Hot Water Recirculating Pumps For Your Home (2020 Homeowner Guide)

Recirculating pump

Hot Water Recirculating Pumps have you noticed your hot water faucet always gives you cold water in the first couple of seconds? If could take several minutes, depending on the size of your home. It’s not practical, and in the long run, it wastes lots of water.

That’s why many people use hot water recirculating pumps. It’s an excellent investment, and in this article, we will explain how they work. Please read more at the WaterFilters about hot water recirculating pumps and many useful features. 

Where the Problem Occurs?

When you turn off the hot water faucet, the water doesn’t return to the heater. Instead, it stays in the pipes. After some time, the water gets cold, and that’s the water that you get from the hot faucet the next time. If your house is big and has long pipes, it might take pretty much time for the new water to start running.

What is the Solution?

Obviously, the best solution would be to install a hot water recirculating pump. There are two common types of pumps: a full recirculating pump system, and a recirculating pump comfort system. Let’s see how each of them works.

#1 Full Recirculating Pump System

This option includes installing an additional pipe to your water system. It forms a loop from the faucet to the water heater, and back. Then, it draws all the leftover water from pipes back to the water heater. That way, the next time you turn on the hot faucet, you will get hot water right away. 

Now, the question that you might ask is whether it affects energy costs. Obviously, if the water heater is running all the time, making the water constantly loop, it should cost more. However, it doesn’t have to be the case.

The good thing is that many of these pumps come with sensors and timers. For example, once the water has made a complete loop, the sensor will automatically shut down the pump. You can also set a timer to turn off the pump at specific times during the day, especially if you are not at home. Even if your pump doesn’t have these features, your plumber will probably be able to install them for you.

However, installing the full recirculating pump system might not be ideal for everyone. It can be a bit costly, and also, some home designs make it difficult to install this pump. If that’s the case, there is still another solution.

#2 Recirculating Pump Comfort System

This system also works by sending the leftover hot water back to the water heater. However, instead of using an additional pipe, it uses the existing cold water pipe. This system also helps bring hot water to parts of your home where it usually takes lots of time to get hot water. For example, if your water is not close to the kitchen, you won’t have to worry – the pump will take care of that. These can also work together with a hot water dispenser. Both can produce hot water for your home.

The primary advantage of these pumps is their costs. They are much more affordable than full recirculating pump systems. Not having to install any additional pipe also lowers the costs. In total, these pumps cost around $500 to $800, but of course, there might be exceptions.

However, these systems have their downsides, too. For example, since hot and cold waters share the same pipe, it might take a bit of time to get the cold water. If you don’t wait, the water might be a bit warm. Some people prevent this by turning off the pump in the summer days.

Therefore, it might happen that you already have the system installed, but you didn’t know. The previous homeowner might have turned it off, so it’s worth checking out if you have one. You can check near your water heater, but then again, you can call a plumber to do it for you.

How do Sensors work?

We mentioned that most pumps come with sensors. It’s how they “know” when to turn on and off. Most sensors have a specific thermostatic valve, which checks the water temperature. According to the data, the sensor opens and closes the valve.

In most cases, the sensor will check for the temperature of around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water drops to that temperature, the valve will open, and the pump will turn on. It’s as simple as that!

Do These Pumps Save Money?

If you use low-flow fixtures and wait around a minute to get hot water, you waste around 1.5 gallons of water for a shower. If you use a regular fixture, you waste around 2.5 gallons every time you shower.

A rough estimate is that in a year, an average person wastes around 5,000 gallons of water. It might not be much if you live alone, but it’s lots of water if you live in a large family. You should also know that traditional water pumps consume more electricity than the ones we use today. The bottom line is that, if you live in a large family and install a new, high-quality pump, you will surely decrease your monthly expenses.

Downsides of Hot Water Recirculating Pumps

There are a few things that you should know before buying the pump. At first, some pumps can be too noisy, especially as they get older. These pumps can also lead to potential heat losses, especially if the return pipe is not properly insulated.

Another thing to keep in mind is the sensor valve cost. No pump will last forever, no matter the warranty or material quality. You will have to replace them at some point, and also replace the sensor valve at about every two years.

If you are completely fine with all the mentioned facts, then installing a hot water recirculating pump will make your life easier.


We hope that now you understand how a hot water recirculating pump works. Although these are simple units, they can sometimes be a bit costly. On the other hand, they will save you money in the long run. Make sure to consider all the things that we mentioned, to decide exactly which type of pump do you need.

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