Smartphone Connectivity Among Top Industry-Changing Technology Innovations

From new types of battery-powered equipment to a continued push for smartphone compatibility, manufacturers used the AHR Expo as an opportunity to show the various ways they’re staying at the forefront of technology

Smartphone Connectivity Among Top Industry-Changing Technology Innovations

A salesperson for Taco Comfort Solutions talks with AHR Expo attendees about the company’s new ECM residential circulators. Taco is a company that is making a push for more connectivity between plumbing fixtures and homeowners/plumbers.

Technology is at the forefront in the plumbing industry as manufacturers continue to create tools and equipment that connect to smartphones and other devices.

“We are just continuing to push that smart home connectivity with our devices,” says Chris Carrier, global marketing communications manager for RWC, of the company’s SmartLabs water monitoring and leak detection devices.  

Released in April 2019, the device connects to the pipe closest to the source of the water coming into the home and is able to learn about the homeowner’s water usage. It can then send alerts to homeowners on their smartphones and tablets through an app if there is an unusual spike in water usage.

“Everyone just wants to be connected to their devices and have control over them,” Carrier says. “This has been a strong product for us this past year and we’re continuing to push it.”

If the device detects a problem, it can automatically shut off the valve to prevent more water coming in if the homeowner is away. The homeowner can also close and open the valve from the app.

Taco Comfort Solutions — which has released several smart technology devices for the industry over the years — debuted its new high-efficiency ECM residential circulators this week at the International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) in Orlando, Florida.

The circulators will be available in a few weeks and include the 0018e model, which can be connected to an app that allows the homeowner to control hot-water recirculation and domestic water heating. 

“This joins our family of connected devices from the SmartPlug to the LeakBreaker, and many more,” says John Barba, director of training for Taco Comfort Solutions. “It’s exciting to see what we’ve been able to do now with the connectivity and it’s going to be exciting as it continues to develop.”

A Milwaukee Tool representative shows AHR Expo attendees the new MX FUEL drum drain cleaning machine, which has a built-in stair climber.
A Milwaukee Tool representative shows AHR Expo attendees the new MX FUEL drum drain cleaning machine, which has a built-in stair climber.

It’s not only smartphone compatibility that is driving the industry, but also battery power. Some manufacturers are continuing a push toward quieter batteries instead of electrical and gas power.

Milwaukee Tool will be releasing its new MX FUEL line of batteries and small equipment this year. The manufacturer was showing off some of those innovations at the AHR Expo, including the new drum cleaning machine for drain cleaners and a battery-powered generator. The drum cleaning machine has a built-in stair climber, making it easy for one person to use.

“These manufacturers are making things easier for us contractors,” says Frederick Breemer, a plumbing contractor from Chicago. “I like it because I’m older, but the younger guys should like it too. It’ll save their backs and it will help them get to more jobs to earn more money.” 


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