Benefits of a Recirculation Pump on Your Water Heater

It doesn’t get cold in the Phoenix area too often, but when it does, most of us don’t tolerate it well. On those chilly mornings, we want hot coffee and a hot shower—pronto!

There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting several minutes for the shower to get hot.

Luckily, there’s something that can solve the cold-water issue: a recirculation pump.

What Is a Recirculation Pump?

A recirculation pump is an easily installed device that fits at the point of water distribution to provide instant hot water.
The pump does this by slowly pumping hot water through the pipes and back to the water heater, either through a dedicated line or the cold water line. Depending on the option you choose, the pump can run continuously or just when you turn it on and need the hot water.

Benefits of a Recirculation Pump

The most obvious benefit of using a recirculation pump is that you don’t have to wait for hot water to make its way to the fixture. By not running gallons and gallons of water down the drain waiting for the water to heat you will save money on your water bill.

Make Your Recirculation Pump Work Smarter

Be wary of using too much energy in your attempt to keep the water hot. Thankfully, there are a few ways to improve the efficiency of your recirculation pump.

Put the pump on a timer.

There are certain times of the day when you’re more likely to want hot water. Such when you’re getting ready for work and school. You can schedule the pump to only work when it’s needed, thereby reducing excess energy needs

Try a hot water demand pump.

A hot water demand pump might be your best choice to meet your desire for instant hot water while helping to maintain energy use. In this scenario, the water pump only comes on when you trigger it, usually by a button or motion sensor.

Then the pump turns on when triggered and off automatically when hot water reaches the fixture. The only energy you spend is on the heating of the water, which by some estimates is $1 a year in extra electricity.

Should You Get a Recirculation Pump?

There are two excellent reasons to invest in a recirculation pump: if you have a large home or a tankless water heater. In a large home, water needs to travel a longer distance to get from the water heater to the fixture you’re using, so that can take some time.
With a tankless water heater does not store hot water. The water heats when needed, adding time for the temperature to be just how you like it.

If you are in the market for a recirculation pump, talk to the experts at Forrest Anderson. We will discuss your options and install the best pump for you.

After all, why suffer through a cold shower if you don’t need to?


How to Light Your Water Heater Pilot

Things around the home fail from time to time. Bulbs and batteries need replacing and drainpipes need cleaning. But what about when your water gets cold?

If you have a gas water heater with a flame driven pilot light, the fix can be as simple as re-lighting your water heater pilot.

While you certainly could call a plumber, for most homeowners, this is an easy-to-do DIY task you can complete on your own.

First, Check the Pilot

Before you start fixing things, you need to be sure that an unlit pilot light is an actual issue. Look at your water heater, near the bottom, for an access panel. Remove that to see if there is a small flame burning. If not, the pilot light has gone out, and you’ve found your problem.

Most newer models of water heaters don’t use a flame to ignite gas, instead using a sparker or a heating element to ignite the gas. If your water isn’t heating up, it’s possible this element has failed, requiring a call to Forrest Anderson right away.

Look for Leaks

Before you start adding flame to the fire, you want to ensure your water heater is leak free. If there’s gas leaking, you’ll end up with an explosion on your hands. Lighting your pilot isn’t important enough to risk your family, home, and life.

This is how you can complete a simple DIY test for leaks:

  1. Sniff around, high and low, near the water heater. While natural gas doesn’t smell like anything, the gas company will add a scent, so you’ll smell sulfur or rotten eggs.
  2. Listen for hissing sounds around the heater. It sounds like air leaking out of a tire: slow and steady.

Don’t take any chances. If you suspect your water heater has a gas leak, leave the area and call the gas company for your next steps.

Follow Instructions

Water heaters have affixed, printed labels on the outside.

If there are specific instructions you need to follow, they will be there. While many heaters are similar, you should always look at the detailed directions for your particular model.

Lower the Temperature

Before you start the relighting process, you want to make sure you’re not about to face a huge flame. Reduce the temperature control setting to its lowest temperature. Usually, you’ll find the control on the front of the box, outside of the heater.

Look for the Regulator Valve

Usually located near the temperature control, the regulator valve regulates gas flow to the pilot. Turn that valve to the off position. Once you’ve done that, wait 10 minutes to proceed so that any gas remaining in the line has an opportunity to clear.

Light the Pilot

The type of water heater you have will determine how you do this. Older units will need an external lighter, whereas newer versions have a pilot light igniter. If you need a lighter, then grab a long-handled one.

Now find the pilot, probably with the help of a flashlight (a second set of hands will come in handy here). Once you’ve determined where the pilot is, adjust the regulator valve to pilot and push down. Alternatively, you may see a red button to push to send gas to the pilot. If so, press and hold. This button starts the gas flowing, so it will catch when you add a flame.

Next, you’ll light the pilot. You’ll need another person to help: one to hold the button and one to light. If you have a self-igniting pilot, this step is a little easier. If not, have the person with the lighter get down and put the flame to the pilot. It should catch pretty quickly.

Hold down the gas valve for a full minute after igniting the pilot light. By doing so, you will eat up the sensor that turns off the pilot if not engaged.

Confirm the Light and Clean Up

After you let go of the pilot or gas valve, double check to be sure the pilot light remains lit. If it does, close all the access panels you opened. Turn the gas valve back to on and reset the temperature to your liking.

If you have challenges with lighting your water heater pilot, then contact the experts at Forrest Anderson. We are an approved contractor with Southwest Gas and can assist you in keeping your family safe and warm this winter.

Consider an Upgrade

If you have an old flame driven water heater, it’s likely you should consider an upgrade.

Modern water heater systems don’t use open flames to ignite the gas and are often more fuel efficient, heating your home and water for less money. You’ll also waste less water waiting for the cold water to get hot.

An investment in a new water heat can quickly pay for itself in gas, water, and electrical costs.

If you’re considering an upgrade, call your Forrest Anderson team today and we’ll help you get started.