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The 5 Best Hot Water Recirculation Pumps

Fed up waiting for your water to get hot? Or are you worried about the gallons of water that is wasted each week as you wait for the hot water to heat up? You can save time, money, energy, and water by installing a hot water recirculation pump.

best-hot-water-recirculation-pump-reviewsFind the perfect pump for your home, with a little help from Water Filter Answers.

We’ve reviewed the 5 best hot water recirculation pumps available today.

Take a look at our comparison table where you can compare the key features of each model.

Then, we’ve reviewed each model in more detail.

Read our buyer’s guide if you need to learn a bit more about these devices.

The 5 Best Hot Water Recirculating Pump Reviews

In our opinion these are the 5 top hot water circulator systems on the market. See how each hot water recirculation pump reviews after the table.

 ModelTimerTypePriceRating


Grundfos Comfort System

YesWater Heater Mounted$$$4.5


Laing Autocirc

YesUnder Sink$$$4.2


Watts 500800

YesWater Heater Mounted$$4.4


Grundfos UP15-42F

No (extra purchase)Water Heater Mounted$4.4


Taco 006-B4

No (extra purchase)Under Sink$$4.5

Grundfos-595916-review-pictureGrundfos Comfort System          OUR TOP PICK

Rating: 4.5
Price: $$$

This Grundfos hot water recirculation pump is a premier model that incorporates automatic features that only the top models have. What’s more, it only uses 25 Watts of power (less than most lightbulbs), and is backed by an awesome two year warranty.

The Comfort System was designed to take all the hassle out of installing a hot water circulating system. When retrofitting a new system, the included bypass valve makes installation possible without a return line and no need for an electricity supply under the sink. Installation is straight forward and can be achieved in less than a couple of hours.

The pump is installed at the hot water discharge on top of the water heater, with the valve installed under the sink at the furthest fixture from the heater. The system pumps water though the cold water line, back to the water heater.

The quiet motor can be left to run continuously, or controlled by the timer or aquastat (this turns the pump off when a desired temperature is reached). These automatic functions are designed to save energy and water by limiting the times when the pump is on. The 24 hour programmable timer can be set to only run at peak times when everyone is home.

Being a Grundfos hot water recirculation pump, you can be assured of the build quality and reliability. The two year warranty is the best we have encountered in recirculating pumps, and is actually double what most other manufacturers offer.

Bottom Line: This is our favorite hot water pump on the market. The automatic features like the timer and aquastat, combined with the excellent warranty and efficient Grundfos motor, make this one of the best hot water recirculation pumps around.


Laing-LHB08100092-AutoCircLaing Autocirc              The Easiest Installation

Rating: 4.2
Price: $$$

The Laing Autocirc is specifically designed for potable water systems. It’s perfect for retrofits and doesn’t require any recirculation pipe. It’s actually installed under the sink (or furthest faucet point from the water heater) which makes installation among the easiest of the various recirculation pumps.

As with all top pumps, this one comes with automatic modes. The Autocirc is controlled using a timer and thermostat. The thermostat has a temperature sensor that automatically switches the pump on when the water temperature dips below 32ºC or 89.6ºF. The pump is then automatically turned off when the temperature gets to 35ºC or 95ºF. These controls make sure there is always hot water right when you need it.

The 24 hour programmable timer can be adjusted so that the pump is only in operation when it is needed. Timers are an essential component of an efficient recirculation pump system.

A final note on this pump is that it draws very little power. It can work with as little as 14 Watts of power, which is quite amazing. The silent motor can save serious amounts of household water, which is great for the environment and also your pocket.

If you’re looking for a pump designed for tankless water heaters, then Laing also make the E10 series recirculator which is perfect for these installations.

Bottom Line: The Laing Autocirc isn’t cheap, but it comes with some quality features. Installation of this system is also about as easy as it gets for recirculation pumps, as it doesn’t need a return line. Laing recirc pumps are high quality pieces of gear.


watts-500800-reviewWatts 500800          The Best Value

Rating: 4.4
Price: $$

The Watts 500800 is a very popular model due to the features it offers at such a competitive price tag. Watts manufacture a range of plumbing supplies and their products are always billed as offering great value.

This model is one of the easiest recirculation pumps to install. Watts state installation should take 1 hour, but I this is a little optimistic, especially for first timers. A big bonus with the installation of this model is that it doesn’t require any additional piping. It simply mounts on the top of a water heater with 3/4″ connections (it’s not suitable for use with tankless water heaters). The sensor valve is then installed under the sink of the furthest faucet from the water heater.

