Hot water recirculating pumps are installed to eliminate the delay in receiving hot water. When you start the hot water tap for the first few seconds, the water flowing out will be cold water, and that water was in pipes, which became cold overnight.
Most people generally let it go down the sink, and if you sum up the total amount of water wasted over a year, then the number is large. That’s where these hot water circulation pumps come in handy. They are small, they cost less, and last for years. Besides, the convenience they offer to get the hot water makes them a really good instrument to have.
They recirculate the coldwater by removing them from the pipes to the water heater and give the hot water only when water is at a certain temperature level. This way, they save and provide instant hot water.
In this guide, we have covered the best hot water circulating pumps on which you can count to provide you instant hot water. Go through them and see if you can find one for your needs.
AO Smith APCOM UT1
Best Hot Water Recirculating Pump
This hot water recirculation pump from the Watts Premier is the popular model, and this is because it offers better performance and is available at the competitive price point in the market.
The construction material used to make this pump is cast aluminum, which makes it much easier to handle. This pump comes with all the necessary things which will be needed for the installation procedure. It has a 10′ cord, 2 adapters, and rubber washers. Moreover, the kit also includes the valve mounting screws, sensor valve, and two 12-inch supply lines.
The pump works on the voltage level of 120 V. It can be easily installed in the smallest places due to its dimensions. The installation procedure is also easy, and you can install it on existing plumbing. It is also maintenance-free.
It offers hot water whenever you need it at every water outlet by eliminating the cold water.
Another thing worth mentioning is its 24-hour programmable timer. With the timer set, you won’t have to manually start the pump and then wait until the pump recirculates the cold water and brings in hot water.
You can set the timer to start the pump just before you need the hot water, so the pump will start and will recirculate the water, and when the hot water is available, it will turn itself off.
There is one downside to this pump, which is it may not work with the tankless water heaters.
What we like
- A 24-hour programmable timer.
- Easy installation.
- Comes with all the necessary parts and fittings for installation.
- It is lightweight because it is constructed from cast aluminum.
What we don’t like
- It may not work with tankless water heaters.
Grundfos offers pumps that are compact and powerful enough to re-circulate cold water until it reaches a suitable temperature. Besides, they can be installed in the smallest places possible due to their compactness, that too without any fuss.
The installation of this pump takes just about an hour, and any person with little to no experience in the DIY task can do it.
This circulating pump comes with a 6-feet long cord length and a timer. The timer can be set so that it automatically starts at a specific time, a few hours before you wake up or come to the home after long office hours.
The Grundfos 595916 consists of a 1/25 horsepower circulating pump, which is the best pump in the industry. This pump has the capability to deliver up to 9 gallons of hot water per minute.
This pump consists of a single-phase motor that works on a 115V power supply. This pump has a head range of 6 feet, which means the maximum vertical distance for the water discharge point can be up to 6 feet.
Moreover, this hot water pump runs very quietly and has connection sizes of 3/4-inch MNTP by 3/4 FNTP. It is easy to install and requires very little energy to run.
Other than that, it comes with the smart temperature control of the water. When the water temperature falls out of the set temperature range, then the pump will get activated to keep the temperature limit in the range. This product is supported by a 2-year warranty from the manufacturer.
What we like
- Built-In 24 hour timer.
- It comes with all the necessary things for an installation.
- Comes with a 2-year warranty.
- Cast Iron construction of a pump.
What we don’t like
- The problem of cold and hot water getting mixed.
- Construction doesn’t feel so high quality.
UP15-10SU7P is a replacement for the circulation pump from the Grundfos, which we have just discussed.
This hot water pump features a 1/25 HP powerful motor, which is capable enough to supply the water with a flow rate of 6.5 gallons. Moreover, the operation of this pump is extremely silent, so you won’t have to worry about the noise when it is operating.
The pump comes with a digital timer of 24 hours so that you can set the operating hours for the pump manually. It will reduce your water bill by working only when you need it, like in the morning or few hours after returning from the office.
Other than that, the cord length is 6 feet, and the head range is also 6 feet. So, if you want to take the hot water higher than the 6 feet, then this is not the pump you should go for.
This hot water recirculation pump features a single-phase motor that works on a 115 to 120 V AC supply. The weight of this unit is just 6.75 pounds, which aids in the installation process. Same as the Grundfos 595916, this pump also uses low energy and requires very little maintenance over the years.
