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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Spirovent Air Eliminators


Air elimination devices remove air bubbles from hydronic heating systems before the air can cause any disturbances. Air in a system can cause noise and block heat distribution. Traditional air vents needed to be installed at the highest point in a system in order to function properly. Air scoops, which connect to air vents, can be mounted at the boiler. They use baffles to direct air bubbles to the vent, and they require a minimum of 18 inches of straight pipe prior to the inlet. Spirotherm pioneered an even more effective air elimination device with the introduction of the Spirovent. Requiring no added vents, Spirovent air eliminators use a patented Spirotube core to remove more air than air scoops — with no inlet pipe requirement.

Air eliminators work best when system fluid is as hot as possible and moving at its lowest velocity. As a result, they should normally be installed near the boiler outlet and before the circulator pump. Generally, an air eliminator that matches the size of the supply and return piping will be installed. Most air eliminators, however, should really be sized based on the flow rate of the liquid in the system. 3/4” Spirovent air eliminators, for example, can handle up to 6 gallons per minute (GPM). 1” models are compatible with 10 GPM, and 1-1/4” range up to 15 GPM. Requirements differ by manufacturer and water velocity.


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Where there is air


Dans_Tip_Where_is_airFINALAir is the enemy in a hydronic (hot-water) heating system. It blocks their flow to the radiators. It rattles around and annoys customers. It wastes fuel by making our systems less efficient (no heat from an air-bound radiator). It causes callbacks and it makes us look bad. That’s why every hydronic system needs a good air separator. I think the best spot for this device is on the supply of the boiler. That’s where the water is hottest, and hot water has a tough time holding air. Any air separator, properly installed, will eventually get rid of the air. I like the micro-bubble air separators because they do a brilliant job of getting rid of the tiniest bubbles quickly. Ever draw water from a tap into a glass and then gag because they water looks milky white? Those are micro-bubbles. Let the water settle for a while and it will get clear.

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Snow Melting with PEX


PEX tubing creates a wide-range of options for hydronic heating. When installed outdoors, you can use PEX to melt snow and ice. Some snow melt systems keep critical areas, (hospital entrances, etc.) clear, while others just save homeowners the effort of shoveling a driveway or walkway.

Snow melt systems need propylene glycol for freeze defense and proper drainage for melted water. Tubing should be spaced 12” apart at the absolute maximum. Thick insulation below the slab facilitates upward heat transfer. Automatic controls and sensors can initiate the system as required, but simple manual controls may also be used. Visit for more information on hydronic radiant heating.


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Webstone Radiator Valve Spud Wrench


Webstone’s Radiator Valve Spud Wrench is designed for making radiator valve repairs and can be used on 1/2” to 2” radiator valves. The radiator valve body is connected to the radiator by a spud. In order to remove the radiator valve a spud wrench is required to loosen the spud. A spud wrench has grooves running down the side which grip a pair of nubs on the interior of the spud as the wrench is inserted into it, tightly securing it. It is a heavy duty tool and made from zinc. You can find our range of radiator valves here.


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Easily Monitor Heating Oil Levels


The OEM Rocket Wireless Fuel Level Monitor lets users keep track of the amount of heating oil remaining in their storage tank. The transmitter mounts to the oil tank. It uses ultrasonic waves to detect oil levels in the tank and communicates with a receiver in the home. The receiver must be powered through a standard electrical outlet. It may be placed up to 150 feet away from the transmitter (which is shaped like a rocket and has a battery life of over a decade). The receiver displays oil amounts in 10% increments, with a warning when the tank falls below 10% capacity.

This system puts an end to the need for trips to a cold basement or treks through snow to monitor remaining fuel visually. It’s also more accurate. Visit for more information.


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Can PEX Tubing Freeze?


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


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


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