Frequently Asked Questions: Answered
Additional questions welcome.
Industry studies consistently show that 90% of new home heating systems don’t run at their expected efficiency levels. This leads to more wear and tear on the system, energy waste and higher utility bills, and comfort-robbing problems like large temperature swings and poor humidity control – much of which defeats the purpose of installing a new system.
When we install any new heating system, we design and install the system to operate at maximum efficiency. In addition, most new furnaces and new boilers are built to operate at sea level – which is obviously not the case here in the high country. Our installations are designed for our environment and the manufacturing process is actually completed in the home, which requires skilled technicians with training and experience in high-altitude heating systems. Finally, our meticulous inspection and testing procedures verify that the unit is performing at peak efficiency.
All American Heating is the only NATE-certified mechanical contractor in Summit County.
We simply carry only the best equipment available for our industry.
We sell and install top-performing, American-made heating units, and HVAC products.
We consider such quality factors as initial costs, performance efficiency, maintenance expectations, consumer reports, and available warranties and services to customize the best long-term heating solutions for our customers.
Our duct cleaning service thoroughly scrubs out your dryer vents and furnace ducts. Duct service will help clean your indoor air, removing pollutants and particulates that may aggravate allergies. In addition to creating healthier air in the home, clean furnace ducts and clean dryer venting allow your heating and cooling systems to operate at better efficiency, providing consistent, comfortable air throughout the home.
Additionally, dirty and clogged dryer vents are a serious fire hazard. Keeping your dryer vents clean will help reduce the risk of a house fire.
NATE stands for North American Technician Excellence and this third-party training and testing organization only certifies the finest technicians in the HVACR (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration) industry.
Our technicians take classes, attend training seminars and continually study the latest advances and techniques used in our business. We carry a variety of different certifications, and that translates to the absolute best all around service for our clients.
Regular inspection and maintenance of your heating system are vital to ensure long life and proper operation. During the course of our other mechanical work, we have inspected some local vendors’ installations and found some pretty nasty problems.
We’ve seen newer installations that leak carbon monoxide into the home! We recently found an 18-month-old furnace almost rusted away inside from a water leak. We’ve discovered high-capacity heating equipment running through low-capacity ducting, which is a fire just waiting to happen.
Our Maintenance Contracts are very reasonably priced, and may well pay for themselves with lower utility bills. They provide ongoing peace of mind and help us to discover any safety issues that may be present in older heating equipment.
If you do not want to buy a new furnace, protect yourself with a maintenance contract to help extend the life of your current heating system.
We believe in keeping our customers satisfied for life! We stand behind all the work that we do by offering the strongest warranties in the industry, and protecting your investment in us with a 100% Total Comfort Guarantee.
We believe that there are few companies who will make and stand behind such a promise, and we sincerely believe our customers are worth it.
Here are some things you should be aware of when purchasing a new home with a radiant heating system or having work done to your current radiant heating system…
Radiant Floor heating is not new. The ancient Romans built fires under masonry floors. Over the ages it has appeared and reappeared. Thankfully now, do to modern Materials you don’t have to be a Roman Emperor to have warm feet. Of course the best feature of Radiant heat is the level of comfort, but I personally am very excited about the energy savings. By using radiant heating systems homes can be heated with very low water temperatures.
I have witnessed, over the years, different technologies become popular, some fade away and some stick. In the mid nineteen-seventies wood boilers & furnaces became the rage. It seemed like everyone was building & selling them. I was fortunate because at my school was the “Energy Testing Laboratory of Maine” (This was the national listing agency, the U.L. of solid fuel). I saw what happens when a type of product becomes in vogue, and the market becomes flooded by manufacturers out to cash in. “A Lot of Garbage hits the Streets”.
In The late Seventies and early Eighties, Solar Hot Water Heating was the ticket. Once again it happened hundreds of solar manufacturers were out there peddling their stuff and once again, “A Lot of Garbage hits the Streets”.
Now we are in the age of “Radiant Floor Heating” and it seems that everyone and his brother is making it & selling it. You guessed it, “A Lot of Garbage hits the Streets”. Whether it be their method of installation, their tubing, the fittings, their insulation, or any other of the multitude of accessories, consumers should be cautious.
Two major tubing failures have already occurred resulting in multi million dollar lawsuits, & settlements. Those are Polybutylene, & Heatway Entran (rubber tubing). It seems certain now we have shaken out the bad tubing. Maybe.
