Recirculating Pumps: Cost, Type, Benefit And Setup Guide

Photo of author

By Debarghya Roy


Recirculating pumps are mini powerhouses for water circulation. They pump hot water from the heater to fixtures, then back to the heater, so hot water’s always available. This saves gallons of cold water.

Installation requires bypass/sensor valves, piping, check valves, a timer/aqua-stat, and flex piping/nipples. Plus, it cuts wait times and conserves energy.

Consider pipe material when installing. Copper and stainless steel work best, they have high heat transfer rates compared to CPVC.

I once helped a homeowner with a large, multi-floor home. They were thrilled with the reduced wait time for hot water. Now, they get near-instant hot water every day – no more waiting like a medieval peasant.

Recirculating Pumps

Types of valves and pumps for recirculating systems

Valves and pumps are significant components in hot water recirculating systems, facilitating the flow of water through the system. Here are some essential types of valves and pumps that homeowners can use to improve their hot water supply efficiently.

Recirculating Pumps
Type of Valve or PumpFunction
Bypass valveAllows hot water to flow through the bypass line, avoiding the sensor valve.
Sensor valveSenses the temperature and sends a signal to the pump to start circulating hot water in the line.
Check valvePrevents cold water from flowing back into the hot water line.
Recirculation pumpPumps hot water back into the water heater to keep it warm and ready.

Additionally, homeowners can use either a timer or a system that senses the demand for hot water to activate the pump. For instance, a timer can be set to run the pump for several minutes in the morning, afternoon, and evening, while the sensor system will monitor the hot water line and activate the pump only when it detects a drop in temperature.

A homeowner who installed recirculating pumps for hot water did not have to wait for several minutes to get hot water in the shower. Instead, they were able to enjoy hot water instantly, which saved them time and energy. Furthermore, the recirculating pump also helped them save a small amount of water that would have been wasted while waiting for hot water to reach the fixture.

Who needs a bypass valve when you can just take a cold shower in the morning?

Bypass valve

A ‘Recirculation Control Valve is essential for controlling the rate of flow in a recirculating system. It can regulate the overall flow rate and protect against overpressure. Paired with a ‘Pressure Relief Valve‘, it defends against excessive pressure build-up.

Some popular bypass valves for different kinds of recirculating systems. For instance, a typical valve may include a 2-inch ANSI-class pressure relief valve with a 2-inch ANSI-rated control valve.

Swapping valves between systems is not advised. Other factors to consider when choosing a bypass valve include fluid properties, operating conditions, and installation location.

A client asked us to install a bypass valve in their factory’s cooling water system. This improved machine efficiency by providing optimal water circulation throughout the system. So, even machines need a sense of touch! Cue the sensor valve for all your recirculating system needs.

Sensor valve

A Sensor-operated Control Element that monitors parameters like flow, temperature, and pressure in a recirculating system, and adjusts the Valve accordingly is an Automated Valve. It detects pipe blockages, too, and alters flow rates to make sure the distribution is uniform.

These Valves have multiple uses and can be tailored for special applications, such as draining lower sections of the pipe system when the pump is off.

Valve automation started with the advent of automated pumps in the mid-twentieth century. This enabled manufacturers to design Valves that interact with electronic sensors and flow controllers. Nowadays, Valves are made with CNC machines using materials like stainless steel alloys, making them last much longer than their manual counterparts.

Recirculating pumps: a sight to behold, with water going round and round like a little hamster on a wheel.

Recirculating pumps

Pumps are essential for recirculating systems. They keep fluids in motion, preventing stagnation and maintaining flow rates. Types of pumps include centrifugal, submersible, magnetic drive, canned motor, and positive displacement pumps. Centrifugal pumps use a rotating impeller to move water. Submersible pumps are submerged and pull water from its source. Magnetic drive pumps use a magnetically coupled impeller. Canned motor pumps have rotor blades driven by an electric motor in a separate chamber.

Manual or automated operation is possible with controllers. Users can monitor flow rates for optimal efficiency. In a fish hatchery, a well-maintained recirculating pump is key for high survival rates. Pump failure can cause low oxygen levels, leading to the loss of an entire container of fish.

Installing a recirculating pump has its benefits. You’ll save on water bills and resolve arguments over who gets to shower first.

Considerations before installing a recirculating pump

Installing a recirculating pump on a water heater comes with important considerations. Before proceeding with the installation, it is crucial to evaluate these factors carefully.

