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The Best in Residential Plumbing Systems…Vanex® Ultra PEX and the MANABLOC®

Vanguard knows what you want in a plumbing system: that’s why we fought vigorously to retain the NSF P 171 chlorine test protocol for PEX tubing.  Vanguard’s Vanex Ultra multi-layer PEX offers enhanced flexibility, superb chlorine resistance AND proven UV resistance.  Combined with the MANABLOC manifold the products offer all the benefits you should expect in a plumbing system: faster hot water delivery, corrosion and freeze-resistance, easy installation and the most chlorine-resistant PEX tubing available. 

Like a breaker-box for plumbing, the number one selling PEX manifold in the US, the MANABLOC, is a revolutionary plumbing system that provides endless benefits to homeowners and installers.  Each fixture of the MANABLOC is fed by its own flexible water distribution line, which runs from a central manifold.  By providing each fixture with its own distribution line, the line can be sized appropriately so hot water can be delivered more rapidly.  Since the line is dedicated to a single hot or cold fixture, less water is required to purge the line, which saves time, energy and can reduce water waste by up to 40%, saving thousands of gallons of water per year. 

Contractors appreciate the installation efficiency of the MANABLOC system.  Newly modified dimensions of the mounting brackets eliminate the need for spacers for flush mount applications and the flexible material eases stress on the system.  Available in both PolyAlloy and Brass, newly designed crimp adapters accommodate for crimp connections at the MANABLOC as well as the fixture.  Easily adaptable for either 1/2” or 3/8” tubing, specific sizes need not be indicated when ordering.  Never worry about over tightening connections again and no special wrench is required.

When combined with Vanguard’s Vanex Ultra PEX the products offer unbeatable performance and durability as well as notable water and energy efficiency.  Vanex Ultra PEX tubing allows for a continuous run from the manifold to the fixture connection.  This reduces pressure drop caused by fittings and minimizes the chances of leaks occurring in fittings located behind the wall or in other hard to access places.  The color-coded flexible Vanex Ultra PEX tubing can be snaked through stud-walls and around obstacles without tees or elbows, cutting installation time to a minimum.  With its low noise transmission and high resistance to freeze damage and corrosion, Vanex Ultra PEX tubing is an ideal material for use in the MANABLOC system. 

Vanguard is consistently the highest quality PEX product you will find in the US market.  If you are looking for a partner in the industry, look to Vanguard.  We are committed to supplying the most technologically advanced, efficient, durable and easily installed plumbing products.  That’s why top builders, contractors, and home remodelers across the country choose Vanguard.  Visit our website at or call us at 1-800-775-5039 for further information. 

Seasonal Preparation

Each fall Americans turn clocks back an hour, marking the end of Daylight Savings Time. "Spring-forward-" and "fall-back" clock-changing can also serve as a reminder to replace smoke-alarm batteries.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, fire is the second leading cause of unintentional death in the home. Each year, nearly 2,700 people die in residential fires, and there are more than 330,000 residential fires reported to fire departments.

Manufacturers and fire-safety experts say if your unit is 10-or-more years old, an alarm that sounds when the button is pushed just means it's getting electricity and not necessarily that the sensor chamber is activating properly. To be certain, either test older units with a smoke device or replace them. Sensor chambers can become dirty and ineffective or non-operational even if the button test works. For safety's sake replace an older unit; then you'll know it'll be working.

Though safety is first, there is a laundry list of other home-maintenance tasks that should be performed as we move through fall and into winter. The following tasks will help save money on utilities and prevent the need for major repairs, improve comfort and safety, save energy and preserve the integrity of your home.

