If you let water run down the drain while waiting for it to get hot you may be!


It adds up over time. You wash your hands a few times a day or need hot water to rinse something out or to wash some dishes. There may be a little cooled water in the hot water pipe or there may be a lot depending upon a number of factors. Either way it has to empty out before you can get hot water. Does it just go down the drain? Some estimates suggest the average household is wasting 8-12 thousand gallons of water every year waiting for it to heat up. Solutions to this sinful waste abound and come in high and low tech to boot! Here are the ones I think are most worth considering as well as some of the pros & cons:


1. Catch the cooled water in a bucket or other open container. If you let it stand overnight the chlorine dissipates and it’s good for plants or even your pets.

 Pros: simple to operate, no moving parts, can’t break down or malfunction

Cons: unattractive buckets lying around, sloshing issues, labor intensive


2. Install a hot water recirculation pump on your water heater that will intermittently pump hot water into the pipes and force cooled water back to the water heater.

Pros: no waiting for hot water, no water wasted while waiting, has a timer that can be set so it only pumps at peak hot water usage times to conserve energy, some systems maintain hot water in the pipes at all times or are operated with a demand button or switch

Cons: Uses energy, may use excessive energy, may require professional installation, high initial cost, waiting for lukewarm water to empty out when you want cold water


3. Install “point of use” demand water heaters.

Pros: no waiting for hot water, no water wasted while waiting

Cons: high initial cost, requires professional installation, a lot of energy is used to heat water so fast, higher energy bills


4. Install a water saving “under-sink” water filtration system that automatically removes unwanted cooled water from hot water pipes and filters it so you  waste less and get all the pure, fresh and naturally delicious water your household needs for a tiny-weeny fraction of what bottled water costs .

Pros: less water wasted, no energy consumption, low maintenance, nothing to breakdown or malfunction,  incredibly pure and natural tasting water for drinking, pets, coffee, cooking, plant watering, etc. for a fraction of a cent per gallon, less plastic waste going into landfills and the environment

Cons: it does take some time to fill containers, works best under the sink farthest from the water heater, takes a little discipline to get the most water savings, produces too much great tasting filtered water for some households to consume.


OK, so I never said I was completely unbiased and I guess it’s pretty obvious what my favorite option is. That doesn’t negate the fact that for some households #4 simply makes the most sense and except for #1 it’s the only option that more than pays for itself!

Published by Bill Hoover