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Comparing the Watts Premier Recirculating Pump to the Metlund D’Mand System
Watts Premier hot water recirculation system
According to Watts, the Premier recirculation system gives you hot water instantly at every faucet. Here’s a quote from their website: “The Watts Premiers hot water recirculating pump brings convenience and savings to your home, giving you hot water instantly at every tap, when you need it.”
Technically that’s not true…
System for circulation of lukewarm water
The Watts Premier system is what I like to call a lukewarm water circulation system. The system consists of a valve to be placed under the sink and a pump located on the water heater. The pump creates a pressure difference between the hot and cold faucet.
The valve connects between the hot and cold faucet, and when the temperature drops below 98° water flows through the valve bringing the heated water to the sink/faucet/valve installation.
When the valve senses 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 hot water instead of hot, and of course, uses a cold water pipe as a return line.
Waste of energy
The water may not be hot, but it’s much hotter than without the main system, which means your water heater will have to use more energy to keep the water warm in that big heat exchanger you call your plumbing system.
One nice thing about the Watts pump is that you can put a valve under any sink if you want and get hot water to any or every appliance instantly. However, at the same time, you 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 include 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 it say 16 hours a day would use 25 watts/hour x 16 hours/day x 365 days/year = 146,000 watt/hours per year in electricity consumption. That’s 146 kWh and at say 13 cents per kWh would be $19.00 per year. This would be significantly less than the energy lost due to hot water circulation.
The hot water will of course arrive faster than if the pipes were to cool completely because the cooler would suck more heat from the incoming cold water to flow to the faucet. But it certainly cannot be called “Instant”.
The listed price for the Watts Premier system on his website is $225.00
Metlund D’mand pump
The Metlund D’mand system is a system for delivering hot water on demand. It pumps water to the device only when you “request” it by pressing a button. The D’mand pump is placed under the sink and connected to hot and cold water supply valves such as the Watts valve. An outlet is required to turn on the pump.
When the button is pressed, the pump starts to pump water to the appliance returning the cooled water from the hot water pipes back to the boiler through the cold water pipes. When the pump detects a sudden rise in temperature, it shuts off to prevent hot water from entering the cold water pipe.
No wasted energy
Since all the pump does is fill the pipes between the appliance and the water heater with hot water just as you would when you turn on the faucet, you don’t use any extra energy from the water heater with the system. Because the pump runs for a very short time, it uses far less electricity than a Watts pump, about $1.00 per year.
Works with all tankless water heaters
Some models will work with tankless water heaters. Since tankless water heaters usually take 10 to 20 seconds longer to get water to the appliance, the Metlund pump is a very nice addition to any tankless water heater, gas or electric. You get hot water very quickly without additional energy penalties and save a lot of water.
The price of Metlund pump models varies from about $350 to about $750 retail.
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