A hot shower is something that we all love, yet from the minute you open a tap, you have to wait for about 30 seconds for the faucet to start producing hot water. While as the wait goes on, a little amount of cold water goes to waste. Multiply that by the number of times you and/or members in your home use the shower each day and you will realize you waste hundreds of gallons of water per year. A hot water recirculating pump not only provides hot water in an instant but also reduces the annual waste of domestic water and reduces water and energy bills.
It is estimated that you can save more than 10,000 gallons of water by installing this device in your home. However, many people will find it hard to choose the best hot water recirculating pump from the hundreds of models currently on the market. This is where we come in with our comprehensive buying guide to help you find a good pump. We talk about why you need a maintenance-free pump, the need to consider your flange size before buying one and why flow rate and noise level matter.
Besides, you will find detailed reviews of our top 5 hot water recirculating pumps, which we arrived after a careful look into the important features as well as after intensive research through manufacturer’s website and customer reviews. Without further ado, let’s dive into the main course.
Watts 500800 – Editor’s Choice
- Temperature: 40° F to 180° F
- Outlet: 3/4’’
- Power cord: 10 ft
- Warranty: 1-year limited
More features: 24 hour timer, two 12’’ supply lines included, 120 V
The Watts 500800 is a popular choice in many homes and ranked Amazon’s choice so it’s no mistake that we have it as our best pick. Watts have it that this hot water recirculating pump can save up to 15,000 gallons of water per year and ultimately save up to 10% of your water bill. The pump itself costs only 5 cents a day to run.
This device is a doddle to install and you can complete the task in under an hour. Installation instructions are pretty straightforward with text combined with pictures for a clear picture of what you are supposed to do. You can save up some bucks for not hiring a professional to do the job for you. Better still, there is no need for any additional piping as the unit easily mounts on the top of a water heater with 3/4-inch connection.
Supplied with this pump are all the necessary components including pump + 24h programmable timer, 2 adapters + rubber washers, valve mounting screws, sensor valve, 2 x 12’’ supply lines, and 10ft electric cord. There is even extra sensor valve for houses with multiple plumbing loops.
The 24h timer is a nice feature. Programmable and with dual settings, the timer allows you to set the time when your house will be busy and hot water on demand, and the hot water recirculating pump will do the rest. Another thing we love is the quiet operation and the maintenance-free design of this pump.
Considering all this and the price tag of this pump, you realize the Watts 500800 is a great value for virtually every consumer.
- High annual water-saving capability – up to 15,000 gallons
- Requires no maintenance.
- Pretty easy to install
- Comes with programmable 24h timer
- Supplied with everything you need to install
- Great balance between features and price
- Not compatible will all types of heaters, particularly tankless water heaters
Taco 006-B4 – Easiest to Service Hot Water Recirculating Pump
- Temperature: 40° F to 220° F
- Outlet: 3/4’’
- Water flow: 0-10 GPM
- Pressure: 125 psi
- Warranty: 3-year limited
More features: self-lubricating, bronze, 115 V, 9’ head range
This Taco 006-B4 is a huge favorite for plumbers, with typical uses including hydronic heating, hydro-air heating and cooling, water source heat pumps, and other open or closed looped applications. The pump looks rugged in construction, but it is very much reliable, allowing minimum water temperature of 40° F and a maximum of 220° F, which is very hot water above boiling point. It houses a 1/40HP motor that operates quietly; you will barely hear any sound or vibrations.
A great component of this hot water recirculating pump is the uniquely-designed cartridge. While it houses all the moving parts, the cartridge is fully replaceable. This allows you to replace it whenever you will need to service the pump or change the circulator. The cartridge itself comes at 1/2 the price of the entire pump, thus this nice feature can be cost-saving in the long-term. The ability to remove and replace the crucial parts of this pump makes servicing the unit an easy task.
The pump is also compact and low on power consumption, so it won’t spike your energy bill while reducing water bill on the other hand. The ideal connection size is a 3/4’’ sweat and the pump works with a maximum water pressure of 125psi.
One thing that’s lacking in this pump is a timer, though you can fit one if it’s something that you really want. A timer from Taco should be expensive but you can get cheaper options elsewhere.
Overall, this hot water recirculating system from Taco is highly dependable and easy to maintain owing to the replaceable cartridge design. It is then backed by an industry-leading 3-year warranty.
- Replaceable cartridge for easy servicing
- Allows even very hot water to pass through
- Quiet motor operations
- Low power consumption
- No programmable timer
Grundfos UP15-10SU7P TLC – Most Durable Hot Water Recirculating Pump
- Temperature: 36° F to 150° F
- Outlet: 3/4’’
- Water flow: 6.3 GPM
- Pressure: 145 psi
- Warranty: 2-year limited
More features: corrosion resistant impeller, 115 V, self-lubricating, 5.1’ head range, 1/25 hp motor
This Grundfos UP15-10SU7P TLC is marketed as a replacement for the Grundfos 595916 and it integrates some premium automatic features that truly reflect its slightly higher price. First of all, the body is made out of bronze and stainless steel, making it extremely durable and long-lasting in performance. The built-in motor consumes just 25 watts of power, which is actually less than most lightbulbs and thus saving water and energy bills at the same time.
