How to Size a Tankless Water Heater


Tankless water heaters only heat water on demand, eliminating the standby losses associated with traditional tank-style water heaters. A Tankless water heater can provide hot water indefinitely – as long as demand does not exceed the heater’s flow capacity. There is a limit to the amount of hot water every tankless unit can produce in one minute. This gallons per minute (GPM) rating will be small for units designed to supply only a sink or two, but much larger for whole-house heaters. A heater’s GPM capability fluctuates based on the “temperature rise,” or the number of degrees by which the heater must increase the temperature of incoming water. 55°F ground water and a 105°F setpoint on a heater, for example, would require a 50°F temperature rise.

Tankless water heaters provide more hot water in warm climates and during warmer times of the year. See below for a chart from A.O. Smith that includes standard ground water temperatures across the United States.  Use this information along with anticipated output temperature settings to calculate your temperature rise. Always size based on the coldest incoming water temperatures if the heater will be used year-round. Make sure that the heater you choose can provide sufficient flow to meet peak demand at the required temperature rise. Typical showers use between 2 and 2.5 GPM, so a properly-sized heater would need to be able to provide 4 to 5 GPM at the necessary temperature rise in order to handle two such simultaneous showers. Specification sheets for tankless heaters display charts that indicate the maximum flow rates across the range of possible temperature rises.


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PVC Fittings


At we have added two new types of PVC Fittings manufactured by Spears. PVC Barbed Insert Fittings are engineered to provide positive grip and ease during installation. The barbed fittings are ideal for when a tightly gripped seal is needed, and means that adhesive isn’t necessary. High quality and reliability have made these PVC barbed insert fittings the preferred choice in irrigation applications. Take a look through our Fittings Finder here for the different types of fittings and sizes we stock.

We have also added CPVC Schedule 80 fittings. CPVC is similar to PVC except that the addition of chlorine gives additional resistance to thermal and corrosive damage. You will find CPVC Schedule 80 fittings in systems transporting corrosive liquids such as those used in chemical processing, plating, water distribution and fire suppression. Looking through our extensive CPVC Schedule 80 Fittings Finder you’ll find everything from tees, elbows and adapters to flanges, reducer bushings and unions, plus lots more.


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Honeywell’s New Lyric Thermostat


A thermostat is nothing more than an on/off switch, activated automatically based on temperature settings, for a heating and/or cooling zone. Nevertheless, thermostats have evolved significantly over the years, including two relatively recent advances: programmability and internet connectivity. Honeywell’s new Lyric thermostat makes the most out of these features, offering users an efficient, smart thermostat.

The Lyric resembles the Nest thermostat and shares many of its features. Both the Lyric and the Nest allow remote access via the internet and smart phones while giving users the ability to view detailed energy reports. The big difference between the thermostats lies in their respective methods of efficiency maximization. Out of the box, the Nest operates like a standard, non-programmable thermostat. Occupants change the temperature as they normally would, and within a week the thermostat learns their habits and creates a customized program schedule.

Lyric thermostats rely on “Geofencing,” a non-battery draining feature of Android and Apple iOS smart phones. The geofence represents a selectable radius of either 500 feet or 7 miles (depending on your lifestyle) around the thermostat. During heating season (for example), the thermostat will reduce its setpoint temperature (“away mode”) when your smart phone moves outside your geofence and increase it (“present mode”) when it moves back inside the geofence. Multiple occupants of the same building can have their own geofences, and mode changes will always be based on the last person to leave and the first person to return. The Lyric targets tech-savvy people. You must own a smart phone and always have it with you to take full advantage of geofencing. Installation requires a smart phone along with an app geared toward do-it-yourselfers.

The Lyric’s Fine Tune feature ensures that ambient air temperatures feel as occupants would expect them to, using online weather data to access current conditions (including outdoor temperature and humidity levels) in order to incorporate them into system operation. Weather forecasts can conveniently be viewed on the thermostat at any time. Easy Comfort shortcuts allow homeowners to create custom temporary settings to override program schedules. Possible shortcuts include settings to be used during a workout in a home gym or during a large gathering in a particular part of a house. Another feature, Smart Cues, can be used to alert users to maintenance recommendations or link them to local professionals.

Additional features/benefits offered by the Lyric include multi-stage compatibility, IAQ terminals for devices such as humidifiers and ventilators, and the ability to operate without a common wire. The thermostat features a lighted ring that turns orange in heating mode, blue in cooling mode, and green in energy-saving mode. Its circular design was inspired by Honeywell’s famous “Round” thermostat that was first introduced nearly 70 years ago.

