Industry Blogs

Two piping systems that are taking the domestic-water and hydronic heating and cooling landscape to a new level. These innovative solutions are providing the construction industry with systems that are easier to learn (to help with the skilled-labor shortage), faster to install (to meet tight construction schedules) and provide cleaner installation sites (for jobsite safety) Read More

Two piping systems that are taking the domestic-water and hydronic heating and cooling landscape to a new level. These innovative solutions are providing the construction industry with systems that are easier to learn (to help with the skilled-labor shortage), faster to install (to meet tight construction schedules) and provide cleaner installation sites (for jobsite safety).

For PEX pipe, popularity is growing for risers, distribution piping and even direct-burial applications in sizes 3″ and down. Its flexibility, fast installations and stable pricing make it appealing for contractors, and its corrosion resistance and durability in freezing conditions make it highly attractive to building owners.

For copper press, contractors are enjoying a safer, flameless connection system that eliminates solder, heat and flux from the job site while offering contractors a metallic system that is faster and easier to learn and quicker to install.

Now, imagine combining the best of both worlds — PEX expansion and copper press — for quicker, easier training, faster installs and safer jobsites to get the job done right in less time.

With the launch of the industry’s first ProPEX® expansion to copper press transitions, professionals now have a solution for a completely flameless piping system that eliminates the hassles, costs and hazards of soldering while also providing more efficient installs.

Watch how easy it is to make these transitions.

Manufactured from high-quality, lead-free brass to meet all local and national domestic-water building codes, the transitions are available in both male and female configurations with the female adapters featuring an EPDM rubber O-ring for a dependable seal.

Best of all, they feature a patented design for securely fastening the pipe and fitting together, eliminating the need for a stainless-steel ring commonly used in large-dimension copper press fittings.

Compared to soldering copper, these transitions reduce an overall project timeline by an average of 71%, helping to manage a project’s schedule and, ultimately, the bottom line. And because they are backed by a 25-year transferable limited warranty, the transitions offer additional confidence and peace of mind.

So if you’re like most construction professionals out there, feeling the crunch of the labor shortage but still want the quality of a professional piping system, look to a hybrid PEX expansion and copper press system. The end result can be money in the bank.

To learn more about the transitions, visit uponorpro.com/copperpress_us.

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

Rinnai supports skilled trade gap by partnering with Folds of Honor The skilled trade industry is in desperate need of enthusiastic workers as the baby boomers are retiring. However, vocational school has become an obsolete term for high school students, the exact age employers are targeting the most.Skilled Trade Gap Baby boomers are beginning to Read More

Rinnai supports skilled trade gap by partnering with Folds of Honor

The skilled trade industry is in desperate need of enthusiastic workers as the baby boomers are retiring. However, vocational school has become an obsolete term for high school students, the exact age employers are targeting the most.Skilled Trade Gap

Baby boomers are beginning to retire and recruiters are looking for new skilled trade workers to fill their shoes. What is the problem? There are not enough laborers equipped to fill them. With a push toward a four-year college degree, many generational skilled trade workers are leaving the family business, and only a few men and women are choosing trade career options.

Vocational school is soon left out of the conversation when teenagers are told that going to a four-year institution would provide them with a more reliable and better paying career. Even though vocational school is less expensive, provides students with a valuable skill, and most students are hired immediately into the workforce upon completion. Knowing these statistics, teenagers made the decision to go to college which created a large gap between themselves and the current baby boomers in the industry.

There are 31 million skilled trade positions needing to be filled, according to Adecco US. It is important to reopen the conversation and benefits of vocational school with high school students as well as introduce them to these ideas as soon as the word “college” is mentioned.

How Can We Help?

Rinnai is dedicated to helping close the skilled trade gap by encouraging more students to seek a vocational education. By partnering with Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization started by Major Dan Rooney, Rinnai will be providing trade-specific educational scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service members. For every Rinnai tankless water heater or boiler sold this year, Rinnai will make a contribution up to $250,000 to fund scholarships in the plumbing and HVAC trades. We hope our contribution will help to strengthen our industry for the current generation to provide skills for the future.

We encourage you to join Rinnai by honoring our service members’ sacrifice and educating their legacy, by donating to Folds of Honor, by visiting https://www.rinnai.us/FoldsOfHonor.

Does propylene glycol protect a system? Firstly, before adding any propylene glycol to a system, you should understand the design life of it. Often, the less expensive propylene glycol holds a shorter design life of 3–5 years, whereas the premium propylene glycol holds a design life of roughly up to 15 years. As propylene glycol Read More

Does propylene glycol protect a system?

