When you go shopping for windows, it's easy to get confused by all the ratings and figures. Until recently, window manufacturers could rate their products almost any way they wished, which made comparisons a nightmare. Thankfully, they realized this and, in 1989, formed the non-profit National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) to standardize testing and rating for windows, doors and skylights.
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Window technology has advanced a great deal in recent years, compared to traditional standards. Low-e coatings, double- and triple-glazing and noble gases in air space all help improve energy efficiency.
Before you begin laying Pex tubes into your heating area, you must prepare the ground. The area should be flat and level, with the insulation in place and a vapor barrier under the insulation. If you are going to enclose the Pex tubes in a slab, you can cover the insulation with reinforcing wire or rebar.
In many cases, mounting the heat exchanger is one of the easiest parts of system installation, especially if you buy a pre-packaged kit; you just put the module on the storage tank and tighten a few unions. However, you may decide to construct your own heat exchanger from individual parts. In any case, the first step is to install the storage tank, then attach the exchanger.
Good plumbing is a return on investment in itself. Proper plumbing, carefully planned and implemented with professional soldering and workmanship can last 100 years, so it's worth doing it right. If you're a newbie, you will want to either practice beforehand or employ a skilled professional.
Before you start any serious plumbing work, make sure you have the right tools. Your system schematic (you did create one, didn't you?) will tell you how much piping you need, as well as all the fittings and other consumables required.
You will also need:
There is a definite art to plumbing with copper pipes. Thankfully it's fairly quick to learn, though your first few cuts and joins are likely to produce amateur results. If you've never installed copper pipes before, buy some extra parts and practice!