Just the Tip

Jones Stephens introduces PEXALGAS™, an innovative, multilayer PEX-AL-PEX solution that accelerates and simplifies gas piping installations. PEXALGAS™ is certified to International Fuel & Gas Code, International Residential Code, Uniform Plumbing Code, and meets ASTM and AS standards. As a result of the proprietary and unique design, PEXALGAS™ flow rates can exceed and outperform that of traditional Read more

Jones Stephens introduces PEXALGAS™, an innovative, multilayer PEX-AL-PEX solution that accelerates and simplifies gas piping installations. PEXALGAS™ is certified to International Fuel & Gas Code, International Residential Code, Uniform Plumbing Code, and meets ASTM and AS standards. As a result of the proprietary and unique design, PEXALGAS™ flow rates can exceed and outperform that of traditional gas piping methods, allowing for up to 60% reduction in material. Installation is approximately 50% faster than traditional gas piping methods, and it’s up to 50% lighter in weight.

The PEXALGAS™ multilayer system combines the positive features that are typical of crosslinked polyethylene PEX-b and those of aluminum, introducing excellent flexibility and malleability – fundamental features for accelerating and simplifying installation operations.

Its total resistance to corrosion, construction materials, and the principal chemical compounds allows it to be used in the most applications. The range of PEXALGAS™ fittings, accessories, and tools is particularly wide and allows all requirements to be satisfied.

Use of the PEXALGAS™ system is subject to state and local approvals. Confirm approval for use with the governing authorities for your project location before installing this product.

For more information:  Jones Stephens | WE GOT IT.

Authored by: Georges Mankarious, Product Marketing Manager for Emerson Automation Solutions Lead is a toxic metal that negatively affects the human brain and central nervous system and can result in high blood pressure and decreased kidney function. The effects can be even worse in children and infants and may include learning problems, hearing problems, anemia Read more

Authored by: Georges Mankarious, Product Marketing Manager for Emerson Automation Solutions

Lead is a toxic metal that negatively affects the human brain and central nervous system and can result in high blood pressure and decreased kidney function. The effects can be even worse in children and infants and may include learning problems, hearing problems, anemia, reduced IQ, and slowed growth.

People can be exposed to lead through a variety of means, including paint, dust, air, food and drinking water — or a combination of all of these. While a range of environmental regulations has removed it from many common substances, like gasoline and paint, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that, depending on where people live, drinking water can account for 20% or more of a person’s total lead exposure. As of 2015, it is estimated that 18 million Americans are served by water systems that violate the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule.

To address this challenge, new federal regulations were introduced in the past decade with the adoption of the U.S. federal Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act that amended Section 1417 of the Safe Drinking Water Act. It established that not more than a weighted average of 0.25% lead be present when used with respect to the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings and fixtures and not more than 0.2% lead content present in solder and flux.

Compliance is required only for new installations or older sites retrofitted with new equipment. Commercial and municipal water companies, as well as companies building and installing various kinds of water automation systems in commercial, institutional and residential facilities, need to consider the materials used to create the components that build the water transport and handling applications.

The challenge is making technology choices that help reduce the prevalence of lead-containing materials in these systems. This impacts not only the piping, but also valves for almost any kind of clean water applications.

THE LEAD-FREE CHALLENGE

Under the law, lead-free is a “cumulative” concept — some parts can be over the 0.25% number, and some can be under it. Specifiers and buyers can “add up” the lead content of all wetted components to get an average system percentage that comes in either at or under the 0.25% lead content requirement. This total wetted surface area calculation can provide a path to compliance, but it involves a series of complex calculations.

For OEMs or equipment builders who have direct access to suppliers, this calculation is possible if the surface area and lead content of all wetted surfaces can be obtained. However, in field installations, where full component information is not readily available to inspectors, they’re more likely to look at each individual component. In these instances, clear marking of lead-free compliance (i.e., an “LF” stamp or embossing mark) eliminates any questions of compliance with the new law.

MORE CONVENIENT, MORE PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS

Products with complex geometries can lead to tricky calculations in an attempt to meet the 0.25% or less lead content requirement. A simpler, safer lead-free solution is often more practical.

