What About Hot Water Recirculation Systems?

In new construction of if remodeling, run a hot water supply pipe directly to the bathroom. Existing hot water plumbing can sometime snake throughout the house before reaching a bathroom that is not actually very far from the water heater. A new pipe can also improve efficiency because you can wrap it with insulation.

Another option is installing a special rapid-hot-water system know as a hot water recirculation system. The three basic types are a demand system, a timer system and a temperature controlled system. All three types eliminate any wasted water. The demand systems will still require a short delay (perhaps 10-20 seconds) to get the hot water to the faucet and requires electrical connections. The timer system totally eliminates the wait (only during the timed cycles), but it consumes more energy and also requires electrical connections. Temperature controlled systems are the best and only allow hot water to circulate when the water temperature drops below the adjustable temperature setting.

All post construction units use a crossover valve between the hot and cold water supply pipes under the bathroom sink. Instead of opening your faucet and allowing the cooled water to be wasted down the drain, it flows through the crossover valve into the cold pipe and returns to the water heater for reheating.

A demand system starts a high-volume pump when you push a button near the pump, so it runs only when you push a button (located at one sink). Remote buttons can be installed in other bathrooms, laundry room, etc, but require extensive wiring.

A timer system runs a low-volume pump when the timer tells it to, usually in the morning. The pump runs only during the “on-time” setting on the timer, but only provides instant hot water when the pump is running.

Temperature controlled systems like the Hot Water Lobster Instant Hot Water Valve only allow hot water to circulate when the water temperature drops below the adjustable temperature setting, is all mechanical and requires no electrical connections for an easy D.I.Y. installation.

The following companies offer water recirculation kits: ACT,  Got Hot Water; Grundfos Pumps; Hot Water Lobster Instant Hot Water Valve; Laing Thermotech; and Temtrol Delta T.

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