What is a Circulating Pump?
Have you ever had to wait for what seemed like an eternity for hot water? This is typically the case if your water heater is on one end of the house and you are on the other. Because the standing water in the pipes cools back down to room temperature, you have to wait until the water in the heater gets pushed all the way to your location. Not only can this be an incredible nuisance, but it also literally pours money down the drain as all of that wasted water was previously heated.
A Circulating Pump resolves this issue and leaves you happily receiving heated water almost instantly after you open your valves. The pump is designed to be installed on the hot water line leaving your water heater. It also has a small device that we install underneath the faucet of whichever room you most wish to have instant hot water in. The pump works with this secondary device to send the hot water back through the cold water line when water is not being used. Even though it runs through your cold water line, your water will remain as cool as ever. This constant flow of water leaves you accessing heated water much quicker than before!
Another way to take care of the eternal-wait-for-hot-water problem is to ditch your current tank water heater and install a tankless appliance in its place. A tankless water heater is a compact, wall-mounted device that provides a continuous stream of hot water. It works by directing incoming water through heating elements calibrated to raise the temperature as directed, eliminating the need to have hot water stored in a tank. It provides a number of benefits over a traditional tank heater, including a longer effective life, greater energy savings due to not having to continually keep 50 gallons or more of sitting hot water, and an instantaneous, endless supply of hot water on demand.
A tankless hot water heater will certainly take care of that eternal wait for a hot shower. Although this may seem the ideal solution to provide instant hot water, there are two reasons why you might choose a circulating pump instead.
The first consideration is cost. A tankless water heater is a financial investment whose lower operating costs may make feasible over time, but whose initial installation costs may be more than you’re willing or able to afford. Installing a circulating pump is a far less expensive choice that gives many of the same benefits.
The second consideration depends on how widespread the hot water delay problem is throughout your home. If frustration arises only at one shower head, perhaps at the farthest end of the house, then installing a single circulating pump may be the least expensive and wisest solution.
In either case, a circulating pump saves water by preventing the waste of gallons draining away while you wait for the hot water to arrive. If you’re concerned about energy savings as well, consider installing a circulating pump with a timer. You can set it to turn on fifteen minutes before you usually shower, and then shut off when everyone’s out of the house.