How Not To Wait On Hot Water (Hot Water Recirculating Pumps)

South End Plumbing, Heating, & Air Expert Tips

Tired of Waiting On Hot Water? You Need a Recirculating Pump

Have you gotten tired of waiting on your hot water after you turn it on? If you have a large home, you may wait a few seconds or even minutes for hot water. This is not only time consuming, but wastes precious water.

The distance your hot water has to travel is the reason cold water comes out first. When the hot water faucet is on, hot water travels to your sink through your plumbing. Turn it off and the water stops, but that hot water doesn’t return it to the water heater. It stays in the pipes and gets cold. The next time you might need hot water, the cold water in the pipes has to be pushed out by new hot water from your water heater. The more piping distance between the water heater and the faucet at the furthest part of your home, the more cold water there is and the longer it takes.

The Solution is Simple

You can have our plumbers install a recirculating pump. A hot water recirculating pump is installed on your water heater (and some can be installed under your sink), they function to return unused hot water back to the water heater. This genius design allows you to have instant hot water.

Integrated Loop Hot Water Recirculation System
Integrated Loop Hot Water Recirculation System

Types of Recirculating Systems

Integrated Loop

The integrated loop hot water systems uses the existing cold water pipe to send the unused water back to the water heater. By design this is the most cost effective solution for homeowners who are frustrated with the wait for hot water but are unable to install a dedicated loop. An integrated loop can bring hot water fast to areas in your home that take a long time to get hot water. For instance if your master bathroom is on the opposite end of your water heater, the recirculating pump will solve this problem.

The greatest part is you won’t need to install additional pipe. This greatly decreases the up front investment of having one of these installed. However, this system does have its drawbacks.

One main problem with this option is, due to hot and cold water sharing the same pipe, the water from the cold faucet may be warmer than normal or take a few seconds to get cold, especially if you have a swamp cooler. Due to this issue some owners may not even run the pump in warmer months.

Bonus: You may not realize that you already have a recirculating system. The previous homeowner may have unplugged the recirc pump. You may want to check to see if you already have one, especially if you’re waiting a long time with the time it takes to get hot water the furthest faucets in your house. Our plumbers can help you locate your pump if you do have one and make it functional. You can also check for one installed yourself near the top or bottom of your water heater.

Dedicated Loop Hot Water Recirculation System
Dedicated Loop Hot Water Recirculation System

Dedicated Loop

With a dedicated loop, an additional pipe that is designated for hot water is installed usually during the time of construction or a remodel. The loop comes from the water heater to the faucet and back again. The unused hot water cools down flows back through this loop by the pump, so when you turn on your hot water faucets, you get hot water fast. Water is not left in the pipes to get cold and you use less water because you don’t have to wait.

This can increase your gas and energy costs in certain situations. If the water heater is running continuously with water looping endlessly, doesn’t it cost more to operate? Not necessarily.

Many pumps are designed with temperature sensors and timers. The sensor enables the pump to cut off once hot water has made a complete loop. And a programmable timer allows you to control when the pump is active. You can set it to shut off automatically after you normally go to bed, or when you’re away for work, or when you’re on vacation. If your pump does not have this ability, our plumbing professional can help you add them.

Due to the pipe being behind walls, having it retro fitted is option is not for everyone. The cost of the pump and the additional pipe needed can be pricey. In addition, many North Carolina home designs make it difficult to add the pipe needed for this system. If this solution is difficult for your home or budget, then the first option makes more sense.


A recirculating pump will help with long wait times for hot water. No matter the size of your home, you can find a solution that saves your family time, money, and water. South End Plumbing is here for you. Have our expert plumbers in Charlotte help today to see if a hot water recirculating pump is a option for your home. Have more questions? Ask our plumbers.

Draining a water heater is something most homeowners can do, but can also be dangerous. If you are not comfortable with flushing your water heater yourself or want to make sure it is done properly, call a professional plumber to have your water heater flushed in no time.

South End Plumbing specializes water heater repair so remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize in leak detection – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.

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