Industry Blogs

Most of us have works spaces that are not connected to central heating, making them a large cold spot in most home heating systems. When winter comes, an unheated workspace can be a cold and unappealing place for work, home maintenance, tinkering and other hobbies. One way to keep a workspace toasty even in the Read more

Most of us have works spaces that are not connected to central heating, making them a large cold spot in most home heating systems. When winter comes, an unheated workspace can be a cold and unappealing place for work, home maintenance, tinkering and other hobbies.

One way to keep a workspace toasty even in the harshest winters is choosing a top-notch electric heater. Electric heaters offer several benefits over other heating systems — they don’t require venting like gas heaters and can be more cost-effective.

Electric Heater Benefits

One factor to consider when heating a workspace is safety. Electric heaters do not pose the same risks as propane or natural gas heaters. Along with a work vehicle, a contractor probably has other flammables in their workspace. Because there are no open flames or exhaust fumes with electric heaters, they’re safer to use around vehicles, gas, liquids and tools.

Electric heaters also offer efficiencies that other heaters do not. With an electric heater, every bit of electricity used is converted into heat. With propane, on the other hand, only 80 percent of its fuel is used for heat while the other 20 percent is lost by-products. That fuel loss translates into inefficiency and can mean higher costs.

Electric heaters also provide the flexibility to provide warmth without taking up floor space or creating a tripping hazard. They can be mounted on the wall or ceiling, and angled to push warm air horizontally, vertically or in any other desired direction. These installation and airflow options are much harder to achieve with a gas heater.

Choosing the Appropriate Heater

Whether using the workspace for jobs, random hobbies or a regular hangout, there are several electric heating options to choose from including radiant electric, portable heaters and fan-forced units:

  • Radiant electric heaters are designed to target a specific area with heat, typically using infrared technology to heat the objects in the room instead of the air.
  • Portable heaters are easy to move around the work space, targeting heat to the necessary spots where one is working.
  • Fan-forced heaters move warm air throughout an entire work space for balanced, all-over heating.

Consider how the heater will be best used in your work space before making a selection.

Heater Installation Tips
How best to install an electric heater varies depending on the type. Some models may need to be wired by an electrician or trained professional, while others are portable and can be easily mounted and simply plugged in.

Before hooking anything up, be sure to check the voltage requirements. With a plug-in 120V electric garage heater, for example, all that’s needed is an outlet. An electric heater that runs at a voltage higher than 120, however, will need to be wired in. This will require some electrical work.

Also, make sure that the model of heater is sized appropriately for the space. To ensure a heater is generating enough heat to warm a designated area, match the wattage level of the heater with the size of the space.

No matter how it is being used, if you’re looking to heat up a workspace, one might consider an electric heater to keep the space warm even in the coldest of conditions. Marley Engineered Products has a wide variety of electric garage heater options to suit any and all needs. View the selection at https://www.marleymep.com/electric-garage-heaters.

Jim Herring is the supervisor of Total Custom Solutions & Technical Services at Marley Engineered Products®, a leading North American designer and manufacturer of reliable comfort heating and ventilation solutions for residential, commercial and institutional buildings. Recognized by contractors, architects, engineers and HVAC professionals for providing a wide range of high-performance, reliable heating and ventilation solutions, Marley Engineered Products’ brands include QMark®, Berko®, Fahrenheat® and Leading Edge®

With energy-efficiency and water conservation at top of mind for savvy consumers and forward-thinking homebuilders, it is important for plumbing installers to have a piping solution that meets energy codes but can also install quickly and effectively. Enter pre-insulated PEX pipe. With PEX pipe now installed in more new-home construction than copper and CPVC combined Read more

With energy-efficiency and water conservation at top of mind for savvy consumers and forward-thinking homebuilders, it is important for plumbing installers to have a piping solution that meets energy codes but can also install quickly and effectively.

Enter pre-insulated PEX pipe.

With PEX pipe now installed in more new-home construction than copper and CPVC combined, it has become the standard for residential plumbing systems due to its flexibility for faster installs and fewer connections along with extreme corrosion and freeze resistance.

Couple those benefits with a piping system that already has the insulation on the piping, and you have a smart solution that brings efficiency and ease to your installs without the need to add insulation after the pipe installation.

Pre-insulated PEX is available in pipe sizes up to 2″ with insulation thicknesses from ½” to 2″. This offering can meet various energy code requirements for any residential plumbing application. And because the pipe is available in long coil lengths up to 100 feet, it helps to eliminate unnecessary connections, speed installs and limit potential leak-point liability.