The pump comes with all the necessary components, meaning you just need the tools. The kit includes:

  • Pump + 24 programmable hour timer
  • 2 adapters + rubber washers
  • Valve mounting screws
  • Sensor valve
  • 2 x 12″ supply lines
  • 10 ft. electric cord

The 24 hour timer is a great feature, especially at this price. The timer has dual settings and is completely programmable. Simply set the times when your home is busiest and the hot water is being used the most, and the pump will do its thing. Getting a pump that includes a timer is a essential in my opinion, as it will save a lot of energy in the long term. Besides being better for the environment, this will save you money too.

The Watts 500800 runs really quietly and you won’t notice any vibrations through the floors or walls. The motor is actually made by Grundfos, who make some of the most reliable water pumps around. The unit comes with a one year warranty, which is about standard for recirculation pumps. If you need a better warranty then check out the Grundfos Comfort System, that we reviewed earlier.

Bottom Line: This is a really attractive pump due to the value for money that it offers. It’s actually made by Grundfos, but lacks the price tag that their models come with. That means it’s a reliable performer that won’t let you down. However, it doesn’t have that two year warranty that Grundfos models come with. This Watts hot water recirculating system reviews really well on sites like Amazon too.


taco-006-b4-reviewTaco 006-B4             The Easiest to Maintain

Rating: 4.5
Price: $$

Taco pumps are particularly popular with plumbers. They are held in high regard due to the reliability that their motors offer. They might not be flashy, but they are dependable. The Taco 006-B4 uses a 1/40 HP motor that runs quietly and works efficiently.

The standout feature of this pump is the unique cartridge design. The cartridge contains all of the moving parts and it is completely replaceable. This means that if the pump needs serviced or the circulator needs replaced, then you only need to replace the cartridge. The cartridge costs around 1/2 of the price of the unit, so this neat feature can save you money down the line. Being able to remove and replace the key components makes servicing this unit an absolute breeze.

However, there is a trade-off here. The Taco 006 lacks a built-in timer feature. This would have to be bought and fitted as an extra (something that’s not difficult to do), and is something you would have to budget for (should you want one). The Taco brand timer is quite expensive, but third party timers like this one are significantly cheaper.

Bottom Line: If the reliability or maintenance of a hot water circulating system worry you, then this pump is the answer. The replaceable cartridge design is one which other brands should follow. It’s a really solid performer that is built to go on and on. Of our hot water recirculation pump reviews, this is the one that plumbers swear by.


Grundfos-59896155-reviewGrundfos UP15-42F            The Budget Choice

Rating: 4.4
Price: $

The UP15-42F uses a 1/25 horse power motor to give an impressive max water flow rate of 15.5 gallons per minute. It is therefore capable of pumping large amounts of water around the house.

Grundfos are renowned for the quality of their pumps and this is no exception. The cast iron casing houses a heavy duty bronze and stainless steel pump. Despite being quite a powerful pump, it is very quiet. It is also designed with efficiency in mind, and only draws 25 Watts of power.

The reason for this pump being much cheaper than the others is the lack of any automated features. However, a timer and heat sensor shut-off are available as extra purchases. These add-ons could potentially save a great deal of energy, water, and money in the long term. Both of these add-ons would raise the price to a $$ rating.

Bottom Line: Grundfos pumps are durable and efficient. This is the cheapest in their range, but it can be relied upon to work smoothly for years and years. This is also the cheapest of our hot water recirculating system reviews. You won’t get a reliable system for much less than this.


Why Get a Hot Water Recirculation Pump?

Fed up waiting for the faucet water to get hot? Most of us have this problem, and it’s not just an issue with patience. Running the hot water faucet while waiting for hot water wastes an incredible amount of water. That’s bad for the environment and bad for your wallet.

Instant hot water is a dream in most homes. The reason for this is that your water pipes are filled with cold, still water when not in use. When you open the faucet you have to release all of the cold water in the pipes before the hot water reaches the faucet. Releasing all of this cold water down the drain, can waste thousands of gallons of water over the course of a year.

According to Watts, the average home has 125 feet of 3/4″ water piping.

125 feet of 3/4″ water pipes holds about 3.14 gallons of water.

If this is emptied 10 times each day (while waiting for the water to become hot), that equals 10 x 3.14.

If 31.4 gallons of water is wasted each day, then around 11,461 gallons of water is wasted each year.

The cost effective solution to all this water waste is a hot water recirculation pump.


What’s a Recirculation Pump?

