Expansion Tanks: What Are They and Why Are They Important?

Kristine

When water is heated, it expands, increasing the pressure in closed heating systems. Over time, these pressure fluctuations can damage the system’s components. An expansion tank is designed to alleviate this pressure and extend the life of your system. Here’s how it works.

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Homeowners looking to maximize the efficiency and life expectancy of their heating and cooling systems may want to consider installing an expansion tank as an easy and inexpensive means of regulating water pressure and preventing costly damage to other components, including pipes.

An expansion tank is designed to relieve pressure in both potable water and closed hydronic heating systems. It ensures that constant pressure is maintained within the pipes so they do not get damaged from excess pressure. “An expansion tank in a heating system is an invaluable component that protects the entire system from the increased pressure and volume caused by heating,” asserts Daniel O’Brian, a member of our Tech Team at SupplyHouse.com.

“When water is heated, it expands,” O’Brian explains. “In a closed heating system there is only so much space in the pipes and the boiler. If the water is taking up more space and has nowhere to go, the pressure will increase and possibly damage the system, generally at its weakest points, until a leak or even a burst pipe results. An expansion tank is designed to relieve the stress, thereby increasing the life of the components in your entire heating system.”

Expansion tanks work by equalizing pressure throughout the system. An expansion tank is a small tank divided in two sections by a rubber diaphragm. One side is connected to the pipes of the heating system and contains water. The other side is dry and contains pressurized air, set at approximately 12 psi. As hot water enters the heating system, the pressure in the system increases. As pressure increases, the diaphragm in the expansion tank is pushed down. This compresses the air in the tank, creating more space for excess water to enter. This relieves excess pressure in the system and prevents pipes in the system from being damaged.

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Installing an expansion tank is a relatively simple process that can typically be completed in less than an hour by a handy do-it-yourselfer. Some local building codes may require installation by a licensed plumber, however, so you should check with your municipal building department before proceeding with any installation.

Expansion tanks vary in capacity, ranging from tanks that hold as little as two gallons to large tanks that hold several hundred gallons. To determine the size needed for your system, SupplyHouse.com offers a handy Expansion Tank Sizing Calculator. Use it to determine the size and model of the expansion tank that’s best suited for your system.

Prices for expansion tanks start at about $30 for small residential tanks and climb up to $800 to $1,000 for larger, commercial tanks. Leading brands include Extrol expansion tanks, manufactured by Amtrol, which are used for hydronic heating systems; the Watts ET series and Bell & Gossett HFT expansion tanks, both designed for use with closed hydronic heating systems; and Therm-X-trol expansion tanks, for use with potable water open systems.

If your home already has an expansion tank in place, you may want to check it periodically to make sure that the tank is functioning. To check if the expansion tank is working properly, simply place your hand on the tank and feel its temperature. The top portion of the tank should feel warm to the touch, and the bottom portion of the tank should be room temperature. If the entire tank is warm, it is likely that the tank has completely filled with hot water, which occurs only if the diaphragm fails. If this happens, the tank must be replaced immediately.

SupplyHouse.com offers a large selection of expansion tanks and accessories from the top manufacturers in the industry. To learn more, watch the video below or visit SupplyHouse.com.


This post was written in collaboration with Bob Vila

Posted in All Posts, Heating Supplies |

Honeywell 9000 Wi-Fi Thermostat with Voice Control

Adam

Brand new and in-stock at SupplyHouse.com, we introduce to you the Honeywell 9000 Wi-Fi Thermostat with Voice ControlHoneywell’s first voice-activated thermostat allows you to adjust your settings from across the room simply by using voice commands, and even in a busy household.  Programming the Wi-Fi 9000 with Voice Control is simple, and can be installed without the need of a manual, plus the wiring is tool-free. There are energy saving programmable modes that can save on annual heating and cooling costs

With the Total Connect Comfort app you can monitor and manage your home thermostat settings whilst away from your home simply by accessing the app on your smartphone. Automatic software updates mean that as voice recognition software continues to advance, you won’t have to do anything as Honeywell automatically add new voice commands and other enhancements.  This thermostat also provides automated extreme temperature alerts and filter change reminders, which will be sent to your connected network devices, as well as being displayed on the thermostat.

