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to recirculate or not?

FortyTwo Member Posts: 46
edited February 2020 in Domestic Hot Water
I have 3 apt buildings: 18, 14, and 26 units. All have hot water return lines but no recirculating pumps. I know very little about them and was wondering if i could get some basic pros/cons of having one vs leaving it as is.

All buildings get DHW via tankless coils on 1 pipe steam boiler. I rarely get complaints on lack of hot water - only during high volume times, but I'm thinking i likely need to change my tankless coils because in my memory they have not been changed, so they range at least from 10-20 years old. I do have issues controlling hot water temperatures. I pay a flat rate water bill, so at this period in time water consumption is not a variable i need to consider.

So are there many benefits to installing recirculation pumps or since its seemingly working well.. leave it? would my oil bill go up or down? Would there be a significant impact on my electrical bill? Would hot water temps remain more constant and controllable and could i reduce them to a stable number bc of it?

Thank you very much and appreciate all responses! If possible, it helps me if any answers are kept straight and simple and not super technical. I'm very handy and savvy but getting tons of math thrown at me might just leave me stuck haha.


  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,983
    Some of the clever old timers would size and pitch the pipes so it would work without circulators. If it's not broke....
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • Jellis
    Jellis Member Posts: 227
    I don't believe you would see any notable savings by making this change.
    Your tenants would not have to wait for hot water to arrive at the faucet, that would be the only notable change.

    If water is an expense concern in your area then it would save water by not waiting for hot water to arrive at the faucet.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,274
    Check the return lines to see if they are hot. Ask the tenants if they have to "wait" for hot water. If it's working I wouldn't add pumps' If they are dumping a lot of cold water to get to the hot this is raising your water & sewer bill.

    I am surprised that you can get by with a tankless water heater with that many apartments.

    No storage tank of any kind??
  • FortyTwo
    FortyTwo Member Posts: 46
    no storage tank.. return lines are generally warm