Is a Hot Water Recirculating Pump Worth It? (Pros, Cons & Costs)

We all know the struggle of waiting for hot water at the faucet. Not only does the wait seem like forever, but there’s a lot of water that ends up being wasted in the process. Installing a hot water recirculating pump can solve this problem. 

A hot water recirculating pump is worth installing in any home. With the time and water expended waiting for hot water to arrive, a hot water recirculating pump should be considered to help you save more time on household tasks and use less water. The average cost of installation is $200-800, but you can expect to save hundreds each month on utility bills in return. 

There are plenty of reasons to install a hot water recirculating pump. In this article, we’ll go over the pros and cons of installing one, how they work, and the different types of hot water recirculating pump systems. We’ll also get into the cost behind installing the pump and how much you can end up saving with one.

What is a water-recirculating pump?

A hot water recirculating pump is a pump that gets attached to the hot water line of your heater. It keeps the hot water constantly circulating through the pipes. As a result, it saves you water and time when completing daily household tasks. 

Recirculating pumps contain pipe thread connectors that are usually placed near the water heater. The threads measure approximately ¾ inch, and integrate into the hot water line to supply heated water to nearby fixtures. 

Water Circulation Diagram
Water Circulation Diagram

When you have a water-recirculating pump, you can expect hot water on demand, whenever you need it. You will not have to wait for cold water to warm up when washing your hands, doing the dishes, showering, or anything else that requires hot water.  

There are some other parts you can buy that will help you make the most of your system. Firstly, a timer can help you run the pump during the times you may need it most. Next, a check valve will make sure your water flows in one direction. Lastly, a temperature sensor will ensure the water circulating doesn’t get too hot.

How does a recirculating water pump work?

A recirculating water pump provides instant hot water by using a temperature sensor valve to rotate it through the pipes. The pump, which is located either on the hot water pipe or the cold after the pipe, depending on the system, sends hot water into circulation. 

It goes from the heater to the fixtures, then returning to the heater, either through a hot water return pipe, or the cold water pipe. The temperature sensor regulates when the hot water flows and when it stops to maintain a warm balance. Timers can run your pump at set times of the day to save electricity and wear and tear on the pump.

Recirculating Water Pump System
Recirculating Water Pump Work

This keeps the hot water accessible when you need it by having it in the pipes at all times. By having the hot water constantly circulating and ready to use, you won’t have to run the water for minutes. This results in less water wasted and more money saved. 

One of the best things about a recirculating water pump is that no action is needed from the user. After you install the pump, it will do all the work for you. When you need hot water, you will have to do nothing more than turn on your faucet! 

Are there different types of water recirculation systems? 

There are two main types of hot water recirculating pumps. The first option is the double tee bypass system, or comfort system. This pump is installed on the cold water line. 

It sends the water from the heater through the hot water pipes, around into the cold water pipes, then back into the heater. This keeps the hot water warm, as well as the cold water. You can also attach a temperature sensor or a timer to keep the water from getting too hot. 

Recirculating Pump Comfort System
Recirculating Pump Comfort System

The second system is more expensive and usually better when you’re installing new plumbing or building a house. It has a pump located in the hot water line. 

This system is installed with a separate hot water pipe where the cycled water can return to the water heater. From there, the water just cycles through the loop.

There is a third option for circulating hot water, and that’s the gravity-fed system. Basically, if your water heater is underneath the fixture that’s using the hot water, then the hot water will naturally rise, and the cold will sink and mix in. This means the hot water is naturally quicker to come out.

What are the pros and cons of a hot water recirculating pump?

As with any new purchase or installation, there are pros and cons of water recirculating pumps. Adequate hot water circulation is one of the advantages. Water runs warm through the pipes and keeps them ready for when you need hot water. It will be right there on demand due to its sensors and constant circulation.

Another pro is the cuts to water, electric, and gas bills. This pump keeps you from wasting water when taking a shower, doing dishes, or washing your hands. 

With the water staying warm, you won’t have to keep reheating it, which saves on gas and electricity. Also, the electricity used by the pump is minimal, like a lightbulb, so it has a minimal effect on your monthly spending. 

hot water recirculating pump
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There are some cons to hot water recirculating pumps as well. At times the hearings can go bad, which can cause them to become noisy. Also, the pump can experience wear over time, so maintenance may be needed. 

The cost of installation can be a little high depending on what system you use and if you need a plumber for help. Between other parts you want to install and extra plumbing and labor, it can be around $1000. 

If you’re able to install it yourself, this price won’t be so high. Also, you have to consider the savings you’ll see in return. The great thing is these pumps last about ten years, so you won’t have to worry about repairs or replacements for a while.

Overall, hot water recirculating pumps have a positive effect. By saving water, electricity, and gas, you are having a positive impact on the environment and your community as well. This helps conserve water which saves more for drinking. There is also less fuel burned for electricity.

Although the initial setup can be costly and requires some hard work, the long-term benefits outweigh the cons. The pumps help give ease to the household, saves money, and saves time. Getting a hot water recirculating pump keeps more money in your pocket and even has a green effect on the environment.

How much money does it cost to install the hot water recirculating pump?

To install a recirculating pump, you can expect to pay around $200-800. If you have handy skills or are confident in your DIY abilities, then you can attempt to install one yourself. However, most people will opt to hire a plumber for installation. 

The actual cost of your installation will depend on a few factors. In general, plumbers charge hourly for their work. The average rate is $100, but this does not include any service charges or minimums your project may incur. 

With hourly rates as low as $25 all the way up to $200, the final number is determined by how long it takes to install your system from beginning to end. The setup you choose is important when it comes to pricing. 

For instance, if you go with the second system setup mentioned above, there will be more rerouting of plumbing required. This will result in longer working hours and higher costs. Such an invasive process is only recommended for new builds or simultaneous construction projects if you’re looking to save money.  

Is a recirculating pump worth it?

Although the upfront cost of installing a recirculating pump may seem intimidating, there are still many comfort perks to consider when deciding if getting one is right for your home. 

The hot water recirculating pump saves on water costs and heat in the long run. The average family uses almost 500 gallons of water every month, paying an average of $75 for the bill. 

These figures only increase for larger households. As a result, any cut in water usage can decrease bill payments significantly, possibly amounting to hundreds of dollars in yearly savings. 

This means that a recirculating pump not only pays for itself but saves you money each month. When you look at comfortability, it also supplies you with hot water quicker and warm water consistently. 


A water recirculating pump heats water consistently, providing hot water on demand for the user. This eliminates any waiting time and speeds up household tasks like doing dishes or taking a shower. 

Overall, there are a lot of benefits to installing a hot water recirculating pump, from the ease of access to hot water to the money you will save on electricity and water. It might be a little costly to get it installed, but this product really pays for itself. 

Not only will the money you save replace what you initially spent, but it will last for about ten years and provides household comfort that is unmatched. If you’re looking for a solution for delayed hot water in your home, consider a recirculating pump. Consult with a professional near you for personalized recommendations on the best system for your household needs. 

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