SKYNESHER | ISTOCK.COM
If you want hot water from the faucet fast, you might consider installing a hot water recirculation system—a plumbing system that quickly delivers hot water to household fixtures and can help conserve water and energy in some situations.
A recirculating pump quickly pulls hot water from the water heater while sending cold water back to the water heater at the same time. The process is similar to letting cold water run until it gets hot, but instead of letting it go down the drain, the cold water returns to the water heater.
Some systems can be controlled by a button, timer or motion sensor while others operate continuously.
There are two types of hot water recirculation systems, according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.
With a dedicated loop system, a pump is connected to the water heater tank, and a looped hot water pipe is installed throughout the home. The loop passes near each water fixture, and each fixture connects to it by a short pipe. When a valve opens, the hot water in the nearby loop is delivered quickly to the fixture.
Dedicated loop systems cost more upfront because of the investment in pipe and fittings, but the convenience of hot water delivered quickly to the faucet combined with water savings might make it worthwhile for some homeowners.
With an integrated loop system, a pump is installed under the fixture farthest from the pump. A sensor turns the pump on or off when the water temperature reaches certain levels. Integrated loop systems cost less to install because they require only a pump and fittings.
Beware, however, of recirculation systems that run continuously. They have the potential to use more energy because of the energy spent pumping and the loss of heat from the hot water pipes. Be sure to insulate hot water pipes, too, because poorly insulated pipes result in heat loss. That might be OK in winter but can inflate your air conditioning bill during the summer.
Posted: 10/8/2020 10:27:59 AM