Readers flocked to Plumbing & Mechanical this year for the latest information on new products and technologies, industry news and market trends. Here’s a countdown of the top 10 articles you read the most in 2023 based on the number of unique pageviews on

10. Dry steam is the goal

I love all the advances taking place in the world of hydronics, but I’m still seeing plenty of steam systems out there in our older cities, so knowing about dry steam will help you if you’re replacing a steam boiler. The dryer the steam is, the better you’re going to look to your customers. The Hydronics Institute was once obsessed with dry steam. They tested all steam boilers for steam quality. That means that a boiler couldn’t get the I=B=R seal of approval unless it produced 98% quality steam. The I=B=R rating, in other words, was your assurance that the steam boiler you bought would produce good, dry steam.


9. 5 steps to consider when designing a wastewater system

Wastewater systems play a critical role in water and sewage management, but many things can get in the way of their effective operations. For instance, organic solids, rags, wipes and other waste matter are all too frequent challenges when it comes to wastewater pumps, while incorrectly sizing a pump can cause issues such as sewage water backing up or water not pumping quickly enough.As a result, designing a wastewater system requires careful consideration of a range of factors to ensure efficient and compliant operation.


8. Master plumber relies on extension kits to correct toilet-flange elevation

Have you remodeled a bathroom recently? If so, maybe you’ve noticed problems with the toilet. To get more specific: Is it rocking noisily when the homeowner takes a seat? Or maybe they've noticed water pooling at the base. Perhaps the flooring surrounding the toilet feels soft. Or water spots have appeared on the ceiling located directly below the toilet.


7. New tools increase plumbing efficiency, productivity

How does the saying go? "A man is only as good as the tools in his toolbox?" While journeymen and master plumbers have a wealth of industry knowledge, they rely on certain tools to get the job done. Plumbing tools need to be durable to handle tough jobs repetitively, while also being ergonomic to minimize discomfort for the pros.


6. Best practices for venting tankless water heaters

Gas-powered tankless water heater systems are among the most efficient water heating solutions. According to research, using propane tankless water heaters reduces energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by about 50%. These are among the reasons many homeowners opt for tankless water heating systems. Data shows that the tankless water heater market in the U.S. is expected to grow by 8.7% annually over the next decade. For plumbing and heating professionals, using the best venting practices for tankless water heater systems, such as using concentric vents, providing vents that meet local code and going for aesthetically pleasing vent designs is crucial to ensuring homeowners love their installation and are within budget during the project.


5. What’s possible with hydronics and heat pumps

Last month, we began discussing the HVAC system installed at my church’s newly-constructed parsonage. In this month’s column, we’ll complete the picture. A SpacePak (iLAHP) air-to-water heat pump provides the majority of energy for space heating and most of the domestic water heating. It also provided chilled water for cooling. The heat pump is supplemented, if necessary, by a 9 KW electric boiler from Electro Industries.


4. Relays and switches — part one

Many current-generation residential HVAC product providers sell their wares as a system. A typical air-to-air heat pump system is a good example. If it’s a ducted system, the air handler, refrigerant line set, outdoor condenser unit and even the thermostat are typically sold as a matched set of components. It’s a similar story for ductless heat pumps. A given condenser unit is rated to handle a specific number of specific indoor wall units. The DX line sets are all prescribed along with allowable lengths based on the refrigerant pre-charge in the condenser units. The controls are typically hand-held remotes.


3. Why boilers are still a great heating source

I was teaching a class of steamfitter apprentices about boilers. "Boilers? Nobody uses them anymore," one apprentice yells out. "They are still used and, in my opinion, are the best type of heat there is," I say. Rolling his eyes, he says, "It's old technology, not very efficient, and not green at all."


2. A plumber’s guide to residential floor drain selection and installation

Drains are a vital component of any home’s plumbing system. Selecting the appropriate drain and following drain installation best practices can make all the difference in a system’s overall performance. This article covers eight important factors to consider when selecting and installing a residential floor drain.


1.2023 Next Gen All Stars: Top 20 Under 40 Plumbing Professionals

With all the attention given to supply chain shortages, labor shortages, inflation and material price increases, it’s sometimes hard to focus on the positive. Though the plumbing industry is aging, there are many young professionals refining and redefining their craft and making a difference. They’re bringing new ideas and strategies to overcome challenges and meet demand in their respective markets. This month, we honor our second annual class of Next Gen All Stars. Here’s a brief introduction to the individuals 40 years old or younger that bring optimism, new skills and a hunger for success to the plumbing industry.