There’s an episode of the television show Seinfeld in which one-character jokes about turning on the hot water faucet, and then going to do the shopping while he waits for the water to heat up.
Hot water can seem to take forever to arrive, and if you don’t like waiting, you may want to consider installing a recirculation or comfort pump. This device pumps cooled water back to the water heater to be heated and can be easily added to your plumbing system.
Benefits of a recirculation pump
The primary benefit of a recirculation pump is having hot water on demand. Each time you turn on your tap, you get heated water without any wait. A recirculation pump keeps the flow of hot water toward the tap and pushes cold water back to the heater. Without it, heaters only start to work after you turn on the faucet.
Another benefit is less water waste. Even if you don’t actually leave to do your shopping while you’re waiting for the water to heat up, you’re still running a lot of water through your tap while you wait for it to heat up. The recirculation pump provides hot water almost instantly, reducing the need to run water. In areas where water is less plentiful, this can be particularly useful.
How do they work?
These pumps use mechanical energy (powered by electricity) and gravity to keep water circulating. Most pumps have a simple design and can be placed onto most standard pipes. They’re small and easily incorporated into plumbing systems. Typically, the pump is mounted at the most distant sink fixture and linked to a cold-water pipe line.
Types of recirculating pumps
- Temperature controlled – For this model, a sensor checks the temperature of water going down a drain once the tap is turned on. If it senses the temperature falling below a specific level a valve is activated to send water back to the pump. Simultaneously the pump motor is activated and the pushes the water through a filtration system and it is reheated.
- Interval – This model can be programmed to turn on and off at specified intervals. It is designed to consume minimal energy.
If you’d like to save up to 10% on your water bill – and have hot water in an instant, consider installing a hot water recirculation pump. A qualified plumbing professional can help you decide which model is best for your needs.