If you are tired of waiting for hot water every time you take a shower, consider investing in a hot water recirculation system. It attaches to your hot water heater. Gallons of precious water escape down the drain every time you wait for it to get hot enough to take a shower, run a bath or do dishes. With one of these increasingly poplar installations you may not really get “instant hot water” but close to it. The recirculation system improves your home’s water delivery system anywhere in Waukesha WI and Lake Country.
What do you experience now – do you wait 3 minutes for shower water to get hot enough while as much as 5 gallons of water goes down the drain? Wouldn’t it be better to wait 10-15 seconds for all the hot water your need?
Driving the system is a hot water recirculating pump usually installed on top of your existing hot water heater. At the end of the line farthest away from the heater there’s a sensor valve installed under a sink. The concept is simple: the sensor reacts when the water temperature drops below about 90°F and tells the valve to open. Opening the valve triggers the pump which allows more hot water to flow through the pipes. A recirculating pump on top of your hot water heater will save you 2-3 minutes of waiting every time you take a shower or wash dishes. In addition, it saves countless gallons of water lost while you wait for hot water to fill the bath or sink.
Hot Water Recirculation Makes Sense
Modern family life dictates somebody is always in a hurry. Adding a rapid hot water delivery system cannot put more minutes in a hour, but it can let you use the ones you have more comfortably. Wouldn’t you prefer an extra minute or two waking up in a hot shower each morning to standing around waiting for hot water? A pump to recirculate hot water provides advantages beyond more efficient use of time, including:
- It saves water – gallons of water go down the drain every time you prepare a child’s bath, get ready to do dishes or run water getting ready to take a shower.
- It saves money – you pay for every unused gallon of water disappearing down the drain. Why not get your money’s worth?
A recirculation system isn’t right for every home. There are disadvantages, including:
- Cost – putting in a reliable system isn’t a simple DIY project. Doing it right requires skill and experience. You’re paying for more than a pump, sensors and pipes.
- Impact on cold water – when you decide you want instant hot water you may wind up with luke-warm water from the cold tap. Instead of instant cold you may wait a few seconds for that tap to run really cold. It’s a trade-off worth considering.
- Sensor values – in areas like southern Wisconsin sensor valves have been known to need replacing because of hard water. If you have a water treatment system the problem isn’t likely to appear. Otherwise, replacing them is easy.
- Pumps are electric – because the electric pump is usually mounted on top of the water heater you need an outlet nearby. You may need an electrician to install an appropriate source of power.
Can It Prevent Frozen Pipes?
Anywhere in Wisconsin there’s a threat of frozen pipes when the annual “cold spell” hits. There are traditional ways to guard against plumbing freezes – leave a tap trickling 24/7, use heating tapes and extra insulation, etc. But does a hot water circulating system help? The same system that gets you instant hot showers keeps the water in lines warmer all the time. While not promoted as a way to protect water lines it makes sense that warmer water is less likely to freeze in your pipes.
When you turn off the water what’s left in the pipes cools down. When you reopen a faucet that cooled water drains out and warm water replaces it. With a booster pump on the hot water heated you get a fresh supply of hot water in seconds – increasing the efficiency of the hot water delivery system by as much as 80%. The recirculating pump doesn’t run long so it uses about as much power as an old-style 25-watt lightbulb – the sensor shuts it off as soon as water temperature hits the target level.
Installation Critical For Hot Water Recirculation
“Best guess” estimates suggest as many as 16,000 gallons of water are lost to people waiting to bathe or do dishes. Whether that reflects added wear on your home water well system or you pay for municipal water and sewer it’s costing you money.
If you’re tired of wasting time and water before every shower, a recirculating system is worth exploring. That’s especially true for popular multi-level homes where the faucet farthest from the water heater is often a long way away. A total system evaluation and review by a licensed plumber makes sense. Getting the results you expect takes professional skill, experience and tools.
When you’ve had enough of cold water from the hot water tap, give Schoenwalder Plumbing a call at 262-542-7908 and make an appointment to have us evaluate your home’s hot water delivery system. We’re ready to provide everything you need. Our certified plumbers can install a hot water recirculation system to efficiently deliver on-demand hot water throughout your Waukesha WI or Lake Country home.
How Hot Water Recirculation Systems Work – National Association of Home Inspectors