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Art Cool Mini-Splits For Comfort—And Décor


Making a room cool doesn’t have to involve loosing a window. Today’s mini-split air conditioning units are the smart alternative to traditional window units, delivering comfort and decor all in one.ArtCool-LG-LAN096HNP_2-crop

Summer has arrived, and with the inexorable heat comes the inevitable hunt—for the perfect air conditioner, that is. Homeowners in search of a functional and fashionable alternative to conventional air conditioning units may want to consider a mini-split.  Mini-split air conditioning systems eliminate the need for the extensive wiring and ductwork required for central air systems, making them perfect cooling devices for older homes and new additions.  They also alleviate many of the problems associated with standard window units, namely they are quieter, don’t have to be removed “off-season,” and don’t present a bulky and unattractive appearance in the window. And, if it’s appearance that you are concerned with, LG’s Art Cool Mini Splits were made for you.

ArtCool-LG-LAN096HNP_11“The Art Cool series is a unique take on the tried-and-true mini split air conditioning formula,” explains Daniel O’Brian, a tech team member here at “While being functionally the same (and in the same price range as standard mini split systems), they offer a more visually pleasing indoor unit that can actually enhance room decor,” he adds.

LG’s Art Cool line basically consists of two options, both of which come in either air-conditioner-only or heat-pump models: Art Cool Mirror units feature a flat panel surface with smoked charcoal mirror finish, creating a sleek, contemporary silhouette; and the Art Cool Gallery unit provides a 20-by-20 inch square panel that works like a picture frame—allowing the consumer to insert their own artwork or photograph. Both units mount securely on a vertical surface with screws.

Mini-split air conditioning systems typically consist of two separate units: an interior evaporator with a fan and cooling coil, and an outside condenser unit; the two pieces are connected by a refrigerant line set. Mini-split systems are available in single room configurations, which consist of one indoor unit and one outdoor condenser, as well as multi-room configurations, which have two to four indoor units connected to a single outdoor condenser. Most mini-split indoor units are mounted on the wall, although there are some ceiling-mounted versions.artCool-LG-Mirrorfinish-b

The LG Art Cool Gallery unit is available as a single zone system in either 9,000- or 12,000-BTU sizes; the Mirror units are available in either single- or multi-zone systems. Choosing the appropriately sized unit is dependent on several factors, including the regional climate, whether the mini split system will operate as a cooling unit only, or a combination of cooling and heating, the number and type of rooms, the number of windows per room and the average number of people occupying the room at a single time. features a useful air conditioner sizing calculator to help consumers determine the correct amount of air conditioner BTUs needed for a given room, or set of rooms.

Typically, mini-split air conditioners will require professional installation by an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) contractor, because the outdoor unit must be hard-wired to a dedicated circuit breaker and the correct amount of refrigerant must be used in the lines. offers a large selection of mini split air conditioners and accessories from the top manufacturers in the industry.  To learn more about the LG Art Cool systems, view the video below, or visit

This post was written in collaboration with Bob Vila

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Watts Onix Tubing


Onix Tubing from Watts Radiant provides several key advantages in radiant heat installations. Onix tubing is composed of two layers of cross-linked Durel EPDM around an “AlumaShield” aluminum oxygen barrier. The AlumaShield adds durability and reduces the risk of worksite damage. The tubing is reinforced with material commonly included in bulletproof shields. Available in sizes ranging from 3/8” to 1”, Onix tubing is flexible, freeze-resistant, and UV-resistant. Backed by a 25-year warranty, Onix tubing cannot be kinked and carries temperature ratings up to 180°F. The tubing requires special fittings and clamps, which do not need special tools for installation. Onix is not compatible with PEX fittings and PEX tools. Go to to buy Onix Tubing and other Watts products.

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Push-Fit Options for DIYers


Push-fit fittings provide an easy way to make piping connections. No tools are needed, making the fittings ideal for small repairs and do-it-yourself jobs. Due to the relatively high cost of push-fit fittings, investing in proper tools/training generally makes more sense for larger jobs and for contractors. Push-fit fittings eliminate the need for PEX tools, copper soldering, and CPVC solvents. carries three types of push-fit fittings, each of which works with PEX, copper, and CTS CPVC:

  •  SharkBite fittings, usually made out of lead-free brass, are available in a wide range of configurations in sizes up to 2”. SharkBite fittings up to 1” come with PEX insert pieces. The SharkBite name is synonymous with push-fit fittings for many people in the plumbing and heating industries.
  • Most John Guest Speedfit fittings are plastic, making them more affordable, more corrosion-resistant, and lead-free. The John Guest name has been respected in Europe for decades. Their Twist & Lock fittings do not even require a tool for easy removal. The manufacturer recommends PEX inserts (available separately) for PEX domestic water applications and requires them for PEX space-heating applications.
  • Watts Quick-Connect fittings are also normally plastic and meet 2014 U.S. lead-free standards. PEX inserts typically come with the fittings. Watts offers a Quick-Connect option for many parts across their huge selection of plumbing supplies.pushFIT
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Cadet Heaters


We are pleased to announce that now stocks a variety of heaters manufactured by Cadet, including Electric Baseboard, Garage Unit and Wall Heaters. Cadet is based in Vancouver, Washington, where every one of their electric baseboards, wall fans and utility heaters is built. Even with the weather heating up outside, you can be well-prepared for Fall and Winter with Cadet’s range of heaters.

