Water conservation is certainly a hot topic these days in California. In my personal opinion, water conservation should always be a hot topic, everywhere, but let’s not go down that road.
One major source of water waste is running water down the drain until the desired water temperature has arrived at the fixture. You might be familiar with this scenario. I’m not too proud to admit that I am guilty of doing this. But you can significantly reduce or eliminate the amount of time it takes for hot water to reach your faucet, shower, or washing machine with a very simple device called a hot water circulating pump. (If you’re not in the market for installing a circulating pump, do what I do: while waiting for your hot water to reach the fixture, catch the excess water in a bucket and water your plants.)
First, it is important to understand how a hot water circulating pump works. In homes with a traditional hot water return line, a circulating pump is installed on the return line, pulling hot water from the tank through the hot water pipes in the house, creating a constant supply of hot water. Return lines are especially popular among homes that are very long in design, or with plumbing fixtures located far from the water heater. There are several brands and different types of pumps that can be installed in a home with a return line.
But what if your home does not have a hot water return line? Well, there are now pump systems that utilize a special fitting that can be installed in any home to “create” a loop in the hot water pipes. This means that even if your home does not have the conventional hot return line, you can still install a pump to enjoy instant hot water at your fixtures, reducing the amount of time until your water reaches the desired temperature, which in turn reduces the amount of water wasted.