Firstly, before adding any propylene glycol to a system, you should understand the design life of it. Often, the less expensive propylene glycol holds a shorter design life of 3–5 years, whereas the premium propylene glycol holds a design life of roughly up to 15 years.

Glycol FAQs Answered

As propylene glycol begins to degrade, it becomes acidic, which as you can imagine has a major impact on key components within the system—attacking metal surfaces such as iron pipework, pumps and heat exchangers, which is why the design life of glycol needs to be seriously considered. A premium glycol contains a higher quality inhibitor which acts as a buffer to keep the system’s water pH idyllic, but the system should be checked on a regular basis anyway—the ideal level is 8 – 8.5. Once system pH goes below 6.5, inhibitor with buffering agents will need to be added to elevate the pH levels.

How much glycol should I add to the system?

Boiler manufacturers often advise that glycol should make up no more than 50% of the system’s volume, with some HE boiler applications being reduced to 35%.

Can system efficiency be affected if too much glycol is added?

Yes, glycol has a higher viscosity than water—too much of it can reduce the effectiveness of water flowing through pipework, and too much glycol can also reduce heat transfer capabilities. Both of these aspects together can have a serious impact on heating components such as pumps and heat exchangers, causing them to work harder to maintain system temperature and flow, so much so that it can lead to over-heating and eventually, failure. This is why many boiler manufacturers have warning limitations on the amount of glycol used, because too much can damage components and even result in boiler breakdowns.

Do I need a cleaner and dirt filter if the system has already got pre-mix glycol?

Yes. Pre-mix glycol is not designed to lift and capture magnetite—it’s designed to prevent system water from freezing during cold winter months, and the inhibitors in glycol are used as a buffer to prevent acidity levels from rising.

Glycol FAQs Answered

Magnetite, also known as black iron oxide sludge is formed as a result of air oxidizing inside an untreated system. Unfortunately, a pre-mix glycol does not mean that a system has been sufficiently treated, and here’s why:

  • Glycol FAQs AnsweredA cleaner contains surfactants and dispersants that surround the magnetic particles, bonding them until they become dislodged from surfaces such as metal pipework. Of course, the longer a cleaner is left in the system, the more time it has to bond and dislodge debris, but you should always check the label for time-frames because cleaners can also become acidic when left in a system for too long
  • A system flush allows the dislodged particles and cleaner to be removed from the system, but this is not where treatment should stop
  • A magnetic dirt filter provides long-term protection. Just because the system has been cleaned and flushed once, doesn’t mean that magnetite isn’t going to return. The filter continuously collects magnetic dirt particles, preventing them from circulating through vital narrow waterways and blocking valuable system components such as pumps and heat exchangers
  • An inhibitor forms a protective layer on surfaces such as pipework, but this is not the only benefit of an inhibitor. Some inhibitors are specifically designed to counteract residue cleaner left in the system, even after flushing, ensuring that the system water remains pH neutral
  • Finally, testing and maintenance ensures that elements such as chloride, copper, iron, water hardness and pH are not affecting the longevity and efficiency of the heating system. These checks should be carried out on an annual basis for residential systems, and more frequently for commercial/industrial systems.

Andrew Lapinsky, Senior Sales Manager and Water Treatment Specialist, ADEY.

Forced air is still the traditional method of heating homes, but radiant heat is gaining significant momentum as an alternative. According to HGTV, the growth rate of in-floor radiant heating systems was estimated at 30 to 50 percent per year. At the heart of this shift is not just one single benefit. It’s a variety of advantages Read More

Forced air is still the traditional method of heating homes, but radiant heat is gaining significant momentum as an alternative. According to HGTV, the growth rate of in-floor radiant heating systems was estimated at 30 to 50 percent per year.

At the heart of this shift is not just one single benefit. It’s a variety of advantages that radiant floor heating systems bring to the table, the combination of which enhance the daily lives of a home’s occupants:

Even Heat Distribution

When a house is heated by a forced-air system, it will always be warmest near the vents that distribute the air. This can lead to “hotspots” on one end of a room while the other side of the room remains cool. And because hot air rises, upstairs rooms will be warmer than those downstairs.

With radiant floor heating systems, homeowners control how heat circulates in their home. Rather than heating the surrounding air, the heat that radiates from the floor warms other objects in the room and is evenly distributed without the potential for heat loss.

Improved Air Quality

While air pollution is more often associated with the outdoors, indoor air can be dirty as well. Whether it’s dust, pet dander or chemicals from fragrances (among other sources) that pollute the air, forced-air systems exacerbate the problem for allergy sufferers. That’s because the forced, heated air will stir up and mix with these airborne particles.