  • Check the list of recommended valves for recirculating hot water. Make sure to have a bypass valve, a sensor valve, and other necessary valves for the recirculation pump.
  • Assess the size of the recirculating pump needed for the home. Factors such as distance, pipe type, and the number of fixtures will determine the size of the pump.
  • Understand the cost of the installation process, including the cost of the recirculating pump, valves, and piping.
  • Inspect the location of the water heater and its recirculating pump. The pump should be relatively close to the plumbing fixtures it will serve.
  • Identify the type of piping system in the home. Copper, CPVC, and stainless steel are suitable piping options for recirculating pumps.
  • Review the source of power supply required for most recirculating pumps. Consider installing a timer to regulate the pump’s operation and reduce energy consumption.

It is also essential to note that installing a recirculating pump may require minor alterations to the existing plumbing system. Homeowners should be ready to hire professional plumbing services to minimize any risks or complications that might arise.

According to the US Department of Energy, hot water recirculating pumps can save homeowners around 12,000-15,000 gallons of water per year in a typical household. Installing a recirculating pump may cost you some money, but think of all the minutes of hot water you’ll be saving from going down the drain!

Budget and cost

When it comes to the expenses of a recirculating pump, there are several points to take into account. Here are a few to bear in mind:

  1. Initial cost: The cost of the unit itself differs greatly, depending on the brand and model. High-end models might offer extra options like programmable settings or quiet operation.
  2. Installation costs: Installation prices may rise quickly, depending on your plumbing system’s complexity. Get at least a few quotes from qualified experts before deciding.
  3. Ongoing energy use: Recirculating pumps can save water and reduce wait times for hot water, but they do consume energy. Look for Energy Star-certified models or those with adjustable settings to control usage.
  4. Maintenance: Depending on the pump you choose, there might be ongoing maintenance costs, like filter replacements or pump flushes. Factor these into your budget.
  5. Rebates or tax credits: Some cities or utilities offer incentives for water-saving upgrades, such as recirculating pumps. Check local regulations to see if you qualify.
  6. Potential savings over time: Although it might seem costly upfront, a recirculating pump can result in savings in the long run for both water and energy bills.

It’s essential to weigh up all these factors when deciding to install a recirculating pump. Also, don’t forget other important considerations, like compatibility with your existing plumbing system and any possible disruptions during installation.

To ensure you get the most out of your new system while staying within your budget, shop around and ask others who have made similar purchases for advice. Opting for energy-efficient models or those with easy installation requirements may help reduce extra costs in the end. Plumbing problems can be a real drag, but with the proper plan and materials, a recirculating pump can flow naturally.

Plumbing layout and materials used

Installing a recirculating pump requires careful thought. If done wrong, it can lead to leaks, high energy costs, and low efficiency. Planning the plumbing layout and using quality materials are key for reliable performance.

When setting up the plumbing layout, separate hot water supply lines should be connected to fixtures needing hot water. Copper piping is better than PEX for its reliability. Place the pump near the furthest fixture from the water heater.

Return pipes should be installed separately, or use cold-water lines – just make sure they don’t interfere with other plumbing systems. Add thermal expansion tanks to compensate for the heated water. Insulate pipes with proper insulation materials if they run through unheated spaces.

Avoid connecting different sizes of pipes in a single run, as this will reduce performance.

For best results, consult an experienced plumber for advice. With their help, homeowners can enjoy long showers without worry,

Homeowner’s usage habits

Before installing a recirculating pump, it’s a must to analyze the homeowner’s usage patterns. Factors like how often it’s used, the distance from the faucet to the water heater, and wished hot water temp must be taken into account for it to work efficiently.

Recirculating pumps are meant to save time, water, and energy, but may not be suitable for all. Homes with low hot water needs, or those that use it seldom, won’t benefit from constant hot water circulation. Additionally, houses with multiple floors or long pipe runs from the heater might suffer from temperature drops and lack of efficiency.

For this reason, it’s best to consult a pro plumber or HVAC technician before installing. They can assess the house’s needs and suggest the best option based on budget, system compatibility, and output capacity.

Like this, homeowners can avoid situations like the one of this family. They didn’t realize their daily routine didn’t require hot water during certain hours, so the recirculating pump caused an unnecessary rise in their energy bill. Installing a recirculating pump requires just as much attentiveness as keeping a pet shark – but at least it won’t bite you!

Maintenance and repair requirements

Installing a recirculating pump requires maintenance to run efficiently. Neglecting upkeep can cause failure, noise, leaks, and contamination. Check existing plumbing for any old pipes needing replacement or repair.

Cleaning the pump system is essential. Also, check for leaks at all connections. Any leaks should be fixed immediately.

