Cold Is Not Fun - Page 2

Your Eichler radiant heat deserves a timely check-up to avoid winter heating hardship
Fridays on the Homefront
If your radiant system is not maintained, costly in-floor tubing replacement like this may be in your future.
Fridays on the Homefront
Mike LaChance of LaChance's Radiant Heating. Photo: David Toerge

"One thing can lead to another," says Dan Rondou of Heat Source, a radiant heat specialist based in the East Bay. "There's always a snowball effect: if something fails, it can cause greater [systemic] damage."

With radiant heating, one of the "things" in that scenario is frequently the boiler or one of its components. Owners of radiant heat should know how to locate and check the pressure gauge on their boiler when Jack Frost comes knocking. That gauge should read between 12 and 15 pounds per square inch in ideal conditions.

LaChance points out a boiler inspection and cleaning is always a good idea, "especially if anyone is living in the house," partly because of carbon monoxide issues. "Those are the ones that should be looked at sooner."

And when you have your boiler serviced, make sure the technician checks its heat transfer element.

"It's just a good thing to do," LaChance says of such critical system checkpoints. "Then they don't have down time when they want to heat up." And when your home is cold and you want warmth, the waiting is the hardest part.

Other major concerns for restarting your radiant system will likely involve the tubing, and leaks are generally revealed in inconsistent or low boiler pressure. Also, lack of heat circulation will be evident in individual rooms.

Of course, there are a number of things a homeowner can do to secure against the oncoming weather. Eastman points out you want to make sure your thermostat battery is working and your boiler power cord is connected to prevent avoidable service calls.

"You also want to make sure your [boiler] pilot is lit," he says of a service he frequently performs, but admits it's a free service from utility companies in most communities. "If we come out and light your pilot, it's $200. But let them do it—it's their job."

When it's time for your annual inspection, look to the Eichler Network team of radiant heat specialists.