How To Increase Water Flow To New Style Of Faucets Comparing the Watts Premier Recirculating Pump to the Metlund D’Mand System

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Comparing the Watts Premier Recirculating Pump to the Metlund D’Mand System

The Watts Premier Hot Water Recirculation System

According to Watts, the Premier recirculation system gives you instant hot water at every faucet. Here’s the quote from their website: “The Watts Premiers Hot Water Recirculating Pump brings convenience and savings to your home, giving you instant hot water at every faucet, when you need it.”

Technically that’s not true…

Warm water circulation system

The Watts Premier system is what I like to call a warm water circulation system. The system consists of a valve to be placed under the sink and a pump located in the water heater. The pump creates a pressure difference between the hot tap and the cold tap.

The valve connects between the hot and cold faucets, and when the temperature drops below 98°, water flows through the valve, bringing hot water to the sink/faucet/valve installation.

When the valve detects a temperature above 98°, the valve closes and the flow stops. In other words, it works identically to a traditional temperature-controlled circulation system, except that it circulates warm water instead of hot, and of course uses the cold water line as the return line.

Waste of energy

The water may not be hot, but it’s much hotter than without a main system, so your water heater will have to use more energy to keep the water warm in that big heat exchanger that your plumbing system calls.

One nice thing about the Watts pump is that you can put a valve under each sink if you want and get instant hot water for any or all fixtures. However, at the same time it will increase the power consumption of your system.

Does not work with tankless water heaters

The pump is very small and doesn’t use a lot of power, but as a result it can’t pump a lot of water either. It is unlikely that the Watts Premier will be able to turn on even a small tankless water heater. According to the pump curves on the Watts website, the pump cut-off pressure is about 1.5 psi.

Watts uses a Grundfos UP15-10SU7/TLC pump with a 1/25 horsepower motor that draws 25 watts. The pump runs continuously, so running for, say, 16 hours a day would consume 25 watts/hour x 16 hours/day x 365 days/year = 146,000 watt/hours per year in electrical energy use. That’s 146 kWh and, for example, 13 cents per kWh would be $19.00 per year. This would be substantially less than the energy lost due to warm water circulation.

Of course, the hot water will arrive faster than if the pipes were allowed to cool completely, since being colder, they would absorb more heat from the incoming cold water as it flowed into the faucet. But it certainly can’t be called “Instant”.

The listed price for the Watts Premier system on their website is $225.00

The Metlund D’mand pump

The Metlund D’mand system is a demand type hot water delivery system. It only pumps water into the appliance when you “demand” it by pressing a button. The D’mand pump mounts under the sink and connects to the hot and cold water supply valves like the Watts valve. A power outlet is required to connect the pump.

When the button is pressed, the pump starts pumping water to the device returning the cooled water in the hot water pipes back to the water heater through the cold water pipes. When the pump detects a sudden rise in temperature, it shuts down so that hot water does not enter the cold water line.

No wasted energy

Since all the pump does is fill the pipes between the fixture and the water heater with hot water just as you would running a faucet, you won’t use any additional water heater energy with the system. Since the pump runs for a very short time, it uses much less electricity than the Watts pump, about $1.00 per year.

Works with any tankless water heater

Some models will work with tankless water heaters. Since tankless water heaters usually take an extra 10-20 seconds to get water to the fixtures, the Metlund pump is a very nice addition to any tankless water heater, gas or electric. Get hot water very quickly without additional energy penalty and save a lot of water.

Metlund pump models range from $350 to $750.

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