Can PEX Tubing Freeze?

Tom

PEX tubing has the ability to expand and return to its original shape. This makes PEX more freeze-resistant than traditional rigid pipe (copper, galvanized, etc.). Still, PEX is not freeze-proof.  A PEX line can burst if fluid freezes in it. Freezing tends to be more of a concern in PEX plumbing installations, since no glycol antifreeze can be used for freeze/burst protection. PEX should be buried below the frost line in all direct burial applications. Insulation and pipe tracing cable can guard against freezing, as well.

All PEX tubing carries one of three grades: PEX-A, PEX-B, and PEX-C. PEX tubing is composed of cross-linked polyethylene. The grade assigned to each type of PEX reflects the method used to link its polyethylene molecules. PEX-A carries the highest grade. Cross-linking takes place while the polyethylene is melted, resulting in even cross-links throughout PEX-A tubing and producing an incredibly uniform material with no weak spots. This “Engel Method” makes PEX-A easier to work with and allows it to retain its shape. PEX-A naturally returns to its original shape after it expands or contracts.

Only PEX-A tubing works with expansion-style fittings and allows kinks to be repaired through heat application. PEX-A’s superior shape memory helps it resist freezing more effectively than the other grades of PEX. The bottom line: PEX tubing (especially PEX-A) is less likely to burst than rigid pipe if fluid freezes, but always take proper precautions to minimize the chances of freezing.

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DIY Radiant Heat Panel

Tom

If you’re looking for an easy way to install do-it-yourself hydronic radiant heating, consider Uponor’s Radiant Ready 30E panel. The pre-assembled unit includes almost everything you’d need to set up a complete system: 9 kW electric boiler, 5-loop manifold (Uponor EP), 3-speed circulator pump (Grundfos UPS15-58), expansion tank, pressure relief valve, isolation valves, thermostat/outdoor temperature sensor, and air vent. Just mount the panel, connect water lines to the manifold, and have an electrician perform the electrical wiring.

The panel is not for all installations, but it’s a great option if your system requires under 30,710 BTUs and has 5 loops or fewer. If your system meets these specifications, find more information on the Radiant Ready 30E at SupplyHouse.com.

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Increase Your Comfort Level This Winter With a Humidifier

Kristine

In the winter months, when heating systems are really chugging away, indoor air can become dry and staticky. A whole-house humidifier is a great way to add back a little moisture. Here are the basics.

Scratchy throats, frequent nosebleeds, dry skin, and static electricity can be common occurrences in winter—particularly when the combination of heated air and tightly insulated houses reduces humidity levels indoors.

“With frigid temperatures gripping most of the country, heating systems on full blast, and houses all buttoned-up against the cold, the air in a home can get pretty dry this time of year,” points out Daniel O’Brian, one of our tech team members. The solution to improved health and comfort, however, can be as simple as adding a humidifier.

Although everyone knows the old adage “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” few people understand the relationship between the two. The actual heat a body feels is a combination of both temperature and humidity. The minute you turn on your home heating system in the winter, it begins to remove moisture from the air. Dry air feels cooler than moist air, so in a dry interior, in order to maintain a temperature that seems comfortable, you end up raising the thermostat higher than necessary. By adding humidity back into the mix, you can alleviate the dryness, lower the thermostat, and still feel comfortable—saving money on heating bills in the bargain.

“Not only can low humidity dry out your skin and throat, and generally make you feel uncomfortable,” says O’Brian, “it can contribute to other health issues—from making you more susceptible to colds and flu to aggravating conditions like asthma, allergies, and sinus problems.” Children and pets—especially birds—can be particularly sensitive to dry indoor air.

“Extremely low moisture levels can even be damaging to your home, causing wood floors and fine furniture to warp and crack, interior paint to dry out, chip and flake, and wallpaper edges to shrink and peel,” O’Brian notes. “And, if you think those static shocks are painful to the touch, think of what they are doing to your electronics!”

The simple answer to alleviating all these problems is to install a humidifier, which can be used to increase the moisture levels in specific rooms or throughout the entire house. Indoor humidity levels of 35 to 50 percent are considered to be the most comfortable, depending on personal preference.

