clean water just because the temperature wasn’t properly adjusted.
At this point, a hot water recirculation pump comes in to save you from minutes of running cold water and a hefty bill. These pumps have three major parts: a pump impeller, support bearings, and a motor rotor.
The motor spins the impeller. The impeller pulls water and sends it into the pipes. The hot water is sent through the plumbing to the faucets and other parts in an adjusted pressure. The cold water goes back to the heater again when the pressure drops. That’s the way to reduce the amount of water stuck in pipes after hot water use and make the hot water reach to the furthest point.
The Two Types of Hot Water Recirculation Pumps
As the working principle of these pumps is covered, let’s take a look at the two types of hot water recirculation pumps you can find in the market. These types are full recirculating pump systems which need additional piping and recirculating pump comfort systems.
The first type is about using an additional pipe for only running hot water. This additional pipe connects your hot water recirculation pump to your plumbing system. You can only do this with some types of pumps available on the market, so make sure that your plumbing fits this type.
The additional piping is to ensure the hot water loop. This means that the water flows from the heater, reaches the faucet and the unused hot water comes back to the heater through the pump. The water comes back to the heater without getting additionally cold in the process so reheating the water becomes redundant.
Although the system can run continuously, this doesn’t affect the overall energy consumption. These kinds of pumps have timer systems so you’re in charge of the times it should work, which is another way to reduce energy consumption. Another way to reduce consumption is to use smart ones and shut the pump down when the water finishes a full loop.
The only con of these types of pumps is that the additional piping is not so cheap. That’s why many consumers go for the second option.
Recirculating pump comfort systems will make use of your current cold-water pipes to send unused water back to the heater. This eliminates the need for additional plumbing, brings a simpler design, and reduces the initial cost. Such pumps are especially useful when the hot water doesn’t reach the desired places in a house. By adjusting the pressure, the water quickly flows to the farthest points with this solution.
Without additional pipes, these pumps are more affordable solutions compared to the first type. Using the cold-water plumbing to send back the water is a good solution yet sometimes you can have warm water flowing down from the cold water. This may cause a problem only on the hot summer days when you need cold water more than hot water.
Why Do These Pumps Save You Money and Give Back to The Environment?
Did you ever try to estimate how much water you consume just when you wait for the hot water to finally flow down your faucet? Now, imagine every time you take a shower you waste that much water and how many times you are taking shower in a year. Statistics say that by the time you wait for hot water to come you waste around 11,000 gallons of water per year.
Water bills may cost you less than an electricity bill but overall, why not cut back the wasted water to reduce your bills? By installing a hot water recirculation pump the amount that you cut off from your water bills compensate for the electricity bill. Some pumps cost 0.5 cents each time you use. This is an affordable amount when you add the extra benefits.
Let’s make a brief calculation. The cheapest pumps cost you around $200. A timer pump allows you to reduce the electricity you use by adjusting the working hours in a peak timeframe. This means that the operation of a pump will cost you around $20 to $30 per year.
Take out the heat loss and add the savings in, also consider the fact that a pump lasts about ten to fifteen years, the pump’s cost will make up for the initial spending and even help your budget in the long run.
Also, by installing these pumps you cut back from the energy. Each time you use your water heater, this directly affects your electricity bills and your energy consumption. Knowing that the water goes back to the tank and not stuck in the plumbing will reimburse the amount of energy you use without a pump.
The world is facing a water crisis even though we may not be fully aware of it all the time. Freshwater is a commodity but it’s slowly depleting. By cutting the amount of fresh water you use, you directly help to reduce the severity of the water crisis and reduce the amount of energy you use.
Probably the most noticeable convenience of these pumps is knowing that you’ll have hot water instantly to wash your dishes, to shower, to wash your dog without it catching a cold. This is a convenience you can’t put a definite price on. While you’re at it, why not redesign your bath?
Pros and Cons of Installing a Hot Water Recirculation Pump
As with every decision in the world, you can make a pros and cons list for installing a hot water recirculation pump in your house. When you’re making such a decision, the list can be adjusted to your current situation and overall budget for this work. In any case, you should always be more optimistic about the benefits rather than the costs.
The overall pros and cons we can list here which applies to every household are these:
- These pumps will not take a lot of space in your house. You can fit them under a sink or place next to the heating tanks conveniently.
- Timers are the key factors for lifting the excess water use burden in your bills. A pump with a timer will only work in specific hours and conserve energy.
- Pumps are readily available on huge websites like Amazon. There is a guide to show you these products. Just like this guide about hot water recirculation pumps, you can check a similar one about engine driven welders or plasma cutters.
- We already discussed in detail that these pumps will reduce water waste.
- According to the pump system you choose, the installation is quite easy and cost-free.
- You can do the maintenance by yourself.
- These systems can be installed in any type of system/plumbing or house.
- As we discussed the different types of hot water recirculation pumps, it’s noted that recirculating pump comfort systems use cold-water plumbing. This may result in lukewarm water flowing from the cold-water faucets and it may take a couple of seconds for the water to be fully cold again.