While some people complained that its predecessor Grundfos 595916 was noisy, this UP15-10SU7P TLC runs whisper-quiet that you will forget you have it installed in your home. Installation itself is quite easy and something you can do in less than an hour following a set of supplied instructions. It is only compatible with 3/4-inch tank connection and comes with a 6ft electric cord. The pump is fixed at the hot water discharge above the water heater, with the sensor valve installed below the sink at the furthest point from the heater. The recirculating system will then pump water via the cold water line and back to the heater at a pressure of 145psi. The flow rate is advertised as ranging from 0 – 9 GPM but the normal rate will be 6.3 GPM.
The motor can be left to operate full time or controlled by a digital timer. The programmable can help limit the amount of times the pump is on by setting it to run only when everyone is at home. Last but not least, the pump comes with a 2-year warranty and being a Grundfos product, you can trust the quality and reliability.
- Top quality construction featuring bronze and stainless steel
- Low power consumption
- Quiet running motor
- Comes with a timer
- Straightforward installation
- Specially-designed for water heating systems
- Pumps out warm water, not hot water
- Quite expensive compared to other models
Bokywox RS15-9G – Best Value Hot Water Recirculating Pump
- Cord length: 4.1 ft
- Temperature: 0° F to 212° F
- Outlet: 3/4’’
- Water flow: 8 GPM
- Pressure: 145 psi
More features: anti-fraying, 120 V, stainless steel pump head, single-phase motor
Another great hot water recirculating pump that deserves a spot in this list is the Bokywox RS15-9G. This pump is suitable for a variety of applications including city buildings, houses, suburban villas, air conditioning, boilers, solar circulating water and many more. There are plenty of features that the manufacturer claims and customers have pointed them out as well. The pump is extremely low on noise and fully leak-proof, making it suitable for use in homes.
This motor is fully environmental protected with IP44 insulation class F and the product has a simple installation setup that you can easily fit by following the supplied instructions. The package includes everything required to self-install the pump in your home or any suitable application. The pump okay for hot hot water and ethanol with the maximum ratio of 1:1. It works at a maximum pressure of 145psi and operates within a temperature range of -10 to +110F.
For optimal functioning, the pump requires 110-120V (-/+10) at a frequency of 60Hz. Built-in high sensitive electronic sensors allow water to flow once you open the switch and you can choose between manual or automatic operation. A 3-speed control is an added bonus. The pump boasts a strong construction too, with metal components made from stainless steel, others from polypropylene and ceramics.
All things considered, this pump is sturdily built, highly practical and easy to install in the first place. Moreover, it is one of the best hot water recirculating pumps you will find on a budget.
- Environmental protected motor with IP44 insulation class F
- Durable, maintenance-free construction
- High temperature resistance
- Super silent operation
- Low energy consumption
- High water flow – 8 GPM
- Convenient installation procedure
- Suitable for a wide range of applications
- May take a bit to pump out hot water after it is started
Kolerflo RS15-6 SS – Budget Pick
- Cord length: 4.1 ft
- Temperature: 0° F to 212° F
- Outlet: 3/4’’
- Water flow: 10 GPM
- Pressure: 145 psi
More features: 120 V, corrosion resistant, ceramic shaft, stainless steel
For those looking for an absolute budget unit, here comes the Kolerflo RS15-6 SS. Specifically designed for floor heating system and water recirculating system, this pump makes hot water available in your home even before you need it. The selling point of this product is the adjustable power setting, allowing you select from 46, 67 and 93 watts of power. The settings are labelled as 1, 2 and 3, respectively for convenient selection.
The system runs water at a maximum pressure of 10bar with a liquid temperature range of 0℉ – +212℉. Flow rate depends on the selected setting, with the lowest being 20 liters per minute and the highest 36 litres per minute.
The product is built to last with various materials used for different parts. The pump housing is made from cast iron, the impeller from corrosion-resistant composite, the shaft from ceramic and the bearing features carbon axial. It also benefits from environmental protection class IP44, meaning water or solid objects cannot reach the electrical parts. It also operates quietly and consumes low amounts of energy.
Another thing to love about this pump is the ease of installation. There is a manual with step by step diagrams that you will barely go wrong with the setup and you may not need a professional plumber. If you have a favourite color, this product is available in green, blue, red and SS green, so you surely should find your match.
If you like the idea of being in control of your pump in terms of power and flow rate, we highly recommend this Kolerflo RS15-6 SS.
- IP44 rated for maximum reliability
- Low noise
- Easy to install
- Multiple power settings for optimum control
- High flow rate of 10 GPM
- Can be used in a variety of applications
- Built from heavy-duty materials
- Instructions could do with a bit of paperwork
Should you buy a hot water circulator pump?
Now, an average home wastes approximately 15,000 gallons of water per year. The greater percentage of this figure comes from letting water to flow into the drainage people wait for it to get warm. It happens in showers, baths, kitchen sink and other household tasks.
