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James City Service Authority

119 Tewning Rd.
Williamsburg, VA 23188

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P: 757-229-7421
F: 757-229-2463

 

"Let's be Water Smart" is a public/private water management initiative of the James City Service Authority. The goal of Let's be Water Smart is to promote responsible water usage in James City County, Virginia. For more information or to become a Water Smart partner, contact JCSA at 119 Tewning Rd., Williamsburg, VA 23188-2639

 

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8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Monday-Friday

 

 

jcsa
@jamescitycountyva.gov

 

"On Demand" Hot Water Recirculator Rebate - FAQs

 

What is an "on demand" hot water recirculator?

An ‘on demand’ recirculator, or recirculation system, is activated as needed by you or your family members, to pull hot water from the water heater while simultaneously sending cooled-off water from the hot-water lines back to the water heater.

In addition to having the convenience of near-instantaneous hot water, the system conserves water and uses little energy.

How does it work?

After you push a button or activate the motion sensor, while you are preparing to shower, your ‘on demand’ system will swiftly and briefly pull hot water from the water heater to your fixture. Hot water is not pulled very far into your cold water line, so you will rarely encounter warm water when you want cold water at the tap. There will only be two seconds of warm (66°F) water in your cold line.

There are three basic configurations for hot water recirculation systems.

1. For homes with standard or series plumbing, the recirculator pump can be connected to the hot water supply line at the furthest fixture from the water heater and then connected to the cold water supply line.

  • This layout uses the cold water supply line as the return loop to the water heater.
  • The temperature sensor in the recirculator pump shuts it off when hot water reaches it.
  • For ‘on demand’ systems, motion sensors or activation buttons can be installed at any plumbing fixture to wirelessly activate the recirculator pump.
  • Depending on the recirculator product, this configuration can work with conventional or tankless water heaters.
  • This is an easy retrofit that can take only a few hours.

2.  For homes with series plumbing and a dedicated return line connecting the furthest fixture to the water heater, the recirculator pump is installed between the hot water supply line and the dedicated return line with the temperature sensor in the pump or between the dedicated return line and the water heater with the temperature sensor at the furthest fixture from the water heater.

  • This layout uses the dedicated return line as the return loop to the water heater.
  • The temperature sensor  shuts the pump off when hot water reaches sensor.
  • Motion sensors or activation buttons can be installed to wirelessly activate the recirculator pump in the case of ‘on demand’ systems.
  • This is a more involved retrofit.

3. For homes with branched plumbing, the hot water supply line at the furthest fixture from the water heater on each desired branch is connected to a recirculator pump and then to the cold water supply line.

  • This layout uses the cold water supply line as the return loop to the water heater.
  • The temperature sensor in the recirculator pump shuts it off when hot water reaches it.
  • For ‘on demand’ systems, motion sensors or activation buttons can be installed to wirelessly activate the recirculator pump.
  • Depending on the recirculator product, this layout can work with conventional or tankless water heaters.
  • This type of plumbing system will require a separate recirculator pump for each branch in which faster hot water is desired.
  • This is an easy retrofit that can take only a few hours for each pump installation.

Please see the following websites for diagrams of installation configurations. Keep in mind that installation setup is specific to recirculator product and the plumbing layout of your home. 

What related technologies are there and why just rebate ‘on demand’ recirculators?

‘On demand’ recirculation systems are different from ones that are activated by thermostat and/or timer and push cooled-down water back into your water heater for typically 16 to 24 hours a day.

These systems run unnecessarily and make your water heater work much harder, typically costing $200 to $600 more in energy costs per year. An "on demand" hot water recirculator is not the same as:

A tankless water heater,
A point-of-use water heater,
A drainwater heat recovery device,
A gravity-based hot water recirculation loop, or
Any other type of hot water recirculator activated by thermostat, timer, or both.

We do not offer rebates on the first four of these technologies due to energy or water use concerns.

We will honor rebates for other recirculation pumps such as thermostat- and/or timer-controlled systems as long as they use a comparable amount of energy as "on demand" systems, as thermostat- and/or timer-controlled systems could increase energy usage.

What are some benefits of ‘on demand’ hot water recirculators?

Save Time - Stop waiting for hot water. ‘On demand’ hot water recirculators take about 15-20 seconds for hot water to reach your water fixture after you activate the system. During this time, you can engage in your normal routine, without running the water.

Save Water - The amount of water wasted while waiting for hot water depends upon numerous factors – the distance between the point of use and the hot water tank, the hot water temperature setting, the location of the fixture, internal pipe diameter, effective length, insulation level of the pipes, and carefulness of the user – but the Department of Energy estimates that 3,600 to 12,000 gallons of water per year can be saved by the typical household of four with four points of hot water use.