The high-definition display is color customizable and can be changed to any color of your choosing, and the time can be synced with the internet, so any daylight savings will be automatically updated. There is also an on-board sensor which measures indoor humidity, whilst local weather data displays outdoor temperature and humidity.

You can find the Honeywell Wi-Fi 9000 with Voice Control Thermostat here on SupplyHouse.com, as well as our wide range of thermostats to suit all requirements.
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Welcome To SupplyHouse!

Mark

Changing a company’s name is a huge process. Our company PexSupply.com, made that change late last night to SupplyHouse.com. We did this to reflect our rapidly expanding selection of products and our goal to be a “home” for consumers and contractors alike.

Our company has grown by over 25% per year since its inception more than 8 years ago. This process will expand the possibility for future growth.

When the company was founded in 2005, PEX, a plastic tubing used for plumbing and heating, accounted for over 60% of sales. Today PEX accounts for less than 15% of the business. We want to ensure our customers know about the full line of plumbing, heating, and HVAC supplies, hence the name SupplyHouse.com. In the wholesale trade distribution industry, a supply house is also known as a place you go to get your supplies.

Another main reason we are changing our name is that PEX was hard to pronounce and easy to misunderstand…

Today marks our first day as SupplyHouse.com, but we are still the same people committed to providing the same great service we always have, just under a name that better represents the broad range of products we sell.

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AO Smith Vertex Power Direct Vent Water Heater

Adam

Joining the AO Smith Vertex Power Direct Vent Water Heater family is the new 75-gallon model. The GDHE-75 offers the same high level of performance as its 50-gallon sibling, and you can find both on the site.

The GDHE-75, with its 96% thermal efficiency rating, is designed to specifically generate a constant flow of 4 gallons per minute, meaning continuous hot water in your home. It comes with a helical coil heat exchanger which keeps hot combustion gases in the tank longer to lengthen the heat transfer cycle. Positioned centrally in the tank and with its 96% thermal efficiency, you will save money on operating costs compared with a standard 80% efficiency gas water heater.

The GDHE-75 also comes with a large LCD display giving you precise temperature control and the ability to check diagnostics, and it can be vented vertically thru-the-roof or horizontally thru-the-wall with inexpensive PVC, CPVC , ABS or polypropylene pipe for intake and exhaust. The side-mounted hot and cold recirculating taps allows the Vertex models to be installed as part of combination space heating/water heating applications.

The ultra-low NOx gas burner meets low NOx emission requirements, and the Vertex family comes with a 6-year limited tank and parts warranty.

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Water Heater Leak Detector

Tom

When a water heater starts to leak, it will not stop trying to produce hot water. In a worst-case scenario (a major leak with no one home to notice it), the damage can be severe. Taco’s WAGS valve senses such leaks to prevent this type of damage and provide peace of mind. The WAGS valve should be installed in a pan at the base of a water heater. All incoming supply water goes through the WAGS valve before it enters the water heater tank. When water levels in the pan get close to one inch, the valve cuts off the water supply so that the tank will not continue to refill. The valve cannot stop a leak, but it can limit damage to that caused by the water already in the tank. If used on a gas or oil-fired water heater, the WAGS valve must be used in conjunction with Taco’s GOKIT7200-1, which shuts off the supply of gas or oil to the unit.

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Takagi T-H3 Tankless Water Heaters

Tom

Tankless water heaters offer the potential for increased efficiency because they do not waste energy heating water during periods of non-use. Takagi’s T-H3 Series of gas-fired tankless heaters offers several useful features in addition to extra efficiency. Created as new-generation T-H2 heaters, the T-H3 Series includes three models (each of which is available for either natural gas or liquid propane and either indoor or outdoor mounting): the T-H3, the T-H3S, and the T-H3J. The T-H3 (with no S or J suffix) is the most powerful unit in the series, and, with temperature-setting options up to 185°F, is the only unit that can be set above 140°F. It is also the only unit that can be linked easily to other heaters.

