Monday, June 27, 2011

Radiant Heat Installation

Why would you want radiant heat in your home and what are the benefits?

Comfort is the biggest benefit. With radiant heat, heat is distributed evenly through the floors, warming them and then rising up throughout the rest of the room. When the floors are warm, the objects in the room (couches, chairs, and so on) become warm, and you become warm and comfortable. Radiant heat allows you to keep the average temperature a few degrees lower than you're used to but feel just as warm or even warmer. This saves energy and directly saves you money. Radiant heat is also silent with no creaking, rattling, banging, popping, humming or whistling. And there are no visible components with radiant heat so it will always fit in perfectly with your style.

Why is radiant heat better than conventional heating systems?

Comfort. Even heating eliminates the pockets of hot and cold typical of traditional radiator or convection heating systems. Instead of being warm right next to the heater and freezing on the other side of the room, radiant heat keeps the same temperature throughout the room by allowing heat to naturally rise.

Friday, June 17, 2011

You Talked, We Listened

It has been a few months since the launch of our new website and the feedback has been very positive. We set out to put together a website that was user friendly and filled with the content our customers need. While putting the site together, we looked for advice from our customers on what they would like to see and how they would like to see it. Simple access to literature & specs, online registration for training classes and a complete company directory were some of the suggestions we received and implemented into our website.

Recently we had some feedback from the field that navigating to our manufacturer's websites direct from our website was not as quick as they would have liked. We took that feedback and created a fast path to our manufacturer's website using a drop-down menu on our manufacturer's home page. Now you are one simple click away from going to any of our manufacturer's websites.

We are constantly looking to improve our site. If you have any comments or feedback on things you like, dislike or would like to see on our website please let us know. We want our site to be a place you can go for information on all facets of the Heating, Plumbing and HVAC industry.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Which Style Of Pex Tubing Should I Use?

PEX Tubing: Barrier vs Non-Barrier vs PEX-AL-PEX

Once you have decided to use PEX, you have another decision to make: what kind? Barrier, no barrier, aluminum, let's get them straight. Making the decision of whether to use Barrier PEX, Non-Barrier PEX, or PEX-AL-PEX is largely based on what job you are going to use it for and what other components you will be working with. All three types of tubing are PEX (Poly Ethylene X-Linked) but some have extra features built in.

Barrier PEX

The "barrier" referred to in PEX tubing is actually an oxygen barrier. This extra layer in your tubing will assure that no oxygen gets into your heating system. Oxygen in your system can be a problem that causes your system components to rust. The oxygen barrier and rust prevention allows you to use cast iron components in your system instead of all brass or bronze, which makes components like pumps and flanges substantially less expensive and keeps them running smoothly for longer. Antifreeze can also break down a system with no oxygen barrier. For radiant heat applications using closed systems, barrier tubing is by far the most popular choice. This style of tubing will save you money when buying parts and will prevent rust and corrosion.

Non-Barrier PEX

Non-barrier tubing is simply PEX tubing without the oxygen barrier. For potable water applications, you will generally use non-barrier PEX. Oxygen barrier PEX is made for heating applications and has thus not been approved for plumbing and drinking water. When using tubing without an oxygen barrier, you must be careful to assure that each and every component in your system is non-ferrous (meaning that it contains no iron). Non-barrier PEX Tubing is rarely seen in radiant heat systems, the few systems that do utilize non-barrier PEX are open systems. Non-barrier PEX for plumbing is available in red, white, and blue. Typically, red is used for hot water and blue is used for cold so that you can immediately see which line goes where when looking at a manifold.


