by Steve Bench

The summer was a warm, wonderful time for most of us in the beehive State. We swam in our pools, skied behind our new boats, and basked in the plentiful sunshine. But, now that our last barbeque has probably been lit and the last summer softball trophy has been handed out, it’s time for Utahns to start thinking about the coming cold season. Like it or not, it’s true: winter is just around the corner with its usual clouds, snow, ice and chilling temperatures in tow.

Before you start packing your bags for Scottsdale, visualize this inviting scene: You and your family watching movies in the basement family room, the wife and kids barefoot and smiling.

You’re smiling, too, because, even with a winter storm raging outside, you know that your driveway and sidewalks are being automatically thawed and cleared of snow and the eaves freed of roof-damaging icicles and ice dams—even before they can form. “But, how can this be?” you might ask.

“Because,” offers Steve Bench, managing member of Heatizon Systems, “radiant heating systems are more efficient, uniform heat that is distributed evenly, because the heat radiates from the floor.” And that’s why the above family is so happy.

Bench says that snowmelt and interior floor heating systems have been around for many years and are becoming more popular in and outside of Utah. Heatizon, which has been in business for ten years, manufactures a complete line of low-voltage radiant heating products that keep driveways clear and toes warm even on the snowiest winter mornings. So, you don’t have to pile on the blankets and suffer with cold feet.

Radiant heat systems offer a handful of other one-uppers to the traditional heating systems—one being that radiant heat is more efficient than forced air systems (the kind that most Utahns currently use to suffer through most cold weather.)

For example, Bob Zubke recently remodeled his basement. His well intentioned neighbored had warned him that his current forced-air system wouldn’t be able to keep his basement sufficiently warm. They were experts—each had remodeled his basement and neither family was happy with the way heat was distributed. Cold feet, cold everybody were standard complaints

Bob remembered that a friend had told him of a system that would keep everybody worm from the feet up—even in the basement. With a little inquiring, he hooked up with his local Heatizon dealer. The rest is history.

“The Z Mesh has exceeded my expectations…I am pleased to say with the Z Mesh installed, my basement floor is warmer than my upstairs floors. It has made my basement floor the center of activities for this cold winter.”

It’s never too late to install a Heatizon system, according to Bench. “The retrofit ability of a Heatizon radiant heat system has increased greatly. It doesn’t matter how new or old a person’s home is, you can always add one of our systems,” he says.

Heatizon’s radiant heat systems use one of two products, Tuff Cable or Z-Mesh. Either of these can be installed in new construction or retrofitted to existing applications.

For interior applications, as well as under-shingle roof systems, Heatizon uses Z-Mesh, a bronze wire mesh that’s no thicker than the fabric in a screen door. It’s placed over an existing concrete floor or on top of a wood sub floor and can be covered with tile, carpet or wood flooring. In roofing systems, the mesh is installed underneath the non-conductive roof-covering material making it virtually invisible.

Exterior applications, such as melting snow on driveways or sidewalks, require the copper Tuff Cable. In an existing driveway or walkway, technicians cut thin, inch-deep channels that are 5 inches apart into the pavement, which is where the cable is laid and then closed with a sealant. In new construction, the cable is installed just before the concrete is poured. The Tuff Cable is also used under metal roofing material for invisible ice dam used under metal roofing material for invisible ice dam protection from snow and ice on the roof.

In what is probably the most recognizable local project involving Heatizon, TRAX had the Tuff Cable snow-melting system installed on all passenger-access ramps to keep the areas free of snow. One of their largest projects includes installing cables under nearly 20,000 square feet of sidewalks and stairs at the LDS Conference Center.

As far as snowmelt is concerned, Heatizon is “absolutely the best value on the plane,” according to Bench. “It’s far less expensive to operate and maintain than hydronic systems,” he says. Also, Heatizon’s products are solid-state and are not comprised of moving parts. Paired with its unique and lengthy 25-year warranty and its ETL Listing, a national testing laboratory, Heatizon systems are arguably the most reliable in the industry.

On the rare chance that Tuff Cable or Z-Mesh is damaged, problem-solving is easy. “Our products are easy to repair,” says Bench. “Both the Tuff Cable and the Z-Mesh can be soldered with a relatively simple process.” Heatizon systems also feature a self-diagnosing control box that will essentially “tell you what’s wrong with it,” according to Bench. “They require very little, if any, annual maintenance and they last for years,” he says.

Heatizon’s technology is unique because it uses low-voltage electricity, ranging from 8 to 30 volts AC with Z-Mesh and 8 to 62 volts AC with Tuff Cable. This eliminates many safety concerns. Unlike forced air, radiant heat doesn’t need to cycle constantly, making it more cost-effective. Homeowners can program the system as they see fit.

The cost? Like Bob Zubke, you should find that costs only “about $1.50/day to keep my basement floor at 72 degrees.”

And when it comes to being a friend of the environment, radiant heat is the kindlier option because no pollen, dust or other particles are circulated. This also makes the system more comfortable for those with allergies or asthma.