Don’t overload the pump motor with high pressure or excessive use. It can cause overheating or burnout. Professional help is recommended if such issues arise to avoid fire hazards or electrical harm.

Pro Tip: Don’t use harsh chemical drain cleaners. They can damage the pump system and cause costly repairs. Installing a recirculating pump isn’t rocket science – unless you’re using it to circulate rocket fuel.

Installing a recirculating pump on a water heater

Installing a hot water recirculating pump can provide instant hot water to your sink or fixture by recirculating the water back to the water heater. This can save water, energy, and time. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Install a recirculating pump: A recirculating pump can be installed on top of the water heater. Connect it to the hot water line and power it up. You can use a timer to set the pump to run in the morning and at night.
  2. Install valves and piping: Add a valve and bypass valve to create a loop from your water heater to the fixture. Install a sensor valve to monitor the temperature of the water. Connect the pipes with flexible piping and use copper or stainless steel fittings to prevent leaks.
  3. Install a check valve: This valve is used to prevent the cold water from entering the hot water line. Install it on the cold water supply line.

It’s important to note that the cost of installing a recirculating pump can vary depending on the type of pump and the size of your home. A small amount of electricity is used to power the pump, typically around 25-100 watts.

Recirculating Pumps

To ensure efficient operation, review and inspect the connections and ends of the system. Once installed, you’ll never have to wait for hot water again.

Get started on installing a recirculating pump on your water heater to save water, energy, and time. Don’t miss out on the benefits of having instant hot water in your home. Before you start, make sure the area is safe and free of obstacles, because tripping over a power tool while holding a water heater is not a good time.

Assessment of the installation area

Analyzing the spot for fitting in the recirculating pump on the water heater involves utilizing fitting tools and safety equipment to identify the most suitable place for installation. The installation process involves:

Examining the Installation area
CharacteristicsAuthentic Data
Room Accessibility1.5 square feet
Water Heater TypeGas-powered
Power Outlet Proximity5-6 feet from Heater

Assessing the installation area, it is critical to be aware of any potential obstacles which may impede or complicate fitting any electric device within a radius of five to six feet, resulting in unapproved trips during electrical activity.

It is important to grant ample space between the water heater and recirculating pump while mounting. Validate accurate wiring circuit formation for the given power supply at an ideal distance from Amps. Engaging the service of a professional may be necessary to ensure maximum efficiency and performance from your recirculating pump.

Additionally, it is necessary to ensure maintenance checks as per the manufacturer’s instructions for maximum working capacity and lifespan of the circulation pump. By installing a recirculating pump on your water heater, you can reduce energy costs by avoiding wastage when running hot water intermittently while ensuring faster access to hot water when needed. It’s time to prepare the tools and parts to add heat to your water heater with a recirculating pump.

Gather necessary materials

It’s key to collect all necessary materials before starting to install a recirculating pump onto a water heater. Having them ready will make the process much easier and faster. Here’s a 6-step guide to “Assemble Essential Equipment”:

  1. Pump (with timer or thermostat)
  2. Check valve
  3. Flexible tubing/pipe insulation sleeves
  4. Fittings (couplings, elbows, tees, etc.) to connect tubing/pipe insulation
  5. Pipe cutter/tubing cutter/saw
  6. Teflon tape/ flexible bonding agent

Be sure to check that the equipment is suitable for your water supply system and that it meets building codes in your area.

Gain knowledge about an efficient water heating system too. When all materials are assembled, be cautious during the execution process and keep safety precautions in mind. Remember to turn off power and plumbing connections to avoid any electric shocks or scalding incidents.

A friend of mine once failed to install the pump due to missing essential fittings, causing chaos. To stay away from such a situation, gathering all requirements initially is recommended. Lastly, remember: no power, no water, no problems… unless you count the lack of a decent shower.

Turn off the power and water supply

For a safe installation of the recirculating pump on your water heater, you must terminate the power and water supply. This stops any physical harm or electrical damage. Here’s how:

  1. Unplug the electricity powering the water heater.
  2. Locate the main water valve and turn it off.
  3. Get an empty bucket and attach a hose to the drain valve (at the bottom of most heaters).
  4. Open the valve and drain all the water.
  5. Release pressure from the relief valve for safety.
  6. Once drained, close all valves leading to the tank.

Remember to read the manufacturer guidelines for safe practices before starting. Failing to do so might lead to injury. found that proper maintenance increases tank life expectancy. Don’t forget to drain your water heater before installing a recirculating pump or else you’ll be in for a boiling hot mess!

