ProStaff Reviews

Hot & cold frost proof hydrants are not new but the TrueTemp by PRIER is a totally different faucet compared to any I’ve ever worked with in the past. The TrueTemp is a single handle frost proof with the styling of an indoor fixture available in two finished, Satin Nickel Plated & Oil Rubbed Bronze Read More

Hot & cold frost proof hydrants are not new but the TrueTemp by PRIER is a totally different faucet compared to any I’ve ever worked with in the past. The TrueTemp is a single handle frost proof with the styling of an indoor fixture available in two finished, Satin Nickel Plated & Oil Rubbed Bronze.

Focus: True Temp Installation

As part of a larger review process, ProStaff’er Andy Mickelson, owner of Mickelson Plumbing in Missoula, MT and I are each installing one. Andy has a spot for it at his own home, I’ve got it going in at the #duluthbuild project for my little sister’s new home.

PRIER True Temp Installed

I took delivery of the Oil Rubbed Bronze finish 12″ model #P-118L12-ORB last week and took it out of the box minutes before the video to get it mounted.

One of the things that stands out immediately with this faucet is the lack of visible mounting hardware, I like that. As you’ll see in the video there is a stainless steel mounting plate/ring that when attached to the mounting surface is completely hidden. Furthermore, this gives the faucet a totally different look than other hot/cold models.

The faucet ships with Phillips head stainless screws and the mounting plate. There were no instructions in the box, although its pretty simple to figure out, I think it may have just been forgotten in packaging. Here’s a link to the install instructions.

Mounting Prep for the True Temp

I had a PRIER 12″ model frost proof faucet roughed-in already. This required me to enlarge the existing 1″ hole in the mounting block to accommodate the new TrueTemp. I simply traced the hole in the mounting plate and cut the mounting block with my M12 jig saw. The correct hole saw size would be 1-3/4″ if installing at a new location. Step two was to align the mounting plate hole with the newly cut hole and attach using the stainless screws. This step requires the installer to level the tabs on the mounting plate, the tabs are the connection point between the faucet and mounting plate and need to be level to ensure the faucet is plumb.

Finally, the TrueTemp body is inserted and a half-turn clockwise engages the tabs and body to securely position the faucet, the final step is to install the remaining stainless screw in the very bottom of the body.

Watch for more info, next time I’ll cover the piping connection options and hot I installed it on my job.

 

Makita Rebar Tool

Hands-on look at the new Makita Tools XRT01 Rebar Tool This week we traveled to the World of Concrete event at the Las Vegas Convention Center to see what’s coming from some of the biggest tool manufacturers in the construction industry. If you’ve never been to the WOC show, like myself, its huge and full Read More

Hands-on look at the new Makita Tools XRT01 Rebar Tool

This week we traveled to the World of Concrete event at the Las Vegas Convention Center to see what’s coming from some of the biggest tool manufacturers in the construction industry. If you’ve never been to the WOC show, like myself, its huge and full of hand-on displays for tool lovers of all types. We got our hands on a lot of tools, the Makita rebar tying tool was just one that left an impression.

Back in October, 2018 Makita announced the addition of 40 new tools to be available immediately. This announcement was made during the annual STAFDA convention in Atlanta and on the list of 40 new tools was the new XRT01 18V LXT Brushless Rebar Tying Tool. Normally a tool like this might slip by us here at MH but considering the usefulness to contractors tying radiant tubing to welded mesh or rebar for new installations, we wanted to get our hands on it.

Makita pulled out all the stops in designing and building their booth at WOC, they had literally dozens of tools powered up and ready to use in simulated scenarios. For the rebar tool they had two different forms built. When I first saw this tool back in October I immediately wondered how it would do for tying PEX tubing so I asked if they had any tubing around the booth to give it a try, they didn’t.

Get in the Uber and head to The Depot

The only way I was going to get first hand experience on whether my ideas for this tool would work was if I brought my own PEX to the show and tried it myself. So that’s what I did.

