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Save Water and Energy with Hot Water Recirculation Pumps

Feb 06, 2014 09:29AM ● By Anonymous

Clean water is one of our most valuable resources and it shouldn’t be wasted. With a rapidly expanding population and droughts occurring frequently, saving water and energy is important. Homes with long pipes running from the water heater to the tap have a long wait for hot water. The hot water in the pipes cools when it is not in use. The heat loss is significant even if the pipes are well insulated. All this cool water runs through the pipe and down the drain before the hot water can reach your faucet.  This wastes water and it’s inconvenient. The water wasted can add up to thousands of gallons per year. 

Installing a hot water recirculation system can solve these problems.  These systems keep hot water in the supply pipe by slowly pumping hot water through your pipes and send it back to the heater through a dedicated line or through a special manifold on the cold water line, which saves thousands of gallons a year while using very little energy.

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Most of these systems use a pump to circulate the water. On a dedicated loop system, the pump is connected to the water heater. The hot water pipes are installed in a loop passing near each plumbing fixture. A short pipe connects each hot water valve to the loop. Because hot water is consistently circulating through the hot water loop, it takes only a second for hot water to reach the faucet.

An integrated loop system is typically installed to retrofit a home. The pump is installed at the heater and the manifold is near the plumbing fixture farthest from the water heater. Hot water is returned to the water heater through the cold water pipes. This raises the temperature of the cold water slightly, but it returns to the usual cold temperature rapidly.

Some models circulate hot water through the pipes constantly. Others use a timer so that the pump only runs briefly for peak demand times. For example, setting the timer to turn the pump at the same time as your alarm clock rings enables the hot water to be waiting at the faucet when you need it. 

Some models use a thermostat maintaining a desired temperature. Sensors are placed near the fixture furthest from the heater.  The sensor detects the water temperature in the pipe and turns the pump on and off to maintain a certain temperature. Several manufacturers may offer warm (rather than hot) water recirculating systems that use low flow circulation pumps.  Some models have adjustable temperature settings. 

The “on demand” type of system uses the least amount of energy and saves the most water. When you push the “request” button or a motion detector sends a signal, the pump sends the heated water to your fixture. The cool water is sent back to the heater through the cold-water pipes. The pump stops when the sensor detects the arrival of hot water, so the pump only operates when you want hot water and the cold water sitting in the pipe isn’t wasted.  Most types of Om demand units can take a minute or two before you feel the hot water at the tap.

The energy used to run a typical system is minimal - a few dollars per year to operate. In addition to saving energy and water, recirculation improves the efficiency and effectiveness of washing machines and dishwashers by having hot water available instantly.

Your certified plumber can help you determine which system is best for you. Your certified plumber may have specials on equipment or other services and discounts or rebates from the manufacturers. Many also have service plans, like Berkeys BAM Plan, that can help save you money on service calls and provide annual plumbing tune-ups.

Berkeys Air Conditioning & Plumbing specializes in hot water solutions for residential customers in Dallas, Texas. To learn more about hot water recirculating pumps, visit

For more information, call Berkeys Air Conditioning & Plumbing 24/7 at 817-481-5869 or for questions and scheduling information or on Facebook

About Berkeys

Berkeys is an award winning home service company, providing quality plumbing, air conditioning, and heating services to homeowners in the Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex for over 35 years.

All of our technicians, are background-checked, drug tested and have passed rigorous state examinations and are licensed by the State of Texas; they understand the complexity of state codes all the way down to local requirements.