A range of lead-free solutions are now available to upgrade existing water systems or for use in new construction, including stainless steel, engineered composites and lead-free brass. Many of these products are being designed as drop-in replacements for traditional brass valves and offer numerous benefits.

Plastic composites

Some companies now offer engineered plastic products that meet the new, stricter regulations. OEMs who choose valves made of engineered plastics don’t need to be concerned about the wetted average surface calculations necessary with traditional brass valves.

Leading manufacturers are engineering a new generation of valves with composite or thermoplastic materials, fabricated using strict quality processes and improved designs, making them both cost-effective and reliable options for a range of applications.

Stainless-steel

Most stainless-steel valves are inherently lead-free and provide the durable, corrosion-resistant performance required in many water system applications. An extremely hard material, stainless steel is a more difficult metal to machine, particularly when fabricating valves and other fixtures with complex geometries — thus increasing cost. There may also be local building and plumbing codes that require stainless steel components in certain applications.

Lead-free brass

It’s important to note that many common, more traditional brass products contain lead along with small amounts of other materials. Lead helps soften the brass alloy, making it easier and less costly to machine. However, this means that common brass valves and other plumbing fixtures have lead content ranging from 1.5% to 2.5%. A system designer or specifier may assume they are reducing the lead content in the wetted path, but that reduction may not be as significant— and could be exposed during a field inspection.

Specially formulated “lead-free” brass alloys, with lead content smaller than the mandated limit of 0.25%, are now available and allow the creation of products like valves that were formerly too difficult to manufacture.

Choosing the right product can help meet safe drinking water requirements and reduce inspection delays — both with the EPA for water safety and UL/CSA for NEC compliance.

IT’S EASIER THAN EVER TO GET THE LEAD OUT

Investing in lead-free from the beginning instead of being “just good enough” is often the smartest — and fastest — solution. Using lead-free components can eliminate complex calculations and immediately reduce inspection delays.

A wider variety of product options meets varying needs, allows for more creative solutions, and helps make the lead-free transition easier while reducing design limitations. Look for fitting options like press fit or NPT end connections for increased versatility, improved efficiency, and reduced labor costs.

Both press fit and NPT have proven to be popular with contractors, and many lead-free options are now available with these connection options. For projects like upgrading or replacing legacy water systems where the labor to dig up and replace the infrastructure is expensive, companies can now choose lead-free valves and other components to help manage cost with less labor-intensive connections.

Products like lead-free brass valves provide a useful and cost-effective tool in the incremental process of providing lead-free water. When updating a system to “lead-free” status, or in the development of a new system, you can either calculate everything or simply use lead-free components.

Drain cleaning professionals ignore new technology at their peril. As in most industries, if your competition has equipment that is better, faster, safer, and more professional, it puts you at a serious disadvantage. One need only look at the history of our industry in the past 30 years to see the truth in these statements Read more

Drain cleaning professionals ignore new technology at their peril. As in most industries, if your competition has equipment that is better, faster, safer, and more professional, it puts you at a serious disadvantage. One need only look at the history of our industry in the past 30 years to see the truth in these statements.

What is the next big thing in our industry that you need to be paying attention to? Flex-Shaft Technology! It’s like putting a weed-whacker down the drain, and you can use your camera system to give it pinpoint accuracy.

Several years ago, we noticed that plumbers engaged in pipe relining were using high speed Flex-Shaft Technology to prep and mill their sewer lines. Flex-shaft machines utilize a swiftly rotating wire coil, much like a speedometer cable, inside a flexible hollow tube or hose.  A high speed motor is connected at the back end and a cutting device, often a carbide tipped chain, is attached at the front end. Because these cutters rotate at approximately 2,000 RPM, flex-shaft machines are adept at milling, pipe prep and root removal.

When outfitted with the proper cutting tool, they leave the pipe in perfect condition to adhere to the material used in the pipe relining procedure. For this reason, they are used extensively in the pipe relining industry, and have also become popular with plumbers and drain cleaners whose only goal is to cut and remove root incursions.

One advantage that this technology has over snake style machines is that the outside tube or hose on the unit doesn’t rotate. This means that you can put the flex-shaft machine and a pipe inspection push rod down the pipe at the same time, giving the contractor a real-time view of the action. This ability to give you pinpoint control over the cutting process is a game changer that can save you time and money.

