It can be frustrating waiting for heated water to flow through a tap or faucet when you need it. To help keep water from your water heater ready to go at a any time, you need a recirculating pump. As with anything, there are good options, and bad options when it comes to picking the best hot water recirculating pump.
The way that recirculating pumps work is that while they are on, they slowly cycle the heated water in the home from the water heater to the tap and back again. They are generally cost effective because you use less water from the tap when you need hot water. With the water being hot right away, you don’t have any runoff before you start to use it. To help you choose the right recirculating pump for your home, we’ve reviewed a few of our favorites and included a buyer’s guide.
Watts 500800 Hot Water Recirculating System with Built-In Timer
Grundfos 595916 1/25 Horsepower Comfort Series Recirculator Pump
Laing LHB08100092 AutoCirc Recirculation Pump with Timer
Taco 006-B4 Bronze Circulator Pump 3/4-Inch Sweat
Laing 6050E7000 E10-BCANCT1W-23 AutoCirc E10 Series Circulator with Timer
BACOENG 3/4" 110V NPT Hot Water Circulation Pump Circulating Pump For Solar Heater Circulator US Plug
Grundfos 59896155 1/25 Horsepower SuperBrute Recirculator Pump
Watts is known for making the most cost effective products available in their respective areas, and this is true for their 500800 pump. Installing this pump is one of the easier installations as well. Saving time and money on a professional installation is always a nice thing, and with this unit you can have the pump installed by yourself in just over an hour.
Built into the pump is a 24 hour timer, which is completely programmable so that it only runs during the times when you are most in need of instant hot water. The unit comes with everything you need for it to be installed, and it shouldn’t require any extra pipe. Please note that this unit should not be used or installed on a tankless water heater.
The motor on this pump runs very smooth, and hardly vibrates, so you won’t hear any extra noise while it’s in operation. It comes with a one year warranty, which is fairly standard among recirculating pumps.
Built to install at the water heater, this unit is one of the more long lasting products you can buy. It comes with a two year warranty on top of the high quality materials used to manufacture each component.
With a built in timer to keep the pump working only when you need it, this unit is a prime example of energy efficiency. It also has a variable flow range that can go from zero gallons per minute up to nine per minute. The variable flow is self controlled, so there’s no need to adjust settings to meet the needs of your home.
Designed specifically to be low maintenance, the only thing that may need to be adjusted on this unit is the time. Otherwise, once installed, the unit should work without worry for years to come.
The one issue that we had when using the pump is that it includes a Comfort Valve, which must be installed for usage. This Comfort Valve is of much lower quality construction and there may be instances where it leaks or fails before the rest of the unit.
The best feature of this unit from Laing, is that it is an automatic recirculator. With a built in thermostat, when the water temperature dips below 85 degrees it will automatically run, to reheat the water. Once it reaches 95 degrees it shuts off, preventing too much cycling. Along with that, when the hot water is flowing the pump will shut off then as well. This saves a tremendous amount of energy every year compared to models that only operate on a timer.
While this unit has the automatic circulation sensor, it can also be set by timer if you prefer. The unit has a built in timer for those that want more isolated peak times to be covered by the pump’s service.
This unit is installed at the water entry point rather than at the water heater itself. The reason for this is because it reduces the amount of electricity necessary to operate. Consuming only 14 watts of electricity, even when operating frequently, you’ll barely notice a change in your electricity bill.
This unit was not necessarily designed with only hot water recirculation in mind. It can be used for many purposes, such as hydronic heating, drain down open loop systems, air conditioning units, heat recovery, water source heat pumps and more. The versatility of this unit is great, but that means it may be lacking in features if all you want is a hot water recirculating pump.
A compact unit, made primarily from cast iron, has a small 1/40 horsepower motor. The small motor needs very little electricity to operate, and will be mostly unnoticeable in your power bill. The unit is maintenance free, as it is self-lubricating and has no mechanical seals.
Taco built this unit to handle high flows and extreme temperatures of water. With a maximum of 10 gallons per minute capable of flowing through it, there’s very few applications it can’t handle. The temperature range runs from 40 degrees to 220 degrees, so it won’t ever have an issue cycling the water in your home.
This recirculating pump by Laing requires professional installation, as it’s an undersink model that is designed to work with tankless water heaters. One of the nice things about this unit is that it doesn’t require a return water line, so no new piping needs to be added to your home.
The unit runs on 60 watts, which should supply plenty of power but is still light on the electric bill. There is also a built in timer on this model so that it can be set to only run when you need it to.
It’s built with an ECM (Electronically Commutated Motor) which helps ensure the motor speed is adequate for how it is being used. Motors of this type are run by magnetic fields, rather than coils, and it is computer controlled by a factory setting before it ships. The way it works is when the torque the motor feels changes, then the motor changes its speed. This makes the motor more energy efficient as well as helps it run quieter.