The unit has a male and female connector of 3/4” dimensions where you should connect a pipe which is of the same material as the pump.
It also comes with a 2-year warranty from the manufacturer.
What we like
- Silent operation of the pump.
- Requires very little energy to run.
- Less frequency maintenance.
- Save 12,000 gallons of water per annum.
What we don’t like
- There may arise a problem of cold and hot water getting mixed.
This is one of the best and popular hot water pumps among the plumbers. I admit that the design of this pump is not much to look at, but the power and performance of the pump don’t depend on the design. And believe me, this is a powerful pump.
What is impressive here is its cartridge design. All the moving and important parts are enclosed inside that cartridge, which can be replaceable. So, if it doesn’t work properly, then you can replace the whole cartridge like the water filter. The whole pump is constructed out of Bronze.
But, for the proper operation of this Bronze pump, there is a condition of the temperature and pressure of the water. The maximum temperature of the water can be 220F, and the minimum temperature should be 40F. When it comes to the pressure, the maximum working pressure is 125 psi.
With a weight of 4.6 pounds and compact size, this pump can be fitted anywhere you like. It will be able to supply the water with a flow rate of 0-10 GPM and can bring the water up to the maximum height of 9 feet.
The connection dimensions of the outlets and inlets of this pump are 3/4 sweat. Plus, this pump works really quite and is very efficient.
Where this hot water recirculating pump stands out is its maintenance-free design. Also, you won’t have to bother about lubricating the moving parts at certain intervals, thanks to its self-lubricating system. It doesn’t even have a mechanical seal. When all these things get combined, you get the best in class device with unmatched reliability.
What you are going to miss on this device is the automatic on and off feature because it doesn’t have a timer, thermostat, or even an aquastat. So, once turn it on, it won’t go off unless you shut it down manually.
What we like
- Reliable motor.
- Impressive cartridge design.
- Silent operation.
What we don’t like
- Gets hot when operating.
- It doesn’t come with the timer.
- It also doesn’t come with an aquastat or thermostat.
The KOLERFLO KF204 is the best hot water recirculating pump in the budget. Let’s start with its most highlighted feature, which is its power selection ability. The pump offers the 3 settings labeled as 1,2, and 3, which will select the power from the 46, 67, and 93 watts.
For the longer life of the pump, different parts of the pump are made out of different materials. The pump housing is made out form Cast iron, the shaft is constructed out from the ceramic, while the bearing form comes with the carbon axial, impeller from the corrosion-resistant composite.
To operate this pump properly, there is a limitation on the water temperature and the pressure. It can handle a maximum of 10 bar pressure and the water temperature if it is in the range of 0°F to 212°F.
If we talk about the flow rate, then it increases as the mode of the pump increases. The lowest flow rate for the pump is 20 liters per minute, while the highest being 36 liters per minute. Also, the head length varies based on the mode, which is 13/16/20 ft consecutively.
Other than that, the operation of the generator is quiet and uses less energy. On top of that, this is certified with the environmental protection class IP44, which translates to a tool in which electrical parts are isolated from the reach of water and solid.
The pump works on the 110 V to 120 V voltage and has an outlet with a 3/4” dimension.
If we consider the installation procedure, access to the only wrench is sufficient to connect the pipes to the outlet and an inlet.
This lightweight and budget-friendly pump consumes less energy and offer high efficiency; besides, there is no leakage problem whatsoever.
What we like
- Easy installation.
- High efficiency.
- No leakage of water.
- Attractive price point.
- Quiet operation.
What we don’t like
- You will need to buy plumbing fixtures separately.
- The impeller may not be that efficient.
APCOM UT1 is best suited for re-circulation of water coming from the tank-type water heaters. It can be frustrating most of the time when you have to wait for the hot water.
Besides, it doesn’t matter from where the hot water is coming in as it always takes time and energy to clear out the cold water from the line. This APCON UT-1 is a highly efficient circulator on the market, and it will decrease the amount of water wasted and also the cost associated with it.
Another benefit of having this water re-circulator is its fully automatic operation, and it is controlled with the help of a built-in thermostat. When the temperature of the water reaches a certain level, the water circulation through the pump will stop.
You can also set the timer to program it if you want it to start before a certain time. The general operation of the pump is one to two minutes of running three to four-time in an hour.