When I walked up to the concrete forms of rebar in the booth I got a lot of inquisitive looks, it only took about two minutes for nearly every one of the Makita employees to gather around and watch me as I began to test the XRT01 out as a true plumbing/heating contractor would on the job.

It worked flawless. All I did was adjust the torque setting to its lowest level and let’er rip. No kinking, not too tight, not too loose. The capacity of the tool is capped at tying two #5 bars together so the combination of the #5 bar they had and my 1/2″ PEX was well within that range. Check out the video from my tests, all tool specs included at the end of this post.

Makita Tools Rebar Tying Tool features:

 

  • Up to 5,300 ties of #3 x #3 diameter rebar using an 18V LXT® 5.0Ah Battery (battery not included)
  • Multiple bar tying capability; ties up to two #5 diameter bars or four #4 diameter bars in under 1 second
  • 2-mode operation provides single or continuous wire tie actuation for fast and efficient tying
  • Fast and seamless wire reel easy-load design with automatic locking mechanism built into protective cover
  • The BL™ Brushless Motor eliminates carbon brushes, enabling the BL™ Motor to run cooler and more efficiently for longer life
  • Digital adjustment of tying strength to match various tension strength requirements
  • Delivers up to 120 ties of #3 x #3 rebar per wire reel allowing for maximum productivity
  • Trigger power switch with lock-off feature requires two actions to power the tool
  • Center load reel position provides added balance for more comfortable handling and less fatigue
  • Transparent wire reel cover protects the feeding mechanism from harmful job site debris
Makita XRT01 Rebar Tying Tool

Myself and mechanical-hub.com ProStaff contractor Andy Mickelson @mick_plumb have each been using the newest RIDGID tool to join their already mega huge offering. RIDGID’s thermal imagers are definitely well thought out and made with very high-end components, that’s good considering they carry the Lifetime Warranty @ridgidtools is famous for among plumbing and mechanical contractors. There Read More

Myself and mechanical-hub.com ProStaff contractor Andy Mickelson @mick_plumb have each been using the newest RIDGID tool to join their already mega huge offering. RIDGID’s thermal imagers are definitely well thought out and made with very high-end components, that’s good considering they carry the Lifetime Warranty @ridgidtools is famous for among plumbing and mechanical contractors.

There are 4 imagers currently offered by RIDGID. All are point and shoot handheld models and range from high quality entry level (RT-3) to the fully featured RT-9X.

Andy and I have the fully loaded RT-9X. Like the others it has a rechargeable 3.7 Li-ion battery, super resolution capability and a rugged housing. In addition to other features the RT-9X has WiFi connectivity to the RIDGID Thermal mobile app which allows for fast and simple image sharing and saving across multiple devices.

There are so many features built in to this imager I simply cannot list them all. The standard 320×240 infrared resolution is clear and perfect for job site diagnosis. Turn on the Super Resolution mode and turbo charge the thermal image capturing to 640×480 and it’s operating at levels typically only ever seen by much higher priced units.

This is prime-time infrared season for Andy and I as we take on more heating calls and installs. I can speak for both of us when I say this technology has not only opened doors for our businesses but made us faster and more efficient when troubleshooting and diagnosing problems inside and outside the building. It’s like having a super power.

Eric Aune, Aune Plumbing LLC, Zimmerman, Minn.       Dan Foley, Foley Mechanical Inc., Lorton, Va.     Andy Mickelson, Mickelson Plumbing and Heating LLC, Missoula, Mont.     From across the PHCC Connect trade show floor, a new product offering recently caught the eye of our ProStaff team members. “I like to walk Read More

Eric Aune, Aune Plumbing LLC, Zimmerman, Minn.

 

 

 

Dan Foley, Foley Mechanical Inc., Lorton, Va.

 

 


Andy Mickelson, Mickelson Plumbing and Heating LLC, Missoula, Mont.

