My 7 Pros And Cons of Hot Water Recirculating Pumps (Worth It?)

Are you interested in learning the pros and cons of hot water pumps?

I created this guide just for you.

I will be going over some of the positives and negatives such as…

  • Why hot water recirculator pumps help save time by giving you instant hot water
  • The ease of install
  • How your cold water now becomes lukewarm
  • Having to replace the sensor valve may be a regular maintenance item

Instant hot water circulation pumps are a great technology so you don’t have to wait several minutes just for hot water. However like any tech, there are positives as well as downsides.

Read this article to learn the unvarnished truth about instant hot water recirculating pumps.

If you want to read our top choices for the best hot water recirculating pumps in 2019, check it out our reviews.

Let’s get started…

What Are The Pros of Hot Water Recirculation Pumps?

After living with a hot water pump, I don’t think I would ever want to go back to waiting for hot water.

According to EnergyStar.gov — hot water recirculation pumps can solve the problem of wasting cold water down the drain while waiting minutes for hot water.

Whether the long wait is due to a tankless water heater, or because the water heater is far away from many of the plumbing fixtures…nobody wants to wait several minutes just to take a shower.

Here are a few advantages to buying a water heater recirculating pump for your own home…

Pro #1. No More Waiting

The hands down number reason to have a hot water pump is that there is no more waiting!

No more waiting when you are barely awake, standing on the cold floor of a bathroom waiting for a warm shower.

No more waiting just to wash your hands and avoid the icy embrace of cold water.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of arctic water for a shower or for my sensitive skin.

Water problems, such as low water pressure, and waiting for hot water, is usually at the top of the list for new homeowners — and my clients usually are not shy to let me know.

When I am inspecting a home, waiting minutes for hot water at a shower, my client immediately gets suspicious.

“Should it take this long to get hot water?”

My usual answer unfortunately is “Yes, it’s quite normal.”

Most people just live with it. But an on demand hot water pump is a relatively easy solution — even simple enough to install yourself within 30 minutes if you have a little DIY skill.

Pro #2. Save Water

Undoubtedly, having a hot water recirculating system will save you a tremendous amount of water over the year. According to one study, the average person wastes 1-3 gallons of water while they wait for hot water to reach them at the fixture.

Every time you turn on the shower or faucet and wait several minutes for hot water, a significant amount of water is being wasted.

Even if the actual monetary cost isn’t that much, wasting water definitely isn’t good for the community nor friendly to the environment.

We highly recommend that you buy a water heater pump with a timer included so that you can program the pump to turn on when you are likely to need hot water. You can program the pump to turn on for 2-3 hours in the morning, and a few hours in the evening for example.

All other times, the pump will not turn on.

Read Also: Avoid This Defective Water Pipe Called Polybutylene

Pro #3. Save a Small Amount of Money

To be honest, the amount of money that you may save probably isn’t very substantial. The amount of money that you save in water usage will likely be offset by the installation costs and the ongoing operating the pump.

However, after the pump is paid off, you may see some cost savings especially if you have a big family or otherwise a big water user.

What Are The Cons of Hot Water Recirculating Pumps?

Like every home device that makes are lives easier, there will always be a few disadvantages even if it is just the initial upfront cost and hassle.

Here are a few cons that I think you may want to know about…

Con #1. Initial Cost

The biggest con in my opinion is probably the upfront cost, especially if you hire a plumber.

You can buy a hot water pump in the $100-$300 range, but if you hire a plumber, the total cost could be in the $500-$1000 ballpark. If you have any DIY skills, the install really isn’t that difficult, and can be installed in less than 30 minutes.

It is interesting to also consider that domestic hot water in a home is the second biggest expense only after HVAC expenses.

Con #2. Lukewarm Cold Water

If your hot water pump doesn’t have a dedicated return line for the hot water (which it probably won’t) then it is going to take a minute or two to get cold water.

Trade offs… what can you do?

For me, having instant hot water is more important than instant cold water.

Con #3. Changing The Sensor Valve

Some homeowners have reported that they have had to frequently change the sensor valve such as every two years.

The sensor valve is a device that is usually installed under the furthest sink from the water heater, but it may also be a part of the pump itself. If it is outside of the water pump, replacement is pretty easy.

If the valve is located inside the water pump, the whole pump may need to be replaced.

Con #4. Needs A Plug For Unit

Most units will simply be plugged into an outlet, which is great, if you have one.

Otherwise you may have to install a new outlet, or hardwire the under sink hot water pump into something else.

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Arie Van Tuijl

Arie Van Tuijl

Arie is a licensed home inspector who owns a residential and commercial inspection company in the state of Virginia. He also does specialty testing such as radon gas, termites, air quality, and mold.

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