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The Rigors of Mountain Hydronics

No challenge for these mountain men.

Justin Johnson owns Sprinter Heating & Hydronics, based in Idaho Falls, Idaho. As you might guess, it gets pretty cold in that part of the world. In the five years he's been in business, with hundreds of jobs complete, the vast majority of them involved radiant heat or snow melt.

Justin uses nothing but Watts Radiant products, and he stands by that decision with a simple explanation: "Watts Radiant products, technology and customer support are second to none, so why look elsewhere?"

Johnson's key challenge? The miles between jobs. With a customer territory of about 40,000 square miles and an imposing mountain range that slices diagonally through it, roads aren't exactly arranged in a grid. Getting from point A to B might be 50 miles by air, but accomplishing it by road could easily add 200 miles or more on the odometer.

But it's all part of the job, and he's developing satisfied customers mile by mile. But of course the weather keeps things on a tight schedule. "Generally, we get as much pipe in the ground as possible during the summer months and return to those sites to do boiler installs and staple-up applications during the cold season," he said.

A typical job for Sprinter is a mountain home with 4,000 to 6,000 square feet. "We've done plenty at less than that and many, as well, in the 10,000 to 15,000 square foot range, and a few well over that," said Johnson. "But there are many differences in our territory. It's not at all as though we do most of our work strictly for the rich and famous. Most of the high-end homes are being built in the Jackson region."

Die-hard Watts Radiant Guys

Though Johnson insists there's nothing truly unique about their work, he adds that there are two key attributes to the systems they install. "The first is what we demand of ourselves. That is, to give the customer the best work that we're capable of. As a result, our systems work; they do exactly what we say they'll do with no compromises. Secondly, we also make them look really good. Kind of like an art form. After all, the homeowner should also have some pride in the work."

Part of Sprinter's quality equation are the products they use and rely on routinely. "Among the manufacturers whose products we use, one source stands out. We're die-hard Watts Radiant guys. We wanted to be different and so we install only Watts Radiant PEX and Onix tubing which we buy through Falls Supply in Idaho Falls. We also get great customer support through Lundquist Sales based in Salt Lake City, UT where we go for technical training, and get help with system designs."

"Onix is the best tubing we've installed," he added. "We use Onix for all of our staple-up work. We've compared it with PEX staple-ups and – without question – it's less expensive to install than PEX with plates and performs just as well. It works without the plates because it flattens slightly when it's fastened to the base of the subfloor, greatly improving heat transfer."

The rigors of mountain hydronics? No challenge for these mountain men.


Idaho Falls, Idaho

Radiant Systems Installer

Justin Johnson, Sprinter Heating & Hydronics


Onix & Radiant PEX tubing

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