When you turn on your faucet for hot water, you often have to wait a little while until the water turns from cold to hot. Not only can this delay be boring but it is also a waste of water. Installing a hot water recirculating pump can solve this issue because it allows hot water to come out of your faucet as soon as you turn it on.
What Is a Hot Water Recirculating Pump?
Usually, when you use hot water in your faucet and then turn it off, the remaining hot water stays in the pipe. Eventually, it turns cold. So when you turn on the faucet again, cold water comes out first.
A hot water recirculating pump is a technology that draws the unused hot water back to the water heater or circulates it again through the pipeline. When you turn on the hot water faucet again, the device will pump that recirculated hot water out of the faucet. Hence, you will get your hot water right away.
Water and Energy Efficiency
The cold water you waste while waiting for the hot water to come out can reach up to 2.5 gallons. Imagine how much water your family would waste in a day under these conditions. Installing a hot water recirculating pump will prevent you from wasting water.
Note that this system runs on electrical power. That means the device will increase your electric bill. If you want to minimize this increase, simply turn the system off when you don’t need it. You can also buy a unit with a high energy efficiency rating.
Another thing to consider about this technology is that the instant hot water trades off with the cold water. If the hot water recirculating pump is on, you will not get instant cold water. If you turn on the cold water faucet, you will get hot water at first before the cold water comes out.
Types of Hot Water Recirculating Pumps
There are two types of hot water recirculating pumps. Each one has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Full System (Active Pump)
A full recirculating pump has a complete loop between the faucet and the water heater. All the unused hot water in the pipes will not stay there. Instead, the pump will circulate it back to the water heater. To save energy, this unit may come with a sensor and a timer. These features allow the system to turn itself off after the water completes a loop, or at specific times you set.
Comfort System (Passive Pump)
This is a cheaper version of a hot water recirculating pump. Instead of sending it all the way back to the water heater, the pump will recirculate the remaining water to the pipes and keep it there. However, since the hot and cold water share the same pipe, you might get lukewarm water when you turn on the cold water faucet.
The hot water recirculating pump has its benefits and drawbacks. You need to think it through before deciding whether to install it or not. After all, it is about much more than just quicker hot water flow.