Monday, August 25, 2014

The Annette Freestanding Clawfoot Tub

The Designer Collection by Hydro Systems showcases exquisite style defined by stunning, modern craftsmanship. Meticulously customized and handcrafted to provide the perfect bathing experience, this sophisticated collection features boldly elegant designs while offering 21st Century tub technology only a luxury bathtub can afford. The collection consists of 85 bathtubs in several sizes. All Designer Collection bathtubs and whirlpools offer customizable premium features including HydrOzone technology and are backed by our exclusive 99/9 year warranty.

Grace and grandeur are inherent in the Annette design (seen in the picture). A freestanding clawfoot tub, its classic style will feel lavish and complement the desire for homage to refinement and poise. This tub is made from a unique blend of engineered composites and natural materials called HydroLuxe. The Annette tub comes in 4 standard colors (white, almond, biscuit, bone) and three premium colors (black, red, graphite). The tub measures 65 x 36 x 27 and holds 75 gallons of water.

Learn more about Hydro Systems products on our website:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

FlexPlate Flexible Heat Transfer Plates By Watts Radiant

Are you ready for a revolutionary new type of under floor heating plate? How about one made from a specially processed natural graphite, lighter and 50% more thermally conductive than extruded aluminum plates? Well, your day has come! FlexPlate™ has arrived to revolutionize radiant floor heating.

Graphite has been used for years in the electronics industry to dissipate heat away from key components in plasma TVs, cell phones, and computers. FlexPlate takes advantage of this technology to benefit radiant heating systems. Instead of dissipating heat, heat is transferred to your floors, thereby efficiently and evenly heating them from the moment the system starts up.

FlexPlate increases floor heat output by about 15% compared to extruded aluminum plates, or about 75% compared to bare PEX stapled up. This allows the opportunity to lower the required water temperatures by 5-10° F versus extruded aluminum plates and 30-45° F versus bare PEX stapled up. High efficiency, low temperature heat sources, such as condensing boilers, geothermal, or solar, can now be better utilized by the radiant heating system.

The manufacturing process for a graphite plate has a substantially lower carbon footprint and lower CO2 emissions as compared to aluminum. It is also much lighter to ship, lowering the amount of fossil fuels burned just getting it to the jobsite.

Homeowner Benefits

  1. Lower required fluid temperature means the ability to use more efficient heat sources. 
  2. A more even, comfortable heat. 
  3. No potential "ticking" noise associated with typical stamped aluminum plates. 

Installer Benefits 

  1. Light weight and flexible 
  2. Trim-to-fit format 
  3. Cut with a utility knife 
  4. Fast, simple installation 
  5. No sharp edges
Learn more about Watts Radiant products on our website:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Duravit Architec Dry Urinal - No Flush At All

Drinking water is one of our most valuable resources. Careful use of water and the development of sustainable product ideas to preserve our ecosystem are part of our responsibility at Duravit. This applies in particular to toilet flushes and also for urinal flushes. Frequently used urinals can be flushed up to 150 times a day, making up to 130,000 litres of water consumption a year.

The new generation of the Duravit Architec urinal range is an important contribution and a clever way of saving water. Thanks to a hose membrane fitted into the outlet, Architec Dry does not need flushing at all. The membrane only opens when urine passes through it. Then it closes again, keeping unpleasant sewerage smells at bay. The outlet on the Architec Dry has a stylish cover with a gel ring on the underside. This gel is based on purely organic substances which are gradually rinsed out when the urinals are used and wet the membrane. A special blend of pH neutral and cleansing ingredients fights any dirt and urine deposits from forming.

Pictured Above
1) Plastic Valve Cover, 2) Perfumed Ring With Cleansing Gel, 3) Liquid Run, 4) Opened Membrane, 5) Closed Membrane

The micro-organisms used break down organic materials and prevent the formation of unpleasant odours. At the same time, the ring contains ethereal oils which are continuously released and have a fresh fragrance to give a pleasant feel to the room. The green gel also acts as an indicator. Once it is used up, the module needs to be replaced. The dry urinal is also available without a cover.

Operating the Architec Dry needs no water feeds, fittings or flush water. This makes Architec Dry a cost-effective alternative to urinals with conventional flushes. The outlet with the membrane only needs to be changed after around 7500 flushes. By then, the new dry urinal will have saved a good 20,000 litres of drinking water. Maintenance is incredibly easy: use the key supplied to remove the hose membrane from its holder and fit the new module.

The ceramic bowl is easy to keep clean with a special hygiene detergent and a cloth. The Duravit Architec urinals were designed by Frank Huster. His designs are based on a square, ceramic wall object, from the centre of which the actual body of the urinal projects. This unique design language not only provides a contrast to traditional urinal designs, it also has practical benefits when it comes to fitting: The lip height of the urinal is 70 cm above the floor, as normal.

However, at a generous 38 x 66.5 cm, the back wall is a good deal larger than the conventional standard size. This means the Architec Dry can be positioned where previous models have left outlets, water feeds or drill holes in the wall. The ceramic plate conceals the old marks behind its hygienic white fa├žade, making it a real all-rounder in renovation and modernisation projects. Whatever went before - Architec Dry will fit.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Another Opportunity For Contractors To Tap Into: Ductless Mini Splits

By Bruce Marshall, of Emerson Swan.