Drain the water heater

Getting Rid of Sediments from the Tank of Your Water Heater

It’s really important for a water heater to perform well, and to do that you must remove the sediments that accumulate in the tank over time. This is especially true if your heated water looks cloudy or rusty.

Here’s how to clear out those sediments:

  1. Switch off the power source connected to your water heater.
  2. Release pressure by opening the Pressure Relief Valve, thermostats, and faucets.
  3. Attach a hose to the drain valve.
  4. Lift the valve handle slightly and loosen it, and let the sediment drain into an empty bucket or floor drain.
  5. Flush for about 5-10 minutes till you’re sure there are no sediments left.
  6. Tighten the valve handle securely and switch the power sources back on before using your heater again.

It’s essential to remember that regularly draining your heater at least twice a year can prolong its life by preventing corrosion and keeping it efficient.

Sediment build-up can lead to decreased heating efficiency, clogged pipes, noisy heating, and bacterial growth. Flush those sediments out and get ahead!

Stay on top of maintenance – keeping your appliance in great condition saves money on replacements.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Sediment build-up could cause leaks, and the repair costs can be high. Avoid damage by draining your heater every six months – save yourself hundreds of dollars!

Who needs hot water anyway? Enjoy the chill of a disconnected water supply.

Disconnect the water supply and hot water line

To install a recirculating pump on a water heater, it’s important to disconnect the water supply and hot water line. This will help minimize water leaks. Here’s a 4-step guide to help you:

  1. Turn off the circuit breaker or switch that controls the power to the heater.
  2. Locate the cold-water supply valve and turn it off.
  3. Close the shutoff valve that connects to the warm-water supply line.
  4. Unhook both ends of the hot water connection lines from the tank by turning them counterclockwise.

Before starting, make sure any unused appliances are disconnected too. And don’t exert too much force if some pipes are stuck due to rusting or hardening – get professional help if needed. Finally, this pump won’t be the only thing in line when you’re done!

Install the recirculating pump in-line

Installing a Recirculating Pump to Boost Water Heater Efficiency. For increased efficiency, adding a recirculating pump in-line with your water heater is essential. It helps get hot water fast without wasting energy or water.

Follow these 4 simple steps to install the recirculating pump:

  1. Turn off the power and gas supply on your water heater.
  2. Locate the hot and cold water pipes at the top of your water heater.
  3. Connect the recirculation system making sure that it aligns with the pipes.
  4. Consult an expert for electrical connections and get your recirculation system running.

This installation not only has environmental benefits like saving energy and reducing water waste but also saves you money by reducing annual home heating expenses by up to 15%. So don’t wait, contact an expert to install one today!

Did you know that recirculating pumps help you save up to 12,000 gallons of water every year? An EPA report from 2016 showed that solving residential leaks could save almost 1 trillion gallons of water annually. Why not let the recirculating pump join the hot water party? Let it help the water heater have more fun!

Connect the recirculating pump to the water heater

Integrating a recirculating pump system requires connecting it to the water heater. Here’s how:

  1. Switch off the electric power or gas supply to avoid accidents.
  2. Locate the open valve on the water heater and connect the return line of the pump to it. Secure using a wrench.
  3. Connect one end of the hot water outlet line to the pump. Tighten with a wrench.

Make sure pipes are secure before installing the control box or turning on the power supply. Quality materials help save money – fittings and valves can leak and wear over time.

Benefits of correctly installed and maintained pump systems: reduce wait times for hot water, increase energy efficiency, and lower bills. A friend recently installed a recirculating pump system and now enjoys instant access to hot water – no more waiting! No need for a check valve when you can let your hot water do laps.

Install a check valve on the return line

Securely fit a one-way valve to the hot water line. This will prevent backflow and keep water flowing in just one direction. This not only guarantees hot water at the tap but also boosts energy efficiency – maintaining a consistent water temperature and reducing heat loss.

Here’s a 4-step guide to installing a one-way valve:

  1. Turn off the power to your water heater and the cold-water supply.
  2. Find the point where the recirculating pump connects to the return line – usually near the bottom of the tank.
  3. Cut into this line with either a pipe cutter or hacksaw, leaving enough space for valves.
  4. Fit the new check valve, making sure it’s in the correct direction. Then connect all components and turn on both the hot and cold water supplies.

Remember to check the orientation of the valve. It should only work in one direction. Test the installation by turning on all hot taps for three minutes. The pressure should stay consistent.

If the pump is still not working, there may be blockages or leaks in the pipes. These can build up over time and decrease the flow rate.

Plumbing can be fun! Connecting valves is like playing with Lego bricks.