The lightweight pipe is both strong and durable, but very easy to move around the jobsite, helping to support worker safety and reduce liability from injuries. And the PEX joining system is fast and easy to learn (see below for a brief overview of each method).

For an expansion connection, simply slide an expansion ring over the end of the pipe and expand the pipe and ring with an expansion tool. Then, insert a larger-diameter fitting. As the pipe and ring shrink back down, it creates a solid, strong connection.

One of the biggest benefits of the expansion system is that it cannot be dry fit. It is fast to learn, easy to install and is the only PEX connection system that actually gets stronger over time. This is because it maximizes the “shape memory” of PEX, which means the pipe always wants to return to its original shape. Plus, the system is approved for direct burial in soil and concrete.

With crimp, you slide a copper ring onto the pipe, insert a smaller-diameter fitting and slide the ring back toward the end of the pipe before compressing the ring onto the pipe. While this is an inexpensive, fast and easy-to-learn technique, crimping works against the “shape memory” of PEX (which always wants to return to its natural shape). Without the confirmation of a go/no-go gauge, a loose crimp can potentially lead to leaks because the pipe is constantly pressing against the ring (away from the fitting). Additionally, this method opens up the potential for dry fits.

Clamp connections are similar to crimp: slide a stainless-steel ring onto the pipe, insert the fitting into the pipe, position the ring over the pipe and fitting and compress the ring. Again, this method is inexpensive, fast and easy to learn, but it does not capitalize on the shape memory of the pipe, so the pipe is always working against the connection, pressing back against the ring. It also can be dry fit, which adds to the liability of the system.

While push-to-connect is simple and easy to learn and doesn’t require special tooling, the system is slightly more expensive compared to crimp and clamp. Plus, fittings must be wrapped in an impermeable material prior to direct burial in soil. However, the biggest concern relates to the durability of the connection itself. Freeze tests and pull tests show these PEX connections are more susceptible to failure. This is because PEX is more malleable than metal, so the fitting’s teeth can slide off the pipe.

Lastly, there’s expansion with compression. This process involves sliding a metal sleeve onto the pipe, expanding the pipe, inserting the fitting and then compressing the sleeve over the pipe and fitting. This process can take more time, and the tool can be hard to maneuver into tight spaces to make the compression portion of the connection. Additionally, there’s also potential for injury due to the pinch point area near the compression jaws.

But no matter which connection method you choose, here’s one very important piece of advice: stick with one brand. Because most PEX manufacturers offer a warranty with their pipe and fittings (some up to 25 years), you want to ensure you have the full warranty behind your work. Once you start mixing brands for the pipe, fittings, sleeves and rings, it can greatly reduce the warranty (or even become void). Don’t get left holding the bag if you have a service or warranty issue and the manufacturer can’t help because you’ve mixed brands.

If you’d like to learn more about PEX and the manufacturers for North America, visit the Plastics Pipe Institute website at plasticpipe.org or the Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association website at ppfahome.org.

Kim Bliss is the content development manager at Uponor. She can be reached at kim.bliss@uponor.com.

Homes are getting smarter as technology evolves, and devices like smart thermostats enable homeowners to create a perfect oasis inside their home while also lowering utility bills. As an HVAC expert, homeowners will look to you for guidance on choosing the right thermostat, so understanding the different variations and features of smart home technology is Read more

Homes are getting smarter as technology evolves, and devices like smart thermostats enable homeowners to create a perfect oasis inside their home while also lowering utility bills. As an HVAC expert, homeowners will look to you for guidance on choosing the right thermostat, so understanding the different variations and features of smart home technology is key.

To determine which thermostat will achieve a homeowner’s own personal degree of perfection, ask your customer these questions:

