Innovations seen at Builders Show

Energy-saving products were prominent at the International Builders Show here in February as homebuilders look to green construction to give them an edge in a tough market. But perhaps the most significant product introduced at the show did not have anything to do with energy. It was a completely lead-free faucet introduced by Delta Faucet Co. under a banner reading, “No Lead, No Problem.”

Orlando, Fla. — Energy-saving products were prominent at the International Builders Show here in February as homebuilders look to green construction to give them an edge in a tough market. But perhaps the most significant product introduced at the show did not have anything to do with energy. It was a completely lead-free faucet introduced by Delta Faucet Co. under a banner reading, “No Lead, No Problem.”

Delta unveiled a significant new faucet technology, its patent pending Diamond Seal Technology, a water delivery system that eliminates contact with metal contaminants such as brass, copper or lead. The Diamond valve is an integrated ceramic valve cartridge featuring one ceramic disc and one diamond-embedded ceramic disc. As the two discs in the valve move against each other, the diamond-embedded ceramic disc polishes the uncoated ceramic disc, preventing buildup of calcium and mineral deposits. Inside the faucet, water is not in contact with metal because the waterways are lined with PEX. The faucet technology satisfies California statute A.B. 1953, mandating that drinking faucets contain less than 0.25% lead by 2010. The InnoFlex waterways' integrated supply lines are 38-in. long, so they can be connected directly to the hot and cold water shut-off valves. No intermediate riser connections are needed. The flexible supply lines can be coiled or cut to length using ferrule inserts included with every faucet. An adjustable handle limit stop on the valve allows the user to limit how much hot water can be mixed with cold water by restricting the range of handle motion.

Kohler used the Home Builders Show to trot out products that it might not show to the trade, such as bathroom furniture. It also used the opportunity to showcase some of its more water-efficient products.

Kohler has expanded its line of water-conserving toilets with Pressure Lite technology by introducing the San Raphael Pressure Lite toilet, Kohler's - and the industry's - first one-piece, 1.0-gpf high-efficiency toilet with pressure assist technology. The toilet uses compressed air within its reservoir to propel water to the rim and siphon jet for robust flushing. Kohler has also previously sold a dual-flush toilet under its Sterling brand name. The firm is now producing the Persuade dual flush w.c. under the Kohler name in models with either concealed or exposed trapways. And on the purely decorative side, Kohler's watertile showerheads are now available in round versions.

Ridge Tool Co. showed a reciprocating saw with a cutting head that swivels 270° and locks every 90°, so the user can hold the handle straight and swivel the position of the saw blade to cut at hard-to-reach angles. RIDGID also extended its pressing line of products with the new RIDGID ProPress Rings, allowing users to press connections in less accessible areas than with other existing jaw sets. ProPress Rings are available in six sizes from 1/2-in.-2-in.

Uponor has unveiled a second AquaSafe Residential Fire Safety System, featuring a more efficient layout, in which each sprinkler is connected directly to the main loop line. As a result, the new looped system requires fewer feet of PEX tubing and fewer connections. Uponor also showed its new ProPEX Auto Rotation Adapter that relieves installers from having to rotate the expander tool or the tubing itself by hand when making ProPEX connections on AquaPEX tubing and hePEX-plus tubing. The adapter automatically turns the expander head on each expansion of the tubing, eliminating the need for manual rotation.

Gerber introduced the Logan Square Suite premium bathroom collection. The suite comes complete with lavatory, tub and shower faucets, Roman tub fillers, pedestal, self-rimming or undermount sinks, and toilets. The Logan Square Suite's pedestal sinks, available in standard and petite sizes, offer expanded deck space. The toilets are available in 10-in. and 12-in. rough-in configurations with elongated bowls in either regular or ErgoHeight models.

Rinnai showed a combination tankless water heater and space heating system. The tankless heaters are now complemented with a line of hydronic air handlers with capacities from 45,000-90,000 Btuh. The system has domestic hot water priority and the control board will accommodate a humidifier, electronic air cleaner and UV light.

Lubrizol Corp., maker of FlowGuard Gold CPVC pipe and fittings, introduced FlowGuard Glow, a solvent cement product that looks yellow in regular light but glows blue under UV light.

European skylight and roof window manufacturer Velux brought over a solar thermal system that it has been selling in Europe. The system consists of flat-plate collectors, pumps and controls, and an insulated 80- or 12-gal. storage tank. It also comes with an expansion tank, air eliminator, mixing valve and insulated tubing to hook it all together. The system uses a glycol solution that circulates through a heat exchanger inside the storage tank.

WaterFurnace International Inc. featured its Envision series comfort system. With unit sizes from ¾- to 25-tons, the Envision's two-speed compressor units reach a 5.0 Coefficient of Performance in heating and a 30 EER in cooling in ground loop applications. The vertical and horizontal residential units range from 2- to 6-tons.

General Electric trotted out a water treatment and heating line, including a tankless water heater. The tankless heater is reportedly made by one of the prominent Japanese manufacturers, although GE spokespeople were mum on its sourcing. GE is selling the water heaters through the same distribution system that it uses to sell appliances to homebuilders.