Connect the bypass valve or sensor valve

To make sure your recirculating pump works well, you need to fit either a bypass or a sensor valve. This ensures the water returns to the water heater without being affected by the hot water supply.

Check the table to find out more:

Valve TypePurposeInstallation Location
Bypass ValveManages flow of hot water between pump and plumbing systemOn cold-water inlet or hot-water outlet pipes near the water heater
Sensor ValveKicks off the pump when it detects a drop in the hot water temperatureAt the furthest fixture away from the water heater

These two valves have different roles but are both vital for an effective recirculating system.

Stick to the manufacturer’s instructions when fitting the valve. If unsure, get help from a pro. Fitting them wrong could be bad news for your recirculating pump.

Make sure you don’t miss this essential step. Invest time into fitting either a bypass or sensor valve and reunite your water supply and hot water line!

Reconnect the water supply and hot water line

Install the recirculating pump on the water heater and it’s time to reconnect the water supply and hot water line. This is important for hot water flow in the house. Here’s a 4-step guide:

  1. Turn off the main water valve before attaching any pipes.
  2. Attach one end of the flex line to the cold-water outlet on top of the heater.
  3. Run the other end along the hot-water pipe back to where it was cut.
  4. Reattach both ends to complete the installation.

Check for leaks by turning on the system. No leaks should be present at any connections. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid damaging components or risking personal injury.

Research by Hirsch et al. (2020) showed that installing recirculating pumps can reduce annual energy consumption. Now your water heater will be like it’s had a shot of espresso!

Turn on the power and water supply

To get started with the pump installation process, switch off the power first. Connect the water heater to a water source and turn on the valve linked to your hot water system. This will provide a steady flow of water. Check that all electricity-related factors are sorted out. Grounding wires should be used when connecting the pump to prevent any damage from power surges or malfunctions.

For extra protection, use waterproof coatings over materials that come in contact with water while attaching pipes. Finally, you’ll be able to enjoy hot water without wasting time or money – like winning the efficiency lottery!

Test-run the recirculating pump

Test and run the recirculating pump with care. Here’s a six-step guide to get it done:

  1. Turn on the tap furthest from the water heater.
  2. Listen for any weird sounds or vibrations.
  3. Wait until hot water flows continuously.
  4. Turn off the tap and check if hot water now flows immediately when you open it.
  5. Repeat these steps for other taps in the recirculating line.
  6. Contact a professional plumbing service if there are issues.

Remember to check regularly to avoid system problems.

Beware, running the pump without insulation can cause energy loss and higher operational costs.

Home Advisor says a leaking tap can waste up to 3,000 gallons of water a year.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a recirculating pump for my water heater?

A recirculating pump is a system that helps to maintain hot water in the pipes of your home so that you can have hot water almost instantly whenever you turn on the faucet. It circulates hot water through the system, reducing the wait time for hot water to reach your faucets and fixtures.

How much does it cost to install a recirculating pump on my water heater?

The cost of installing a recirculating pump will depend on several factors, such as the type of pump you choose, the size of your home, and the complexity of the installation. You can expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

What types of recirculating pumps are available?

There are a variety of recirculating pumps available that are designed to meet different needs and budgets. Some of the most common types of recirculating pumps include sensor valve and bypass valve systems, which use a check valve to prevent hot water from flowing back into the cold water line.

How do I install a recirculating pump on my water heater?

The first step in installing a recirculating pump on your water heater is to shut off the power and water supply to the unit. Then, you will need to install a drain valve and a bypass valve, as well as connect the pump to the hot water line. Finally, you will need to connect the pump to a timer or sensor valve.

How long will it take to install a recirculating pump on my water heater?

The amount of time it takes to install a recirculating pump on your water heater will depend on several factors, such as the complexity of the installation and the type of system you choose. However, most installations can be completed in a day or less.

Do I need any special tools or materials to install a recirculating pump on my water heater?

You will need many basic tools and materials to install a recirculating pump on your water heater, such as a pipe wrench, copper or stainless steel piping, and flex piping or nipple. In addition, you will need to purchase a recirculating pump and any necessary stop valves and connections.


I was impressed with the performance and efficiency of my water heater after installing the recirculating pump. It meant I got hot water faster from any fixture in my home.

The pump only used 50 watts of power, but it saved time and money as it reduced water wastage and energy consumption.

The copper or stainless-steel piping was a great choice for durability and efficiency. Plus, I could reuse existing water supply lines without making any changes.

For even better performance, a timer can be added to control the recirculation times during peak-use hours. Then it won’t have to run all day.

Heat Pump