  • Gutters and downspouts: Wayward water is one of a home's biggest enemies—especially rainwater that is shed off the roof of an average home. When allowed to collect at the perimeter of a foundation, excessive water can result in a damp and musty basement or cause foundation movement that produces cracks over windows and doors. If your home doesn't have gutters and downspouts, install them. If it does, be sure they are clean before heavy rains begin. Consider installing a gutter protection system to prevent leaves and other debris from clogging gutters.
  • Drainage: Having clean gutters and downspouts is only piece of the water damage prevention puzzle. A mistake that many make is to allow downspouts to discharge at the base of the foundation. This condition is worse than not having gutters at all due to the high concentration of water. To avoid this problem, downspouts should discharge into a subsurface drainage system and into a municipal storm drain or other water-collection facility. Further minimize ponding around the foundation by ensuring that all soil immediately surrounding the house is graded to drain away from the foundation.
  • Landscape Irrigation: Throttle back on the amount of water used to irrigate landscaping by adjusting automatic timers and use the "rain-off" switch when weather dictates. If you live in a part of the country where the mercury dips below freezing, use compressed air to blow water out of irrigation lines to prevent freeze damage.
  • Water heater and plumbing pipes: You can maximize your water heating dollar by removing sediment at the base of your water heater's tank. The sediment that collects over time greatly reduces burner efficiency and can even cause damage to the interior lining of the tank when allowed to superheat. Adjust burners for the most fuel-efficient and safest combustion. For flames, blue is good, and yellow isn't. Uninsulated water pipes are an energy-waster and a burst pipe waiting to happen. Insulating cold water lines will prevent a burst pipe during freezing weather while well-insulated hot water lines will improve both energy efficiency and comfort as hot water will be delivered more promptly.
  • Roofing: The time to discover you have a leaking roof should not be during the middle of a rain storm. Replace damaged shingles, patch damaged flashing and remove surface debris to facilitate proper watershed and prevent leaks. Binoculars provide a means of inspecting shingles and flashings without getting on the roof.
  • Attic insulation and ventilation: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a well-insulated attic is one of the best ways to improve energy efficiency, save money and increase comfort. A well-insulated and properly ventilated attic will also prevent ice dams from forming.
  • Weather-stripping and caulking: Gaps around windows and doors are a leading cause of drafts that rob a home of comfort and result in high utility bills. All exterior doors should be weather-stripped and have an adjustable door shoe and threshold. Weather-stripping and vinyl gaskets at door shoes and thresholds that have become brittle over time should be replaced with new supple material. Trim that surrounds windows and doors (at both the interior and exterior) should be caulked to prevent drafts. Gaps and large penetrations, such as those made to accommodate plumbing pipes or conduits, should be filled with expandable foam sealant.
  • Siding: Gaps and cracks in siding should be caulked and patched to prevent leaks and the subsequent damage. Raw siding should be primed as a means of temporary waterproofing until spring; then a more thorough job can be done. Brick exteriors should be sealed with a high- quality masonry sealer to prevent freeze-thaw damage.
  • Fireplace: Creosote-lined fireplace flues are a chimney fire—and potentially hazardous explosion—just waiting to happen. The National Chimney Sweep Guild recommends that a fireplace flue be inspected before each season of burning. In addition, the guild recommends that a fireplace be cleaned after each cord of wood is burned. Inspect the condition of the spark arrestor that sits atop that chimney to ensure that are no tears in the fabric that could allow embers to escape and result in a house fire. Before making your first fire for the season, be sure to open the damper and leave it open whenever there is a fire in the fireplace.
  • Heating: Give your home's heating system the once-over to be sure that all components are in good working order, clean and well lubricated. Be sure that the burners are clean and the flame is properly adjusted. Replace dirty filters to improve air flow and efficiency and to lower utility costs. Also, consider installing one or more decorative ceiling paddle fans to move heated air trapped high up at ceilings. Doing so will make your home more comfortable and lower your heating bill. A side benefit is reduced condensation at windows and glass doors.

A little seasonal home maintenance can prevent big problems down the road and save you money.

Preventing and Repairing Roof Leaks

With wet weather on the way in many parts of the country, now is the time to inspect your roof.

A roof leak can result in significant damage to insulation, walls, ceilings, flooring and personal property. If undetected, a leak can cause rot that will endanger the structural integrity of the roof framing system and cause costly repairs.

