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Imagine being at home on a cold winter morning. You need to have a warm bath and you get in the shower. You turn the heater on and turn on the faucet, expecting warm, refreshing water to soak your skin and get rid of the cold. But instead of the hot water you expect, you are splashed with a splattering of cold water, rushing on and making you freeze even more. Luckily, this problem can be solved quite easily! You see, when you turn off the hot water faucet, the hot water in it doesn’t return to the heater and, instead, stays put. Obviously, it will get cold in a matter of minutes. This can be solved with the best small water circulation pump out there – as such systems send the water back in the heater. 

Therefore in this guide, let’s take a look at some small water circulation pumps and then learn everything about these products.

Brand
Editor's Choice
Watts Premier Instant Hot Water Recirculating Pump System with Built-In Timer
Runner Up
Grundfos 59896155, UP15-42F, SuperBrute Recirculating Pump 1/25 HP,115 -Volt, SMALL RED
Best Value
KOLERFLO 3/4" NPT 110V Circulating Water Pump Hot Water Circulation Pump/Circulator Pump for Water Heater System(RS15-6 Green)
Preview
Watts Premier Instant Hot Water Recirculating Pump System with Built-In Timer
Grundfos 59896155, UP15-42F, SuperBrute Recirculating Pump 1/25 HP,115 -Volt, SMALL RED
KOLERFLO 3/4" NPT 110V Circulating Water Pump Hot Water Circulation Pump/Circulator Pump for Water Heater System(RS15-6 Green)
Built-in timer
Yes
No
No
Voltage
120 volts
115 Volts
110 Volts
Easy To Install
Yes
No
Yes
Warranty
1-Year Limited Warranty
2-Years Limited Warranty
N/A
Editor's Choice
Brand
Watts Premier Instant Hot Water Recirculating Pump System with Built-In Timer
Preview
Watts Premier Instant Hot Water Recirculating Pump System with Built-In Timer
Built-in timer
Yes
Voltage
120 volts
Easy To Install
Yes
Warranty
1-Year Limited Warranty
Runner Up
Brand
Grundfos 59896155, UP15-42F, SuperBrute Recirculating Pump 1/25 HP,115 -Volt, SMALL RED
Preview
Grundfos 59896155, UP15-42F, SuperBrute Recirculating Pump 1/25 HP,115 -Volt, SMALL RED
Built-in timer
No
Voltage
115 Volts
Easy To Install
No
Warranty
2-Years Limited Warranty
Best Value
Brand
KOLERFLO 3/4" NPT 110V Circulating Water Pump Hot Water Circulation Pump/Circulator Pump for Water Heater System(RS15-6 Green)
Preview
KOLERFLO 3/4" NPT 110V Circulating Water Pump Hot Water Circulation Pump/Circulator Pump for Water Heater System(RS15-6 Green)
Built-in timer
No
Voltage
110 Volts
Easy To Install
Yes
Warranty
N/A

What Is A Water Circulation Pump? 

Small Water Circulation Pump: Circulation Process

In short, a hot water recirculating pump – or system – is responsible for putting hot water where you want it, in a timely manner. And by timely we mean fast. This type of water pump is usually installed on your water heater – even though we’ve heard of some unusual builds as well. The pump’s primary use is to return the unused hot water all the way back to the water heater. 

As mentioned above, water circulating pump is the solution for hot water on demand – no more cold water in your faucets! Naturally, it is not everything about the convenience and pleasure of having hot water in your faucets whenever you want it. 

As you won’t have to let cold water run in vain until it gets hot, the water circulating pump helps you save thousands of gallons of fresh water annually. 

The lack of such a pump means wasted water and higher utility bills! 

 The main purpose of a recirculation pump is, by definition, to ensure the user that hot water is always available, as close to the consumption point as possible. This way, it greatly reduces water waste and energy consumption and increases comfort. 

How To Install A Hot Water Recirculation Pump? 

1. Shutoff Water To Water Heater 

First, shut off water to the water heater at the closest valve, and drain the water heater from the spigot at the bottom. Turn on a far-away faucet and leave it running until all hot water is drained. 

2. Install The Hot Water Recirculation Pump 

Disconnect the hot water line from the top of the water heater. If it is hard copper piping, you may want to get a plumber involved. Insert the female end of the water pump into the thread and tighten, and connect the flex hose that you just disconnected to the top of the pump. The arrow on the pump should point away from the water heater. 

3. Turn Water Back On To Water Heater 

Turn the valve back on to the water heater, and make sure that the water pump doesn’t leak at any connections. Turn off the faucet which you turned on before to drain the tank. Now you should plug in the water pump into an outlet. 

4. Install The Sensor Valve At Farthest Location 

Now it’s time to install the sensor valve under a sink. This valve tells the water pump when it should turn on. You will have to install the sink water lines into the input connections. You may need to get 1/2″ to 3/8″ adapters or flex water lines with 1/2″ and 3/8″ ends. Most sink flex lines are 3/8″ but the connections on the sensor valve are 1/2″. 

 

Our Top 5 picks 

Watts 500800 Instant Hot Water Pump

Small Water Circulation Pump

Features: Flexible, 24 hour timer, temperature sensor valve.

