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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PEX Crimp vs. PEX Clamp


PEX crimp and PEX clamp connections use the same fittings, normally referred to as “crimp” or “barbed” PEX fittings. Each method requires a different tool and a different type of ring, but the styles are similar enough that PEX newcomers frequently wonder which method is preferable. Crimping and clamping create equally reliable seals that will not leak when performed properly. The choice between crimping and clamping should ultimately come down to personal preference, although there are a few pros and cons to keep in mind.

Stainless steel clamp rings resist corrosion more effectively than copper crimp rings, which can be a major benefit in direct-burial applications. PEX clamps also tend to be easier to remove. Since only a piece of clamp rings must be compressed in order to make a connection, a single clamping tool works with multiple pipe sizes. Although successful clamp connections can be confirmed based on the release of the ratchet tool, crimp fittings can be checked with a go-no-go gauge long after the original connection was made. Crimp rings and components are generally more readily available than their clamp alternatives. For more information, visit the Resource Center at or watch our demonstration videos below.


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Gruvlok Grooved Fittings


Gruvlok Grooved Fittings have recently been added to You can find Grooved Elbows, Couplings, Tees, Flanges, Butterfly Valves, and more hereGruvlok Grooved Fittings by Anvil International, sets the industry standard for durability, efficiency and flexibility, and these fittings are designed to withstand the most rugged applications, while providing easy installation and saving time and money when joining grooved pipe.

Through a combination roll-grooving and two-bolt coupling design, Anvil’s innovative product line joins piping and other components into a single rugged yet flexible system. This makes Gruvlok fittings ideal for a variety of applications – especially in tight spaces.

With a Gruvlok union at every joint, maintenance is just as easy as the installation. Every component in a Gruvlok system can be easily accessed and replaced, so that repairs can be made without total system shut-down.

You can find Gruvlok’s range as part of our extensive Pipe Fittings category on our site. For all your plumbing requirements, is the place to visit.

Gruvlok Grooved Fittings

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Axiom Pressure Pal System Feeders


Hot water heating systems generally operate on a closed loop (i.e. under pressure with the same fluid continually being reheated). This allows water in such systems to oxidize so that it cannot cause ferrous metal system components to corrode, but systems will gradually lose small amounts of fluid. Losses generally occur through evaporation from air vents and valves.

The standard solution to this problem is a make-up water assembly, which automatically feeds small amounts of water to a system in order to offset fluid losses and maintain constant pressure. These assemblies connect to a potable water supply and must include backflow preventers to stop reverse contamination.

Axiom’s Pressure Pal water feeders (available in 6-gallon and 17-gallon sizes) offer two advantages over standard make-up water assemblies. First, they contain a limited amount of fluid. This limits damage in the event of a catastrophic pipe burst, during which a traditional fill assembly would provide fresh water indefinitely. Second, the Pressure Pal can feed a pre-mixed water/glycol solution, which can prevent dilution in systems that contain antifreeze. Additionally, they remove the risk of backflow contamination and can be used to detect leaks in their early stages.

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How To: Choose the Right Size Air Conditioner


Keeping cool this summer may be easier—and more affordable—than you imagined. The key to comfort is knowing what size air-conditioning unit will do the job effectively and efficiently.

Temperatures are climbing. With the dog days of summer just around the corner, the perfect time to shop for a new air conditioner is now. There are numerous factors to consider when you’re shopping for an air conditioner, including whether your home can accommodate a ductless mini-split system, a built-in wall assembly, a window unit, or a portable model. But all air conditioners have one thing in common: They must be sized properly in order to effectively lower the temperature and remove excess moisture from the air, resulting in a comfortable, cool indoor environment.

When you’re shopping for an appropriately sized air conditioner, a number of factors come into play, including the general climate and average summer temperatures in your region of the country; the square footage of the room or rooms to be cooled; the installation location in the wall, window, or ceiling; the number of people typically occupying a room; and the amount of insulation in the home. An air conditioner that is too small for a given area will not be able to cool the space efficiently, while an air conditioner that is too large will tend to cycle on and off too rapidly, wasting energy and impairing the unit’s ability to remove humidity from the room.

Air conditioners are rated by their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), and their capacity is expressed in British thermal units (BTUs). The BTU rating gives an indication of how quickly and effectively a particular unit can cool the room where it is located. Most home air conditioners sold in the United States range from around 5,000 BTUs to more than 20,000 BTUs.

“The BTU—or British thermal unit—is the amount of heat required to raise or lower 1 pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit,” points out Daniel O’Brian, a tech team member at “Since we measure all of our heating and air-conditioning units in BTUs, it’s important to know how many BTUs your living space requires so you don’t buy a unit that is too large or too small. Another common measurement that heating and air-conditioning units are assigned is ‘tonnage.’ But don’t let this confuse you—one ton is just 12,000 BTUs!”

Correctly sizing an air conditioner for a given room requires a tape measure and a few simple calculations. The first step is to determine the size of the room where the unit will be installed. offers a handy sizing calculator to determine the correct amount of BTUs needed for a given room or set of rooms. The calculator requires the dimensions of a room, in length and width; the type of room, such as kitchen or bedroom; the number of people typically in the 2014-06-18_1050room; and finally, the exposure of the room—whether it is very sunny or shaded. Once you plug in the appropriate information, the calculator will determine the correct size air conditioner in BTUs. If you are cooling two adjacent areas, or if your room is odd-shaped, determine the square footage of each space as if it were a separate room, and then add the two measurements together to get a total amount of BTUs.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, another rating that homeowners should consider when purchasing a new room air conditioner is the Energy Efficiency Rating, or EER, which represents the cooling capacity of a unit in BTUs per hour divided by the watts of power consumed at a specific outdoor temperature (usually 95 degrees Fahrenheit). The EER rating is found on the yellow Energy Guide label on the air conditioner, and it typically ranges from 8 to 11.5. An EER rating of 10 or higher is the most efficient and will yield the highest savings on monthly electric bills. A higher EER also helps the environment by reducing greenhouse emissions. offers a large selection of mini-split air conditioners and accessories from the top manufacturers in the industry, and features a variety of informative tools and instructional videos.


This post was written in collaboration with Bob Vila

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Basic Baseboarders: A New Option for DIY Renovation


Baseboarders do-it-yourself baseboard heater covers changed the face of baseboard radiation. The original Premium design features covers filled with small perforations. This prevents small children from being able to touch hot elements, while allowing better airflow to and from a heater. The attractive and unique design complements modern décor. Ease-of-installation is perhaps the biggest benefit: Baseboarders covers can be installed in seconds when connected to the backplates of existing covers, while wall brackets can make them compatible with bare elements and many electric baseboards.

New “Basic” Baseboarders covers provide a more affordable alternative to the original covers and have a different look. Basic Baseboarders only contain perforations on the upper portion of the cover, but offer the same safety protection as Premium covers. Basic covers are intended for standard installations. As a result Baseboarders currently only produces them in 3’, 4’, 5’, and 6’ lengths, and certain unique accessories (including open end caps and outside corners) are not available for them. Although durable and rust-resistant, Basic covers are made of a lighter gauge of galvanized steel and are backed by a shorter rust-proof warranty than Premium Baseboarders covers. Check out the picture below. You may even prefer the Basic design!


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