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Go With the Flow! (Part 2)

In our last newsletter, we discussed some opportunities and pitfalls surrounding the movement toward low-flow shower head use. In addition to these considerations, another regularly overlooked component of the showering experience is the effect that the shower compartment design has on the bather. Even though it may not often be recognized, the heat trapped within the shower compartment has a significant impact on how we feel while we shower. The door or curtain traps steam and keeps it close to our skin so that we stay warm, even if the water is not in direct contact with our skin. Since... Read More

Go With the Flow! (Part 1)

In today’s increasingly ‘green’ world it is enticing to jump on the sustainability bandwagon, especially when there is a personal benefit that complements the greater global initiative. Low-flow shower heads are one opportunity for the Owner that wants to be environmentally conscious, reduce energy consumption, and lower utility costs. Low-flow shower heads can be found with listings from 1.0 to 2.0 gallons per minute (gpm). When compared to a conventional shower head, which typically flows at a rate of 2.5 gpm, the savings can be significant. In addition to reducing water consumption by 20 to 60%, the amount of energy... Read More

Is Your Heater in Hot Water?

Considering a tankless (instantaneous) gas water heater? These heaters have recently grown in popularity due to their capacity to heat water to a specified temperature ‘instantaneously’, without having to store a volume of water like the traditional residential tank-type heaters. But before kicking your tank heater to the curb, there are numerous factors to think about, including initial cost, payback, location, maintenance, water quality, and demand. “When weighing the costs, instantaneous heaters can be significantly more expensive to purchase than their tank counterparts, by as much as two to three times.” When weighing the costs, instantaneous heaters can be significantly... Read More

Extinguishing the Fire Sprinkler Debate

With so many advances in technology, building materials, and life safety systems, it is no surprise that building construction techniques and the design process have also evolved. On the coattails of these advances in the industry come requisite changes in code requirements. Many of the code changes are heavily debated on local and national platforms, but few have sparked more conversation than the recent changes to the International Residential Code (IRC) mandating the installation of residential fire sprinkler systems in one- and two-family dwellings and townhomes. In December of 2008, the International Code Council (ICC) voted to reject an appeal... Read More

PEXimizing the Plumbing Industry

Chances are, in a newly constructed home, you might not find the familiar copper piping underneath the kitchen sink. Instead, you may find crossed-linked polyethylene tubing, commonly referred to as PEX. Since being introduced into the U.S. market in the early 1980’s, PEX has made headway in the construction industry and is fully integrated in many new facilities across the country. Before its rise in popularity here in the states, PEX proved its versatility in Europe, where it was first created and put to use in the late 1960’s. “Since the tubing is easily maneuvered into bends, there are few... Read More

A Sprinkling of Code Change

Among the code changes currently under consideration by the International Code Council (the governing body of the International Building Codes) is one that would mandate the installation of residential sprinkler systems in one- and two-family dwellings, as well as manufactured homes. Though the desire to require residential sprinklers is not new, the momentum and support for making these changes is growing. In fact, those in favor of these code revisions believe the 2009 International Building Code could mandate sprinklers for all dwelling units. If adopted, the standard would be added to Chapter 43 of the National Fire Protection Agency NFPA... Read More

What’s in Your Water?

The word legionella strikes fear into everyone associated with the building industry. For most of us, this term makes us think of cooling towers and an outbreak of pneumonia that occurred at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia in 1976. We actively monitor our HVAC systems for standing water that could lead to an outbreak. However, a team of researchers headed by Victor L. Yu, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and Chief of the Infectious Disease Department at the VA Hospital in Pittsburgh, has found that the source for most outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease is not... Read More

Softer, Whiter and Less Down the Drain

In recent years, long-term care facilities have started moving toward ozone use in laundering. Ozone has been recognized for over a century as an effective cleaner. It is an unstable form of oxygen gas that is generated when oxygen is exposed to electricity. Ozone’s unstable chemistry causes it to easily bond with elements common in dirt and debris to form oxides, which can then be washed away. Due to its instability, ozone must be generated at the laundry and is done so in two ways. One involves temporarily storing ozonized water in tanks and the second involves injecting ozone into... Read More