Price: $$

The Watts hot water recirculating system comes with everything you need to get instant hot water to every bathroom in your home. The hot water recirculation pump comes with flexible water lines, two adapters, and a temperature sensor valve. It also comes with a 24 hour (dual setting) timer so that the pump will turn on only when wanted. 

Pros: Cons:
  • A very quiet pump 
  • Not for use with tankless water heaters 
  • Built-in timer 
  • May not work with water heaters with “heat traps” in the water inlets 
  • 10ft electrical power cord 

 

Laing Recirculating Water Pump With Timer

Small Water Circulation Pump

Features: Undersink, quiet, built in timer, long cord.

Price: $$$

 

This small recirculating pump is designed to be installed under a sink rather than above the water heater. 

A very quiet pump at less than 30 decibels, this unit comes with a built-in timer and a 6ft extension cord. 

The manufacturer says that for an average family of four, this pump will save up to 17,000 gallons of water a year. 

Pros: Cons:
  • Built-in timer 
  • You may need to do extra electrical work 
  • 6ft power extension cord 
  • Smaller area for installation under sink  
  • Installs under sink 
  • No separate sensor valve needed 

 

Grundfos GRU-595916 Instant Hot Water Pump 

Small Water Circulation Pump

Features: high quality design, long power cord, built in timer, reputation.

Price: $$$

 

The Grundfos instant small hot water pump is a high-quality pump with a built-in timer and a 6-foot power cord. 

This hot water pump is made from bronze and stainless steel parts — higher quality parts than many other water pumps. Grundfos is one of the top manufacturers of instant hot water pumps. 

Pros: Cons:
  • Made from bronze & stainless steel 
  • Complaints about customer service 
  • Higher quality parts than Watts pump 
  • Complaints about warranty not being honored 
  • Has a built-in timer 
  • 6-foot power cord  

 

Grundfos 59896155 SuperBrute Recirculator Pump 

Small Water Circulation Pump

Features: flexible installation, compact.

Price: $

The Grundfos is the no-frills and least expensive small recirculation pump. 

However, the unit doesn’t come with supply lines or any other materials for installation except gaskets. 

This pump can be installed above the water heater or under the sink. It does not come with a built-in timer and it is reflected in the cheap price. 

Pros: Cons:
  • An inexpensive option  
  • It may be more difficult to install 
  • Can add a timer yourself later if you wish 

 

Kolerflo Hot Water Recirculation Pump 

Small Water Circulation Pump

Features: easy to install, durable design, quiet.

Price: $$

The Kiolerflo small hot water pump is a reasonably priced water pump that can be used to save you minutes at the sink waiting for hot water.  

The pump is easy to install since you only need a wrench, potentially saving you a plumber’s visit. 

The housing is made from aluminum for a durable finish. 

Pros: Cons:
  • Very quiet 
  • Not self-priming (must get the air out)  
  • Easy install with a wrench 
  • Plastic impeller 
  • Aluminum housing 
  • Inexpensive 

 

What You Should Consider When Buying a Small Hot Water Recirculating Pump 

You can find a lot of models and types of pumps out there, but very little advice in terms of things that you should consider when buying one. Therefore, in the following lines, we’ll tell you what you should take into account when you are looking for a hot water recirculating pump to save you water. 

Timers 

Having a timer on your pump means that you can schedule it to shut off when you want to. In short, you get hot water only during peak usage times – depending on your settings. Remember that, even if your pump doesn’t come with a built-in timer, you can get one fitted into it easily. 

Durability 

Naturally, durability refers to materials. You will want a pump made of high-quality stainless steel, especially if you want it to last more than three to five years. There are accounts of pumps that have lasted for as long as 10 to 15 years, mainly because they were made of high-quality materials. 

Pump Housing Material 

Even if highly durable materials are important, you should also consider the use of the water pump. For example, pump housing made of cast iron renders the pump not viable for potable water use – as cast iron causes rust within the system. If you want to run potable water through the pump, then you will have to search for one with aluminum pump housing. 

Traditional vs. Tankless Water Heaters 

Tankless water heaters usually require pumps with more power. If your water supply is based on a shallow well pump, for example, a recirculating pump will have a very difficult time heating the water. As we mentioned in the review section, most hot water recirculating pumps don’t have the necessary power to work with either the highest-quality gas tankless water heater or an electric tankless water heater. In this respect, you must take your water heater into account before buying a pump. 

Priming 

Unlike a submersible well pump, for example, which has to be primed only once, most hot water recirculating pumps don’t have to be primed and can run with some air in the lines. However, there are pumps that have to be primed and will not work when air is present in the lines. 

Our Top Pick: 

Watts 500800 Instant Hot Water Pump

Small Water Circulation Pump

Built-In Timer

The Watts has a built-in timer so you can have it operate only when you want such as during the day 

Quiet

The pump is very quiet, and the vibrations are minimal. 

Ease of Install

This pump can be installed in less than an hour and comes with supply lines and everything needed (except the wrenches of course). 

Power Cord

The unit comes with a very long 10′ electrical cord, so you can just plug it into an outlet nearby.

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