  • How do you want to feel in your home?
    A homeowner may not know what device or equipment they want, but they do know how they want to feel in their home. Asking them to describe their ideal environment and how they prefer the air around them to feel will help you get a sense for their individual level of comfort.
  • What do you hope to gain from having a smart thermostat?
    Is your homeowner looking for an easy way to control the temperature? Do they want to lower their energy bills or even-out the humidity levels in their home? Curate your smart thermostat recommendations around the homeowner’s greatest needs, which oftentimes are not mutually exclusive. Lennox’ iComfort S30 Ultra Smart Thermostat includes Allergen Defender, a feature that monitors and cleans the air in the home, and the ability to control temperature remotely from a smartphone.
  • What level of control do you want over the temperature and air quality in your home?
    Some homeowners want to monitor their home temperature remotely any time of day, while others prefer to set the perfect temperature once and leave it alone. If your homeowner opts for the former, choose a smart thermostat that provides a granular level of control and extensive remote capabilities. For example, the iComfort S30’s Smart Away Mode uses GPS to detect how far away the homeowner is from the house and adjusts the temperature accordingly. On the other hand, Lennox’ iComfort E30 Smart Thermostat’s Perfect Temp feature allows the homeowner to set the desired temperature and the system will automatically adjust heating and cooling to maintain that setting. Identifying the homeowner’s perfect level of comfort is key to suggesting the optimal smart thermostat.
  • Do you want a thermostat that is compatible with digital assistants?
    Some homeowners prefer to control temperature and air quality through a digital assistant. Lennox’ iComfort smart thermostats are compatible with assistants like Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa to create the ultimate comfort experience.

Smart thermostats not only provide a wealth of benefits to homeowners, including decreased energy usage and control over temperature levels, but they can also improve how you work and interact with customers.

  • Proactive troubleshooting. Oftentimes, smart thermostats will alert you when there is an issue with your customer’s HVAC systems. This allows you to proactively fix the problem, even before the homeowner is aware there is an issue. Through Lennox’ Dealer Portal, dealers can – when permitted by the homeowner – diagnose problems with the HVAC system and fix them remotely.
  • Improved relationships with homeowners. Installation assistance and remote access provided by smart thermostats enable dealers to maintain and nurture relationships with the homeowner. Relationships are no longer one and done – you can be an ongoing resource for a homeowner with the touch of a button.
  • Increased ease of installation. Smart thermostats don’t have to be difficult and time-intensive to install. For example, Lennox makes it easy through a four-wire installation with the S30 and E30. With faster and simpler installation, you can shift your focus to forming and nurturing long-lasting relationships with your customer.

Having a variety of options and capabilities allow both dealers and homeowners to find the ideal thermostat to meet their respective needs. Homeowners can surround themselves with perfect air, while dealers can provide higher levels of customer service. To learn more about how to help your homeowner find their perfect level of comfort, visit the Lennox website.

Guest Blogger: Sweta Hari is the Director of Product Management for Controls and Indoor Air Quality at Lennox International. She and her award-winning team are responsible for ideating, developing and commercializing products that improve home efficiency and honor Lennox’ commitment to healthy and comfortable air. With an intense focus on the HVAC dealer and homeowner’s customer experience in mind, Sweta and her team deliver industry-leading products that are recognized for their thoughtful design and overall functionality.

With the increase in smart technologies and IoT, modernity seems to be an era of limitless innovation. While many commercial utility operators are searching for reliable and secure ways to optimize technology in their properties, they often wonder how to fully trust new smart communication solutions. Since certain applications are tailored to either wired or Read more

With the increase in smart technologies and IoT, modernity seems to be an era of limitless innovation.

While many commercial utility operators are searching for reliable and secure ways to optimize technology in their properties, they often wonder how to fully trust new smart communication solutions.

Since certain applications are tailored to either wired or wireless technologies, it comes down to choosing the right one. Let’s take a deeper look at both wired and wireless applications for smart IoT technology in commercial properties.

1. Reliability

Wired: Cables are used. Network devices are connected at all times and do not interfere with other connected devices.

Wireless: No cables are used. Networks connect within a certain range and are visible to other networks and connected devices, which can compromise the reliability of any connection.

2. Speed

Wired: Transfer speeds do not rely on location or capability of configuration in relation to a network. Speed of data transmission heightens with a wired connection. Less mobility provided.

Wireless: Transfer speeds vary and rely on location as well as capability of configuration. The farther you are from a wireless device, the slower the speed may be. In this case, sometimes a hybrid solution is presented that brings both wired and wireless technologies into a building.

We all know wireless routers can lose connection and go offline, but it doesn’t mean this connection is integral to operations. A wireless connection will not necessarily change the operation of equipment but can interfere with data transfers.

3. Security

Wired: Real-time flow of information is transmitted through wires and cannot be easily intercepted. Well protected from unauthorized access.

Wireless: A real-time flow of information is transferred via radio wave. Can easily be intercepted if encryption technologies are not used, but when properly secured, wireless networks are relatively safe.

Let’s say a 30 minute period of downtime took place in your building and routers needed to be rebooted. If any major event were to happen during this 30 minute period of downtime, data transfers may get lost and wireless applications related to safety or security would be inadequate.

