Hot water recirculator - wasteful?

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Old 05-16-16, 06:34 AM
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Hot water recirculator - wasteful?

We had our shower redone by others. one thing we didn't like is being at the end of the run / farthest from the hot water heater, we'd have to run the shower for a couple minutes to get the water up to temperature as the hot water fills the hot water pipes (that have gone cold overnight) for the length of the house.

Now that it's up and running, it's nice to turn the shower on and within a second or 2 (til the hot water gets from the valve to shower head) we have hot water.

But in the basement, when in the boiler room, I hear the recirc pump turning on / off once in a while.

Made me (over) think - 24 hours a day now, the hot water pipe and the return pipe (he ran a return line) act as radiators / are uninsulated PEX.

all through the summer / all year, there'll be nice hot water in both pipes, giving off heat.

what do you think of the energy to keep that water hot all the time vs. the water saved to take showers quicker?

I am tempted to put in a timer in the basement and connect the recirc pump to that - turns on at 5AM and by the time we're ready for a shower in the AM, the water is hot. TUrns off later. And maybe an evening run time too for weekends after working in the yard and want to take a shower...

yeah, other times of the day, it'd be a kinda cold start to the shower.

thoughts?
 
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Old 05-16-16, 07:07 AM
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Personally, I prefer the systems where you press a button to start the pump, which then runs until hot water reaches the area and then shuts off. No waste beyond what you have if you run the shower until it's hot.

For a system like you have, a timer is a good idea. My sister's place in Vegas has such a setup with a timer and it works fine if you have a fairly steady routine.
 
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Old 05-16-16, 07:31 AM
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In general I think the energy wasted is greater than the cost of the water to run the fixture for 10 or so seconds to get hot water. It's a double whammy in summer when your keeping the pipes hot and that heat is entering your home where you run the AC to cool the house. In winter it's not such a waste as the heat being lost from the pipes helps heat your home.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 07:53 AM
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Looks like a timer wouldn't be a bad idea. Now just to figure when we'd not need the water ready to go. Invariably, my wife will complain at some point when she takes a shower when the pump is not set to be running - 'we paid for the pump and it's not hot'. Yeah, but its middle of the day / night and you don't normally take a shower now : )
 
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Old 05-17-16, 08:22 AM
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If you travel I'd also install a manual switch so you can turn off the pump altogether when you will be gone for extended periods.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 10:18 AM
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DOH! That's a good point. But I don't get out much : ) I'm starting to like / hand't though of that pushbutton in the bath idea that carbide mentioned.
 
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Old 05-22-16, 05:57 AM
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In summer, turn off the recirculation system. Run the water when needed and wait for it to get hot. Catch the water in a bucket and use it to flush the toilet.
 
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