The only major weakness reported by users of this technology is its inability to muscle through a tough clog. But, that was before the General Flexi-Rooter®. It is a flex-shaft device tough enough to open a stubbornly clogged drain, as well as performing as a pipe prep and milling machine.

General’s Flexi-Rooter is unique because it has a stronger and stiffer flexible shaft and outer sheath than competitive units, giving it the straight-line cutting power needed to open solidly clogged drains.

Plus, the Flexi-Rooter can wield General’s unique ClogChopper® as a forward cutting tool, giving it unparalleled flexibility and the power to cut through the toughest obstructions.

The process of pairing the flex-shaft machine with a camera system is much easier to perform with the Flexi-Rooter because it has an air activated foot switch! This leaves both of your hands free to control the flex shaft and the camera’s pushrod, keeping the camera head close enough to see where the cutter is positioned, but not close enough to damage it.

The Flexi-Rooter emerges as the clear favorite for contractors searching for the best way to fully utilize this new technology in the real world!

For more information, call the Drain Brains at 800-245-6200, or visit www.drainbrain.com/FlexiRooter.

All plumbing systems should be designed with future servicing in mind. In a typical closed-loop system, maintenance usually involves a four-step process: draining the existing fluid, flushing with a descaling/cleaning solution, rinsing out the solution, and refilling with new fluid. During installation, contractors will designate a purging station and a filling station in anticipation of Read more

All plumbing systems should be designed with future servicing in mind. In a typical closed-loop system, maintenance usually involves a four-step process: draining the existing fluid, flushing with a descaling/cleaning solution, rinsing out the solution, and refilling with new fluid. During installation, contractors will designate a purging station and a filling station in anticipation of such a process. Each station would consist of a hose drain to purge or fill, and a ball valve to isolate it from the rest of the system.

To consolidate components and to avoid draining the system completely, contractors began fabricating combined purging and filling stations. A pair of assemblies each consisting of a boiler drain, tee, and close nipple would be installed, with a central ball valve placed in between the two stations for isolation. By opening the drain valves and closing the ball valve in the middle, the system loop would open. Then, when new fluid was introduced via the filling station, the flow would displace old fluid through the system and out the decoupled purging station on the other side of the ball valve. Through some clever fabrication, what was once a four step process was now just one step.

Though this assembly does its job to simplify the process, it’s not without its drawbacks. Field fabrications, though functional, are an inelegant solution. Contractors need to take into account the bulkiness of such an assembly when designing the system layout, which can be a challenge when space is limited. Aside from the lengthy footprint, this assembly also introduces three valves and four fittings into the system, increasing labor and leak paths with each component used. These disadvantages have long been accepted by contractors as a necessary evil in designing a system that expedites the purging and filling process.

Enter the Webstone Purge & Fill. An all-in-one forged brass valve alternative, it eliminates 6 leak paths and saves the installer nearly one hour of labor. Its patented design not only streamlines installation, but it also employs the same principals explained above to facilitate future servicing of the closed loop. The three-way ball quickly isolates the flow between the two hose connections, allowing new fluid to enter the system through the top fill drain. The fluid will then flow through the system, forcing out the old fluid until it completes the circuit through the bottom purge drain. By displacing the old fluid with the new, contractors can avoid the timely process of draining and filling the system between each step of the maintenance process.

The Purge & Fill was designed for use anywhere that requires routine maintenance of the fluids within a closed-loop. In applications where piping systems are exposed to the elements, a heat transfer fluid like propylene glycol is added to the water to prevent freezing. This fluid mixture will run through the loop, utilizing a heat exchanger to prevent direct contact with any potable water distribution. Over time, this fluid must be replaced, and the piping system should be cleaned or descaled if needed. This is an ideal application for the Purge & Fill because it allows the loop to maintain normal operating conditions as it is simultaneously purged and filled during servicing.

In solar heating systems, the valve can be placed within the heat collection loop. Here the fluid mixture will circulate through the solar collectors, gathering heat that is then distributed to the potable water through the heat exchanger.

