How To Install A Water Heater Recirculation Pump

If you want instant hot water in your shower, install a hot water heater recirculation pump. A hot water recirculation pump takes away the wait by reducing the distance the cold water travels with a return pipe, which saves gallons of water. You don't need plumbing skills to install a recirculation pump. Here are some tips to install a hot water heater recirculation pump.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • rags
  • adjustable wrench
  • check valve
  • pipe insulation foam
  • plumber's tape
  • circulation pump

Choose a location to install the pump the furthest from the hot water heater such as a tap, shower, or toilet to reduce waste. Consider how many people use the shower, which determines the size of the pump. Check building codes in your area, since you may need a permit.

Shut Off Water and Power or Gas

Shut off the gas or electricity to the hot water heater. To turn off power, flip the correct breaker switch in the breaker box. Blow out the pilot on gas water heaters. 

Turn off water to the fixture where you plan to install the pump. If you can't find the shut off, shut off the main house water supply, which is a valve on the water meter. Let the hot water heater cool off for about an hour.

Install the Pump

Keep a rag or bucket handy to catch drips while you remove the water supply lines to fixtures. Remove the flexible water supply lines on the hot water heater located on the hot side by loosening the nuts with a wrench.

Set the pump timer to run the number of times you desire. Instead of running all day, this allows the pump to run when needed.

If the pump lacks a good gasket, wrap plumber's tape around the water heaters' nipple. Add insulation foam to the hot water lines of the pump to help hold heat.

Attach the pump horizontally to the hot side at the top of the water heater. Attaching the pump horizontally ensures the water goes to the intake side on the pump. Reconnect the hot water line, and attach the flex line to the pump.

Detach the flexible water lines to the fixture. Connect the ends of two flex hoses from the fixture to the outlets on the check valve. Attach the hoses from the check valve to the shut offs. Mount the check valve on the wall, and tighten the screws.

Restore power or gas to the water heater, and test the pump. When you shut off water in the future, unplug the pump, or it will burn out. If you don't trust your skill, or the pump fails, contact a plumber like Brother's Plumbing.