T-H3 Series models can condense flue gases, which enables them to carry .95 Energy Factor ratings and meet Energy Star guidelines. It also allows indoor models to be vented either vertically or horizontally with PVC. Featuring high-grade copper and stainless steel heat exchangers, T-H3 Series models meet all current lead-free requirements and are approved for use in space-heating applications. Indoor models include an outlet temperature adjustment screen that also displays incoming water temperatures, flow rates, and diagnostics. Outdoor models include a remote controller for temperature adjustments. Additional benefits include high-altitude compatibility (up to 10,000 feet for indoor models) and a variety of adjustable dipswitches.

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Motors & Armatures, Inc, (MARS)

Adam

Motors & Armatures, Inc, (MARS) was founded in 1946, and is known for being one of the biggest providers of replacement parts in the HVAC/R industry. MARS is a family-owned and operated supplier of quality motors, components and service and installation parts. They are headquartered in Hauppauge, NY and operate facilities in Earth City (St. Louis), MO and Mississauga, Canada.

We have recently added a wide selection of MARS and JARD branded aftermarket replacement products, all of which can be found on our site. These include contactors, capacitors, relays, pressure switches and motors.

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Floor Sensors for Radiant Heat

Tom

Using a floor sensor is usually considered the most precise way to control an in-floor hydronic heating system. Surface temperatures above about 87°F can make floors uncomfortably hot to walk on. Wood flooring in particular can be damaged by excessively hot floor temperatures. Although the limit depends on the recommendations of flooring manufacturers, surface temperatures generally should not exceed 82°F to 85°F with wood floors. Floor sensors control surface temperatures while also preventing rooms with multiple heat sources from overheating and making the floor more comfortable for small children or pets.

Especially when tubing is installed in a slab, rooms can take a long time to heat up and cool down. This means that the rooms may overheat when a standard thermostat is installed (although some thermostats offer features designed to combat this, including Uponor WT1 and Nest models). It also means that programmability does not normally benefit in-floor systems.

A temperature controller such as part A419GBF-1C can be used to control systems based solely on floor temperature. It may take a little experimenting to figure out which floor temperatures are ideal for comfort in the room, and not having a wall thermostat could take some getting used to. Tekmar makes some thermostats (e.g. part 519) with floor sensor options. They operate just like standard thermostats, but you can also set high and low limits for the floor temperature. These limits take precedence over the ambient temperature settings on the thermostats.

When dealing with in-floor electric heating cables, thermostats with floor sensors and GFCI protection are normally required.

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Welcome to the SupplyHouse.com Blog

Kristine

We’re in the process of changing our name from PexSupply.com to Supplyhouse.com! We are still the same people committed to providing the same great service we always have, under a name that better represents the broad range of products we sell.

Hear the story behind the name change:



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Lead-Free Plumbing Law

Tom

The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act in the United States went into effect earlier this year, on January 4. The act imposes standards that were already enforced in several states. It defines “lead-free” as less than .25% lead on the wetted surface of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures used for potable water service. Previous federal laws set the limit at 8%. The new law limits solder and flux to .2%. The act considers any water used for human ingestion — including drinking, teeth brushing, food preparation, and dishwashing — as potable.

Only items used for potable water must to meet lead-free standards. Items frequently exempt from the regulation include toilets, bidets, fire hydrants, shower valves, washing machines, backflow preventers, irrigation equipment, and closed-loop hydronic heating systems used exclusively for non-potable service. Watch our video at the link below for more information. Relevant items that do not meet lead-free requirements should be marked on our website.

Posted in All Posts, Plumbing Supplies |


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