Depending on the size of your home and the distance between your water heater and your faucets, there may be a delay before hot water reaches you. If you find yourself waiting for a few minutes every morning while your shower water heats up, you may want to consider a hot water recirculating system.
The EPA estimates that a standard showerhead uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute. That means if you run your water for three minutes while you wait for it to heat up each morning, you’re wasting 2,737 gallons of water per year! Now, multiply that by the number of people in your family. That’s a LOT of wasted water!
What is a Hot Water Recirculating System?
Think about how your existing plumbing works. When you turn on your faucet, the cold water in your pipes flows out first. While you wait for the hot water to move from your water heater to the faucet, the cold water flows down your drain, unused. In addition to wasting water, this process also wastes money.
A hot water recirculating system moves water through your pipes so hot water is available immediately. This can save you a lot of money on your water bill since you won’t be running it while you wait for the water to warm up.
If you don’t like the idea of flushing your money down your pipes, consider installing a hot water recirculating system.
Types of Recirculating Systems
Before you take the leap and call your plumber to schedule installation, consider the types of systems available to you.
This system requires the plumber to mount a circulation pump on the pipe of your existing water heater. Then, a hot water pipe is installed in a loop throughout your home, going near each of your plumbing fixtures.
Your plumber will install a small pipe to connect the loop to the hot water valve at each plumbing fixture in your home. When you turn on your faucet, hot water will be immediately available.
Integrated loop hot water recirculating systems can be retrofitted into your existing system or installed during new construction. This system has a pump that a plumber installs under the farthest plumbing fixture from your water heater. It has a built-in sensor that switches the pump on when the water drops below 85 degrees. The pump will automatically shut off when the water temperature hits 95 degrees. Some newer systems are adjustable to a homeowner’s preference, between 77 and 104 degrees.