The shower in the rear of my ranch home takes a long time to get warm water. Would a recirculation unit fix the problem?

Asked by Mr. Kaye Don Haught
Mooresville, IN

my home is well insulated and over 100yrs. old


Ted Kidd

Answered by Ted Kidd

Rochester, NY

Ted Kidd Energy Guru

November 21, 2011

Hi Mr. Haught,

Re-circulation loops are a luxurious upgrade. Many high end homes are built with them. I've even seen gravity fed re-circulation loops in elegant older homes.

If you install this upgrade I would suggest insulating all your hot water lines very thoroughly because uninsulated hot water pipes lose a LOT of heat.

  • Without insulation you might double your water heating cost.
  • Running re-circulation all the time is pretty expensive even if the pipes are insulated.
  • You might also consider either a 5 minute timer near your fixtures (so you can "purge" the lines when you need hot water), or a timer set to run at times you are most likely to want fast hot water.

If you are interested in doing this incrementally, the first step would be to insulate your lines.

You may find this improves heat retention in your lines to a level that you consider the problem fixed.

Good question, and good luck!


For more information:

Read "Do hot water recirculation systems work? What kind would you recommend?" a Q&A answered by Kevin Burrell.

Tagged In: hot water recirculating

Do you have a question about greening your home? GreenHomeGuide invites you to Ask A Pro. Let our network of experienced green building professionals – architects, designers, contractors, electricians, energy experts, landscapers, tile & stone specialists, and more – help you find the right solution.