Also, the installation of the unit is easy, and you will only need a wrench to complete the installation process. It comes with all other necessary things needed for the installation, and it will take just about 10 to 20 minutes to fully install it.
This hot water pump is built to work with the houses where there is no dedicated line for the hot water. It works on a single pipe system, and it works satisfactorily with the hot water tank or with the indirect water heater.
What we like
- Easy installation.
- Fully automatic operation.
- Comes with a thermostat.
- It is designed for the pipe length up to 250ft.
What we don’t like
- A bit clunky to install.
Grundfos 99452459 is the improved hot water recirculation pump compared to the old model Grundfos 595916, and the improvement is the lack of the return line. Yes, you won’t need a recirculating line.
This water pump features a Retrofit solution, in which the new easily programmable digital timer is introduced. The introduction of this timer makes it possible to pull back the water to be heated and recirculated. That explains why there is no need for the return line.
The installation of this pump is not so difficult, and it will take a maximum of 2-hour to be ready to provide the instant hot water. Also, the weight of the unit is just 6 pounds, and it is compact in size, which makes the pump easy to install even in small spaces.
For convenience, it comes with the battery pack, which maintains your settings not to reset the setting every time the electricity goes out.
With the use of this recirculating pump, it is possible to save up to 12,000 gallons of water per year. It also comes with a timer, which ensures that it only works when it is necessary, and you can set the timer manually to start the pump a few minutes before you need hot water.
The package comes with the 10ft line cord, a thermal bypass valve, and a hose kit. The material from which this pump is constructed is stainless steel, which ensures there will be no problem of rust.
What we like
- Comes with a thermal by-pass valve.
- A digital timer.
- Everything needed for the installation comes with it.
- It comes with a battery backup.
What we don’t like
- It can’t handle a lot of pressure.
- Can’t be used with tankless water heaters.
What is a Hot Water Recirculating Pump?
When you want hot water out of your faucet, but instead you are treated with cold water. This is because before the hot water from the heater or the hot water tank reaches the faucet, the cold water in the lines needs to be emptied through the tap.
Now, this cold water will go to waste because most people keep the tap on until the hot water arrives. If you sum up all the water going to waste from all the hot water outlets, then the volume will be around 12,000 gallons per annum.
That’s where the recirculating pumps come in. They are the small water circulation pumps, which are installed on the hot water line, and they circulate the cold water back to the heater until the water is hot enough. Most of them come with a thermostat or an aquastat, which will stop the pump when the water reaches a certain temperature.
They are so effective at providing instant hot water and saving cold water, and that’s why many of the states are offering incentives to install hot water recirculating pumps.
How Does a Hot Water Recirculating Pump Work?
The location of the hot water pump is either above the water heater or below the water sink. Both of these positions have their advantages and their disadvantages.
A water recirculation pump comes with something called a sensor valve. A sensor valve is a device that is fitted with the temperature measurement device; most likely, it is going to be the thermostat.
This sensor valve acts as a triggering mechanism for the pump. It monitors the temperature of the water, and when it falls below a certain level, the sensor valve opens, and the pump will start running.
The cold water and the hot water line are both connected to the re-circulation pump, and when the pump is running, the cold water line is used as a return line for the cold water coming from the hot water line.
Once the water in the line is hot enough, the pump will stop working, and the hot water will be available at the faucet. The pump will keep working when the temperature again falls below a certain level. To prevent that from happening, most of the pumps are equipped with a built-in timer.
This timer can be set so that the pump only runs in a certain period of the day when you need the hot water, not when there is no need for it.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Hot Water Recirculating Systems?
There is no doubt that hot water recirculation is going to make your life much more comfortable, but every physical thing has the plus side and the downside. We have discussed the pros and cons of installing the hot water recirculation system.
The main reason for installing the water heater is that you want the hot water in your faucet and showers quickly, and it does that efficiently, and it provides you with the hot water without any delay.
When you don’t have the hot water recirculating pump to get the hot water, most people will let the cold water flow, which was already in the pipe. But with this pump installed, that water will not be wasted; instead, it will be sent to the heater.
Another plus point of having this pump is that it is not so expensive and will be available in almost all the retail stores near you.
Moreover, the installation process of the unit is very easy, and most of them come with all the necessary things you will need to install the pump, including fittings, hoses, and other items as well.
Once it is installed, it requires very little maintenance, and some of the units don’t even require maintenance.
