how does a water heater recirculation pump work

How Does a Water Heater Recirculation Pump Work: An Overview [Easy]

Last Updated on June 12, 2023

Hot water is not always immediately available at faucets and fixtures in the home, which can be inconvenient and wasteful. This is where water heater recirculation pumps come in. These pumps are a common household appliance used to improve the efficiency and convenience of hot water delivery systems.

Understanding how these pumps work is important to make informed decisions about whether or not to install one in your home. 

Recirculation pumps constantly circulate hot water through a dedicated loop of pipes connecting the water heater to faucets and fixtures. It allows for instant hot water delivery without waiting for the water to heat up.

Let’s explore further to gain knowledge on how these pumps operate and the advantages they offer.

How Does a Water Heater Recirculation Pump Work?

How Does a Water Heater Recirculation Pump Work

Recirculation pumps are an efficient solution for homeowners looking to save water and reduce energy waste. They work by continuously circulating hot water through a looped system, ensuring hot water is always available at all fixtures. It eliminates the need to wait for water to heat up and reduces wasted water. 

This saves time for homeowners and can reduce water wastage on a national level by 400 billion to 1.3 trillion gallons per year. Also, these pumps save energy by pumping water to households while occupants wait for the water to get hot.

There are three models of recirculation pumps available on the market. Model 1 is suitable for smaller homes with tank water heaters and connects to the top of water heaters using a bypass valve. Model 2 is made for bigger homes with multiple lines, mounts on the bottom of water heaters, and requires a third recirculation line. 

Model 3 is made especially for tankless water heaters, with an internal pump and buffer tank. There are two types of recirculation systems: dedicated loops and integrated loops. 

Each has its own installation configurations and advantages. To ensure one-directional water flow, recirculation systems need check valves.

Temperature sensors or aquastats are also necessary to monitor water temperature and shut off the pump when the temperature is sufficiently high. Energy-efficient programming of the pump’s operation is made possible with a timer.

Inspecting the system for proper operation, in-line air and shut-off valves, and optional components like temperature sensors and check valves are important.

How Do Hot Water Recirculating Pumps Benefit Your Home?

How Do Hot Water Recirculating Pumps Benefit Your Home

Hot water recirculating pumps provide a range of benefits to homeowners, including water conservation, decreased water bills, and time saved.

One: Water Conservation

If you want to achieve sustainable water usage at home, installing a hot water recirculating system is a great option. Traditional water heating systems can result in water wastage due to the time it takes for hot water to reach the faucet, which often leads to cold water going down the drain. 

A hot water recirculating system circulates hot water through the pipes and back to the heater, making hot water available whenever you need it. The system works by installing a small pump at the water heater, creating a closed-loop system that can either be demand-controlled or timer-controlled. 

Demand-controlled systems only operate when hot water is required, and timer-controlled systems run based on a set schedule. Both options effectively reduce water wastage, energy consumption, and associated costs.

Two: Decreased Water Bill

Homeowners can decrease their water bill significantly by installing a hot water recirculating system. This closed-loop system ensures instant availability of hot water and eliminates wastage. An additional line keeps the flow of hot water constant between the heater and the fixtures.

A recirculating pump is installed at the water heater and can be controlled by a thermostat or timer. The thermostat monitors the temperature in the return line and activates the pump when it drops below a certain point. With it, you don’t have to waste time and money running water down the drain while waiting for hot water.

Three: No More Wasting Time

Recirculating hot water pumps save homeowners time and provide instant hot water access. This is especially helpful for large households and commercial kitchens. 

For example, a recirculating pump can eliminate the wait for hot water when someone is taking a shower, and someone else needs hot water in the kitchen. 

The pump also cuts back on dishwashing time, as there is no need to wait for the water to heat up. It’s a convenient and efficient way to get hot water while eliminating wasteful practices instantly.

How fast does a hot water recirculation pump go?

How fast does a hot water recirculation pump go

A hot water recirculation pump moves water from the water heater to the fixtures in a loop. The speed at which the water is circulated depends on the size of the pump. Typically, a hot water recirculation pump can circulate water at a rate of 12 to 15 gallons per minute. 

Hot water recirculation pumps are ideal for those who value access to hot water at any given time. Providing hot water right at the fixtures minimizes water waste and significantly reduces wait times. Trust in this efficient and effective system to conveniently deliver hot water to your faucets.

Does a recirculating pump require a return line?

The requirement of a dedicated return line is a crucial aspect to consider when implementing a hot water recirculating system. With a dedicated return line, the system can use the cold water pipes as a return line, leading to efficient water usage and higher energy bills.

Due to the dedicated return line, the recirculating pump can circulate hot water continuously, so hot water is available to every fixture immediately. The return line is typically installed parallel to the hot water pipes, running from the furthest fixture or bathroom back to the water heater.

As the recirculating pump pulls the water through the return line, it creates a loop that continuously circulates hot water through the pipes. To ensure the system is as efficient as possible, it is necessary to properly size the pump and insulate the hot water pipes to minimize heat loss.

Do recirculating pumps wear out pipes?

While a recirculating pump can effectively supply hot water, improper installation may lead to pipe erosion. This is due to the velocity increase caused by the pump, which may result in turbulent water flow and the formation of a pinhole leak. It is often attributed to a ridge on the pipe that causes this problem.

The ridge is created when the pipe is cut but is not reamed properly, which causes the water to flow more erratically and create more friction. Additionally, an oversized pump can contribute to high-velocity water, which also contributes to the erosion of the pipe.

To prevent pipe erosion caused by recirculating pumps, it is important to ensure that the pump is properly installed and that the pipe is reamed after it is cut. This will prevent the formation of ridges on the pipe that can cause turbulent water flow. 

Also, a suitable pump will maintain a steady water flow, halting any potential erosion.

What happens to the cold water in a recirculating pump?

What happens to the cold water in a recirculating pump

In a recirculating pump system, the cold water present in the system is not wasted but instead returned to the heater. This prevents wastage and ensures the continuous circulation of water. 

The pump is located at the water heater and is designed to move hot water through the recirculation line, returning any cold water to the heater. With the recirculating pump in place, hot water is always readily available, and wastage of resources is avoided. 

By conserving resources, the recirculating pump system efficiently maintains a steady hot water supply without any waiting time.

Never Run Out of Hot Water at Home With a Recirculation Pump

Having a water heater recirculation pump is essential for ensuring readily available hot water in your home. This pump operates by circulating heated water from the heater through the pipes and then back to the heater, maintaining a consistent temperature. 

Not only does this process provide maximum convenience and comfort for your household, but it also offers significant cost and energy savings. Utilizing Hot Water Recirculating Pumps will effectively minimize water waste and consumption, ultimately leading to lower water bills. 

Aside from that, it is essential to note that recirculating pumps demand a proper return line installation to avoid pipe damage. Despite this, homeowners can confidently depend on them to provide efficient and dependable service.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top