PEX is the right stuff. But now the challenge is ,everyone & his brother that can extrude polyethylene is making PEX. (By the way PE stands for polyethylene & X stands for cross linking of the PE at a molecular level, giving the tubing great strength, to withstand pressure & temperature) As with all products there is good, and not so good.
I visited a plant on a hillside in the middle of nowhere in Ireland. Among my group was an American boiler company representative, he was checking out the products to consider importing their tubing & re-labeling it with their name. While it was truly fascinating watching the production, I felt I was visiting an illegal moonshine operation. It was an eye opening experience. Seeing, what type of operation is probably, producing a lot of the obscure PEX products flooding the market.
The Internet has become a source for a lot of shaky science & products. Beware! Internet is wonderful in many ways, but people to often use it to find bargains. Being a frugal yanked , I love a good deal but I try to recognize “if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is”. I strongly suggest sticking with the big name products – “Wirsbo”, “Stadler”, and “Rehau”, just to name a few.
Buy tubing that is manufactured by the company whose name is on it. A product may say “ACME TUBING” on it but that does not mean “ACME” produced it. There are many companies that change their supplier based on a penny-or-two price difference per foot, and you may end up buying a different product than what your neighbor bought last month.
Another important consideration is the “Oxygen Barrier”. I was surprised and very skeptical when I first heard that oxygen will pass through the walls of plastic pipe (and concrete). There was a great deal of debate when plastic tubing was first being used for radiant heat. Why should it Matter..? Well, first of all fresh water is very corrosive (it will eat through steel (even low grade Stainless, or cast Iron). In our “closed” heating systems the water becomes “dead”. The systems do not continually add water as some people believe, but it is in fact the same water reheated and re-circulated. The air (with oxygen) is expelled from the system and the water loses it corrosive characteristics.
It is hard to believe that this water we drink can ruin a boiler vessel, but it does.
Polybutylene tubing was used extensively for radiant heat, it had no barrier. We replace 2-3 failed boilers per year, because of non Barrier tubing. When we perform the replacement we install a heat exchanger to protect the new boiler from the old tubing.
In the rush to radiant floor heat systems, people are working like hell to find a way to do it cheaper.
Because the water Temperatures are relatively low many people have decided a simple water heater can do the job. There are some hybrid water heaters, (but they cost as much as a boiler) available for this type of application and they do work, but the regular household models are not intended for this usage. Because they can stand fresh water, some Internet companies propose there use and then sell non barrier tubing, to go with them.
There are several reasons not to try this. First of all it is against Maine State Plumbing Code. While you can do it yourself and it can be made to work, you might get away with it for a while, but someday for some reason you may have to call a professional to work on it and you will probably find it hard to get a licensed pro to touch it. Also, it can affect the sale of your property. There is also potential health risk if you are circulating domestic water through your floor, and then shower in it later. Legionnaire’s Disease is one of the problems that can occur as well as other bacterial growth that can happen in stagnant water.
I hope I have not scared anyone away from Radiant Heat, this was not my intention. I strongly believe it is the best heat system going.
Methods of installation have been developed to install the heat tubes in ceilings & walls, as well the floor.
There are several methods for installing the tubing in floors. In “concrete slab” is hands down the best method the mass is a great sink, and you can run very low temperatures.
Many homes are conventional wood frame construction, so methods have been developed to incorporate tubing, into the structure. The most common & effective is a light weight “concrete over pour”.
Methods of attaching the tubing to the underside of the floor are very common in retrofit applications. the most effective of this type employ aluminum plates to transfer the heat by way of conduction directly to the sub-floor.
The least effective is called “joist bay” heating. The idea being that the tubing heats the air in a space in the joist bay. This is the fastest, easiest, and cheapest installation method, but it is also the leading method of systems that do not work effectively. Operating costs are also higher than any other system.
Getting the tubing closer to the surface is most effective. It allows the use of lower water temperatures, and delivers much quicker response times. Some very well developed products are available which make these systems easy to install. “Wirsbo Quick Trak” and and “RauPanels”.
There are many factors that must be considered in the installation of Radiant floor systems, but are too numerous to fit into in this short article.
Whatever you do, make sure it is a decision you are willing to live with for years to come. Initial cost is only part of the selection process. Over time the cheaper system will cost more.