The Ultimate Guide to Continuously Operated Recirculated Systems

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Continuously operated recirculated systems, also known as secondary hot water circulation or ring main systems, are an essential component in modern plumbing. These systems ensure that hot water is readily available throughout a building while promoting better hygiene. In this guide, we’ll explore how these systems work, where they are commonly used, and why they are a valuable addition to any plumbing skillset.

Applications of Continuously Operated Recirculated Systems

These systems are particularly popular in large sanitary environments such as healthcare facilities and hospitality settings. Their design significantly reduces the risk of bacterial growth in the pipes, ensuring a hygienic water supply. This makes them indispensable in settings where the cleanliness of the water is paramount.

How Do They Work?

Continuously operated recirculated systems use a pump to circulate hot water through the pipework continuously. This constant flow prevents stagnation and maintains high water temperatures, which inhibits bacterial growth. By reducing opportunities for bacteria to thrive, these systems also lower the risk of Legionnaire’s disease.

Understanding Legionnaire’s Disease

Legionnaire’s disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by the Legionella pneumophila bacteria, often found in stagnant water. The disease can be life-threatening and is contracted by inhaling water droplets containing the bacteria. Continuously operated recirculated systems combat this by maintaining a water temperature of at least 60°C, which prevents the bacteria from forming.

Ensuring Hot Water Quality

Unlike other hot water systems, continuously operated recirculating systems are easier to disinfect. Two main approaches can be employed:

  1. Thermal Disinfection: Designed to withstand temperatures up to 70°C, the system can be disinfected by heating the water to this temperature and rinsing each tap or sampling point for at least three minutes.
  2. Component Quality: Using high-quality components like the PE-Xc multilayer pipes ensures exceptional performance and longevity.

The Role of Tigris K5

Tigris K5 is a multi-layer composite pipe designed for potable water and heating applications. It offers several advantages over traditional copper piping, such as:

  • Five-layer construction: Includes an inner layer of cross-linked polyethylene, an outer layer of HDPE, and an aluminum layer in between.
  • Oxygen diffusion resistance: Prevents oxygen from entering the water system, reducing the risk of corrosion.
  • Thermal expansion comparable to copper: Ensures stability in varying temperatures.
  • Flexibility and fewer fittings: Speeds up installation and lowers material costs.

Unique Features of Tigris K5

  • Acoustic Leak Alert: Emits a loud whistle to identify any unpressed fittings.
  • Opti Flow: Enhanced inner bore improves flow performance.
  • Multi Jaw: Can be pressed with all common profiles.
  • Easy Fit: Allows for easy pipe insertion without calibration.
  • In4SureTM: Provides clear visual cues for unpressed sleeves.
  • Ultra Seal: Offers reliable O-ring sealing, tested beyond market standards.
  • Pipe Grip: Ensures pipes stay in position before pressing.

Providing Hygienic Water Supplies Across the UK

Traditional hot water systems can foster bacterial growth due to stagnant water. Continuously operated recirculated systems maintain water temperatures above 60°C and ensure constant water movement, significantly reducing this risk. They also guarantee consistent water pressure and availability, making them a superior choice for maintaining a hygienic water supply.


As the demand for these systems grows, plumbers who can expertly install and maintain continuously operated recirculated systems will find themselves in a thriving market. For more information or assistance with your project, contact our UK technical support center. Our experienced team is ready to offer advice and expertise. Additionally, explore our range of technical downloads, installation guides, and product details available online.

Don’t hesitate—get in touch today and take advantage of our comprehensive resources.

Visit Wavin UK | Tigris K5 – New Press Fit Pipe system for more information.

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