The larger the leak, the greater the damage, however, we have seen pin hole leaks in galvanized sheet metal flashings that have required the replacement of an entire ceiling.

According to the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), a roof should be inspected at least twice annually once in the fall before the rains and again in the late spring to determine how it fared during winter, the season toughest on a roof.

Most homeowners can inspect a roof for troubled areas and, if handy around the house, can make the required repairs. If, on the other hand, you have a fear of heights or otherwise feel uneasy about attempting such a project, many professional roofing companies will provide a free inspection and provide a written estimate outlining the required repairs.

If the thought of climbing on the roof brings on high anxiety, consider using a pair of binoculars for a closer look. It's a good idea to limit traffic on the roof to prevent damage to shingles or tiles.

Using the binoculars, look for loose shingles or shakes, or, if you have a tile or slate roof, for missing or cracked pieces. On shingle roofs, look for curling, fraying, and tears at the edges. Check the flashings around chimneys, vents, skylights and other roof penetrations. They should be tight and in good condition.

Good flashings, especially those at roof edges and penetrations, are crucial. Many roof leaks are actually flashing leaks. Rusted flashings should be cleaned up, repaired and painted with a rust-resistant paint. Severely deteriorated flashings and vents should be replaced.

Leaves, pine needles and other debris inhibit the roof's ability to properly shed water, and are the cause of water backing up between shingles or around flashings. Clogged gutters and downspouts are another cause of leaks. Clear sticks, leaves, tennis balls and other debris from drains, scuppers and gutters. Bad drainage is only slightly better than no drainage.

Sometimes a visual inspection of the roof isn't enough to determine where a leak exists. In this case, a water test is in order. You'll need to venture atop the roof to do this effectively. Use a firmly braced or tied-off ladder equipped with rubber safety feet and wear rubber soled shoes to avoid slipping.

Using a garden hose, run water onto the areas where a leak is most likely. For example, if there is a water stain on the ceiling just in front of the fireplace in the living room you'll want to concentrate on that general area with your water test. The chimney flashing may be the culprit in this case and a water test is sure to expose it.

It's useful to have a helper located in the attic when performing this test. He can readily detect where the water is making its way through the roof.

When making the water test, work your way up from the lowest part of the slope. This makes it easy to tackle one area at a time and allows you to work on a dry surface.

Once the source of the leak is found, you'll either attempt the repair yourself or call in a professional roofing contractor. Sometimes a dab of roofing adhesive, a touch of caulking or a small shingle patch is all that's required. Other times flashing, vents or sections of roofing must be torn out and replaced, in which case hiring a roofing professional would be wise.

If your roof is fifteen years or older or has leaked periodically, its condition should be evaluated once annually by a roofing contractor. For some older roofs, repairs are temporary at best and a new roof should be considered to preserve the integrity of the home.

If you decide to install a new roof, there are two alternatives: re-covering installing a new roof over the existing one or replacement wherein the old roofing is removed. While some building codes will allow the application of up to three layers of roofing, we recommend that all existing roof cover be torn off before the new roof is installed.

Frequently the roof sheathing or wood decking below the roof cover is rotting as a result of leaks or excessive condensation due to poor attic ventilation. The only way to effectively inspect and repair this damage, is by removing all of the existing roof cover. Furthermore, having the roof sheathing exposed is a prime opportunity to look for protruding nail heads that can damage roofing, and become the source of future leaks.

Another disadvantage to multiple layers of roofing is the weight that is placed upon the roof structure. Too much can cause rafters and other roof framing members to sag or even fracture.

When selecting a contractor, remember that all are not alike. A new roof is a big investment take your time and make a smart decision. Use good common sense and follow these guidelines:

Ask friends and neighbors for the names of contractors they have used and would recommend.

Look for a company with a proven track record. Be sure the contractor has a permanent business address and phone number.

Be sure the contractor is licensed (where required) and check with the licensing agency to check the status of the license. Get three to four written estimates.

Call your local Better Business Bureau to find out if there are any complaints on file against the contractor.

