Motors & Armatures, Inc, (MARS)


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


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 Blog


We’re in the process of changing our name from to! 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


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.

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GV90+ Boilers from Weil-McLain


Weil-McLain’s GV90+ series of gas boilers presents a unique option for hydronic heating systems: cast iron condensing boilers. Condensing boilers can handle condensed flue gases when return water temperatures are sufficiently low, resulting in less waste and higher efficiency ratings. Traditional cast iron boilers would be damaged by this acidic condensate, but the GV90+ includes a stainless steel heat exchanger to accommodate the condensate. The ability to condense flue gases allows all models in the series to boast DOE AFUE efficiency ratings of 91% or higher.

The boilers are also compatible with PVC venting and can be vented vertically or horizontally. They are ideal for high-temperature hydonic systems. They use two internal circulator pumps and an integrated control module to ensure that return fluid temperatures are low enough to allow flue gases to condense. LP conversion kits come standard with all GV90+ models.

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Grundfos UP Zone Valves


The Grundfos range of UP Zone Valves (UP-ZV) are designed to control your comfort with the latest in robust motor and gearing technology, to ensure long life and quiet operation. The UP-ZV range is designed for closed water heating and cooling applications. It is not intended for potable water applications.

The UP-ZV is compact with an economical design, and comes with an in-line removable by push button actuator, which makes installation and servicing easier. All components are corrosion resistant, and the high gear ratio transmission eliminates gear tooth stress, water hammer issues and valve ‘bouncing’ during closing. The forged brass body is 2-way flow with a high Cv rating and incorporates a durable stainless steel/EPDM valve stem assembly.

These zone valves come with or without end switches, and are available with sweat of threaded connection sizes of 1/2”, 3/4″ or 1”. Each zone valve includes the zone valve body, and a zone valve actuator. Standard features include a manual open/close lever and a removable bottom cap for in-pipe servicing. We also sell the actuator only with or without the end switch.

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SharkBite Removal Tools


SharkBite fittings offer an easy way to make basic repairs or permanent installations. They slide directly over PEX, copper, or OD-controlled CPVC without requiring any tools, making them ideal for small jobs and do-it-yourselfers. Removing SharkBite fittings is just as easy – if you have the proper tools. carries compact SharkBite disconnect clips in a variety of sizes. Disconnect tongs make removal easier in hard-to-reach spots, and SharkShifter De-Mount clips, available in 1-1/4”, 1-1/2”, and 2”, make it possible to remove SharkBite 2XL fittings. Mill-Rose offers SharkBite Quick Release Pliers that work with multiple sizes of SharkBite fittings (3/8”, 1/2”, and 3/4”).

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Winters Instruments


We have recently added a new range of products to the site by Winters Instruments. Winters Instruments specialize in manufacturing  gauges for pressure and temperature management. They have been around since 1953, and have grown in size and reputation through the years, to become a leading global manufacturer.

On our site you can find the most popular Winters Instruments products including Pressure Gauges, Thermometers and Valves, Tridactors, Thermowells, and Test Plugs. Winters products adhere strictly to ISO 9001:2008 guidelines.


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Benefits of Pipe Insulation


Insulating pipes provides many advantages in a variety of fluid distribution systems. See below for a list of common applications. carries K-Flex Insul-Lock pipe insulation. Insul-Lock comes in 6-foot lengths for pipes with outside diameters ranging from 1/2″ to 4-1/8″. We offer Insul-Lock with 3/8″, 1/2″, and 1″ wall thicknesses. R-values for 1″-thick insulation can range above 7. Insul-Lock includes a pre-slit adhesive seam seal.

Insul-Lock is UV-resistant, but K-Flex recommends their part 374 protective coating for added protection when high sun exposure can be anticipated. Insul-Lock can be buried underground if proper precautions are taken. These include using sand or a conduit to guard against water absorption and using thicker insulation than would be need above ground in order to prevent compression of the insulation. Use POLYTAPE to join Insul-Lock sections together. K-Flex Elastometric Insulation Tape can be wrapped around pipes in tight areas and provides many of the same benefits as Insul-Lock.

