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House-Hasson Product Managers Address Upcoming Plumbing, Lighting Changes

Major changes are bearing down on plumbers, electricians and consumers as plumbing fixtures and light bulbs will soon have to meet new government-mandated environmental requirements, say product managers with House-Hasson Hardware.

House-Hasson is working with its 2,000 hardware store and lumberyard retailers to make sure that they are ready for the new products mandated under the law.

“We’ve been communicating continuously on these subjects with our dealers and vendors,” said Don Hasson, president of House-Hasson Hardware. “Everyone’s life is going to be altered in some way. We’re making sure our dealers have the information they need to make it a smooth transition for their customers’ benefit.”

Legislative Updates for Plumbing Products

The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, signed into law in January 2011, requires a weighted average of no more than 0.25 percent lead on wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings and fixtures. The law alters just about everything that touches potable water, said Steve Rudd, House-Hasson plumbing product manager.

“Plumbing products made of brass and any products with brass components have a certain amount of lead that goes into them,” Rudd said.

The changeover to the different type of brass means that “factories had to make a tremendous investment in new equipment,” Rudd said. “It takes a much harder metal to make threads (to join plumbing components) than in the past, and tolerances for plumbing fittings are very strict. As a result, production isn’t as fast and it’s more expensive.

“Also, each product has to meet codes from the federal down to county level.”

There are some 900 plumbing-related brass fitting line items in the House-Hasson inventory that can’t be sold after Jan. 4, 2014, Rudd said.

“They’re selling very quickly right now,” he said.

These brass facts are changing faucets as well. Beginning Jan. 4, 2014, faucets containing lead cannot be sold, which means faucets are being converted to plastic or a hybrid containing no lead, Rudd said.

A New Era for Lighting

On the lighting side, government mandates will raise prices on light bulbs in the near term, but “they should be going down as production increases,” said Houston Bowlin, House-Hasson product manager for lighting.

“We’re heading into an era of Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL); halogen, and Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting,” Bowlin said. “They’re supposed to be long lasting but they haven’t yet been around as long as they’re supposed to last, so time will reveal the accuracy of those estimates.

“On the plus side, the newer bulbs are brighter, the light’s clearer, the output is better, and there’s no heat. But anything you break is going to be expensive to replace.”

The standard 40-watt incandescent bulb will continue to be produced, as well as several other types of bulbs, but if sales of those bulbs increase dramatically the law allows for those exemptions to be withdrawn and production made to cease, Bowlin said.

“With the banned incandescent bulbs there is no ‘cannot sell after’ date, so stores can put them on the shelves until they’re gone,” he said.

Don Hasson said end-users with questions have a great resource in the hardware store and lumberyard dealers.

“They’re professionals,” he said, “and we know how hard they’re working, and how hard we’re working with them, to try to make sure their customers have the information they need.”


About Amanda Bell

Amanda Bell was an assistant editor of Hardware Retailing and NRHA. Amanda regularly visited with home improvement retailers across the country and attended industry events and seminars. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Ball State University and has received honors for her work for Hardware Retailing from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

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