Texas might not be top of mind when thinking about radiant heating, but when some longtime customers mentioned radiant floor warming for their new building, Raymond Nelson knew exactly what to do — he called his Viega rep and got the ball rolling.

FINS is a swim instruction company located in the Houston area. President and CEO Bill Goudeket decided he was ready to build his fourth location, FINS of Cypress, and he called on Nelson, owner of Richmond, Texas-based Raymond Nelson Plumbing, to help.

The newest location features radiant heating to help keep students comfortable in and out of the pool and changing areas. And although Nelson hadn’t installed radiant products before, he was confident that Viega was his go-to source.

“This was my first go at radiant,” he says. “I’ve done some ProPress and MegaPress and when this popped up I said, ‘Here we go!’”

Nelson is friends with Viega District Manager Joe Barrile, who was excited to introduce Nelson to radiant heating. And the Goudeket family was excited to put the project into their new facility.

“I’d heard about radiant heating a long time ago and I thought it would be a big benefit to what we do,” explains Liam Goudeket, aquatics director for FINS. “We don’t get long cold snaps in Houston, but we want to make it warm and comfortable indoors for whatever the weather. I heard radiant was a different type of heat compared to traditional heat.”

It isn’t just warm floors. Radiant heats the objects in a room, making the environment more comfortable without the energy-intensive process of heating air.

Within a week, Barrile had brought out the ProMotion truck, Viega’s mobile showroom with components for radiant on-board, and showed Goudeket and Nelson the parts and pieces.

“I was really impressed with the Viega ProMotion Truck that displayed the products and Joe’s eagerness to get on the project. It told us this was a company that deals with this type of product,” Goudeket says of Viega.

There was a short turnaround to get the radiant tubing installed, as concrete was about to be poured. Nelson says he and his crew had 3,000 feet of ViegaPEX Barrier tubing, which installed was 11 different loops in the concrete slab. In the finished building, radiant heated areas make up about 1,200-1,500 of the total 8,000 square feet.

“I thought there was no way we’d get it done with only two days to put it in,” Nelson says about the radiant tubes. “But we zip tied it to the rebar — with 4,000 or 5,000 industrial type cable ties — and it went really quickly. I was surprised, to get it done in that time crunch.”

The concept of radiant heat at FINS stemmed from the idea to help keep customers, especially children, comfortable so they’d have more fun and more success with their swimming skills. The decks of the pool are heated with radiant, as are the changing areas. That brought along some challenges in keeping the heating in the specified areas at temperatures so that parent spectators or staff not in the water were still comfortable too.

In this particular climate zone and working with the needs of the customers, Viega’s heating design team strived to create a system that would decrease the overall amount of energy used to heat the space, keep occupants more comfortable and even reduce slipping hazards by evaporating water on the pool deck faster.

“Our air heaters kicked on a lot less in this facility over the winter (with the radiant),” Goudeket says. “For customers, forcing that moisture off of the pool deck was a nice thing, and in the shower area, the kids walk out and into the (warm) changing area and that’s the biggest benefit I think. The warm tile, I think it’s pleasant to walk on. It enhanced the customer experience.”

Follow through from Viega was excellent too, he says. Even after the product was installed and construction was complete, Barrile — with the expertise of Viega behind him — was still there to consult.

“It was helpful having Ray and Joe come out after,” Goudeket says, speaking about how he received help and support from Viega in making adjustments to the radiant system during the startup phase. “Learning how to adjust the flow and the timers, that level of understanding and helping us fine-tune and get familiar with the zones, that was great.”

This unique installation shows that Viega’s radiant systems can be used as an uncommon solution for some projects and brought to climates otherwise overlooked.