Hot Water Recirculation

Rebate Information

$150 for self-activated or on-demand hot-water recirculation systems only. Timer-controlled and thermostat-controlled systems are not rebated.

Types of Systems

Does it seem to take forever for hot water to reach your shower or bathroom sink on a cold winter morning? Not only can this test one's patience, it also results in higher water bills as a lot of cold water goes to waste down the drain. A hot-water recirculation system is a small water pump that works in conjunction with the plumbing system and a hot water heater.

There are models available that work with either tank-type or tankless water heaters. The system is designed to more quickly provide hot water at the most distant plumbing fixture (from the hot water heater) and every fixture in series or close to the mainline. A hot water recirculation system is usually installed under the bathroom sink in the bathroom farthest from the hot water heater. Please note, this is not the same as an on-demand hot water heater.

There are several types of hot-water recirculation systems:

  • Self-activated or on-demand
  • Sensor based
  • Thermostat-controlled. (doesn't qualify for rebate)
  • Timer-controlled, (doesn't qualify for rebate)

Self-Activated Systems

Self-activated systems bring the hot water to the desired fixture at the "request" of the user. These systems are usually activated by manually pushing a button placed next to the fixture. Some models may also be activated by remote control or motion sensors.

This ENERGY STAR website provides additional information on demand hot-water recirculation systems.

Timer-Controlled Systems (not rebated)

Timer-controlled systems circulate the water-based on preset time periods, generally set to when hot water is most commonly used (e.g., morning or evening showers). The longer the time period of operation, the greater the energy use and associated cost.

Thermostat-Controlled Systems (not rebated)

Thermostat-controlled devices keep the water in the pipes constantly heated to a preset temperature, therefore using much more energy than the other two systems.

Water Savings & Energy Costs

Self-activated hot-water recirculation systems are estimated to save at least 3,000 gallons of water per year in a typical four-person household. If the self-activated systems are used on a regular basis, the water savings can be even greater.

A typical hot-water recirculation system costs about $200 to $600 (average $300) and has a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Most systems can be installed by a handy homeowner, but hiring a professional is recommended and generally costs about $300. The systems require very little additional plumbing, but an electrical outlet is needed.

Local Plumbing Stores

Local plumbing stores may carry or be able to order self-activated hot water recirculation systems. 

If you need assistance determining whether a particular hot water recirculation system qualifies for a rebate, or need additional information, please call our Conservation Department at 831-475-8500.

Hot Water Recirculation System Rebate Eligibility

Complete rebate eligibility requirements are listed on the Hot Water Recirculation System Rebate Application (PDF). However, we still want you to be aware of the following:

  • Rebate applies to the self-activated hot water recirculation system only. Parts, sales tax, and installation labor are not included.
  • Hot water recirculation systems must be installed and rebate applications must be postmarked within 90 days of the purchase date.
  • The maximum number of hot water recirculation system rebates is one per household.
  • A representative of Soquel Creek Water District (SqCWD) must be permitted to inspect the property to verify installation and proper construction.
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires all rebate program participants receiving $600 or more per calendar year in rebates to be issued an IRS Form 1099 unless exemptions apply. If you have received rebates from Soquel Creek Water District (SqCWD) totaling $600 or more in the current calendar year, you must submit a completed IRS W-9 Form (PDF) with your rebate application to receive a rebate. The Social Security or Tax ID number requested in the rebate application process is in compliance with exemptions to the Federal Privacy Act of 1974, 42 UCS 405 (c)(2)(c). Social Security numbers provided as part of the application process are held in confidence under terms of the Privacy Act and are not divulged or otherwise conveyed to individuals or organizations outside the SqCWD Rebate Program.