Here’s my latest round-up of cool products from the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.
InSoFast polystyrene panels
A Minnesota company, InSoFast, is selling 2-in.-thick expanded polystyrene panels for finishing the interior of basement walls. The panels have several good design features, including vertical drainage channels on the back side, vertical polypropylene strips that accept screws when attaching drywall, and integrated wiring chases.
Drain Plane plastic furring strips
Another Minnesota company, Drain Plane, has come out with a new plastic furring strip for rainscreen walls. The 3/8-in. by 1 1/2 in. battens include notches to allow free drainage and ventilation when installed vertically or horizontally. Drain Plane battens come in 6 ft. lengths; a box of 150 battens costs $500.
The Doorbrow keeps rain off your door
The Doorbrow is a simple plastic canopy for protecting exterior doors from the weather. It can be integrated with almost any type of siding.
The Doorbrow has been criticized for its plain-Jane looks, but the device is practical. The brow is 44 in. wide and projects 6 1/2 in. from the wall plane. Although it may appear to provide scant protection, I’m sure such a canopy would add years of life to an otherwise unprotected exterior door. Retailing for $89, the Doorbrow is a bargain.
Quickflash for refrigerant lines
Quickflash (www.quickflashproducts.com), the company that pioneered “roof boots for wall penetrations,” is selling a very useful plastic flashing panel that creates a watertight method of installing refrigerant line penetrations in exterior walls. If the siding guys remember to install the flashing panel (A/C 150), then the HVAC installer will have an easy way of running a copper refrigerant line.
A Texas company is selling the GreenSwitch (www.greenswitchteam.com), a switch intended for the interior side of the main exterior door of a home. The switch controls operation of as many electrical outlets as a homeowner wants, as well as a special thermostat.
The idea is that when the homeowner leaves the house, a single switch will turn off power-hungry appliances like televisions and computers — most of which represent “phantom loads” even when switched off — while simultaneously instructing the thermostat that it’s time for a setback.
The installed cost of a GreenSwitch system is “less than $1,500 for a typical house.” The master switch costs $190, the thermostat costs $265, and each outlet module costs $65.