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Hot water circulator

The traditional hot water recirculation system uses a dedicated return line from the point of use located farthest from the hot water tank back to the hot water tank. In homes where this return line was not installed the cold water line is used as a return line. The first of two system types has a pump mounted at the hot water heater while a "normally-open" thermostatic control valve gets installed at the furthest fixture from the water heater and closes once hot water contacts the valve to control crossover flow between the hot and cold lines. A second type of system utilizes a thermostatically controlled pump which gets installed at the furthest fixture from the water heater. These thermostatically controlled pumps often have a built-in "normally closed" check-valve which prevents water in the cold water line from entering into the hot water line. Compared to a dedicated return line, using the cold water line as a return has the disadvantage of heating the cold water pipe (and the contained water). Accurate temperature monitoring and active flow control can minimize loss of cold water within the cold water line. Technological advancements within the industry allowed for incorporating timers to limit the operations during specific hours of the day to reduce energy waste by only operating when occupants were likely to use hot water. Additional advancements in technology include pumps which cycle on and off to maintain hot water temperature versus a continuously operating pump which consumes more electrical energy. Reduced energy waste and discomfort is possible by preventing occurrences of hot water line siphoning in open-loop hot water circulation systems which utilize the cold water line to return water back to the water heater. Hot Water Line Siphoning occurs when water from within the hot water line siphons or is forced into the cold water line due to differences in water pressure between the hot and cold water lines. Utilizing "normally closed" solenoid valve significantly reduces energy consumption by preventing siphoning of non-hot water out of hot water lines during cold water use. Using cold water instantly lowers the water pressure in the cold water lines, the higher water pressure in the hot water lines force water through "normally open" thermostatic crossover valves and backflow check valves (which only prevent cold water from flowing into hot water line), increasing the energy demand on the water heater.