Save Municipal Energy Use - When energy used to treat municipal water, pump it to households, and then treat wastewater are factored in, the Department of Energy estimates that energy savings per the same household of four range from 800 to 1,600 kilowatt-hours per year.

What are some things I’ll need to consider before installing an ‘on demand’ hot water recirculator?

Where to purchase - Hot water recirculators are commercially available nationwide through plumbing wholesale supply warehouses and at selected retail home stores.

Upfront and operational cost - ‘On demand’ hot water recirculators typically cost $200 to $350 up front and cost only $27 per year in electricity or $15 a year in natural gas to operate.

Talk to a Professional - We suggest that before installing a hot water recirculator, you consult with a licensed contractor about issues such as plumbing layout, backflow prevention, hard water, and system compatibility, type, and size pump to install.

Ease of Implementation - Depending on the situation, hot water recirculators can range from fairly easy to install to more difficult than the average do-it-yourselfer will be able to tackle.

For example, systems with an accessible electric outlet may be easy for a handy homeowner to install. System components are pre-wired. Installation is a simple matter of connecting the water system between the hot and cold water supply, attaching the push button to the low voltage wire provided, and plugging into a 110 Volt outlet. The whole system can be installed in a few hours and does not require major modifications to the plumbing system. Only simple hand tools, such as an adjustable wrench or screwdriver, are needed. If your system has no nearby electrical outlet or if you are unsure about installing the system, we suggest you hire a licensed plumber.

Where can I buy an ‘on demand’ hot water recirculator?

The Chilipepper is a qualifying 'on demand' system that can be purchased online.

Ferguson can special order qualifying ‘on demand’ Metlund D’Mand systems.
6540 Mooretown Road, Williamsburg, VA 23188
757-220-0200

Noland can special order qualifying ‘on demand’ Metlund D’Mand and Taco, Inc., systems.
818 Bluecrab Road, Newport News, VA 23606
757- 596-5477

Thermostat- and/or Timer-Controlled Systems - We will honor rebates for other recirculation pumps such as thermostat- and/or timer-controlled systems as long as they use a comparable amount of energy as "on demand" systems, as thermostat- and/or timer-controlled systems could increase energy usage.

Ferguson carries thermostat- and/or timer-controlled Laing Thermotech, Inc. systems.
6540 Mooretown Road, Williamsburg, VA 23188
757-220-0200

The JCSA does not endorse specific brands, products, contractors, or companies. List does not denote preference. If you notice that our list is out of date, please email jcsa@jamescitycountyva.gov or call us at 757-259-5416. JCSA reserves the right to control web content.

What else can I do to conserve municipal water?

In order to save additional water and energy, replace your current showerhead with a new model that uses 1.5 to 2.5 gallons per minute. To see if you’d benefit by replacing your showerhead with a high efficiency model, make a 1-gallon mark on a bucket and hold it under a cold-water shower. If the bucket fills up to the gallon mark in less than 20 seconds, you could save water and energy by switching showerheads, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.  Showerheads are inexpensive and new technologies have emerged to get a high flow ‘feel’ with less water. Also, consider taking shorter showers. A typical shower lasts about 8 minutes and uses about 17 gallons of water. An efficient shower lasts 3 or 4 minutes and uses 7.5 gallons. JCSA may have showerheads and shower timers to share. Check for availability.

To be even more water savvy, consider placing a bucket or watering can in the shower while it gets hot or with you to water your houseplants later. At the kitchen or bathroom sink, use the bucket method or plug the sink to avoid constantly running water. At the kitchen sink, detergent cuts the grease. Hot water at the sink does not cut grease and is typically not hot enough to kill germs (149-176°F) so consider saving water, energy for water heating, and time by using cold water to wash items that cannot be washed in the dishwasher. Use the dishwasher as much as possible, since the dishwasher running full loads is more water efficient than all but the most frugal hand washers.

In order to save additional water, also:

  • Consider landscaping techniques from our Let’s Be Water Smart program including lawn care calendars, guides, suggested plants and water-thrifty tips under “Resources."
  • If you plan to install a new toilet, make it a high-efficiency toilet! Look for the EPA’s new WaterSense label and visit their website when shopping for high-efficiency toilets, landscape irrigation services, irrigation control technologies, showerheads, and more! (Check our WaterSense High-Efficiency Toilet Rebate to see if you are eligible.)
  • Install a rain sensor for your home irrigation system if you do not have one. This is probably the easiest action you can take to save the most water. (Check our Rain Sensor Rebate to see if you are eligible.)
  • Check out our other rebates.
HRWET watersense watersmart

 

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