A hot water recirculation pump is installed in the plumbing lines. It pumps the cold water (that lies in your pipes) back into the water heater so that it is heated. By pumping the cold water back to the heater, there is no wasted cold water when you open a faucet. The water in the pipe is already hot.

There are a few different types of hot water circulating systems available. Let’s take a look at the three main options.

Traditional System

With a traditional hot water recirculation system, there is a return line that runs from the furthest away water fixture point back to the hot water heater. The pump is situated next to the heater and draws water back from this fixture. The water is pumped into the water heater, ready to be heated.

Instant System

These models are for homes that don’t have the dedicated return line. This means they are much more flexible with regards to installation. They can be installed in pretty much any house.

There are two main choices with an instant recirculation pump. There’s the type that is installed under the sink, and the type that is installed over the water heater.

When installed above the water heater, the pump pushes hot water into the pipes. A check valve is installed at the furthest plumbing fixture from the heater to create the pressure needed to do this.

The drawback with these systems is that the fixture where the check valve is installed will briefly give hot water from the cold faucet when it is first opened.

The under sink hot water recirculating pump is installed under the sink that is furthest from the water heater. The drawback with this system is that it requires a power source under the sink (or very close by).

Both types of these hot water recirculation pumps (instant & traditional) offer features that can save money, energy and water. A common and very useful feature is a timer. This allows you to only run the pump during periods of the day when people need it. There’s no point running a pump when everyone is at work.

Another great feature is a temperature sensor. The sensor only turns on the pump when the water temperature falls below a certain level. Again, this is a great way of saving money.

On-Demand System

The on-demand system works quite like the instant one, but the difference being that the pump is activated by the user. It works by pumping the cold water that lies in the hot water pipes, back up into the cold water pipes. From here it then ends up in the hot water heater. When the newly heated water reaches the hot water pipes again, the pump is turned off when a specific temperature is reached.

This type of system effectively monitors itself and this makes it very efficient. It shuts itself off when the water is hot enough.

You might think that this kind of system is old fashioned as it doesn’t use a timer and needs to be manually turned on. However, wireless remote controls can be used which means you don’t have to leave the comfort of your sofa to turn on the hot water pump.

Check out our hot water recirculation system reviews to see how the different methods compare.


Pros & Cons of Recirculation Pumps

Pros

  • They waste less water. You can potentially save thousands of gallons of water each year. This benefits the environment and also your bank balance.
  • You get hot water faster. In some homes, the wait for hot water is infuriating. Eliminate the wait with a hot water circulating pump.

Cons

  • They can cause a slight delay in the cold water line.
  • They use electricity. Though with most models the power usage is around the same as a lightbulb.

Check out our hot water recirculation system reviews to see which model offers the best balance of value, efficiency, and reliability.


How to Install a Hot Water Recirculation Pump

Installing a hot water circulating pump sounds very complicated, but in most cases it’s not. You can expect to install one in most cases in just a couple of hours.

The video below is very informative and gives a step by step guide of how to install the Watts 500800 system. This installation guide holds true for systems that are installed above the water heater and use a check valve. The installation of the under sink type pump is actually even easier.

If you aren’t able to watch the video, we’ve summarized the steps too.

  1. Turn off the power to your hot water heater. Likewise, turn off the gas for gas systems, and make sure the pilot light is out.
  2. Find the valve that controls the water supply for your water heater. Turn this off.
  3. Run a faucet (preferably a tub) to drain the hot water pipes.
  4. Drain any remaining hot water from the tank using the spigot at the bottom. Close the spigot when the tank is empty.
  5. Disconnect the hot water discharge line at the top of the water heater.
  6. Insert a gasket into the female fitting of the recirculation pump and screw it onto the hot water discharge. Make sure the connection is tight by using a wrench.
  7. Connect the discharge line (that was connected to the water heater) and screw it onto the discharge outlet of the recirculation pump. Make sure the connection is tight.
  8. Turn the water supply back on and check for leaks.
  9. Connect your recirculation pump to a power supply.
  10. To install the sensor valve, select the faucet that is the furthest distance from the water heater.
  11. Turn off the hot and cold water supplies by turning off the stop valves under the sink.
  12. Using a wrench, disconnect the hot and cold water lines.
  13. Connect the sensor valve to the hot and cold water supply lines. The sensor valve has 1/2″ connections and most compression fittings are 3/8″. You will probably need to use adaptors or flexible hose that has the required fitting sizes. These are included with most models.
  14. Turn the water supplies back on and check for leaks.

If you know of any models that deserve a place on our list of top hot water recirculating pump reviews then please let us know.

If you have any questions then get in contact and we’ll do our best to help.

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