PEX-AL-PEX is a three-layer PEX Tubing that also has an oxygen barrier. PEX-AL-PEX is a layer of PEX, a layer of aluminum, and another layer of PEX. The main benefit of PEX-AL-PEX is that it holds its shape. Where traditional PEX is flexible, there is nothing that keeps it in place unless you tie it down every few feet. With PEX-AL-PEX, once you bend it, it will hold that shape until you bend it again. PEX-AL-PEX also has less expansion than standard PEX with the layer of aluminum assuring that it keeps its shape. PEX-AL-PEX is frequently used in outdoor heating applications, warmboard systems and for high temperature systems like baseboard and fan coils.

Learn more on our website:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What Is Reverse Osmosis?

Reverse osmosis, also known as hyper filtration, is the finest filtration available today. It is the most common treatment technology used by premium bottled water companies. It is effective in eliminating or substantially reducing a very wide array of contaminants, and of all technologies used to treat drinking water in residential applications, it has the greatest range of contaminant removal. Reverse osmosis will allow the removal of particles as small as individual ions. The pores in a reverse osmosis membrane are only approximately 0.0005 micron in size (bacteria are 0.2 to 1 micron & viruses are 0.02 to 0.4 microns).

How does it work?

Reverse osmosis uses a membrane that is semi-permeable, allowing pure water to pass through it, while rejecting the contaminants that are too large to pass through the tiny pores in the membrane.

Why purchase an RO system?

30 billion plastic bottles a year are dumped into U.S. landfills and it takes 1.7 billion barrels of oil to produce those bottles. This produces some 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide pollution.  In fact, it takes three times as much water to make the bottle than it does to fill the bottle. And for what? People pay for the perception of clean water, but in fact the quality of the water is at best unknown. RO systems are proven to remove the contaminants and it is the “green thing to do”.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Electrical Equations

Various kickspace manufacturers display their electrical power data in different forms. In order to convert between those forms, it is necessary to understand a few electrical basics.

There are many forms of electrical power whether it is horsepower (mechanical power), heat (thermal power) or some combination of the two such as candlepower (e.g. a light bulb which produces both heat and light).

Whatever the case, electrical power is measured in watts and is equal to volts x amperes.

The equation for this is: P = EI

P = power measured in watts
E = electromotive force measured in volts
I = current measured in amperes (amps)

Thus, if one manufacturer states that the motor draw on their kickspace is ½ amp and another says it’s 40 watts, the P = EI equation allows you to compare the two as long as they both are being run on a 115/120 VAC, single phase, 60 cycle power source.

Example: If manufacturer #1 says their kickspace is rate at 115/120 VAC 1/60 cycle and draws 40 watts, while manufacturer #2 says his kickspace is rated at 115/120 VAC/1/60 cycle and draws ½ amp. How does manufacturer #1 really compare to manufacturer #2?

Mfg. #1 P = E x I

Watts = volts x amps
40 watts = 120 volts x A

A = 40 watts
120 volts
A = 1/3 amps

We now see that manufacturer #1 has the advantage over manufacturer #2 since their motor draws fewer amps (current).

Going in the other direction, looking for manufacturer #2’s watts draw:

Manufacturer #2

P = E x I
Watts = volts x amps
Watts = 120 x ½
Watts = 60

Again, we confirm that manufacturer #1 has the advantage.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


HRV's are recommended for most regions of North America, where the heating season is longer than the cooling season.  In winter, HRV's retain heat from outgoing air and transfer to incoming air.  In summer HRV's work in reverse, retaining cooler air conditioned air and transferring to incoming fresh air

ERV's are recommended in regions where high outdoor humidity is cause for operating air conditioning/ dehumidification for an extended period of the year, and much more frequently than a heating system.  The ideal geographic area of use defined by AHR standards is the Southeast U.S. – Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Carolinas only.  ERV's are NOT recommended in any region of Canada, or in the United States where temperatures fall below 25F (-4C) for more than five days, where freezing of the internal core can occur.

Today some manufacturers lead Contractors and Builders to believe ERV's are better than HRV’s in cold climates. The fact is Lifebreath HRV's outperform the competitors ERV's and they are also cold weather certified.

The competitors ERV's are not!