For many homeowners, having to wait while the water flowing from the faucet or showerhead gets hot can be more than a minor nuisance. In large homes with long runs between the water heater and master bath, it can take more than a minute. Meanwhile, a lot of wasted cold water is running down the drain: Estimates of the amount range from 6,000 to 15,000 gallons of water per year for an average family of four, depending on the size of the home and the family's habits. Adding to the waste, a family might be paying for electricity to pump the water from a well and for chemicals to purify and treat it.

A small thermostatic valve takes the place of a dedicated return line in this Grundfos hot-water recirculation system, which is specifically designed for retrofitting.

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