 

 

The Cross Manifolds with two primary zones: a garage and a partially finished basement.

From across the PHCC Connect trade show floor, a new product offering recently caught the eye of our ProStaff team members. “I like to walk trade shows as I need to physically see a new product before I can evaluate it. I need to touch it, pick it up, and examine it before I make a purchasing decision,” says Dan Foley.

The sparkle in Foley’s eye was the new Cross Manifold system, which combines a zone relay, manifold and zone valves in one compact, pre-wired package. “Any product that saves space, man-hours on the job site, and minimizes wiring gets my attention,” says Foley, whose company specialty is hydronic and radiant systems installations.

Big Sky Zoning

From almost entirely across the country, ProStaffer Andy Mickelson recently installed the Cross Manifold system on a job near Missoula, Mont. The Cross Manifolds were installed in a radiant floor system with two primary zones: a garage and a partially finished basement.

The project called for a simple electric boiler with one circulator feeding the two radiant manifolds. After receiving the manifolds, Mickelson was immediately intrigued with the packaging. Cross Manifold comes in what appears to be a plain cardboard box. On the inside is a well laid out divider that separates the smaller components from the manifold. The parts compartment features basic instructions, a plug-in 24 VAC transformer, the zone control, a pair of 1” NPT isolation valves with thermometers, drain and purge valves and a couple of spare O-rings.

Beyond the small parts divider is the manifold and actuator module. The manifolds come in 4-port thru 12-port configurations, with or without flow meter balancing valve assemblies. Mickelson ordered a 4-port and 6-port for our project, both with flow meter assemblies. When ordering the manifolds there is the option for 1/2” or 3/4” crimp PEX or 1/2” or 3/4” press–sweat adapters.

Installation of the manifold was a simple process, says Mickelson, who used 1/2” PEX adapters on the installation. “I have installed a number of manifolds that had poor threads on the adapter ports or on the isolation valve ports; this is not that type of manifold. Everything went together finger tight, at which time we then bumped them up with an end wrench. I was most impressed with the fit and finish of the sealing surface—not a single leak at the manifold,” says Mickelson.

Mickelson’s only complaint or suggestion was that he could not find anywhere in the manual where it indicated flow direction. It took playing with the flow indicator to figure out which was supply and which was return. The actuator module is attached with two thumb screws, one on each end. Something worth noting: All of the ports on the manifolds come with caps; the adapters are shipped loose. The advantage here is that any unused ports are already capped, no need to purchase additional components.

With all of the piping complete and the actuator mounted, we moved on to the wiring, continues Mickelson. The 24 VAC power supply is attached to the zone control module with two conductors. The thermostats are connected to the zone inputs along the bottom, which include “R”, “W” and “C” terminals. The “C” terminal being important these days, as nearly all Wi-Fi stats require a “C” terminal to operate the Wi-Fi radio properly.

The power draw on this manifold is quite low as the design allows only one circuit to be opening or closing at a time. In Mickelson’s installation, they had one thermostat controlling each manifold, so the circuits that we used had to have the “W” terminals jumped. The “SW Out” terminals provide a dry contact closure to initiate a call for heat to a boiler or other control. The control board also includes a 24 VAC output to operate pump relays or other pilot duty loads. This board has a 1.5 amp fuse holder built in.

“I would like to see an additional fuse included, as accidents do happen,” says Mickelson. The zone control does need to be mounted relatively close to the actuator module, as the two are connected with a Molex plug wiring harness. The harness is roughly 18” long.

Capitol Manifolds

Back in D.C., Foley had an 8-zone radiant heating project he needed to pipe and wire. Typically Foley would have piped a copper manifold, installed eight zone valves, and wired in two 4-zone relay panels. With the Cross Manifold System, the eight zones come pre-piped and pre-wired. The stainless steel manifold assembly is simply bolted to the wall and piped to the boiler. The radiant zones are tied in and the thermostats connected to the terminal strip. The zone valves are already wired.