4. Set up and Interference

Wired: Can be difficult and expensive to set up. One wired network will not affect the other. With LAN (ethernet) or WAN connection, wifi is not needed.

Wireless: Can be difficult and expensive to set up. More equipment may be needed to provide connectivity (wireless routers, access points, adapters). Wifi, WLAN, WPAN (bluetooth) or cellular data is needed for connection.

To summarize — if you fit the profile of a property manager looking to implement smart IoT management technology into your building, choosing between wired and wireless applications can clearly be difficult.

It’s often assumed wireless technology is a more innovative and tech-savvy option than wired technology — but it really does come down to the type of applications used in your property and if you can afford the risk of downtime.

If you are concerned about cost or maximum security and aren’t necessarily looking for mobility, a wired connection can serve your needs. On the other hand, if you are not concerned about cost and prefer mobility in your applications, then a wireless connection is the way to go.

Major events happen way too often in commercial buildings, so it’s important to be preemptive and protect your assets, wired or not. How will you optimize technology in your property in the era of innovation?

Visit our website for more information www.reedwater.io

Adam Bartman, is a second generation plumber from Toronto, Canada. He began his career working alongside his father every summer from age 14-18.  After highschool, he enrolled in the HVAC technician program at George Brown College and near the end of the course, his father opened a new plumbing company utilizing his 30+ years in the commercial market. Adam worked for the plumbing company and in 13 years went from one truck to 15, along with completing and obtaining his Journeyman Plumbing Licence & red-seal designation.  

Two years ago, faced with many clients experiencing water related issues such as leaks and floods, high water use and inability to control water shut-offs throughout commercial buildings, Adam teamed up with an old friend, Avi Yurman, to develop and create a software/hardware based technology to mitigate the damages suffered in about 300+ commercial properties they served.  They spent about 1-year in development and another year selling their new commercialized product, and have seen continued growth in 2019. 

With plumbing hygiene becoming a bigger concern in our industry, installers and building owners are looking to innovations that will ensure both efficiencies and reduced liability for their domestic water systems. For these commercial plumbing applications, professionals are starting to turn to pre-sleeved PEX in the slab. It’s an innovative solution that offers several benefits Read more

With plumbing hygiene becoming a bigger concern in our industry, installers and building
owners are looking to innovations that will ensure both efficiencies and reduced liability for their domestic water systems.

San Francisco, 2018 install with in-slab, pre-sleeved PEX

For these commercial plumbing applications, professionals are starting to turn to pre-sleeved PEX in the slab. It’s an innovative solution that offers several benefits for the contractor, owner and also the end user, including:

  • Shorter pipe runs for less material usage and better pressure to the fixtures
  • No hangers for less ladder time and faster installs
  • No insulation required for easier, more efficient installs
  • Long, flexible coils of pipe to eliminate fittings in the slab

And here’s where the safety factor comes in — because in-slab pre-sleeved PEX systems use shorter runs of pipe embedded in concrete, the water in the pipe is spending less time in the optimal bacterial grow zone (95°F to 115°F). Plus, the shorter pipe runs provide better pressure to the fixtures for higher velocity to minimize biofilm attachment and growth, especially compared to metallic piping systems.

San Francisco, 2018 install with in-slab, pre-sleeved PEX

In general, PEX is a superior product compared to metallic piping due to its corrosion resistance, freeze resistance, superior sound insulation qualities, smoother surface for reduced pressure loss and lighter weight for easy maneuverability on the job site.

Also, because PEX has stable pricing compared to copper, it’s easier to confidently bid a job without having to worry about price increases. And because PEX connections don’t require flame, there’s no need for fire watch requirements on a job site, adding to the cost-effective benefits of the system.

So you can see how adding pre-sleeved PEX in the slab can offer great benefits to your commercial plumbing systems. Now, the next question is, what can you buy and where do you get it?

Some PEX manufacturers offer their pre-sleeved piping with color-coded red and blue HDPE corrugated sleeving to easily identify hot and cold water lines. The HDPE sleeve protects the pipe in the slab and also makes it easier to remove, if necessary, without having to break up the slab. Pipe sizes are typically available from ½" to 1", but can vary by manufacturer.

To learn more about the pre-sleeved PEX offerings in your market, check out your favorite PEX manufacturer’s website; or to learn more about PEX in general, visit one of the plastic piping association websites at plasticpipe.org or ppfahome.org.

Guest Blogger: Kim Bliss is the content development manager at Uponor. She can be reached at kim.bliss@uponor.com.