I have a conventional 50 gallon hot water system with a recirculation pump and separate return line which returns to the bottom of the tank at the drain connection; all pretty standard stuff.

I notice however that when showering, the hot water seems to deplete more quickly when the pump is running. I'm thinking that by circulating the hot water back into the bottom of the tank, then hot and incoming cold water are being mixed and circulated when showering which cools all the water in the tank more quickly.

It seems to me that it would be better to have the return hot water line enter the tank near the upper portion of the tank, in this case at the pressure relief connection point on the side. This way the hot water all stays at the top of the tank and the incoming cold water enters and stays at the bottom of the tank ready to be heated.

What do you guys think?