Installation of the Cross Manifold from Foley Mechanical.

“The system was installed and started this past January. “Running nearly four months now, the system has performed flawlessly,” says Foley.

Foley had only one issue with the Cross Manifold, but it was self-inflicted: the installer over-tightened one of the connections causing it to crack. The instructions were clear: hand tight is sufficient. “Cross was kind enough to overnight a replacement fitting and we had it repaired the next day. Technical support was responsive and knowledgeable,” says Foley.

To the north, Minnesota’s Eric Aune installed a Cross system recently and offers some assembly and installation tips.

Unpacking and assembly:

  • One box contains everything needed for the install.
  • The instructions are simple illustrations, and if one has never used one of the manifolds, it can be a bit confusing for first-time users.
  • In the event that any of the loop connections are not needed on the model you order, it is shipped with plugs on every outlet.
  • The manifold is shipped with every outlet connection plugged; tubing adaptor fittings are included in the box.
  • If you order flow meters, those will have to be assembled onto the manifold as well, removing the stainless plugs in their place for assembly.
  • The whole kit includes the manifold, tubing adaptor fittings, motorized control box, zone control module and power supply cord.

Installation on the wall:

  • This manifold sticks out from the wall more than other manifolds on the market, so if it has to be concealed in a stud cavity, you’re not going to do that without a 2 x 8 at least, this needs to be known ahead of time.”
  • The manifold brackets are like all other standard brackets and position the manifolds offset from each other and from the wall.
  • Since the loop actuators are actually ball valves installed on every outlet there is no additional valve actuator to assemble onto the manifold; the motor carriage simply bolts onto the front of the manifold and connects to the zone control module.
  • The motor carriage connects to the control module with a prewired molex-type plug. “I would prefer this was about a foot longer because it requires the module to be placed rather close to the manifold but it makes for very easy and fast wiring, eliminating the need to spend an hour or two wiring each zone individually,” says Aune. This also eliminates the need to have control wiring in stock for this task.
  • The quality of the stainless steel threaded connections seems better than some others Aune has worked with in the past. Rubber gasket connections on these types of manifold often leak upon initial fill requiring adjustments and time; the Cross manifold had zero leaks on fill and startup.
  • Each individual ball valve on the loops is made from an engineered plastic that moves very freely and gives the first impression of excellent molding and fitment. “These are serviceable/replaceable parts, I will be ordering a few replacements to keep on the truck,” says Aune.

Overall Impressions

“Overall, I would say the time saved by not having to wire individual zone actuators is noteworthy,” says Aune. Although the product is well designed, continues Aune, some improvements to the information and ordering experience on the website could be made to speed that process up and increase confidence that you’re in fact ordering exactly what you need the first time.

“Of course, as you install more of these, that will be less of a factor,” says Aune. “I have one manifold in operation at this time and have already considered using more for either replacement or new installation as I am overall impressed with its performance.”

Foley see several advantages to the Cross Manifold system. No. 1: It’s a time saver—it saved time vs. field fabricating and field wiring. No. 2: Neatness and uniformity: The compact manifold saves wall space and looks professional. It also eliminates the variation of field technicians piping and wiring jobs differently. No. 3: Pre-wired—Low voltage wiring can be a challenge at times. This system is pre-wired from the factory minimizing wiring issues.

“I give the Cross Manifold two thumbs up and intend to use it on future projects,” says Foley.

Overall, Mickelson was very impressed at how quickly the manifold was mounted, piped and wired. “If we had been using multiple thermostats on each manifold it would have been exponentially quicker than wiring up tele-stats and zone control boxes. Once we got the boiler mounted and filled, start-up was a breeze, only requiring us to balance each circuit with the flow meter balancing valve,” says Mickelson.

