Capability Question: Switch Remotely Control Circulating Pump

I am new to SmartThings and home automation and I am hoping you can confirm something for me before I invest time trying to figure if this will work.

I have a circulating pump on my hot water heater in the garage. In case you don’t know what this is, it basically circulates hot water up into my master bath at the other side of the house so I don’t have to wait forever for hot water, nor waste tons of water, when I want to get in the shower. Right now that pump is operating on a schedule many hours a day - there is a built in timer on the pump. This is a waste in my opinion because I would rather this be on when I need it and off when I don’t.

What I would like to do, hence my question here, is to have a switch by my shower that I can turn on a few minutes prior to getting in that would turn on the pump that is located in my garage. There is no direct wiring from my bathroom to the garage so this switch from an electrical perspective does nothing. I would like this zwave switch to send an event to SmartThings which in turn, turns on a zwave outlet in the garage. From what I gather from other posts this seems doable, but please confirm.

What I would also like is to set a timer to turn off the pump after a period of time because I suspect my wife and I will forget to hit the switch afterwards and I don’t want the pump running all day. Is this doable?

Thanks in advance for the confirmation and guidance!

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Yes, this is doable. If I were to do it, I’d replace the shower light switch with a z-wave. Then create a SmartApp that looks for that switch being turned on, turns on the pump, and then turns off the pump and light after a pre-configured time.

I think you’ll find a number of SmartApps in the samples that turn something on, and then off after some time. Start with one of those and and change the event trigger to your light switch, and add the pump and switch to timed event.


This is a clever idea. I don’t see why you couldn’t get SmartThings to work for you. You may need additional Z-Wave or Zigbee devices to expand the mesh to your garage.

Circulating pumps always seemed like such a waste of hot water compared to how much water you save. However, your method turns it only ONLY when needed.

How long does it take for the hot water to reach the shower using the pump? Or maybe a better question is how much longer does the pump take than letting the hot water run? You should be able have SmartThings shut off the pump as soon as the hot water is available based on this time.

Thank you both for the confirmation! @scott great idea just trading out existing switch.

The pump takes a few minutes to get water to the shower at the other side of the house.

Regarding your point about adding additional devices to reach the garage, do GE zwave outlets repeat the signal? I have a few in my kitchen that is near the garage.



Yes, I have found the GE Z-Wave receptacles work great even in metal boxes. It may take a few strategically placed outlets for the garage because I’ve found and noticed others observe the garage can be a radio dead zone. Why, I don’t know.

Success! I installed a new GE zwave outlet from Lowes this afternoon in my garage and fortunately the outlets in the kitchen were close enough to repeat the signal from the smart hub.

I found another post on the community with a similar question/answer for turning on an outlet when a switch is toggled:

Now I need to figure out the code to turn off the pump after a certain period of time, but no biggie on that since the major feature I needed is working.

Thanks again to all for the help! I am definitely enjoying SmartThings.