So that was the pros of installing the hot water recirculation pump; now let’s see what are the cons of it.
We have installed the pump so that we get the hot water faster, but doing that will create a delay in the cold water line, so now you have to wait for the cold water. It looks like just a trade-off between the water you need faster, hot or cold.
The pump doesn’t work on air! It will use electricity to keep working and to keep providing the water faster. Besides, the sensor valve, which is used as an indicator for the starting and stopping the pump, will need to be replaced every 2 to 3 years.
If the pump isn’t automatic and you have to start it manually, then it may take a few seconds to a minute to give you the hot water, which defeats the whole purpose of installing the water heater in the first place.
What are the Things You Should Consider Before Buying the Hot Water Recirculating Pump?
Here are few things which you should keep in mind when looking for a hot water recirculation pump as it will help you make a better decision.
When buying any product, you expect it to last longer, and the lifetime of any product mainly depends on the quality of the component and the built material. And if you want your pump to last longer, then choose the one which is made out of material that is rust-free and doesn’t get corroded.
If you buy the pump made out of good quality material, then there is a possibility that you may get 5 to 15 years out of it. The best pump to consider for durability is the one that is constructed out of stainless steel.
The timer in the pump is of most importance if you don’t want to manually turn on or off the pump. Besides, with the timer, you can set the operating hours for the pump when you need it to provide the hot water. The timer stops the pump in the other hours when you don’t need the hot water, so it doesn’t keep circulating even if there is no one utilizing the water.
Size and Flow Rate of the Pump
When considering the pump’s size, you will need to have a good idea about the plumbing of your house. The power and the size of the pump should be selected based on the distance to the farthest point up to which the pump needs to supply the water. Also, the size of the pipes in the plumbing determines the size of the pump.
This is crucial if you end up purchasing a pump that is not so powerful, then it will always work at its maximum capacity to provide the needed hot water, and eventually, the motor will burn out.
Similarly, if the pump is too big, then there won’t be enough water to circulate around. So, the size of the pump should be wisely chosen.
Most of the recirculating pumps in the market will be easy to maintain; you can do it yourself, no need for a professional.
There are some pumps available in the market which won’t require maintenance at all. And one pump that we have reviewed comes with the cartridge design, every mechanical moving parts are enclosed in a casing, so there is no maintenance needed. If there are some problems, then you can replace the whole thing and attach the new one.
So, choose the one which can be easily maintained without any professional needs.
Most of the recirculating pumps that we have reviewed come with the temperature sensor, which provides the hot water after it reaches a certain temperature level. This temperature sensor acts as an on/off switch. When the water temperature falls below a certain level, the pump will start, and when it reaches a certain level, the pump will turn off.
Q. How Long Does it Generally Take to Install a Recirculating Pump? Do I Need a Plumber to Do the Installation?
The installation of the re-circulating pump is a fairly simple process. You won’t need to call a plumber if you know how to work with the water lines so that you don’t leave a leak behind.
Most importantly, almost all the re-circulating pumps come with all the necessary accessories needed to make the connection. So, you just have to know how to operate a wrench and which part fits where.
But before making any changes to your plumbing system, make sure you are allowed to do that because some states have strict regulations against the modification in the plumbing system if the water is coming from the public water system.
Q. Is a Timer on The Recirculating Pump Necessary?
A pump without a timer is going to keep working even when you don’t need it. Suppose you are at the office or asleep, then you don’t need hot water, but still, the pump will keep working and consumes energy.
If a pump comes with the timer, you can set the time when you need a pump to work and when you don’t. If the pump doesn’t come with the timer, then you can install one separately. Besides, without a timer, you will have to start the pump manually, and that will take time until the hot water comes out of the faucet.
Q. What is the Average Lifetime of Recirculating Pumps?
The lifetime of the pump will depend on the material from which it is made out and also on the stress it is facing on a daily basis. The stress will be higher if the pump is smaller compared to the water it has to supply.
A recirculating pump made out of stainless steel will last longer because it is free from the corrosion problem.
Q. Is the Installation of Recirculating Pump Affects the Cold Water Line?
Sometimes, but not always. Some hot water pumps result in a warming of cold water, so there will be a delay to get the cold water, but the delay won’t be for a longer period. It will be much less than the wait for the hot water.
And this is the case for few pumps only, and most of the pumps don’t cause these problems. And if these problems occur, then the insulation of the pipes can resolve them.