Best Hot Water Recirculating Pump

Last Updated On October 19, 2021
best hot water recirculating pump

It’s always a bit confusing and annoying when you turn on your hot water faucet and instead get cold water for a couple of seconds (or even longer if you live in a rather large house!). Sometimes, you may need to wait for up to two minutes for your water to heat up!

While this is inconvenient, the impact this can have on your water bill could be a bigger problem. Every time you wait for hot water to come out of your faucet, you waste cold water and that is money literally going down the drain. 

Luckily, there is an easy solution to this problem – and that’s a hot water recirculating pump! 

But how to choose a good quality hot water recirculating pump? Well, our guide below has made finding the best hot water recirculating pump easy! We’ve reviewed the five best hot water recirculating pumps on the market right now, as well as provided a handy buyer’s guide and answered some burning questions.

But before we get into the reviews, let’s learn a bit more about hot water recirculating pumps. 

In this PlumbingNav review, we will cover: 

  • What is a hot water recirculating pump?
  • What does a recirculating pump do?
  • Top 5 recirculating pumps reviewed
  • Recirculating pump buying guide

ImageProduct
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Watts 500800 Instant Hot Water Recirculating System
  • Maintenance-free product
  • Conserves water
  • Quick and easy to install
  • Maintenance-free product
  • Conserves water
  • Quick and easy to install
View on Amazon
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Grundfos 99452459 Instant Hot Water Comfort Recirculation System
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Includes timer, thermal bypass, 10ft line cord, and hose kit. 
  • Battery back-up
  • Conserves up to 12,000 gallons of water a year
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Includes timer, thermal bypass, 10ft line cord, and hose kit. 
  • Battery back-up
  • Conserves up to 12,000 gallons of water a year
View on Amazon
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Taco 006-B4 Bronze Circulator Pump ¾ Inch Sweat
  • Direct Drive Low-Power Consumption (=energy bill savings!)
  • Maintenance-free and replaceable cartridge design
  • Self-lubricating
  • Direct Drive Low-Power Consumption (=energy bill savings!)
  • Maintenance-free and replaceable cartridge design
  • Self-lubricating
View on Amazon
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KOLERFLO 110V Circulating Water Pump Hot Water Circulation Pump
  • Versatile uses
  • Can withstand high water temperature
  • Silent: You’ll never hear this hot water recirculation pump
  • Versatile uses
  • Can withstand high water temperature
  • Silent: You’ll never hear this hot water recirculation pump
View on Amazon
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Happybuy RS15-6 Hot Water Recirculating Pump
  • Low energy consumption, high efficiency
  • Saves up to 3 gallons per shower
  • Easy to install in roughly an hour
  • Low energy consumption, high efficiency
  • Saves up to 3 gallons per shower
  • Easy to install in roughly an hour
View on Amazon

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

Updated On May 21, 2021

Watts 500800 Instant Hot Water Recirculating System

The Watts 500800 Instant Hot Water Recirculating System comes with a built-in timer and claims to save you up to 15,000 gallons of water a year. 

It is able to be installed in under an hour, and the package contains all you need for set-up and proper functioning. Plus, if your home has multiple plumbing loops, there is a version available with additional sensor valves.

Our Top 5 Hot Water Heater Recirculating Pumps

  1. Watts 500800 Instant Hot Water Recirculating System (Our #1 Top Pick)
  2. Grundfos 99452459 Instant Hot Water Comfort Recirculation System (Best Budget)
  3. Taco 006-B4 Bronze Circulator Pump ¾ Inch Sweat (Best High End)
  4. KOLERFLO 110V Circulating Water Pump Hot Water Circulation Pump (Best Multi-Use)
  5. Happybuy RS15-6 Hot Water Recirculating Pump (Best Eco-Friendly)

What's In This Guide?

      What Is A Hot Water Recirculating Pump?

      Basically, a hot water recirculating pump (or system) puts hot water where you want it fast. This type of water pump is usually installed on your water heater, though there are some other methods of installation too. The pump’s primary function is to return the unused hot water all the way back to the gas water heater. 

      Usually, when you turn off the hot water faucet, the hot water doesn’t return to the heater. Instead, it stays put and soon gets cold. However, a hot water recirculating pump will send the water back into the heater. 

      As we’ve mentioned above, a hot water recirculating pump is a surefire way to get hot water on command. Hot water recirculating pumps are not only convenient but help you save thousands of gallons of fresh water annually. Without a pump, you will be wasting water and paying more for it!

      What Exactly Does A Hot Water Heater Recirculating Pump Do?

      The main purpose of a circulating pump is to ensure that hot water is always available and as close to the consumption point as possible. 