The idea of a hot water recirculating pump is to provide hot water as conveniently as possible. Ideally, the distance hot water needs to travel from the heater to the fixtures in your home is the reason why cold water comes out first.
When you turn off the faucet, the hot water remains in the piping and cools down over time. The next you want to use the shower, the idle cold water has to be pushed out by hot water that’s coming from the heater. Also remember that the more the plumbing between the water heater and the tap, the longer cold water will take to be sent out.
By installing a hot water recirculating pump, you get rid of the cold water in the pipes because the pump is designed to return unused hot water back to the heater. That means every other time you turn on the faucet, you will only get hot water.
- Hot water in an instant and no more wastage.
- Reduced water bills.
- Affordable and easy to install – some without even the need for a plumber.
- Compatible with almost all home and commercial plumbing systems.
- No construction permit required to install it.
- It’s a DIY thing – no special equipment or training required.
- Some models operate full-time and may cost a lot to run.
- May delay cold water when you need it.
Types of hot water circulation systems
- Temperature activated – this type monitors the temperature of the water in the piping and adjusts itself accordingly. For instance, if the temperature falls below 80°F, it activates the pump. Conversely, if the mercury rises above say 100° Fahrenheit, it shuts off to conserve energy.
- Time activated – this pump is programmable and turns on/off based on your settings. A great idea is to set it to work on busy hours such as in the morning or evening when everyone has to take a shower. You can then have it off for the rest of the day.
- On-demand pump – this one is always on and provides hot water every time you need it. It is the cheapest type, but it makes sense to buy either of the above two to minimize running costs.
Features to consider while buying the best hot water recirculating pump
Measured in gallons per minute (GPM), it refers to the amount of water that travels through the pipes. The flow rate also determines the water pressure that comes out of the faucet. Flow rate makes the difference between a powerful, invigorating shower and a slow running faucet. The former is always a great welcome. Some nice models such as the Kolerflo RS15-6 SS have adjustable flow rates, so whether you want slow or high pressure, you get it.
The connection system is important to look at as it determines how you will have to connect the pump. Most pumps work with flanges of sizes 3/4 inch. Each model indicates the right connection for it so you just have to make sure you pick the right one.
You want to get a pump with great horsepower as that translates to more strength. The horsepower will likewise affect the flow rate.
Some models require regular maintenance, while others are virtually maintenance-free. Obviously, you will want a pump with low servicing needs so that you will not have to worry about repairs.
Some of us want hot water and others prefer warm water. Therefore, pick a pump type that gives water at your desired temperature. The Watts 500800 is a great choice as it has a temperature range of 40° F to 180° F, which sounds ideal for most people.
Again, it is all about durability. In most pumps, metal components are usually made of stainless steel, which is highly rust-resistant. Other parts that get in contact with water may be made of ceramics – also durable, good insulators and highly heat resistant. Generally speaking, the kind of materials used in pump construction will have an impact on its longevity.
Every manufacturer knows that no one wants a noisy pump installed in their home. As such, most pumps are relatively quiet but some are more silent than others. You can count on customer reviews on this note.
You have probably noticed from the reviews above that many of these products have short-term warranties of 1 to 2 years. Only the Taco 006-B4 has a three-year warranty, but the other models are of high-quality as well. Warranty is a good thing to have but it shouldn’t be a key consideration for this kind of product.
Most pumps should be easy to install but if it’s something you don’t want to do, a pro installer is always a call away. While each pump comes with its own installation, below are the key steps to follow:
- Shut off and drain the water heater before you start. This involves opening all hot water taps in your home in order to drain them out.
- Install the pump according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You will need a wrench for tightening bolts.
- After that, turn the water supply to your heater back on. Make sure there are no leaks.
- Install the sensor valve accordingly.
- Set the timer to suit your schedule.
Now, this is by no means everything you need do during installation and here is a great video that can help:
If you have never repaired anything in your home, never done anything to do with water supply lines, or DIY is not your thing, then you will need a professional plumber. Additionally, some states and cities require only professionals to interfere with public water supply systems.
Existing water supplies can be modified for the installation of a hot water recirculating system. It can even be used directly in drinking water systems.
No it can’t. A tankless water heater provides hot water on demand, meaning they have no standby water supply. For that reason, there won’t be a source of water for a hot water recirculating pump to heat and supply to another point.
If you have chosen to install a hot water recirculating system to ensure that you get hot water whenever you need it, you have done the right thing. Just make sure you get a decent model with a good flow rate, pressure and temperature range.
Our top recommendation is the Watts 500800. Apart from being cost-effective, this unit installs easily, runs quietly, and has a programmable timer, allowing you to regulate your hot water supply.
Another great option is the Taco 006-B4. This comes with a powerful 1/40HP motor that is capable of pumping up to 10 gallons of water per minute. Its replaceable cartridge makes it easy to service and it has a good temperature range of 40F to 220F.
One last thing, the best hot water recirculating pump doesn’t have to cost a fortune. This is evident with the Kolerflo RS15-6 SS model. With a high flow rate of 10 GPM, three power settings, and high pressure of 145 psi, this pump boasts some impressive features for an absolute bargain price.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this guide.