A Look At The Watts Premier Hot Water System – Comparing the Watts Premier Recirculating Pump to the Chilipepper hot water demand pump.
The Watts Premier system provides faster hot water but it isn’t instant by any means
According to Watts, the Premier Recirculating system gives you hot water instantly at every faucet. Here’s the quote from their website: “Watts Premiers Hot Water Recirculation Pump brings convenience and saving to your home, giving you hot water instantly at every faucet, when you need it.”
A luke-warm water circulating system
The Watts Premier system is what I like to call a luke-warm water circulating system. The system consists of a valve for placement under the sink, and a pump located at the water heater. The pump creates a pressure difference between the hot water faucet and the cold water faucet.
The valve connects between the hot and cold water faucets, and when the temperature drops to below 98 degrees water flows through the valve bringing hot water towards the sink/faucet/valve installation.
When the valve senses a temperature above 98 degrees the valve closes and water stops flowing. In other words it operates identically to a traditional temperature controlled hot water circulating system, except instead of hot water it circulates warm water, and of course, uses the cold water line as the return line.
The water may not be hot, but it is much warmer than with no premier system, consequently your water heater will have to consume more energy to keep the water in that big heat exchanger you call your hot and cold water plumbing system warm.
One nice thing about the Watts pump is that you can place a valve under every sink if you wish, and get faster hot water to any or every fixture. However, you will at the same time increase the energy consumption of your system.
Won’t work with tankless water heaters
The pump is very small and does not consume much energy, however as a result it can’t pump much water either. It’s unlikely that the Watts Premier will be able to turn on 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 which consumes 25 watts. The pump runs continuously, so running it for say 16 hours a day would consume 25 watts/hour x 16 hours/day x 365 days/yr = 146,000 Watt/hours per year in electrical energy consumption. Thats 146 kWh and at say 13 cents per kWh would be $19.00 per year. This would be substantially less than the energy lost due to circulating warm water.
The hot water will of course arrive more quickly than if the pipes were allowed to cool down completely because being colder, they would suck more heat out of the oncoming cold water as it flowed to the faucet. But it certainly can not be called “Instant Hot Water”. Maybe “Instant Warm Water”.
The listed price for the Watts Premier system on it’s website is $225.00
The Chilipepper Model CP6000 Demand Hot Water Pump
The Chilipepper CP6000 is a demand type hot water delivery system. It only pumps the water to the fixture when you “demand it” by pressing a button. The Chilipepper pump mounts under the sink, and connects to the hot and cold water supply valves like the Watts valve. A power outlet is needed to plug the pump into.
When the button is pressed the pump begins pumping the water to the fixture returning the cooled off hot water in the hot water pipes back to the water heater through the cold water pipes. When the pump detects hot water arriving it shuts off so hot water does not get into the cold water line.
Faster hot water
The CP6000 pump has a powerful 1/3 horsepower high rpm motor, with a cut-off pressure of about 50 psi. That gives it the ability to pump the water to the fixture more quickly than the hot water would arrive if you just turned on the faucet full-blast.
No wasted energy
Since all it does is fill the hot water pipes between the fixture and the water heater with hot water just as you would do by running the faucet, you don’t use any additional energy from the water heater with the system. Since the pump runs for a very brief time, it uses far less electricity than the Watts pump, about $2.00 per year.
Works with any tankless water heater
The powerful motor also means it will work with any tankless water heater on the market…no problem. Since tankless water heaters typically take 10 to 20 seconds longer to get water to the fixtures, the CP6000 is a very nice accessory for any tankless water heater, gas or electric. You get your hot water very quickly with no additional energy penalty and you save a lot of water.
The CP2011 is easier to install since all you need to do is connect up the hoses under the sink. You don’t have to shut down the water heater and disconnect the existing plumbing connections, and you don’t have to turn off the water supply, or purge the hot water lines of air etc.