The actuator is incredibly quiet during its operation, which only takes a few moments to open all of the valves. Once the operation is complete, the actuator module is at rest until the valves need to be closed. Interestingly, the actuator module actively monitors the valves to ensure that they are not moved out of position. If a valve for some reason is incorrect or manually moved, the module will correct that condition accordingly.

“Overall I am impressed with the installation, operation and quality of the manifolds,” says Mickelson. “I look forward to adding these manifolds to our arsenal of products to offer to our customers.”

For more information on the Cross Manifold System, www.crossmanifold.com.

Cross Manifolds are available through plumbing & heating wholesale distributors nationwide.

As a Mechanical Hub ProStaff member and CEO and of Thompson Family Plumbing & Rooter Inc.,  I am always searching for the best people to add to my crew and cutting-edge products to add to my inventory to save time, money and make our customers happy. We are a family owned and operated business in Read More

Thompson Family Plumbing LogoAs a Mechanical Hub ProStaff member and CEO and of Thompson Family Plumbing & Rooter Inc.,  I am always searching for the best people to add to my crew and cutting-edge products to add to my inventory to save time, money and make our customers happy.

We are a family owned and operated business in California that specializes in new construction and residential service work such as drain cleaning, backflow certification, video sewer inspection services, and many more plumbing services. Since 2006, our plumbers have been delivering trusted plumbing residential and commercial services with dedication and the highest quality workmanship.

We were recently hired to do a complete re-pipe installation on a beautiful 100-year old home in Lake Arrowhead, California, and knowing that I was going to need a cost-effective, flexible and dependable piping solution, I looked at several options and chose SharkBite EvoPEX pipe and fittings.

During the process of re-piping this house, we found that the SharkBite EvoPEX system provided many benefits. As a two-man job, it was quick and easy to use, which allowed me to save labor costs. Additionally, you don’t need extra tools or glue to secure the fittings to the pipe. Because the EvoPEX system has a fool-proof green indicator ring, you know exactly when you have proper insertion depth to create a watertight and permanently engaged connection to the pipe. It is a godsend and you don’t have any guesswork. As one of the guys on the job said, “green is in for the win.”

During the installation, we only encountered one issue and that was mainly due to the location of the space which we were installing pipe. The space was tight and pushing the fitting together overhead, well, took a little extra time and some body contorting. In the end, I liked knowing that there was no way the fittings were coming apart, and at one point, I grabbed the pipe to keep me from falling off a ladder. Not that I recommend that as a test to see if the fittings stay connected, but they did.

As far as using SharkBite on the future, I have another project on the books next month that will be using the EvoPEX System. This project is a new installation and I cannot wait to use the product in a more open area as I’m sure the time savings will be extensive for the team.

SharkBite EvoPEX LogoWould I recommend the SharkBite EvoPEX system? Yes, in fact, I’ve had discussions with a few local plumbers asking about the system and our thoughts, since it’s so easy to use with little training.

As with any product I use for the first time, I have suggestions for things that can make EvoPEX even better and maybe should the product have an upgrade, these will be addressed. I wish this project would have had an opportunity to incorporate one of their manifold systems, as I can see the advantages of this product in multiple option sizes and angle variations. Each product has their pros and cons to each application or use, and I feel that this product is good and I will be doing more with it to get a better feel with further testing and installations in the field.

View More: https://jcguzmanphoto.pass.us/tfbProStaff Member Bio:

John Thompson is owner, Thompson Family Plumbing and Rooter, INC. of a leading service and repair plumbing company in Hesperia, CA. John and his wife, Devynn’s, focus is to provide superior customer service and maintain top notch plumbing skill. He is continuously pushing the boundaries in his trade and is passionate to encourage his peers to succeed with him. His company has received many worthy acknowledgements and awards from State Senators and Assemblymen for their strong presence and community involvement. Thompson Family Plumbing is constantly working to advance and support their staff and valued customers to maintain their mantra of “Always go the extra mile.”