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Radiant Heat Piping - Have you seen this pipe?

I am a home inspector in the Washington, DC area. During a recent inspection I came across a radiant heating system the utilized a piping material/brand I had not seen before. The piping a thin walled opaque plastic material with no visible rating stamped on it. The label on the pipe is " 3/4" THE SOLAR OPTION ONE CO. HYDRONIC HEAT EXCHANGER TUBING" without any other ratings. Has anyone seen this stuff, should it be used on a pressurized system, up to about 25 psi. with working temperature between 150 and 170 degrees? The attached photos will show the system set-up. Thanks for the information.


  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,526
    I'm helping Chip post the photos of the pipe

    Does anyone recognize this product?
    Retired and loving it.
  • Chris Maderia
    Chris Maderia Member Posts: 120
    Radiant Heat Pipe

    Have not seen nor heard of it in the last 15 years. It would seem that it has no oxygen barrier so tere better be a heat exchanger and non ferrous material. And if it is a PEX it must be rated to ASTM Spec F876/877.
  • Mark Eatherton1
    Mark Eatherton1 Member Posts: 2,542
    Internet detective work...

    I did a Google search on Solar Option One, and the name Bob Starr kept popping up. One artilce in particular mentioned him at http://www.blume.com/Company History.htm

    Further searching using the name Bob Starr produced the name Radiantec, which we in the industry are quite familiar with. Looks like Radiantec was Solar Option One out of Vermont prior to becoming the online distributor we've all come to know and love...

    What you've probably got is a "partially cross linked poly etheylene tubing" which was probably extruded in Canada, has no o2 barrier and is basically a potable water only tubing with no rating or testing data.

    Only the shadow knows for sure...

    You can still contact Radiantec at 1-800-451-7593

    A quick telephone on his nickel found that he is the OWNER of the company.

    Here's a picture of one of his installers :-)

    Good luck.


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  • Chip Castell
    Chip Castell Member Posts: 3
    Pipe in question

    The piping is run in between the floor joists of a very old frame house and is affixed periodically to the underside of the subflooring using a 10" to 12" wide piece of metal. The boiler is a gas fired cast iron boiler which utilizes a pump for circulation. The water is pumped to a bank of about 12 manifolds which are controlled by individual gate valves and T-stats in most rooms. The pipe itself has no other marking other that what is in the photo. The piping is connected to the manifold usinf stainless steel hose clamps, many of them leaking.
  • Chip Castell
    Chip Castell Member Posts: 3
    Piping identified

    Thanks for the help on this. It was a Radiantec piping product. When asked if it was a PEX or cross woven polyethylene the representative said "well, sort of". It is a polyethylene tubing and according to Radiantec has a pressure rating of 50 psi. and temperature rating or 180 degrees. It can be used in a variety of radiant heating siutuations to include cement, open framing etc. When asked why the piece that Ihave is not labeled, the rep said it was probably an older pipe. He is sending me information. Just incase i see it again and after viewing the installer, what is the situation with the piping or the representatives?
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,656
    and the rating

    and code approvals must be stamped on the outside of the pipe. Busted. Non-rated and non-approved piping materials.

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  • heatboy
    heatboy Member Posts: 1,468
    Hold on there, young fella'!

    Is that anyway to talk about one of our coveted RPA brethren?

    Warm Regards,

    heatboy / climatecadvanced.com

    "Expert in Silent Warmth"

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    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • Adam
    Adam Member Posts: 18
    I WOULD LOVE TO !!!!!!!

    I would love to tell you guy's about every time i ran into this product.

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  • Mark Eatherton1
    Mark Eatherton1 Member Posts: 2,542

    I'll tell you my take on this stuff. It's being dearly misapplied. It's being used with ferrous components (rust NEVER sleeps...)and doesn't do an adequate job of heating, so the owner "turns it up", compounding the O2 permeation, thereby compounding the intermal oxidation process.

    The people who are distributing this stuff are selling it over the internet to anyone with a $ and a credit card, and poor schlocks like me get stuck with explaining to the end user that their system has almost completely dissolved and needs replaced.

    It sucks being the bearer of bad news. They always want to kill the messenger.

    It has been my contention that these manufacturer/distributors are prostituing the industry by telling the HO that they don't need a plumber or contractor to install their heating system.

    This goes against my way of doing bidnit, and if it were up to me, I'd yank their membership to the RPA.

    But the fact is it's NOT up to me, the RPA doesn't have a membership control policy, and these guys (man/dist) could really care less what's happening out here in the field...

    I'm told you really have to be careful what you say about them lest you be tagged with a libel/slander suit. Tis a litiguous society in which we live...

    Other than that, I'm sure they're really nice guys.

    Tell the consumer if his sytems is working "OK", that he needs a new boiler, and a heat exchanger to isolate the tube from the ferrous components in the system. Alternative B would be to replace all the ferrous components (including the boiler) and let her rip. Alternative C is to keep the system pump up with steroidal corrosion inhibitors, which MUST be reguilarly checked and maintained.

    Trust me. It's WILL fail as currently configured.


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  • Duncan
    Duncan Member Posts: 43
    Please do !

    I love a good story!

    I was kinda dissapointed to find a homeowner I know had gone DIY with RadianTec in a new home he's building. The first home he built, a jackleg "contractor" skipped town halfway through the job. I helped him finish it. I guess Mr. Homeowner had his reasons for going the RadianTec route. If I were to guess, I'd guess price, fear of being ripped off by a shady "contractor" and the satisfaction of doing it yourself.

    So far, he's only gone through one igniter, but heating season starts soon.
  • Unknown
    Too funny, Duncan

    His fears are reality. He won't pay less to do it twice, so price isn't turning out the way he thought... And ripped off by the contractor? No satisfaction there, either.

    I guess that leaves the satisfaction of doing it himself.....

    In hindsight, good upfront research into a multi-thousand dollar project can provide a good contractor, price control, and satisfaction. I'd like to add comfort to the list.

    I think the best guys are going to be busy, always. I think the cheapest guys are always going to be busy, too. I've worked for both, and they are very good or very cheap on purpose. Since both are readily available in the market, a customer can carefully choose either, and sometimes both.

    Usually, you don't get both. Remember the old saying? You can have it good; you can have it fast; you can have it cheap. Pick two. Pick carefully. Check references. It's your house that we're talking about.

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