How Does A Water Heater Recirculation Pump Work?

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By Debarghya Roy


A hot water recirculating system is the perfect solution for those tired of waiting for hot water. This system reduces waste and keeps hot water available. It works by circulating unused water from the hot water line back to the water heater through an extra pipe. 

How Does A Water Heater Recirculation Pump Work?

A pump creates a loop, and a tee bypass valve controls the flow of hot water into the cold line. Plus, a temperature sensor turns on at specific intervals or when the temperature drops.

The benefits don’t stop there! This system also helps save energy costs; it minimizes heat loss and keeps hot water ready

Homeowners don’t have to wait and waste money on unused cold water. 

Get hot water faster with a hot water recirculating system!

How Does A Hot Water Recirculation System Work?

How Does A Water Heater Recirculation Pump Work?

Hot water recirculation systems are a convenient way to get hot water fast

  • They continuously circulate hot water through pipes, so it’s ready when you turn on the tap. 
  • A temperature sensor regulates the heat so there’s no loss of warmth. 
  • The recirculating pump sends the hot water from the heater, through one pipe and back through another.
  • These systems have energy and water-saving benefits. 
  • They can be installed in most areas of the house to serve any fixture that needs hot water. 
  • The initial cost may be higher, but timers and control settings can reduce energy costs.
  • If there’s no dedicated return line, an extra pipe can be installed alongside the cold-water pipe. With a tee bypass valve, you get greater access and coverage.

Pro Tip: Get a certified plumber to install the recirculating pump. Good installation means long-term savings, comfort, and convenience.

Components Of A Hot Water Recirculation System.

When it comes to hot water recirculation systems, various components come together to create an efficient and effective system. Let us explore some of them!

The recirculation pump is an essential part. It circulates hot water through your pipes, so you don’t have to wait for it when you turn on the tap. These pumps come in two types; dedicated return line and integrated loop.

Other important components are:

  • Tankless Water Heater: Heats cold water as it flows through.
  • Temperature Sensor: Stimulates the pump to activate when temperatures drop below a certain point.
  • Bypass Valve: Can be adjusted or modulated to regulate flow rates in your pipes and save energy costs.
  • Tee Fitting: Connects cold and hot water lines, so unused cooled-off water can be circulated back.
  • Timer: Controls when the circulation pump turns on and off.

A hot water recirculating system can benefit homeowners by conserving 12,000-16,000 gallons of water yearly. 

It reduces wasted cold water while waiting for hot water to reach taps.

 Additionally, it prevents heat loss from unused hot pipes caused by stagnant standing-water heat convection.

Pro Tip: If you’re not sure about installing a hot water recirculating system, contact an experienced plumber. 

They will guide you through choosing the ideal solution for your home’s unique comfort needs and plumbing access areas; saving you money in the long run!

Installation Of A Hot Water Recirculation System.

Want hot water faster? Consider installing a hot water recirculation system! Here’s how:

  1. Plan for your home size and piping.
  2. Hire a plumber to install a pump near the water heater and tee bypass valve at each sink.
  3. Use timers or sensors to control the pump for energy efficiency.

This system will reduce water waste, provide consistent hot water, and even save you money over time.

 Chris Deziel states it’s a triple threat to home comfort and convenience. 

So, get ready to enjoy the benefits of a hot water recirculation system!

Benefits Of Hot Water Recirculation Systems.

Hot Water Recirculation Systems are a super way to save on energy bills, conserve water, and increase comfort levels!

  • Enjoy hot water right away at the faucet.
  • No need to wait for hot water, so less water was wasted.
  • Reduce heat loss in pipes and save energy.
  • Modern and adds value to your home.
  • Can be retrofitted to existing plumbing systems.
  • Bypass valves and temperature sensors provide control.

The right system for you depends on factors such as house size, family size, and usage areas.

These systems first appeared in the 1990s and have become popular due to their long-term savings potential.

Install a hot water recirculating pump and get instant hot water while saving money and resources

Keeping your hot water recirculation system in good shape is the key to keeping your family comfy and your energy bills low!

Maintenance Of Hot Water Recirculation Systems.

Regular maintenance of hot water recirculation systems is a must

  • Flush out the system with fresh water annually to remove sediment and buildup. 
  • Inspect pumps, valves, timers, and sensors to keep them working perfectly. 
  • Have a qualified plumber on hand to detect malfunctions, leaks, or irregularities in the flow rate.
  •  Get larger-capacity pumps or recirculating loop systems for larger households.
  • Piping sizing is important: Consider diameter variations between hot and cold-water pipes for less heat loss and reduced energy costs. Choose timer models that offer personalized control options.

Hot water recirculation systems offer almost instant hot water at any tap. 

So, regular maintenance can save on water and energy bills, as well as offer comfort in your home.

Frequently Asked Questions.

Q. What is a hot water recirculating pump?

A: A hot water recirculating pump is a system designed to keep hot water flowing continuously through your home’s piping, so you don’t have to wait for it to heat up before use. It’s ideal for large homes with multiple bathrooms and areas that need hot water.

Q. How does a hot water recirculating pump work?

A: A recirculating pump circulates the unused hot water from the pipes back to the hot water heater through a dedicated return line. The process is automated and controlled by a timer, temperature sensor, or switch. The pump is usually installed near the hot water heater and is connected to the hot water pipe and a tee bypass valve, which diverts the hot water bypassing the cold water pipes.

Q. What are the benefits of a hot water recirculating system?

A: The benefits of a recirculating system include instant hot water at faucets and fixtures, energy savings, reduced water waste, and more comfort in the home. You won’t have to wait for hot water or wastewater waiting for it to heat up. You will have peace of mind knowing that you’re not wasting water and energy, which can save you money on bills over time.

Q. Do I need a plumber to install a recirculating pump?

A: Yes, it’s recommended to hire a licensed plumber to install a hot water recirculating pump. The plumber will evaluate your home’s plumbing and determine if the system needs additional pipes, valves, or fixtures. They will also take into account the type of recirculating system you want and the initial cost.

Q. How much does a hot water recirculating system cost?

A: The cost of a recirculating system can vary based on factors such as the type of system, the amount of piping needed, and the diameter of the hot water pipe. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $500 and $2,000, including installation costs. However, the benefits and savings outweigh the initial cost.

Q. Can I schedule the hot water recirculating system to turn on and off?

A: Yes, you can program the recirculating system to turn on and off via a timer or a switch to control it manually. Timers can be set to activate the pump at specific times of the day when hot water is needed the most, such as mornings and evenings.


Exploring how hot water recirculating pumps work, one can see they are a great way to save energy. Instantly having hot water at any fixture in the house provides comfort. But, there are things to consider before buying, such as cost and installation. Benefits include reducing heat loss in unused pipes and saving money on energy bills. Timer or temperature sensor control can customize when the pump runs, giving more control over costs. A wider pipe or dedicated return line can improve efficiency. Not every home needs a hot water recirculating pump. With shorter plumbing distances, single-story houses may not benefit much. However, larger homes with multiple stories that use hot water often can reap advantages. In a climate-conscious world, reducing water usage is important. The benefits of owning a hot water recirculating system outweigh the initial cost and installation process. Those who haven’t made the switch yet, are missing out on potential savings and added comfort.

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