You’ll see them referred to as circulating pumps, circulator pumps, even recirculating pumps. In the plumbing and water heating business, we call them circle pumps. They exist to keep your hot water in motion throughout your piping system, ensuring you get that hot water right away – with no wait time.
There are essentially two main components to a circle pump: an electric motor and its impeller encased in a housing. This impeller turns within the housing and works almost like a fan, but instead of pushing or circulating air, it pushes or circulates hot water throughout the system. By piping a separate line from the farthest point of hot water distribution back to the water heater, a piping loop is created. This loop is the only additional piping required to install a circulating pump.
When the circle pump is attached to that loop of piping, it works as its name suggests: by continuously circulating hot water through your piping system. The result is hot water on demand – ensuring your business is in hot water when you need it. From a maintenance standpoint, it’s a matter of lubricating the bearings and keeping your circle pump clean.