  • Prevent freezing: pipe insulation reduces the risk of pipe bursts in domestic water and hydronic heating applications
  • Minimize heat loss: pipe insulation helps hot water pipe retain more heat, potentially saving energy and reducing hot water wait times
  • Minimize heat gain: pipe insulation blocks heat absorption, keeping drinking water as cold as possible and increasing efficiency in refrigeration and air conditioning systems
  • Prevent condensation: insulation can stop pipes from “sweating” during hot/humid times of the year


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Control Temperatures and Save Energy with Zoned Heating Systems


A zoned heating system allows greater control over heat distribution in the house. You can turn up the heat just where you need it, just when you need it—resulting in significant savings on your utility bills. Need some convincing? Read on to learn more about the benefits of zoned heating.


Homeowners seeking a better way to control temperatures throughout the home should examine the benefits of a zoned heating system.

A standard, non-zoned heating system controls the temperature of the entire house as a whole. A zoned heating system, in contrast, allows homeowners to control the temperature of each room or zone individually, thereby maximizing comfort and minimizing energy costs. A zoned system can be adjusted for numerous factors, including room usage, personal preferences, and environmental conditions. Zoned systems help homeowners use their heating systems more effectively by distributing heat where and when it is needed.

“The advantages of a properly zoned home include savings on heating costs, and greater control and comfort throughout the home,” points out Daniel O’Brian, a member of our Tech Team here at “If they are individually zoned, unoccupied or rarely used spaces do not have to be heated, and areas of the home that get colder than others can be adjusted directly for greater comfort. Furthermore, programmable thermostats can increase savings by dialing back heating usage when residents are out of the home or sleeping.”

O’Brian explains that a typical zoned heating system treats the main floor of a house as one heating zone and the upstairs bedroom area as a separate heating zone. This allows heat to be directed to the main floor during the daytime and to the upstairs bedrooms at night, allowing unoccupied areas of the home to cool down when vacant. A zoned system can also let homeowners minimize the heat in seldom-used areas, such as guest rooms or storage spaces.

Zoning the heating system can save homeowners up to 30 percent on a typical heating and cooling bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Because heating and cooling accounts for more than 40 percent of an average household’s utility costs, the savings from a zoned system can really add up.


The basic component of a zoned heating system is a zone valve, which controls the flow of water in a hydronic heating system. Inside the valve, an actuator opens and closes the valve based on the thermostat setting for that zone. Zone valves are available in two- or three-way valve configurations and in various connection types. They can be normally closed or normally open and can provide differing flow rates depending on valve size, allowing homeowners to customize the system for different floor plans and different-size zones. Zone valves can be used with a wide range of hydronic heating systems, including baseboards, radiators, heat pumps, and radiant applications. Leading brands include Honeywell, Taco, White-Rodgers, and Erie.

Homeowners with forced hot air heating systems also can create multiple zones by using two or more thermostats connected to a master control panel; the control panel opens and closes dampers that are installed within the ductwork.

There are also a wide variety of thermostats available, including programmable versions, to control a zoned heating system. “Any thermostat can be used to zone a home, but not all thermostats are for the same application,” O’Brian notes. “Voltages, the heating/cooling system layout, and features on different thermostats can be geared more towards one or another application.”

Adding a zoned heating system to an existing home is a fairly complex project and typically requires the use of a professional installer. “Retroactively zoning a home is not really something that an average DIYer would be able to accomplish,” remarks O’Brian. “They would have to wire in controls and thermostats, hook them up to the pump(s) and boiler or furnace, and cut into either their hydronic lines or ductwork to install zone valves or dampers. This all would likely require cutting open walls, running electrical, and possibly sweating copper.”

Even though installing a zoned heating system is not a typical do-it-yourself project, the energy savings and temperature control features may make it an extremely worthwhile home improvement. offers a large selection of thermostats, zone valves, and controls from the top manufacturers in the industry, and features a variety of information and instructional videos like this one, which explains how zone valves work.

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