About a year ago I wrote an article about diversification for the oil heat dealer. Business owners continue to tell me of the different ways in which they have continued to grow their businesses. Without a doubt, the common denominator is air conditioning – one of the fastest growing market segments within the HVAC industry in the United States. And now with the increased popularity of the ductless mini- split, the opportunities for growth have increased significantly.

In the last seven years the U.S. mini-split market has seen a whopping 221 percent growth rate. And it is expected to continue to grow at a rate of 20 percent or more per year. There are many reasons for this phenomenal growth. Among them is the fact that since the introduction of the inverter-based compressor, mini-splits are more energy efficient and quieter than traditional air conditioning systems. And they are much easier to install.

They solve comfort issues where ducted solutions do not work, and there is increased awareness of the ductless option by both homeowners and contractors. For the contractor it is an incremental business with a small investment to support it.

Northeast Is Key Market
Here in the Northeast, we are ideally positioned to take advantage of this growing market. Most people think that the hottest (pun intended) market for ductless might be anywhere other than the often frigid New England states. However, contrary to what you might expect, the Northeast accounts for over 40 percent of the market, while the South owns about 22 percent of ductless sales.

Why? Think retrofit! Our housing stock is mostly old, which can be a challenge when it comes to running ductwork. The joy of ductless is that there is no ductwork, just a line set, and the largest hole that you will have to cut will be a 3-inch opening to the outside for the line set.

Ductless mini-split heat pump systems make a good retrofit add-on to houses with hydronic heat, radiant heat, or stoves using wood or pellets. They are also a good fit for room additions where extending existing ductwork is not feasible.

Apart from the convenience factor, there can be energy savings too, as traditional ducted systems usually have energy losses due to leaks in the system. In older systems, these losses can account for more than 30 percent of energy consumption, especially if the ducts are located in an unconditioned space such as an attic. Mini-splits have no ducts, therefore they do not have the losses associated with ducted central forced air systems.

Good Flexibility
Mini-split systems can be safer too, since there is only a small hole in the wall as opposed to window units or through the wall units, which can provide easy access for burglars. They are easier to install than traditional systems because the only penetration of the house is a 3 inch hole for the line sets to connect the outside unit to the inside unit. Mini-splits offer more interior design flexibility compared to other types of add-on systems. For instance, they can be hung on a wall, suspended from a ceiling, flush mounted into a drop ceiling or floor mounted.

Most indoor units look about the same and are approximately seven inches deep and have sleek, high-tech looking jackets. Many offer the option of remote control to turn the system off or on when it is positioned high on a wall.

There are numerous options in terms of equipment: single unit cool only; single unit heat pump; with or without inverter compressor; multi-head units. There are several manufacturers producing reliable and affordable systems, all of which are manufactured in Asia. In fact, it was the Japanese who developed the ductless market, which is already a huge market outside the United States. The last few years have seen the Chinese manufacturers offer a well made and competitively priced alternative to the established brands.

They Can Heat, Too
For the most part, ductless sales in the Northeast will be driven by cooling needs, but the capability to supplement existing heating systems should not be overlooked. While the passing years have seen a move away from electric heat, the fact that ductless systems are heavily supported by the utilities is evidence of their overall efficiencies. These efficiencies are the result of the inverter technology that allows the compressor to modulate its output based on load. While the traditional “window shaker” boasts a SEER of around 10, mini-splits start at 13 and go into the high 20s.

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which equals the output in a typical season (btus/h) divided by the amount of electricity used during that same period (kW). Another acronym to be aware of is EER – Energy Efficiency Ratio. This represents the output versus the electrical input at any given time. And finally there is HSPF or Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, which is specific to air source heat pumps. Like SEER, it is a measurement of total btu output for the season versus the total electrical input.

Utility rebates are based on all three ratings – for cooling, read SEER and EER; for heating, read all three. It is important to remember that a particular mini-split must equal or exceed the stated utility requirements of all ratings to qualify!

When it comes to sizing, a handy rule of thumb is to provide 20 btus of cooling for each square foot. This should be sufficient for a typical New England home, but always remember that rule of thumb is no substitute for true heat gain calculations.

Passive or net zero house designers are embracing mini-splits as their sole source for heating and cooling. This is a very feasible option when you take into account the significantly reduced loads of these buildings. Obviously, sizing for such a home would be radically different than for a typical, decades-old house.

Mini-splits offer an excellent alternative to window shakers; they are quieter and more efficient. Non inverter-based systems are less expensive than those with inverters and can be an affordable option for those on a budget.

For the contractor who is thinking of entering the ductless mini-split business, training will be an absolute necessity. Most manufacturers provide some sort of training, and manufacturers representatives such as ours at Emerson Swan, will provide comprehensive training to help the contractor develop the level of comfort necessary to create a profitable business as a part of what you already do or as a completely new, standalone enterprise.

Whatever the case, ductless mini-splits are here to stay and somebody has to install them. Why shouldn’t it be you? Learn more about our offering on our website: