How to Install Recirculating Pump on Tankless Water Heater

“How to Install Recirculating Pump on Tankless Water Heater”

Welcome to the ultimate guide on how to install a recirculating pump on your tankless water heater. Are you tired of waiting for hot water every time you turn on the faucet? Installing a recirculating pump can dramatically reduce the time it takes for hot water to reach your taps, saving you time and water. In this article, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of installing a recirculating pump, ensuring you have hot water on demand whenever you need it.

how to install recirculating pump on tankless water heater

Understanding the Basics

What is a Recirculating Pump?

A recirculating pump operates by continuously moving water through the plumbing system, preventing it from cooling down while sitting idle in the pipes. This process eliminates the need to wait for hot water to travel from the water heater to the faucet, resulting in significant time and water savings. By maintaining a constant circulation of hot water, recirculating pumps also contribute to energy efficiency by reducing the amount of water wasted while waiting for it to heat up.

Why Install a Recirculating Pump?

Installing a recirculating pump for your tankless water heater comes with numerous advantages:

  • Instant Hot Water: No more waiting around for hot water to flow from your taps. The pump ensures hot water is readily available, saving you time and frustration.
  • Water Conservation: By eliminating the need to run the tap while waiting for hot water, you can significantly reduce water wastage. This not only conserves water but also lowers your utility bills.
  • Energy Efficiency: Recirculating pumps help in saving energy by reducing the runtime of your water heater. Since hot water is circulated quickly to where it’s needed, the heater doesn’t have to work as hard or for as long, thus cutting down on energy consumption.

By installing a recirculating pump, you will enhance the convenience of hot water usage in your home and contribute to water and energy conservation efforts.

Types of Recirculating Pumps

Traditional recirculating pumps are programmed to circulate water continuously or at predetermined intervals, regardless of whether hot water is needed. This can result in energy wastage and unnecessary wear on the pump system. On-demand pumps, on the other hand, use sensors or switches to activate only when hot water is requested, reducing energy consumption and optimizing efficiency by delivering hot water precisely when needed.

Pre-installation Preparation

Gather necessary tools and materials:

Before installing a recirculating pump, it’s crucial to ensure you have all the necessary tools at hand. This typically includes wrenches for tightening fittings, screwdrivers for securing components, and pipe cutters for precise adjustments. Additionally, gathering the required materials, such as piping, fittings, and mounting hardware, ensures a smooth and efficient installation process, minimizing the need for multiple trips to the hardware store and potential delays.

Shut off power and water supply to the water heater:

Ensuring safety during the installation process is paramount. By turning off the power supply at the breaker, you eliminate the risk of electric shock while handling the water heater. Additionally, shutting off the water supply valve prevents any accidental leaks or bursts, safeguarding both the installer and the surrounding area from water damage. These simple yet crucial steps create a secure environment for a smooth installation process.

Drain the water heater if needed:

Draining the water heater is a crucial step for both installation and maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity of the system. Attaching a hose to the drain valve allows for controlled and efficient emptying of the tank, preventing any potential damage or mess. It’s essential to empty the tank into a suitable drainage area to avoid any water damage and to comply with environmental regulations.

Determine Pump Placement

Evaluate the layout of the plumbing system:

To optimize the placement of the recirculating pump, it should ideally be installed as close to the water heater as possible to minimize heat loss along the piping. Additionally, accessibility for maintenance and repairs should be considered, ensuring the pump is easily reachable. Strategically placing the pump near the water heater also reduces the distance water needs to travel before reaching its destination, improving efficiency and reducing wait times for hot water.

Identify the ideal location for the recirculating pump:

Selecting a location for the pump that allows efficient circulation of hot water while minimizing noise and vibration is crucial for maintaining a comfortable and quiet environment. A dedicated utility room or basement area often provides an ideal setting, offering ample space for installation and maintenance while also isolating the noise from living areas. Additionally, mounting the pump on a sturdy surface and using vibration-absorbing materials can further reduce operational noise and disturbance.

Ensure adequate space and accessibility for installation:

When mounting the pump, it’s crucial to allocate sufficient space to ensure secure installation and accessibility for maintenance tasks. Adequate space around the pump facilitates ease of adjustment and troubleshooting, allowing technicians to swiftly address any issues that may arise—additionally, ensuring transparent access to the pump aids in periodic inspections and preventive maintenance measures, ultimately enhancing the overall efficiency and longevity of the pump system.

Installation Process

Step 1: Shut Off Power and Water

First, locate the power source for your water heater, which is typically a circuit breaker in your electrical panel. Switch off the circuit breaker to cut off power to the water heater. Next, find the shut-off valve on the water supply line leading to the water heater and turn it clockwise until it’s fully closed. This will prevent any water from entering the heater while you work on it.

Step 2: Drain the Water Heater

Draining the water heater before installation is crucial to prevent water leakage and ensure a safe working environment. This process involves shutting off the power or gas supply to the heater, allowing it to cool down, and attaching a hose to the drain valve to release the water into a suitable drainage area. By relieving the pressure and emptying the tank, you minimize the risk of accidental spills or damage to the surrounding area during the installation process.

Step 3: Mount the Pump

To ensure efficient operation, mount the recirculating pump near the water heater to minimize heat loss through the pipes. Securing the pump to the wall or floor is crucial to prevent vibrations or movement that could lead to damage or inefficiency. Proper positioning and fastening also facilitate more manageable maintenance and access for any necessary repairs or adjustments.

Step 4: Connect the Pipes

To connect the pump to the water heater and the hot water line, begin by selecting the appropriate piping material and size based on the specifications of your system. Utilize fittings such as couplings, elbows, and tees to create a secure and efficient connection between the pump, water heater, and hot water line. Once all connections are made, carefully tighten each fitting to ensure a leak-free installation, and conduct a thorough inspection to confirm the integrity of the system before operation.

Step 5: Install the Check Valve

Installing a check valve on the hot water line is essential to prevent backflow, which can disrupt the efficient operation of the recirculating system by allowing water to flow in the wrong direction. By ensuring that water only moves in the desired direction, the check valve helps maintain consistent pressure and temperature throughout the system, optimizing its performance. This simple addition can significantly improve the effectiveness and reliability of the recirculating system, promoting energy efficiency and reducing water waste.

Step 6: Electrical Connection

When installing a recirculating pump that requires an electrical connection, it’s crucial to adhere closely to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper wiring. Following the guidelines ensures not only the pump’s efficient operation but also safeguards against potential electrical hazards. Compliance with electrical codes further reinforces safety measures, reducing the risk of accidents or malfunctions.

Step 7: Test the System

After completing the installation, make sure to gradually turn the water and power back on to avoid any sudden surges or issues. Once both utilities are restored, initiate a thorough test of the recirculating system, checking for any leaks, irregularities, or malfunctions to ensure its proper functioning. Monitor the system closely during this testing phase to promptly address any potential issues that may arise.

Adjusting Pump Settings

Set the timer (if applicable) for optimal operation.

By programming the recirculating pump timer to activate during peak hot water usage times, such as mornings and evenings, you ensure that hot water is readily available when it’s most needed. This strategy minimizes the time it takes for hot water to reach faucets or showers, reducing water wastage and energy consumption associated with heating water. Ultimately, this optimized scheduling maximizes the efficiency of the hot water system by aligning its operation with actual demand.

Adjust pump speed or flow rate as needed.

Balancing energy efficiency and hot water delivery in a household involves fine-tuning the pump speed or flow rate of the water heating system. By adjusting these parameters, you can optimize the system to use just enough energy to meet the household’s hot water demands without wasting excess energy. This approach ensures that the system operates efficiently while still providing an adequate supply of hot water, thereby minimizing energy costs and environmental impact.

Fine-tune temperature settings for maximum efficiency

To optimize energy usage while maintaining comfortable hot water temperatures, consider adjusting the temperature settings on your water heater or pump controller. Start by lowering the temperature setting slightly to see if you still achieve the desired level of comfort. Monitor the changes and adjust accordingly until you find the optimal balance between energy efficiency and comfort.

Final Checks and Troubleshooting

Inspect all connections for leaks.

Regular inspection of all connections and fittings is essential to maintain the integrity of the plumbing system. By thoroughly examining these components, any potential leaks can be identified and addressed promptly, preventing water wastage and possible damage to the system or surrounding structures. Tightening any loose connections ensures proper functionality and helps mitigate the risk of costly repairs or water-related issues in the future.

Ensure proper circulation of hot water throughout the system.

To verify the effectiveness of the recirculating pump in circulating hot water to all fixtures, you can conduct a visual inspection of the system to ensure there are no leaks or obstructions in the piping. Additionally, you can measure the temperature of the water at various fixtures throughout the building to confirm that hot water is consistently available without significant delays. Lastly, surveying building occupants or users can provide valuable feedback on their experience with instant hot water at every tap, further validating the pump’s efficiency.

Troubleshoot any issues encountered during the installation.

During installation, it’s essential to adhere closely to the manufacturer’s guidelines to avoid issues or malfunctions. Any encountered problems should be addressed immediately by consulting the manufacturer’s troubleshooting guide or seeking professional assistance if necessary. Ignoring issues during installation could lead to further complications down the line, so it’s crucial to resolve them promptly and correctly.

FAQs: How to Install Recirculating Pump on Tankless Water Heater

How long does it take to install a recirculating pump on a tankless water heater?

The installation process typically takes a few hours, depending on your level of experience and the complexity of your plumbing system.

Do I need any special tools or skills to install a recirculating pump?

While basic plumbing skills are helpful, most DIY enthusiasts can successfully install a recirculating pump with the right tools and instructions.

Can I install a recirculating pump on an existing tankless water heater?

Yes, recirculating pumps can be installed on both new and existing tankless water heaters, enhancing their efficiency and convenience.

Will installing a recirculating pump increase my energy bills?

While recirculating pumps do consume energy, the energy savings from reduced water wastage often outweigh the additional cost.

Can I install a recirculating pump myself, or should I hire a professional?

While DIY installation is possible for those with plumbing experience, hiring a professional plumber can ensure a safe and reliable installation, especially for complex systems.

Is regular maintenance required for a recirculating pump?

Routine maintenance, such as checking for leaks and lubricating moving parts, can help prolong the lifespan of your recirculating pump and ensure optimal performance.


Congratulations! You’ve now learned how to install a recirculating pump on your tankless water heater, revolutionizing your hot water experience. By following our step-by-step guide and troubleshooting tips, you can enjoy instant hot water and greater energy efficiency in your home.