BACOENG’s entry into the best hot water recirculating pumps is designed with a three speed selector switch, giving 10, 7 or 5 gallons per minute. Built with a high temperature tolerance, this unit won’t overheat even if set to continuous usage.
The unit is installed easily, runs very quietly and works well with tankless water heaters. The unit is also marketed as having environmental protection, but we didn’t see exactly how it does that other than low power consumption. The lowest setting on the unit brings the power consumption down to 25 watts when operating continuously. At the highest setting it’s rated at 93 watts.
Capable of being used for extreme temperatures, this unit can safely handle hot water up to 220 degrees, and down to near freezing for cold water. The unit also has several built in sensors to monitor the power, heat and flow through the system.
One of the most powerful pumps that we reviewed, this entry from Grundfos is able to push through 15.5 gallons per minute. With that strength comes the tradeoff of being less energy efficient, but if you have a long way to move water then this is likely your best bet.
The pump is made for higher useage homes, such as two or three level family homes that go through a lot of water. While the maximum flow is above the rest that we reviewed, this model has an automatic adjustment system, so you don’t have to mess with setting controls.
The quality of the materials used to make the pump are of the highest level. The construction of this unit is meant to make it last a long time.
Unfortunately this unit doesn’t come with a built in timer, which is a favored addition on most recirculating pumps. While a timer can be purchased separately to operate the unit that way, if you’re using this product in a high water usage home then it’s likely you’ll want it to run continuously, or according to the sensors.
Choosing the right pump for your needs can be tricky. There are many different styles, options and qualities that work better for some and not others. To help you choose the best hot water recirculating pump for your home, consider the following aspects.
When it comes to what you need, and what you’re trying to do with the water in your home, this is the biggest question. If you aren’t concerned about saving water and power, or if you have a very high usage, then running it continuously may work best for you. For people that are looking to conserve resources, then you’ll want to opt for something that you can set for when you need it. Some of the best on demand models are those that come with automatic sensors as they optimize when the water needs to cycle through your home.
Moving along with the idea above for continuous usage or on demand, timers can play a big role. Including a timer, or having it built into the unit, can help you make sure you are only running hot water continuously at peak times. The tough thing about timers is that there are times outside of what you programmed when you want hot water instantly. There will also be times when it operates when you aren’t home or don’t need it to. Timers have their drawbacks but often they are worth the cost to have it included.
The next big question is what type of water heater you have installed. For many tankless types, recirculating pumps can be too weak to engage the heater or just not work correctly with it. It’s best to make sure you have a pump that will do what you need, while working with the equipment you already have.
Any system with water in it will eventually break down, but good quality construction and materials can prolong the life of a pump. When researching what pump will work best for you, take into consideration how long you want it to last. Along with that, take note of what might be good in your local environment, as some materials may last forever where it’s hot and dry, while they would fail very swiftly in cold, humid conditions.
The most common reason for getting one of these pumps is because you want faster hot water to the faucet. In some homes, it can take several minutes of running the water before you have enough heat to do what you need to. That is a lot of wasted time and water throughout a year.
Another benefit that we haven’t spoken about, is that a recirculation pump can keep your pipes from freezing in colder months and locations. Nothing is worse than having a pipe freeze and break because it became too cold. With recirculating hot water, the likelihood of freezing becomes next to impossible.
While recirculating pumps will definitely save water from being wasted, they may not be as efficient with power and cost as you’d hope. Better quality pumps often last long enough to make back their cost in water saved. However, for some the upfront cost, plus the added cost of maintenance and power, they end up costing more than what you would have saved over the life of the pump. While it’s noble to conserve water, it’s also noble to conserve energy. With this tradeoff that can happen, it’s tough to know which is the better choice.
Ultimately the added convenience, the water savings, and the pipe protection outweigh the reasons against getting a recirculating pump. To make your home better, we highly recommend adding one.
After looking through all of the information, and learning what to look for that makes the best hot water recirculation pump, we decided the overall winner from this review is the Grundfos 595916 1/25 Horsepower Comfort Series Recirculator Pump. It has all the best features that you could look for in a recirculating pump. From the automatic sensors, the variable flow control, a built in timer, and the right amount of power for the average home, it stands out amongst the rest for us
Of course there are merits to all of the other units we reviewed as well, so after going through the buying guide, research each one a little deeper. Please click on the links to see more about the products and determine which one would be best for you and your home.
I believe there is a handyman in all of us as long as you have the right tools. I started this blog to help anyone who is interested in fixing things to learn their way around the different tools and to know how to perform different DIY tasks. I have been doing this for years and believe I am a master of this art.