Pros and Cons of Hot Water Recirculating Pump

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Every time you relocate or buy a new home, you need to figure out the best hot water system for your home. And once installed, you need to carry out regular maintenance.

For that reason, this article will walk you through the pros and cons of hot water recirculating pump.

Without hot water, you can’t imagine carrying out various household chores like dishwashing during winter.

Other occasions include morning hours before heading to work; you need water graced by the heaters. And to avoid long waiting for hot water from the boiler, adding a recirculating pump to the water heater will be the best decision.

What is a Hot Water Recirculating Pump?

Pros and Cons of Hot Water Recirculating Pump
manual water pump

Every morning during showering or bathing, you wait for a few seconds for the cold water in the pipe to flow out to receive hot water. And if the water heater tank is far from the bathroom, it can be more time-consuming.

A hot water recirculating pump is a device installed in your water heater plumbing line to fasten the hot water supply to the faucets. They circulate hot water and return the unused water to the heater tank for reheating.

The devices are common among luxury hotels and guest houses to recirculate hot water for bathing.

Types of Hot Water Recirculating Pump Systems

There are two main types of hot water recirculating systems;

  • The Full Recirculation System

In the full system, a pipe supplying hot water runs from the boiler tank, then to the pump, and later to the faucets.

There is separate piping that returns unused water to the boiler to regulate the temperature. The system is energy efficient because modern technology has introduced sensors and timers.

If you have the system at your home, all you do is set the timer on the hours you’ll need hot water, and the automatic system will do the rest.

  • The Comfort Recirculation System

The pump is installed near the faucets, usually under the sink. If you can’t afford the first expensive system, you have the comfort system as a cheaper option.

The pump supplies hot water to the system and returns unused water to the boiler tank through the same piping. This mechanism reduces the piping and plumbing costs.

However, sharing the same pipe for hot and cold-water supply can affect the temperatures.

Read: Are electric hydronic baseboard heaters more efficient?

Pros and Cons of Hot Water Recirculating Pump
water pump

What Are the Pros and Cons of Hot Water Recirculating Pump?

Although the pumps offer a fast hot water supply, they have both benefits and drawbacks. They add more faults to the hot water recirculation system problems.

                     Pros and Cons of Hot Water Recirculating Pump
Quick hot water supplyCostly
Less water wastageOlder models are expensive to operate
Saves moneyProne to corrosion
Easy to maintainSensor valve failures
Easy to useHeat loss
AvailabilityExtra wiring
Simple designLukewarm water
No installation permits 
Small and compact 


  • Quick hot water supply

Since the pump has advanced technology like the timers; you receive hot water instantly upon turning on the faucet.

  • Less water wastage

Without a pump, you may wait for the cold water within the pipe to drain and create a way for hot water. As a result, many homeowners reported wasting around 1 to 3 gallons of water every day.

  • Saves money

The timers and sensors help reduce energy costs because the pump won’t run continually. All you do is program a hot water recirculation pump schedule. Secondly, reduced water wastage will lower water bills.

Read: Shelf over baseboard heater

Pros and Cons of Hot Water Recirculating Pump
  • Easy to maintain

Once a plumbing professional installs the system with quality pipes, you can take years without system failure.

  • Easy to use

The pumps have digital controls and are therefore easy to operate.

  • Availability

Because of the popularity, the pumps are widely available in most stores. As such, finding spares is not a big deal.

  • Simple design

Their simple design enhances easy fixing on the standard piping found at homes. As that’s the case, you can save some money from purchasing the pipes.

  • No special permits to install

The pump doesn’t require a special installation permit. In some localities, you get tax reductions and discounts. Additionally, some dealers offer free installation upon purchase.

  • Small and compact

The small and compact size occupies less space within the laundry rooms or basement where the pumps are usually installed.

Read: Electric baseboard heat cost calculator


  • Costly

Most pumps cost around $400 to $100, unaffordable for many homeowners. Additionally, plumbing is required during installation, making the cost even higher.

  • Older models are expensive to operate

Some older models don’t have a timer.  They continuously circulate the water, therefore, increasing energy bills.

  • Prone to corrosion

Hard water is used in many homes, making the pumps prone to corrosion after an extended period of use.

  • Sensor valve failure

The sensor valves installed around the sinks have been reported to fail several times a year.

  • Heat loss

Unless the piping is well insulated, much heat may be lost, making the pump work harder and increasing energy bills.

  • Extra wiring

The pump needs a power supply which may require extra wiring to be done if there are no outlets around.

  • Lukewarm water

Some pump systems use a single pipe for hot and cold-water delivery. Unfortunately, you may get lukewarm water at first because cold pipes cool the pumped water.

FAQs on Hot Water Recirculating Pump

Will a Hot Water Recirculation System Keep my Pipes from Freezing?

Installing an automatic hot water recirculation pump will ensure you have a constant supply of hot water in your faucets. Secondly, it will prevent your pipes from freezing during the cold season.

How Long Do Hot Water Recirculating Pumps Last?

A genuine hot water recirculation pump will serve you for around 10 to 15 years. However, you need regular maintenance for efficiency. Other factors like hard water may shorten the pump’s lifespan.

Can I Turn Off My Hot Water Recirculating Pump?

You can turn off the pump to save energy during summer. Further, refer to the pros and cons of hot water recirculating pump for other tips to efficiently run it. 

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