Since radiant floor heating systems don’t move air to deliver heat, the circulation of indoor particles is minimized. With less pollutants blown around, indoor air quality improves, which benefits allergy sufferers.

No Ductwork

The ductwork in forced-air systems further contributes to air pollution. When it’s riddled with cracks and holes, more dust and odors can enter and circulate. Without proper insulation, these same cracks and holes can cause air to leak out of the system and hinder its overall efficiency.

With no ducts, radiant floor heating systems reduce the churn of dust and allergens while curtailing heat loss. The absence of ducts means less work for homeowners as it eliminates the need for repairs like cleaning out ducts clogged with particles or adding insulation when heat loss mounts.

Energy Savings

With their uneven distribution of heat and potential for heat loss, traditional heating systems can be energy hogs.

Depending on how well a house is insulated, radiant floor systems can save up to 30 percent compared to forced-air systems. In terms of bills, the impact is quite significant as space heating is the largest energy expense for the average U.S. home, accounting for around 45 percent of energy bills.

Noiseless Operation

Homes should be quiet, but forced-air systems can be noisy as furnaces cycle on and off, gaps in the ductwork whistle and loose parts rattle.

By comparison, radiant floor heating systems are exceptionally quiet.

As consumers learn more about the advantages of radiant heating, its popularity will continue to grow.

Josh Quint is product manager, heating and cooling, for Viega LLC.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when thinking about the Internet of Things (IoT) and the complexities of smart home appliances and products. However, it’s never too late to educate yourself on the smart HVAC features and products that are sought by today’s customers. Before the dawn of the smart age, HVAC controls were synonymous with Read More

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when thinking about the Internet of Things (IoT) and the complexities of smart home appliances and products. However, it’s never too late to educate yourself on the smart HVAC features and products that are sought by today’s customers.

Before the dawn of the smart age, HVAC controls were synonymous with a simple thermostat that provided comfort from a system designed to focus only on heating or cooling a space. Functionality and practicality were the most vital roles of an HVAC system. With the increased role that technology plays in our daily lives, a lot has changed.

It’s no secret that smart home technology has reshaped the way consumers interact with their homes on a day-to-day basis. Now more than ever, consumers demand the ability to change their home’s climate with the push of a button or a simple voice command – without ever touching the thermostat and from anywhere, whether sitting on a couch or away on vacation. The focus has gone from practicality to the accessibility and convenience that come with an integrated smart HVAC system. Simply put, consumers demand more from their HVAC systems.

Considering this smart home revolution, technology advancements have allowed for HVAC systems to evolve faster than can be absorbed by those in the field who must explain the functionality of the systems they are selling.  How can one fully learn and understand the value of today’s smart HVAC?  Dedicated time to learn about this rising tide of technology is important, but equally as helpful is to install and use similar HVAC-connected smart products within your own home. First-hand experience and determining how it can benefit your life will simplify explaining the value proposition to customers.

While the smart home revolution has markedly changed the products, services, and accessibility HVAC dealers can offer, making the sale comes back to the homeowner’s perceived financial outlay and return on investment. Knowing how to explain the value in energy savings and diagnostic capabilities throughout the life of the product can help make the case for the more costly, higher efficiency system.  Similarly helping consumers understand the value of convenience from a connected systems, such as voice interactions through Alexa, or even Geofence-based set points through the app, are paramount to moving customers up to a connected system.

It also provides an avenue to become a trusted advisor for your customers while building lifelong relationships for not only yourself, but also for the brands you’re selling.  While a robust consumer value proposition is key to making the initial sale, the long term value to a contractor of a connected customer is even more impactful. Using remote diagnostic capabilities, servicing dealers can better maintain the customer relationship over time, deliver more efficient service when required, and be in the best position for a proactive replacement at the end of the product lifecycle.

By being transparent and showcasing factors such as energy savings, user experience, cross-device capabilities, etc. dealers can leverage the smart home revolution to position themselves as knowledgeable and trustworthy.

Because smart home technology has reshaped the way HVAC systems are viewed within the greater home ecosystem, it should be noted that not everyone (or every home) is right for a smart HVAC installation. Consumers often do their own research before consulting dealers about whether a technologically advanced HVAC system is right for their home. In the end, an educated consumer can be the best barometer for whether upgrading to a smart HVAC system makes the most sense.

George Land, Connected Home Solutions General Manager for Ingersoll Rand Residential HVAC