Most people are familiar with single room humidifiers, which use cool mist, warm air, or steam vaporization to increase humidity in a room. There are also a variety of whole-home humidifiers that can be installed directly in line with your heating system to increase humidity levels throughout the entire house.

While there are various types of whole-house humidification systems, nearly all are controlled by a device called a humidistat, which allows you to set the exact level of humidity desired. Depending on the type of system you choose and the size of your home, a whole-house humidifier will use from 1.5 gallons up to 12 gallons of water per day when the furnace is operating.

Drum humidifiers are commonly used with forced-air heating systems. Drum systems feature a sponge attached to a drum that rotates slowly through a water reservoir. Warm air from the furnace passes through the sponge and picks up moisture, then the moist air is distributed throughout the house.

Bypass humidifiers are connected between hot and cold air return ducts. They use the pressure difference between the ducts to force heated air to pass through the humidifier and return to the furnace. Such humidifiers don’t contain a foam drum but rather a series of plastic discs with small grooves on both sides that allow for sufficient evaporative surface area without requiring a great deal of space.

Whole-house humidifiers are typically controlled by humidistats, devices that sense the moisture in the air and and allow you to maintain the desired level of humidity; they come in both manual and digital models. As the humidity level in a space drops, a set of electrical contacts in the humidistat close, turning the unit on. When the humidity level rises, the electrical contacts open, thereby turning the unit off. Some models have a dual function and can be used to control a dehumidifier in the summer months, when excess moisture becomes a problem.

The amount of humidification you need in your home is determined by the total square footage of the house, as well as the home’s construction and insulation. SupplyHouse.com offers a handy calculator to help consumers determine the best product to meet their needs. SupplyHouse.com offers a large selection of humidifier products and packages from leading manufacturers, and informative articles and instructional videos.

For more about humidifiers and heating products, visit SupplyHouse.com.GeneralAireDrumStyle

This post was written in collaboration with Bob Vila

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Heat Exchanger Sizing

Tom

Heat exchangers transfer heat between two media without allowing them to come into direct contact. Make sure to size heat exchangers correctly, whether you need one for a snow melt or swimming pool application or to isolate open and closed hydronic heating loops. FlatPlate offers a website for heat exchanger sizing. Sign up for free here, and go to SupplyHouse.com to purchase FlatPlate heat exchangers.

Finding a properly-sized heat exchanger for a pool if not too difficult. Just find the capacity of the pool (length x width x depth x 7.5 for rectangular pools; diameter x diameter x depth x 5.9 for circular pools). Use the average depths for pools that do not have the same depth all the way around. Then, based on the pool’s capacity, consult the heat exchanger manufacturer’s literature to find the heat exchanger you need. The heat source involved in the application must be large enough to handle both the swimming pool’s heat load and the heat-loss to the surrounding area. Larger heat exchangers and heat sources are required when aiming for a 2°F (rather than 1°F) hourly heat-up rate. A 2°F/hour rate is recommended when the pool is only used periodically (weekends, holidays, etc). Visit SupplyHouse.com for swimming pool heat exchangers from FlatPlate and Triangle Tube.

 

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Frozen Pipes

Tom

Frozen pipes are a common occurrence during the cold season. To thaw a frozen pipe in your home, try turning on each faucet. If the water is flowing, run warm water through the pipes to help thaw the frozen spot. If no water flows, find the most likely places where pipes may freeze, such as unheated basements or crawl spaces. Turn on the faucets and use a hair dryer, portable heater, or warm wet rags to thaw the pipe. However, when water freezes inside PEX tubing, be sure to not overheat the tubing beyond the maximum recommended temperature.

A large selection of portable heaters and PEX Tubing can be found at www.supplyhouse.com.

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Blue Monster Compression Seal Tape

Adam

Blue Monster Compression Seal Tape is perfect as a quick and cost-effective solution to help stop leakage under pressure without turning off the water source. This makes it the ideal solution equally for crisis and long-term applications, and has been developed for professional plumbing contractors.

The tape features self-fusing layers that form a waterproof compression seal. The seal leaks up to 150 PSI on almost any material, from galvanized and cast iron to copper and all types of plastics and rubber.