In snowmelt applications, the valve can be placed within the heat distribution loop, where the fluid mixture will pass through the heat exchanger and distribute heat through a series of tubing under an outdoor surface.

The fluid mixture’s levels within either loop in must be checked and replaced periodically to ensure proper operation and maintenance of the system. With the Purge & Fill installed in each loop, the fluid can easily be inspected, flushed, and refilled as needed.

Available with threaded or sweat connections and in sizes ¾” through 1 ½”, the Purge & Fill is suitable for any closed-loop system. Its single body forged brass construction features heavy duty brass and hi-flow hose drains. The reversible handle is accompanied by an adjustable packing gland and blow-out proof stem that offer versatility and dependability throughout the life of the product.

Inspired by the field fabrication solutions that came before it, the Purge & Fill is part of Webstone’s Pro-Pal series; a line of step-saving valves designed with the professional in mind. The result is a cleaner looking installation, with fewer components and more efficient system operation. Like all Webstone products, the Purge & Fill is guaranteed for life.

When it comes to restroom breaks, office workers in the U.S. say that touchless restroom fixtures are the number one feature that would make them feel safer when using their workplace restroom. According to the Healthy Handwashing Survey™ by Bradley Corp., touch-free washroom fixtures received the highest safety ranking, followed by access to well-stocked supplies such as soap Read more

When it comes to restroom breaks, office workers in the U.S. say that touchless restroom fixtures are the number one feature that would make them feel safer when using their workplace restroom. According to the Healthy Handwashing Survey by Bradley Corp., touch-free washroom fixtures received the highest safety ranking, followed by access to well-stocked supplies such as soap and paper towels; a clean, disinfectant smell; sufficient space for social distancing; and posted signage with the restroom’s cleaning schedule.

Not only do they associate touchless fixtures with a safer restroom environment, office workers view them as must haves. Nearly four-in-five (79%) of office workers believe no-touch fixtures are an important feature in workplace restrooms. Among the general U.S. population, this sentiment is even higher – 84% say they are important in public restrooms.

“Interestingly, two-thirds of office workers use a paper towel to avoid touching restroom door handles, flushers and faucet handles,” said Jon Dommisse, vice president of marketing and corporate communications, Bradley Corp. “This evasive action further demonstrates why touch-free restroom fixtures resonate so much with restroom users.”

Handwashing is also top-of-mind for office workers, as 70% report washing their hands more now because of new Covid strains, such as the Delta variant. Overall, half of office workers are washing their hands six-plus times a day.

“Just as 9-11 changed air travel and the iPod changed how we listen to music, Covid has changed how we view handwashing and washrooms,” Dommisse said.

Rating the condition of workplace restrooms

The survey also shows 75% of office workers believe the condition of a workplace restroom is one indicator of how a company values its workforce. Fortunately, 68% of office workers rate their restrooms as excellent or very good.

That’s not to say office workers don’t experience problems with workplace restrooms. 81% have encountered at least one issue while using them. The most annoying issues – cited by 62% of workers – are empty or non-working soap, paper towel and/or toilet paper dispensers. Another 62% are concerned with restroom cleanliness.

Highlighting office hygiene improvements

Most employers (62%) have made improvements to make employees feel safer returning to work amidst the pandemic with upgrades such as adding hand sanitizing stations around the office (66%), cleaning offices and restrooms more frequently (65%) and encouraging employees to stay home while they’re sick (51%).

Interestingly, only 42% of companies have communicated these changes to their employees.

 Sharing these improvements positively impacts employers since 53% of office workers say their employer’s response to the pandemic makes them feel more valued, 50% say it shows the company cares about its employees, and 35% say it makes them feel more positive about their company.

 The Healthy Handwashing Survey from restroom equipment manufacturer, Bradley Corp., queried 1,035 American adults Aug. 3-10, 2021, about their handwashing habits, concerns about the coronavirus and their return to the workplace. A subset of 513 respondents who work in offices were identified and asked a series of applicable questions. Participants were from around the country and were evenly split between men and women. The Healthy Handwashing Survey of the general population has a margin of error of +/- 3% and the office worker subset has a margin of error of +/- 4%, with a 95% confidence level.

For more information, visit bradleycorp.com/handwashing.