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Circulating Hot Water Systems | Residential | General Audiences


Circulating hot water systems distribute hot water to faucets on a QUICK FACTS
“closed loop” system that circulates the water to deliver it on demand.
Circulating Hot Water System –Section 403.4
The 2009 IECC mandates a minimum of R-2 insulation for piping in cir-
2009 IECC
culating hot water systems. The code also stipulates an “automatic or
readily accessible manual switch” that controls the hot water circula- Minimum of R-2 insulation covering pipes
tion pump.
Mandatory for all climate zones
Current Code Manual switch installed in a readily accessi-
The 2009 IECC covers circulating hot water systems in Section 403.4. ble area

Detailed information can be found at:

Previous Code
High Efficiency Water Heaters from Energy
The 2009 iteration of the IECC emphasizes that a manual control must Star
be “readily accessible.” The language in the 2003 IECC, however, is
slightly vaguer, stating in Section 504.4 “Hot Water System Controls” Re-circulating system in PNNL glossary
that circulating hot water system pumps or heat trace must be
Hot Water Recirculation Systems from Tool-
“arranged to be conveniently turned off” either automatically or manu-
Energy-efficient water heating from Bob Vila

Requirements covered in the 2009 IECC Section 403.4 are mandatory

for all climate zones.


All parties must be aware of the requirements covered in the 2009 IECC
and need to ensure that:

A minimum or R-2 insulation is installed around the pipes

A manual switch in an easily accessible area is installed

Figure 1: Circulating Hot Water Pump
Typical Problems

Standard issues/concerns that arise include:

Not notifying building tenants of manual pump switch

Not informing clients of energy savings features of manual switch

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