      This means you no longer have to wait for cold water to warm up – no more standing in a cold shower waiting for it to get hot! It is also a low energy consumption product and is a great way to save water and decrease utility bills. These environmentally friendly pumps not only save on water consumption but energy consumption too.

      did you know water heater recirculating pump reviews

      Recirculating Pump Buyer’s Guide: What To Look For

      While there are a lot of hot water recirculating pumps out there, a lot of people don’t know what they are or what their benefits are. This means that when people are interested in buying one, there is little information out there about what features to look out for, and what types of recirculating pumps are available. 

      Below, we’ll explain what you should look out for when buying a recirculating pump and the types that are available so you can make a confident purchase. 

      Durability

      The durability of a hot water recirculating pump relates to its materials. If you want a pump to last more than 3-5 years then you should opt for a high-quality pump made of stainless steel. 

      Pump Housing Material

      Not only is opting for highly durable materials important, but so is selecting a pump made of materials that are suited to what you intend to use it for. 

      For example, pump housing made of cast iron will not be suitable for potable water use, as the cast iron will lead to rust within the system. For a pump that runs potable water, we recommend going for aluminum pump housing.

      Traditional vs. Tankless Water Heaters

      Tankless water heaters usually require pumps with more power than systems that use a hot water tank. If your water supply is based on a shallow well pump, then it will be difficult to heat the water with a recirculating pump. 

      Most hot water recirculating pumps are usually not powerful enough to work with either the highest-quality gas tankless water heater or an electric tankless water heater. Always take what kind of water heater you have into account before you buy a recirculating pump.

      Timers

      A timer on a recirculating pump lets you schedule the pump to shut off when you want it to. This means you could set the timer so you only get hot water during times you use it the most. But even if your pump doesn’t come with a built-in timer, you can easily have one fitted.

      Priming

      Unlike a submersible well pump that only has to be primed once, most hot water recirculating pumps don’t have to be primed and are able to run even with some air in the lines. However, there are some pumps (like the KOLERFLO 110V) that will not work when air is present in the lines and so will need to be primed. 

      Hot water recirculating pumps are not one size fits all. This is because there are water pumps that require the installation of additional pipes, there are two different types of recirculating pumps that require different set-up and labor. Let’s take a look at the two types of pumps.

      Full Recirculating Pump System

      This system uses an additional pipe that is designated for hot water. The additional pipe is installed in the plumbing of your home and attached to the pump. Always make sure the pump you want to buy is suitable for the plumbing of your home.

      The full recirculating pump system also creates a loop. This loop goes from the water heater to the faucet and back. The system draws the hot water you don’t use back through the loop with the help of the hot water pump. The system prevents cooled water by quickly drawing it back into the heater.

      While this is the more expensive type of recirculating pump and the water is running continuously in an endless loop, the system does not have a negative effect on your energy bill. This is because most pumps come with sensors and timers that make them more efficient while lowering energy consumption. For example, the sensor will turn off the pump as soon as a loop has finished, and a timer will let you control when the pump is active. 

      But because the additional pipe is an extra cost, most people go for the other kind of recirculating pump. 

      Recirculating Pump Comfort System

      Unlike the other system, this system makes use of your current cold water pipe to send unused water to the heater. These systems are usually more simply designed, and more affordable. If you’re looking for a recirculating pump on a budget, or don’t feel confident installing a full system, then this is a much better option. The fact that you don’t need to install any additional pipes also makes this option more cost-effective.

      The comfort system provides hot water to the areas of your home that experience difficulty getting hot water fast. For example, if your water supply is far away from your kitchen or shower. 

      However, there are some disadvantages to this system. Since the hot and cold water share the same pipe, the cold faucet may contain lukewarm water, and you may experience the opposite problem of your water taking a while to get cold. 

      These issues become more of a problem if you have a swamp cooler, and most customers who do have a swamp cooler turn their pumps off in the summer.

      Top 5 Best Hot Water Recirculating Pumps

      Now let’s explore our favorite units so you can decide on the perfect choice for your situation.

      Our #1 Rated Pick: Watts 500800 Instant Hot Water Recirculating System

      Watts 500800 Instant Hot Water Recirculating System

      Our #1 Top Pick!

      The Watts 500800 Instant Hot Water Recirculating System comes with a built-in timer and claims to save you up to 15,000 gallons of water a year. 

      It is able to be installed in under an hour, and the package contains all you need for set-up and proper functioning. Plus, if your home has multiple plumbing loops, there is a version available with additional sensor valves.

