What Is a Hot Water Recirculating Pump?

A hot water recirculating pump is a type of pump installed in plumbing systems that pulls heated water from a water heater while simultaneously pushing cooled water in pipes to the heater. These types of pumps ensure that hot water is available almost instantaneously and on demand. 

In a traditional plumbing system, the water heater only starts operating once a tap is turned on. Thus it would take some time for heated water to reach fixtures which could result to wastage. This problem is eradicated with hot water recirculating pumps as hot water is made available readily to users.

A hot water recirculating pump is great in areas experiencing water shortage or where water is in limited supply.

Hot Water Recirculating Pumps for Homes

Many hot water recirculating pumps for home use are made of bronze to prevent corrosion as oxygenated potable water flows through pipes which could cause rust in certain metals.  

There are different kinds of hot water recirculating pumps. Older models are installed under sinks of the farthest fixtures and starts with the push of a button. The problem with this type of design is you would have to wait for hot water. They also consume a considerable amount of electricity. Installation can also be an issue as it can be physically challenging to mount a pump under a sink.

Another type is installed near the water heater. In these models, water is sent by the pump to the water heater whenever the temperature drops to a certain level at the activation valve. This particular design can be quite expensive to maintain since hot water is pumped even while you are not actively using the hot water fixtures.

Probably the best hot water recirculating pump systems today are those that have a timer mounted on the pump, which can be placed near the water heater, and a temperature controlled by-pass valve placed under the farthest fixture sink. You can program the pump to turn on and off in certain time intervals to supply hot water only when it is most needed, such as early evenings and mornings. These types of models also consume minimal power and eliminate or reduce water wastage.


Recirculating pumps are compact in size and in general very easy to install. They can be easily incorporated in standard plumbing systems found in most homes. One need not have special skills or advanced tools when installing one. They should ideally be installed during the building phase of a structure so that piping systems could be designed to accommodate them conveniently.

Special permits are not required when mounting one in your home and some areas even offer rebates and discounts for installation and purchase of such pumps.

Cost and Availability

Recirculating pumps are readily available and can be bought in retail stores, hardware supply shops to name a few. They can be quite expensive with models costing $400 upwards. However, it pays itself off due to the savings that one derives from its use.