Hot water recirculation saves water, money with little need to change routine
By Jonathan E. Coleman
Old habits die hard, or so the saying goes.
But no matter how much effort one puts into saving water — whether it’s taking shorter showers, turning off the water while brushing your teeth or refraining from watering lawns and gardens — changing one’s habits can only go so far towards conserving.
And as drought conditions persist, and forecasters predict a dry winter ahead, saving every little bit of water seems to be increasingly more important.
It’s a problem that Jack and Larry Crouch take very seriously, and one that’s bothered the brothers since well before the current drought was an issue.
“About 14 years ago, I was standing in the kitchen and turned the water on to hot,” Larry said. “It never came. I waited and waited. I started thinking, ‘If every house in the country had to wait that long…’ (Back then,) there was no talk of drought. It was just waste.”
Jack and Larry own Today’s Hot Water, and, in June, finally found a product that they say will save homeowners money and conserve thousands of gallons of water annually.
Hot water recirculation pumps have been used in the western parts of the country for years, but have yet to make a big splash on the east coast.
Larry admits that the product is “outside the box” of normal thinking for people in this area, but says he believes the product can make a significant difference in water use.
“This part of the country has been taking for granted the importance and value of fresh water,” he said. “Communities that know their water supply is limited are the ones that innovate to solve problems. I strongly believe that this can be a real difference maker in our community if embraced.”
The basic idea is that a small pump placed on an existing hot water heater provides constant circulation of hot water to the home’s farthest faucet, and all faucets in between. The result is no more waiting for hot water, and savings in water that would otherwise flow straight down the drain while consumers wait for it to heat up.
“One thing that will have the most impact is a product that doesn’t require a habit change,” Larry said, noting that recirculation pumps, once installed, provide instant results without any change in routine on the homeowner’s part.
While saving water is an important function of the hot water recirculation pump, saving money is also a lure, Jack said. He estimated that for every 1,000 homes using a recirculation pump water users could realize about 12 million gallons of water savings, or nearly $250,000 in monetary savings annually.
With an installation cost of between $450 and $600, the pumps will pay for themselves in the first few years, Jack said.
In addition to promoting their product, Larry and Jack say the mission of Today’s Hot Water is also to educate the public about the value of fresh water and the importance of thinking about conservation year-round and not just in times of drought.
“Our thinking needs to change long term regarding the true value of fresh water,” Larry said. “National Geographic states, ‘We must learn not to turn to conservation just in times of drought or emergency water shortages but, rather, incorporate it into our lives every day.’”
Thinking about the every day is important, Jack said, because the drought isn’t the sole reason water is becoming a more precious resource.
“It makes perfect sense to think outside the box,” he said. “It’s not only the drought, we have an overpopulation problem.
“The predictions over the next 10 years are not only that the drought will persist, but the population will continue to grow. We’re using more and more water.”
• Contact Jonathan E. Coleman at [email protected] or 704-789-9105.