The Real Myths When Comparing Low Voltage & Line Voltage Radiant Heat Products

by Steven D. Bench – Managing Member of Heatizon Systems

A couple of years ago Warmzone Management LLC (“Warmzone”), an internet marketer of some Radiant Heating and Snow Melting Products and former distributor of Heatizon Systems ZMesh Roof Snow and Ice Melting Products, discovered that competing against Heatizon Systems award winning Radiant Heating products was difficult. Unfortunately, rather than accepting the challenges inherent in a competitive marketplace, Warmzone decided to attempt to fool its potential customers with an article titled the “Myths of Low Voltage Verses Line Voltage Radiant Systems” November 6, 2008, By Warmzone.Normally, Heatizon Systems does not respond to negative advertising and marketing campaigns and, as a result, we have not responded to Warmzone’s article until now. Heatizon Systems decided to make an exception in this case because of the amount of misinformation contained in Warmzone’s article and we chose to do it now because, as one of our customers recently pointed out, it is irresponsible for Heatizon Systems to allow our past and prospective customers to be exposed and possibly influenced or confused by the non-factual misinformation contained therein.

Warmzone’s “Myth 1: Low voltage radiant systems are safer than line voltage.”

Fact 1:

Safe products are easy to identify by simply making certain that they are Listed to UL Standards or Certified to CSA Standards by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory like Intertek/ETL, UL, CSA, and others. Both low voltage and high voltage systems can be safe. Low voltage products, like Heatizon Systems’ ZMesh, Tuff Cable, and Floorizwarm, incorporate computer technology designed to constantly monitor and shut the systems down in the event the current changes. On the other hand, high or line voltage products, like Heatizon Systems’ Heatwave, GutterMelt, Hott-Wire, Radiant Trak and Cozy Heat use circuit breaker safeties that shut the systems down in the event the insulation between the current carrying conductors and the grounding shield becomes compromised.Warmzone states: “The real question we should be asking is how durable is the cable against damage and how well is the cable insulated.” Of course we cannot speak for other manufacturer’s products, but Heatizon Systems’ Cozy Heat, Floorizwarm, Hott-Wire, and Tuff Cable products are all tested and Listed by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory, have been successfully installed in/under asphalt and concrete, under pavers and into thin-set in thousands of projects and have been serving customers heating and snow melting needs since 1979.Warmzone states: “Some low voltage heating wires are NOT designed for embedment. These have only a thin layer of plastic and a heating element that is THHN/THWN wire. This wire is intended for interior use NOT in concrete, asphalt, or under pavers.” Don’t be fooled by Warmzone’s misleading and inaccurate statements. All low or high voltage heating element have protection insulators made of materials that look like plastic but actually they are PVC, or HDPD. Tuff Cable has been melting snow, warming floors and heating spaces for over 30 years, so don’t tell it or the happy customers that it serves, that it wasn’t designed to be embedded. Heatizon Systems Cozy Heat, Floorizwarm, Hott-Wire and Tuff Cable heating elements are all listed, come with industry leading warranties and have been tried and proven for many years. Just goes to show you how little some companies selling Radiant Heat and Snow Melt products really know about Radiant Heating Products.The fact of the matter is that both low voltage and high voltage snow melt and floor heating cables can be damaged and both are designed to be embedded into a material that will draw the heat away from them resulting in a nice even heat across the surface. In the event either low voltage or high voltage cables are damaged both can be repaired. Low voltage cables tend to be much easier to repair because they do not have a shield to contend with.

Warmzone’s “Myth 2: Low voltage radiant systems cost less to run than a line voltage system.”

Fact 2:

To the extent low and high voltage electric Radiant Heating and Snow Melting cables are designed to deliver the same, and the correct, amount of energy to the surface and, provided they are activated in an identical environmentally friendly fashion, the energy consumption is identical.Heatizon Systems’ low voltage products typically are energy misers because they are easy to customize to deliver the perfect amount of heating or melting energy to the floor or slab and because their output can be changed by the length of the heating element, the spacing between runs of the heating element and the size and tap of the transformer. All line or high voltage electric Radiant Heating and Snow Melting cables, except for Gutter Melt SR, Hott-Wire SR and other Self Regulating Cables, are designed to deliver a fixed wattage per linear foot so the energy per square foot delivered to the floor or slab can only be customized by increasing or decreasing the space between the lengths of cable.Self Regulating Cables, like Heatizon Systems’ GutterMelt SR and Hott-Wire SR Heating Cable, are designed to deliver fixed wattage at a certain temperature within a medium such as air, ice water, concrete, etc. The watts per square foot delivered by Self Regulating Heating Cables can be adjusted by changing the spacing between the lengths of cable in a manner similar to other line or high voltage products.In many high voltage applications the dedicated electrical service and thus the energy consumption is greater than it needs to be because the project is designed around the output of the heating cable instead of heating cable being designed to serve the ASHRAE requirements of the project. Heatizon Systems and its Distributors are trained to design and help you select the low or high voltage products that will best satisfy the needs of your project and keep the energy consumption to a minimum.

Warmzone’s “Myth 3: Low voltage systems are easier to repair. Both line voltage and low voltage cables are easy to repair. Simply remove the bad section of cable, add in a splice kit, cover it back over with whatever surface it’s in, and the system should operate as normal.”