The SoftHeat Hydronic Electric Baseboard Heaters’ innovative design contains environmentally-friendly fluid, which helps you to enjoy steady warmth for longer with minimal room temperature variations. They are perfect for bedrooms and bathrooms and are suitable for anyone suffering with severe allergies. Take a look through our SoftHeat category here to find baseboard lengths suitable for your specific needs.

The F Series is Cadet’s most popular choice for bedrooms. It provides low-cost installation, quiet operation, and a practical design for easy placement throughout many rooms in your home. For consistent and reliable heat when you need it most, check out the category here.

The Com-Pak In-Wall Fan Heater will help during chilly weather, providing instant hear where and when you it the most.  You can find our Cadet Com-Pak selection amongst our Wall Heater category. Cadet also manufactures a heater specifically for areas that are difficult to heat such as a garage or shop. The Hot One can provide warmth for larger areas up to 400 square feet, and you can find the different options here.


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Liberty’s SumpJet: The Ultimate Failsafe Sump Pump


Sump pumps remove excess water, generally from basement-level sump pits. Water levels tend to be at their highest during storms and periods of heavy rainfall — the times during which power outages are most likely to occur. Almost any sump pump requires electricity to operate, so inopportune power failures can lead to major flooding and property damage.

Battery-powered backup sump pumps offer the most common solution, generally operating with power provided by 12-volt, deep-cycle batteries. While these systems can offer sufficient backup power during many storms, their batteries normally only have enough capacity to operate for several hours. This may not be enough to prevent flooding caused by major storms that result in an extended loss of power.

Liberty’s SJ10 (and SJ10A alarm model) SumpJet back-up sump pump system needs no electrical power to function and uses no battery, making it perhaps the only way to stop flooding caused by severe tropical storms. Instead of relying on a battery, the SumpJet generates energy from water pressure. Connected to a water supply via a 3/4” push-fit connection, the pump includes a float that opens a check valve when water approaches dangerous levels. The check valve allows municipal water into the pump in order to provide power. The pump can remove about two gallons of flood water for every gallon of municipal water. Incoming water pressure must be between 20 and 100 psi. Well-water systems generally cannot be use to power the SumpJet because their pumps will not usually be able to operate during power failures.


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Ideal Electrical Supplies


Here at we have recently added the brand Ideal and a selection of their electrical tools and supplies. Ideal Industries is an American company that produces connectors, hand tools, testers, and meters for the electrical and telecommunications industries. It was founded in 1916, and by 1949 it had become the United States’ leading producer of wire nuts.

Within the Tools and Totes category you will find Crimp Tools designed specifically for electrical applications. Wire Strippers are used to strip the electrical insulation from electric wires. Take a look at our extensive range here. We also sell a variety of Screwdrivers designed to suit your needs, as well as Saws & Drill Bits.

Ideal’s Electrical Testers contains Voltage Testers as well as Circuit Tracers and Testers. You can also find Multimeters which accurately test and measure commercial and industrial circuits. Ideal Clamp Meters combine a multimeter with a current sensor, so the clamp measures current and the probes measure voltage.

Our Ideal Wire Termination category contains various wire connectors for virtually any electrical job. The complete line of connectors is built to provide a strong, safe connection while giving you maximum comfort. They can be used in interior and exterior applications, in residential or commercial properties. The Wire Installation section contains Fish Tape, used to route new wiring through walls and electrical conduits. Here you will also find Wire Pulling Lubricants, which provide greater lubricity compared with other wax-based lubricants.

Take some time looking through our Ideal range of products and keep checking back regularly as more products are added.


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The New White Rodgers Sensi Wi-Fi Thermostat


Due to their basic functionality, traditional low-voltage mercury or mechanical thermostats require no outside source of power. Digital thermostats need energy in order to power their displays, but batteries can generally serve as the power source in the absence of a dedicated power line (normally referred to as a “common” or “C” wire). Wi-Fi thermostats offer the unprecedented chance to control thermostats remotely and on smart phones, but internet connectivity demands more power than batteries can provide. The resulting requirement for a common wire on most Wi-Fi thermostats can present a major obstacle to the installation of Wi-Fi thermostats in retrofit applications.

The new White Rodgers Sensi Wi-Fi programmable thermostat does not require a common wire when used in heat/cool systems, making it possible to replace old thermostats with ease and gain remote access without running new wires. In H/C systems, two AA batteries can supply sufficient power, and an optional common wire would allow the display to be lighted at all times. The Sensi works with stylish iPhone and Android apps, which are able to control multiple thermostats and modify system settings and schedules. The Sensi works on zones with up to 4 heat/2 cool and is backed by a 5-year warranty. Additional features include storage of contractor contact information, fan control, and an easy-to-read display. Find the Sensi and other White Rodgers thermostats on


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