      Pros

      • Maintenance-free product
      • Conserves water
      • Quick and easy to install

      Cons

      • Incompatible with some heaters, especially with heat traps
      • 5 seconds of cold water when first turned on
      • Not made for constant use

      Our #2 Rated Pick: Grundfos 99452459 Instant Hot Water Comfort Recirculation System

      Grundfos 99452459 Instant Hot Water Comfort Recirculation System

      Best Budget

      The Grundfos 9945259 can reportedly help you save up to 12,000 gallons of water per year, and can be installed in under two hours. 

      The system is also a retrofit solution, meaning that you do not need a return line. It is also fully compatible with all other Grundfos line cord products, which makes replacing parts and accessories incredibly easy. 

      Pros

      • Stainless steel construction
      • Includes timer, thermal bypass, 10ft line cord, and hose kit. 
      • Battery back-up
      • Conserves up to 12,000 gallons of water a year

      Cons

      • Not compatible with all tankless heaters, especially with immense pressure drop
      • Timer not WiFi compatible 
      • Limited warranty

      Our #3 Rated Pick: Taco 006-B4 Bronze Circulator Pump ¾ Inch Sweat

      Taco 006-B4 Bronze Circulator Pump ¾ Inch Sweat

      Best High End

      With a maximum working pressure of 125 psi, an ability to withhold liquid from 220F to 40F, and a Standard High Capacity Output-Compact Design that allows the system to operate quietly, this highly effective circulator pump is an excellent addition to your home. 

      Pros

      • Direct Drive Low-Power Consumption (=energy bill savings!)
      • Maintenance-free and replaceable cartridge design
      • Self-lubricating

      Cons

      • Some reports of threaded joints instead of sweat joints
      • Unit needs to be disassembled before sweating to avoid damage
      • Heats up with continuous use 

      Our #4 Rated Pick: KOLERFLO 110V Circulating Water Pump Hot Water Circulation Pump

      KOLERFLO 110V Circulating Water Pump Hot Water Circulation Pump

      Best Multi-Use

      With a stylish, teal-green color, the KOLERFLO 110V is a powerful hot water recirculation pump with a rating of 93/67/46 W, and is able to handle a maximum pressure of 145 psi. The pump housing is also made of aluminum and has a corrosion-resistant impeller, which makes the pump suitable for potable water use. 

      It is also easy to install. All you need is a wrench to connect the pump to your home’s pipeline. Once installed, you choose from three speeds and only wait 15 seconds for hot water. 

      Pros

      • Versatile uses
      • Can withstand high water temperature
      • Silent: You’ll never hear this hot water recirculation pump

      Cons

      • Needs to be properly primed
      • Incompatible with a solar water heater
      • No sensor – you must install a switch

      Our #5 Rated Pick: Happybuy RS15-6 Hot Water Recirculating Pump

      Happybuy RS15-6 Hot Water Recirculating Pump

      Best Eco-Friendly

      The Happybuy RS15-6 Hot Water Recirculating Pump has an NPT ¾ inch inlet and outlet, as well as a corrosion-resistant impeller and aluminum pump housing. It is also suitable for potable water use, and its clever design prevents the pumps from freezing during the winter. It also comes with different models to suit your power, size, and efficiency needs. You can choose from 3-speed options, and you will get hot water instantly– no waiting!

      Pros

      • Low energy consumption, high efficiency
      • Saves up to 3 gallons per shower
      • Easy to install in roughly an hour

      Cons

      • Connections are not tapered
      • Flange face is too thin and can lead to leaks
      • Reports of high-pitched noises while running

      FAQs For Hot Water Recirculating Pump

      Do I really need a hot water recirculating pump?

      If it takes more than 45 seconds for the water running out of your faucet to get hot, then you could definitely use a hot water recirculating pump. 

      Does a hot water recirculating pump take up a lot of space?

      No, they are usually very small and are installed either under your sink or near the water heater. 

      How long does it take to install the hottest water recirculating pumps and are they difficult to install? 

      Installing a hot water recirculating pump isn’t difficult at all. You just have to make sure that you are disconnecting and connecting the right bypass valve and water line. 

      At most, a hot water recirculating pump will take up to 2-3 hours to fully install, but a couple of our picks take under an hour to install.

      How can I avoid and prevent corrosion in a hot water recirculating pump?

      Some pumps are affected by flow-accelerated corrosion. This can end up being a very costly problem, and you should check your water pump regularly for these issues. 

      The corrosion is caused by the water’s aggressive chemistry or excessive flow rate. This causes the water to erode the pipes. The main parts that get affected by this issue are elbows, bends, and the tees around thin walls. To avoid and prevent corrosion, choose a lower capacity recirc pump, and reduce any abrupt changes in pipe directions in your plumbing.

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      I'm passionate about all things plumbing, and love sharing tips, "how-to", and reviewing the latest products to help make your project a success!

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