Boise added a fifth way for its I-joists to resist flames. FireBreak is a heat-resistant product made from ceramic, alumina, and zirconia crystal fibers that then are stapled to the vertical web of the I-joist. The combined product meets fire resistance requirements for light frame construction as they apply to floor framing over unfinished basements. www.bcewp.com.
Briggs & Stratton's Symphony II power management system is helping overcome price objections to installing back-up power. The sophisticated technology prioritizes loads so homeowners can power more systems and appliances with a smaller (and therefore less expensive) generator, without causing faults. Depending on the configuration and the appliances being powered, homeowners could reduce the size of the generator needed by as much as half, such as installing a 10kw generator instead of a 20kw unit for an average size home. www.briggsandstratton.com.
Running Hot & Cold
Delta's Temp2O means getting rid of the guesswork when waiting for a hot shower. Available as a showerhead or a tub valve option, the digital display not only provides the water temperature, LED lights change color from blue, magenta, and red depending on the degree range so you can tell at a glance if you're running hot or cold. www.deltafaucet.com
Grab a Mug
We've seen GE's Cafe Series incorporate hot water into the refrigerator door. Now, GE has partnered with Keurig to make the most of the feature. A K-Cup module snaps into the water dispenser. When hot water is ready, it filters through the K-Cup just like a Keurig, and directly into your waiting coffee cup. www.geappliances.com
Steel Roof Redux
Headwaters Roofing incorporates the Gerard brand of steel roofing panels designed to mimic the look of shingles, shakes, and barrel tiles. The stone-coated steel panels carry high-level wind and fire ratings, all backed by a 50-year transferable warranty. www.gerardusa.com
Many new fireplaces are now required to incorporate screens to prevent burns and accidents, but Heat & Glo's Primo model, launching in April, uses a unique air gap to manage excess heat. In addition to the standard direct-vent setup, Primo features two panes of glass between the fire and the user, with an air wash between the panes. This heat management system removes hot air from the fireplace so the outermost glass it safe to touch. The exhausted air can then be vented via flexible ductwork to a register elsewhere in the room. www.heatnglo.com
Ready When You Are
Enhancing its Stealth product line Niagara Conservation introduces the Hot Start showerhead. With Hot Start installed, when users open the shower valve, no water will actually come out of the showerhead until the temperature of the water reaches 95 degrees. At that point, Hot Start will begin to trickle; users press the "resume" button for a full 2 gallon-per-minute flow. Hot Start will be sold as part of the Stealth system, as opposed to a standalone item. www.niagaraconservation.com
We've seen smart thermostats for HVAC, but Rheem's EcoNet system brings water heating into the mix. Available on Prestige Series equipment, a wi-fi enabled module connects heating, air, and water heating equipment to the home's network, allowing users to adjust temperatures, program the thermostat, and manage alerts through the app. The mobile version syncs with the home's thermostat so both are always up-to-date, and EcoNet can also be integrated into some home automation systems. If homeowners want the connectivity, but aren't ready to replace all of their home's mechanicals, they can start with one piece of EcoNet equipment and upgrade the others as needs or budgets allow. www.rheem.com
Simpson Strong-Tie introduced a pair of screws specially created for decking. Its Deck-Drive DCU Composite Screw (shown, top) prevents “plowing” when one has to drill directly through a capped composite deck plank rather than use a hidden fastener. The screw eliminates the need to pre-drill. Meanwhile, the SDWH Timber-Hed HDG Screw (shown, bottom), was crafted to install piles in marine and coastal situations. It turns what had been a five-minute task into a job that can take as little as 15 seconds to complete. www.strongtie.com
Menswear trends inspired Walker Zanger's Sterling Row collection, which incorporate marble and wood-look porcelain tiles in gray tones. Look for arabesque, argyle, houndstooth, and other patterns in this refined collection. www.walkerzanger.com