Radiant Industry Takes Hit, But 'Will Move On'
Dan Chiles, executive vice president of Heatway, told PM that his company is continuing to pay out insurance claims for failed Entran II jobs. The tubing was supplied by Heatway, but manufactured by The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. — and continues to cause millions of dollars in damage to homes with radiant heating systems.
The Oct. 16 Wall Street Journal article implied that only the most wealthy could afford radiant floor heating systems. It has been picked up and run by various other publications throughout the world.
“At this point the issue is doing some damage to the industry,” said Larry Drake, executive director of the Radiant Panel Association. “The Wall Street Journal article painted a broad brush over the whole industry — instead of showing the problem was a single component manufactured by a specific company.”
Drake said, however, he does not believe there will be long-term implications. “The industry will be able to answer for itself and move on.”
Lawsuits have been filed by homeowners against both companies alleging breach of warranty and negligence against Heatway, and defective manufacturing and defective product design by Goodyear. Both companies deny the allegations, and countered with lawsuits against each other.
“We keep going back to our simple message: We did not provide defective hose, and any difficulties that people are having with this radiant heating system that involves this hose is traceable to either the design, the installation or the maintenance of the system,” said Fred Haymond, Goodyear’s manager of public relations.
“Goodyear is like an alcoholic,” said Chiles. “You can’t change your ways unless you first face up to the facts that you have a problem. Only after you do that, you’re on your way to recovery. Right now, Goodyear is in denial — pretending there is nothing wrong with the product. They’re dragging everybody unnecessarily into this mess.”
Chiles said he believes this issue will play itself out over hundreds of lawsuits.
More than 25 million feet of Entran II were sold between 1989 and 1993. There are about 15,000 radiant heating systems in the Unites States that contain the Entran II tubes with more than 650 complaints being logged by Heatway. The problem is restricted to Entran II, and is not related to Heatway’s Entran I, Entran 3 or Entran Onix. Most problems with Entran II begin to show symptoms within two to three years.
Heatway set up a Web site for contractors at www.GME2.com to answer questions or register jobs that may contain Entran II radiant heating tubes. Contractors can also call Heatway toll-free at 800/255-1996 with questions regarding Entran II.