- You should have a power source close to the pumping system and this can be a hazard if the power system isn’t insulated or placed properly. You should be careful to not leave the electricity source susceptible to water. You can place the plug on a high-level place in case of a leak.
- If you are living in a cold climate, the output may not be what you expect. Therefore, choose a pump that will have the highest efficiency in this climate.
- For instant water you should adjust the timer correctly according to your peak times of hot water use in a day, otherwise, you may not be able to fully enjoy instant hot water.
What to Consider When You’re Buying A New Hot Water Recirculation Pump?
In today’s consumer world, you will have lots and lots of choices to pick a product from many different vendors. This is a good thing since you can find the product which suits your needs exactly. However, this also leads to some confusion and insecurity about the product if you’re not familiar with it.
For example, when you’re buying a waste oil heater or a wide belt sanders you go online to check for the things to consider before you buy them. Even more so, when you use hazardous tools like oxy-acetylene cutting torches you get informed beforehand.
For this reason, you should know the key aspects of the product you want to buy before you search the market for your best option. In the case of hot water recirculation pumps there are some terms, key aspects, and values you should be aware of. This part will be especially helpful if you’re having a hard time with the technical aspects.
When you are on the search for the best hot water recirculation pump, these are some of the factors you should consider when you’re reading the product description.
- Head and efficiency: Head is a technical term that means the highest point water can reach when it’s pumped. Especially when you have a problem with hot water not reaching the upper levels of your house, the head is a value you should be careful of. Most of the manufacturers will include this information in the product description or manuals.
Efficiency is another technical term here. In general terms, efficiency is the ratio used to determine the quality of power conversion. In “work-producing” machines like pumps, compressors, or fans, this becomes the ratio of power input to power output. When you’re calculating the power output it also includes the power loss during the transfer.
Head and efficiency are two technical terms that may sound complicated at first, however, they are good values for you to determine if the product in your mind suits your needs.
- Materials: The materials used in a pump determines the overall quality of that pump. When you decide to buy a particular product for your house, it’s a good idea to make sure you know which materials were used in which part of the pump you buy.
As we mentioned before, a hot water recirculation pump has three parts: an impeller, a motor, and the bearings. Each of these parts can be made of different materials. Sometimes the manufacturers specify what type of materials were used in which part of the pump. Try to find this information for a viable product you have in mind.
The impellers are always in contact with the water. Therefore, the best material for impellers is stainless steel so that rust isn’t a problem. This is quite important for the maintenance issues you may face.
Currently, a pump with cast iron impellers may be the cheapest solution, however, a pump with stainless steel impellers may be a little more expensive. In the long run, stainless steel will be a cheaper solution since you won’t need to buy spare parts to maintain your pump or replace it altogether.
The careful consideration you should put for the impeller’s material should apply to bearings, shafts, and motor if this information is available. For example, a shaft made of ceramics is a good one.
The last component which material is an important aspect is the pump housing. Here again, cast iron is something you can see when you’re reading the product specifications. However, as we noted before, cast iron will rust in time.
In addition to the rusting problem, if you plan to use the hot water for drinking or food consumption you should look for a food-grade pump. Here, aluminum or bronze may be a better solution for pump housing. Aluminum can be a more expensive material just like in fuel transfer tanks, however, it’s always worth the price.
- Timer: Timers are a crucial component of the hot water recirculation pumps because they are the primary reason you conserve water and energy.
Without a timer, your pump should be either manually turned on and off or it constantly works. In the latter case, the energy consumption will be higher and your pump won’t be saving energy.
The type of timer depends on the pump you have in mind. Some models have built-in timers with many control settings. Some pumps don’t have that option and you should buy a timer additionally. It’s more preferable to buy a pump with a built-in timer and many settings but if that’s not a viable option for you, you can always fit a timer.
- Priming: Priming means that your pump may need to be vacuumed once to perform. You should check if the pumping you’d like to buy has self-priming or before you can operate with it you need to prime it manually. Self-priming is a better choice you should consider.
- Ease of maintenance: When you buy a new electrical device in your house, ease of maintenance is something you should always consider. This certainly applies to the hot water recirculation pumps.
Ease of maintenance has a few key aspects. The first is the durability of the pump you buy. The more durable pump you buy, the less you have to buy spare parts to maintain your pump or replace it. Most of the durable pumps will last about ten to fifteen years. In any case, you should know if you can easily maintain the pump you will have by checking if there are spare parts available.
Most of the time when you buy a pump, you don’t have to do the maintenance. The manufacturer should have a service to help you with changing parts. Make sure the manufacturer of the pump will have such a service.
- Ease of installation: This both applies to the difficulty of the pump you want to install and if it suits the current plumbing equipment you have at home.
The first thing is that a good pump should be installed just by you without the need for external help. That’s why recirculation pump comfort systems are superior to the full recirculation pump systems. You won’t need extra plumbing equipment or pipes to install your pump.
The second thing here is that the pump you buy should match the current equipment you have. If you have tankless water heaters the pump’s efficiency may be lower than what you expect. This also applies to shallow-well pumps if you have one.