Ask for a list of customer references and take the time to check them out.

Be certain the contractor carries liability and worker's compensation insurance. Ask for certificates of insurance.

Insist on a warranty for both materials and workmanship, and at contract time, get it in writing.

Be sure everything is in writing scope of work, materials, warranties, price, and start and completion dates.

Be wary of contractors with very low bids. They may have to cut corners to make a profit. Remember, price is only one of the criteria for selecting a contractor.

For more information on hiring a roofing contractor and to receive a booklet titled "Buying a new roof and getting your money's worth," write the National Roofing Contractors Association, 10255 W. Higgins Road, Suite 600, Rosemont, IL 60018-5607. signs “On The House with the Carey Brothers”

With strong focus on providing complete customer satisfaction, offers “start-to-finish” project management and an experienced approach to planning and completing all aspects of home improvement and remodeling. The company is fully dedicated to making projects – of any size and scope – an easy, affordable and enjoyable experience for homeowners. strives to build lasting relationships, spanning many years, by fulfilling on-going customer needs with a broad range of dependable services – backed with quality brand name products; bonded, licensed and experienced workmanship; start-to-finish personal project managers; and its exclusive “Satisfaction Guarantee Money-Back Pledge” limited warranty.

“We are very proud to have the Carey Brothers as an integral part of the team,” states Chief Financial Officer, Dale Killmeyer. “In addition to offering their entertaining and valuable expertise and user-friendly advice on remodeling, repairing and maintaining one’s home… they are highly-respected, highly-visible consumer advocates… dedicated to quality in both products and workmanship… and they are a perfect complement to our in-depth customer commitment and satisfaction guarantee.”

The Carey Brothers have a long and rich history, both as professional licensed remodeling contractors – with 55-years combined experience – and as nationally recognized, award-winning home improvement experts. They are also recognized as dedicated consumer advocates for homeowners, with broad national exposure in numerous magazines and newspapers, as best-selling authors with multiple books on remodeling and home improvement and through numerous entertaining and informative guest appearances on national radio, network TV shows and at hundreds of live events.  

“The model… as best-selling authors – of pairing top contractor professionals with dedicated projected supervisors…and the offer and commitment of a money-back guarantee pledge, based on customer satisfaction with the completed project, is truly impressive,” notes Morris Carey. “It is long overdue…and it is one of the best things that’s happened in years, both for homeowners and remodeling,” adds brother James. “Just one click…or one call…solves it all.”

The Carey Brothers initial appearance with was at the recent “Sonoma County Fall Home Show” in Sonoma, CA. Advance publicity, both in newspapers and on radio, underscored their popularity and helped draw over 9,000 people to the three-day event. Sunday crowds gathering at the popular exhibit – for games, prizes and “Dummies” book giveaways and signings – also showed great interest in ways to plan and complete upcoming and/or future remodeling projects with incredible ease and confidence. 

“They proved to be a valuable asset… for building traffic and interest at the exhibit… and for increased attendance at the Sonoma Home Show overall, as well,” notes Killmeyer. “Lots of loyal fans came out to the show looking for them…and we, in turn, succeeded in getting our message across.”

About, Inc., Inc., is a fast-growing nationwide full-service home improvement and remodeling company, founded by seasoned industry experts,

created to make home improvement projects of any size and scope – and the entire process of remodeling and/or renovation – an easy, affordable and enjoyable experience. Currently, with a strong presence in California and Pennsylvania, the company provides a broad range of exterior and interior services – from painting, coatings, siding, replacement windows and doors, rain ware, decks, sunrooms and patio enclosures to kitchen remodeling, bathroom renovation and complete room additions – all featuring quality brand name products; bonded, licensed and experienced workmanship; “start-to-finish” personal project managers, and  backed with an impressive roster of highly qualified, skilled craftsmen and an industry exclusive “Satisfaction Guarantee Money-Back Pledge” based on customer satisfaction with completed projects.

For more information call 1-888-836-8989 or visit