Features to Look for in a Hot Water Recirculating System

Water in a shower.

Installing a hot water recirculating system in your piping system is one way of ensuring that you have hot water available each and every time. There are many models available in the market today. By studying the features in a hot water recirculating system, you increase your chances of getting the best models out there.

Recirculating Pump

The recirculating pump is the dynamo that moves the water around the piping system. It is made up of three components: the motor, pump impeller and support bearings. The motor powers the pump impeller; it spins to pull hot water up into the fixtures and pushes cold water out into the water heater. When buying a hot water recirculating pump, choose one that is made of bronze since it has anti-corrosive properties. This feature is beneficial since potable water that flows through domestic pipes is oxygenated and can cause rust. There are also new models with innovative features that prevent calcium and mineral build-up as well.

Avoid pumps that keep on working even if hot water reaches the desired temperature. These types of pumps can be quite expensive to operate. They make your heater work overtime; this could shorten its lifespan.

Observe how a particular pump runs. Choose models that have silent motors and avoid ones that vibrate excessively.

Temperature Settings

Choose recirculating systems that allow you to select the temperature of the hot water that comes out. In this way, you are ensured that the hot water that flows out of fixtures is to your liking. For substantial cost savings, choose push button or motion sensor-operated systems. With these types of design, the pumps work only when you need hot water—cutting down on energy costs.

Bypass Valves and Water Lines

Systems that you need to avoid are ones that siphon water from the hot water line when pulling up cold water. In such a set-up, when you turn on a cold water faucet, lukewarm to warm water will initially come out of the fixture; this is not usable and results in wasted water. These models typically use inferior check valves and thermostatic valves that are vulnerable to temperature fluctuations occurring during cold-water use. Valves also remain open when the temperature of the water in the pipes is not higher than 95 degrees Fahrenheit; this causes the heater to work, even if hot water is not needed; this results in an additional burden to heaters. This could shorten the heater’s expected lifespan.

Newer models have efficient bypass valves that prevent hot water from entering cold water pipe lines; this means you get cold water the entire time during cold-water use.


There are some inferior systems requiring periodic cleaning and maintenance. This can be burdensome and time-consuming. Look for newer models that need less maintenance activities.

When buying a recirculating pump, go over a variety of models; compare features and specifications. Pick one that that offers the best value for your money. It would also be helpful to ask experienced plumbers what brands are reputable and reliable.