Blue Monster Compression Seal Tape features self-fusing layers which form a waterproof seal by compression without the use of any adhesive. Pulling and wrapping the tape tightly around the leak creates a chemical reaction that fuses the layers of tape into a mass of silicone. Once fused, the mass forms a heavy-duty bond on the leak or connection which serves as the repair for the crisis or long-term repair.

You can find the tape on SupplyHouse.com, and it is offered in 12-foot x 1” rolls packaged in a round, plastic case for convenient storage. The tape is environmentally safe and non-toxic, safe for drinking water applications, and effectively seals up to 500°F (260°C). Blue Monster’s PTFE Thread Sealing Tape, can also be found on the website.76085-1

Posted in All Posts, New Products, Plumbing Supplies |

DuraVent’s PolyPro Venting System

Adam

DuraVent’s PolyPro venting system is now available at SupplyHouse.com.  PolyPro venting is commonly used in venting condensing boilers, water heaters, and warm air furnaces.

PolyPro is an environmentally safe, 100% recyclable material. It is made from Polypropylene and contains no toxic or carcinogenic material, chlorides, or heavy metals.  PolyPro does not release hazardous gases during combustion, and has been safely used throughout Europe for over 15 years. It is a great venting option for condensing gas appliances, and  at 230°F/110°C, has a higher operating temperature limit  than PVC (149°F/65°C max) or CPVC (194°F/90°C max).  A variety of PolyPro venting options are in stock and ready to ship today!

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Weil-McLain’s WM97+ Boiler

Tom

The WM97+ wall-mounted, gas-fired, hot water boiler from Weil-McLain sets new standards for quality and efficiency. With seasonal DOE efficiency ratings of over 95 percent, the three available models waste minimal amounts of fuel. They feature a built-in primary circulator, low water cutoff, and expansion tank (WM97+ 70 and WM97+ 110 only). Convertible to propane with an included kit, the boilers contain stainless steel heat exchangers, three-zone circulator controls, and indirect water heater connections. The WM97+’s color LCD display conveniently displays text-based error codes, eliminating the need to check the manual every time a problem occurs. The boiler is designed for direct vent combustion.

Take advantage of an Aqua Logic indirect water heater to use the boiler’s energy for your domestic water needs. In addition to connecting directly to the bottom of a WM97+ boiler, the AquaLogic provides many benefits of its own. It offers a stainless steel tank, coil, and connector pieces, along with a vacation mode for energy savings during periods of extended non-use as well as personalized scheduling options. The AquaLogic minimizes temperature swings when multiple fixtures run simultaneously and includes two tank temperature sensors.

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The Colors of PEX Tubing

Tom

PEX tubing normally falls into two main categories: PEX with an oxygen barrier and PEX without an oxygen barrier. PEX with an oxygen barrier is designed for closed-loop space heating systems, and will normally be either red or white. It is usually not approved for use with potable water. PEX without an oxygen barrier is designed primarily for use in potable water plumbing systems. It is available in red, blue, and white to make classification of water lines easier (red for hot, blue for cold, white for supply lines or single-color systems). The color of PEX does not change any of the tubing’s ratings. There would be no problem, for example, using blue PEX for hot water lines or red PEX for cold water lines. Other types of PEX include PEX-Aluminum-PEX, which is often orange, and PEX for reclaimed water, which is usually purple. Gray plastic pipe is often polybutylene — an older type of pipe that is similar to PEX, but that has a different inside diameter and chemical composition.

 

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Fasco Motors

Adam

Fasco Motors have arrived at SupplyHouse.com just in time for the heating season! Fasco Motors manufactures top of the line OEM replacement Motors and Draft inducers for the biggest names in the HVAC industry. Here you can find replacements motors and draft inducers for Lennox, ICP/Heil Quaker, Trane, York, Goodman, and many more.

A draft inducer is a fan that operates when there is a call for heat. It blows air into the vent at the beginning of the heating cycle to ensure the vent to the outside is clear. If the vent is not clear, combustion gases will get inside the home and cause problems. The draft inducer starts operating before the flame is lit and continues running while the flame is burning. If the draft inducer is supposed to be running and the furnace realizes it is not, the furnace will shut off. A furnace will not run without the draft inducer, which means you will not have heat. Don’t get stuck without heat this winter. Fasco Motors are in stock and ready ship today!

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