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Circulating Systems

Circulating systems are used for large buildings with central water heaters, long runs of hot water piping, and intermittent use of hot water at the individual fixtures. To avoid long delays, the hot water is continuously circulated up to the fixtures and back to the water heating equipment. This requires additional piping, insulation on all of the hot water piping, one or more pumps, and usually several valves for balancing the flow through various branches of the piping network.

Electric tracing is sometimes used instead of insulation in a circulating system to keep the piping hot. Electric tracing consists of low power electric resistance heaters attached along all of the lengths of hot water piping under the insulation. This eliminates the need for the additional return plumbing, circulating pumps, and valves for the circulating system.