Fact 3:

Warmzone is correct in that both low and high or line voltage cables are repairable. However, the presence of a ground shield on all high voltage cables makes repairing them more time consuming and difficult.Warmzone states: “Low voltage systems are NOT more efficient.” Properly designed and installed low voltage and high voltage electric Radiant Heating and Snow Melting products are nearly 100 percent efficient. As a result of the high efficiency of these products, correct design and installation becomes essential in order to minimize energy consumption and costs. Heatizon Systems and its distributors design all of Radiant Snow Melting projects in North America to the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (“ASHRAE”) Standards and all Radiant Space Heating projects are designed to the requirements of an objective Heat Load or Heat Loss Calculation.Heatizon Systems provides Design and Installation Instructions with all of its products and calls for them to be installed per the National Electric Code (“NEC”) in the U.S. and the Canadian Electric Code (“CEC”) in Canada.

Warmzone “Myth 4: Low voltage systems offer a better warranty.”

Fact 4:

Heatizon Systems backs its products with, no gimmick, straight forward, and industry leading warranties. We challenge you to find a better warranty to cover your investment.Unfortunately some of Heatizon Systems competitors prefer gimmicks like: “one year extendable to 10 years” if you do this, that and the other, or “covers 5 times the cost of the cable” if you return it to a foreign country for verification that it is defective. Once again Heatizon Systems backs its products with, no gimmick, straight forward, and industry leading warranties. If you prefer one with gimmicks be sure and call us once you discover you need a Hott-Wire or Tuff Cable retro-fit to replace our competitors failed cable or deny your warranty claim.Warmzone states: “Some low voltage warranties are very deceiving. They boast a 25 year warranty period, but when examined closer it is found that the 25 year warranty only covers the heating wire.” What is the point of this very interesting statement? Is Warmzone, an internet marketing company and not a manufacturer, saying that the manufacturers of the line voltage products that it markets warrant more than the heating cables? This I need to see with my own eyes and you should too!

Warmzone’s “Myth 5: Both systems provide sufficient heat.”

Fact 5:

Properly designed low voltage and line voltage products provide sufficient heat to satisfy ASHRAE’s design requirements for snow melting and the Heat Load requirements for building heating.

Warmzone’s “Myth 6: Low voltage systems in most snow melting applications do not meet the ASHRAE standards.”

Fact 6:

Unfortunately, it appears that Warmzone does not understand Heatizon Systems’ low voltage technologies and that it either has not read or does not understand the portion of ASHRAE Handbook that deals with “Snow Melting and Freeze Protection”.In the event Warmzone understood Heatizon Systems’ Tuff Cable Snow Melt Products it would know that it can deliver up to 24 watts per square foot when installed on 6 inch centers, up to 36 watts per square foot on 4 inch centers and up to 48 watts per square foot on 3 inch centers.ASHRAE is a very valuable design tool which indicates the watts/Btu needed to melt snow in certain geographic locations and suggests maximum spacing between heating cables. ASHRAE does not differentiate between low and high voltage cables. Heatizon Systems offers a variety of low voltage and high or line voltage Radiant Snow Melting Cables to its discriminating customers.

Warmzone’s “Myth 7: Both systems are UL Approved.”

Fact 7:

Heatizon Systems low and high voltage Radiant Snow Melt, Radiant Floor Warming, Radiant Roof Snow and Ice Melting and Radiant Space Heating products are all Listed to UL Standards and Certified to CSA Standards by Intertek a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory equivalent to UL and CSA. Each of Heatizon Systems’ Authorizations to Mark is available for download at Heatizon Systems makes its Authorizations to Mark easily available and it encourages other manufacturers to do as well.Warmzone states: “Make sure to do thorough research before purchasing any products, which means checking for proper safety certifications and standards, and you won’t regret it.” Heatizon Systems agrees that you will never regret purchasing one of its line and low voltage products because all of them have earned the right to be listed to UL Standards and Certified to CSA Standards.

Warmzone: An Internet Marketing Company – Not a Manufacturer

These companies do not make any of the products that they sell and the revolving portfolio of products that they carry make it imperative that their prospective customers fully understand why the suggested product is the best solution for their needs and exactly who stands behind the warranty. By failing to be an informed customer you may be satisfying the profit and other objectives of the supplier rather than the exacting needs and requirements of your project. As a buyer, you do not want your purchase decision to be based on recommendations, and/or suggestions motivated more by profit margin than by the long term satisfaction of you, the customer.Heatizon Systems has nothing more important to do than making certain that its customers are happy with its products for the long term. As a result, Heatizon Systems encourages its prospective customers to make well informed purchase decisions when evaluating which low or high voltage Radiant Heating and Snow Melt product will best satisfy their needs. In an effort to facilitate prospective customer education Heatizon Systems provides complete information on its website, and has a talented and experienced team waiting to help you answer questions at (801) 293-1232.Heatizon Systems is proud of its fine low and line voltage products that are sold under the following names: Cozy Heat, Floorizwarm, GutterMelt, Heatwave, Hott-Wire, In-Pipe, Out Pipe, Inivizmelt, Radiant Trak, Tuff Cable, Tuff Cable in a Heatsink Kit, and ZMesh.