Your water pipe length determines the time it may take for hot water to flow from your water heater.
If you care about the environment, you would not want to waste so many gallons of water.
If you are fed up with waiting for hot water, you should consider getting a hot water recirculation system.
These systems operate quite simply:
Installed in the plumbing lines, a recirculation pump creates a loop that slowly and steadily circulates hot water.
What this means is there is already warm water within those pipes so you can have it for use instantly.
A lot of options are available for hot water recirculation systems, so choosing the right system is important.
Conventional Hot Water Recirculation Systems
A conventional system has a dedicated return line running from the furthest fixture all the way back to the heater.
A pump close to the heater area takes the water from this fixture back into the heater.
With this loop, hot water flows through all of the fixtures in the house. If there is a dedicated return pipe in your house, then this system will work great. You can also use pumps with built-in timers that will only run when you need them to. This would help you save some costs on energy.
Instant Hot Water Recirculation Systems
No dedicated return loop is required in this recirculation system, and it can be used in any home. They are available in several varieties that you can choose from. The pump can be located in two main areas: under-the-sink and over-the-water-heater.
Under-the-sink: This installation is done underneath the furthest sink from the water heater.
It sends hot water into the cold water lines to bring you hot water whenever you need it.
Most models feature built-in sensors and timers that help to regulate your water temperatures.
You will need to have power underneath your sink in order to operate this style of pump.
Over-the-water-heater: This configuration has the pump positioned on top of the water heater and a check valve positioned underneath the furthest sink from the heater.
As the pump applies pressure on the hot side of the heater, it forces hot water through the bypass valve into the cold water lines to create a hot loop. This loop can either run constantly or be used with a built-in timer to run only when you need hot water instantly. Installing a check valve underneath the furthest sink from the heater allows for a quicker supply of hot water as it circulates all through the house.
Instant hot water recirculation systems typically come with all their installation materials.
However, you will need to have power close to the heater for the pump.
These systems can be used with all kinds of pipes and require no maintenance.
The major downside is that the loop forces water into the cold lines, so most fixtures further away will first have warm water in the cold lines when they are first opened.
This is only a minor problem, however.
On-Demand Hot Water Systems
Similar to the instant system, the on-demand hot water recirculation system requires the pump to be activated whenever there is a need for hot water rather than running steadily or at preset intervals. It can be either a conventional system having the pump at the heater and a dedicated return pipe or an under-the-sink pump attached to the sink furthest from the heater.
When activated, the pump will push cold water present in the hot water lines back in the cold water line.
This creates a momentary loop as the water gets heated.
This way the cold water does not need to be washed down the drain, as it is fed back into the water heater to be heated.
Once the desired temperature is reached, the pump is shut off and hot water runs through the faucet instead of getting looped back through the cold lines.
This system is very efficient because it shuts off automatically when the pump senses the hot water.
The system can be conveniently activated wirelessly or with buttons installed at several points in the house.
Some models even come with motion sensors that automatically detect water flow, turning the system on and off automatically.
Nonetheless, having hot water whenever you need it is an amazing option for water and energy saving.