Are hot water re-circulation pumps a good investment?

Question: I am considering getting a hot water re-circulation pump. They claim to save a lot of water and I am wondering if this makes up for their energy use. Should I get a hot water re-circulation pump?

Answer: Hot water re-circulation pumps are a convenient way to ensure that you have immediate hot water from the tap. These systems slowly pump hot water through your hot water pipes and back to the water heater through either a dedicated line or through the cold water line.

Several models are available and some claim to save "10,000 gallons or more of water per year" and "up to 15,000 gallons per year" while using "less energy than a 25 watt light bulb."

The price tag of a hot water re-circulation pump is around $200 and most can be installed by the consumer but some require a plumber. Then, it costs about $5.50-$32 to operate, will waste $160-$400 per year and will save you $4-$50 on your water bill. This gives you a negative return on investment (ROI), so it certainly doesn't make sense from a cost saving or environmental perspective.

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