What is Entran II?
Entran II is a rubber hose used for radiant in-floor heating systems and snow melting. It was manufactured by Goodyear Tire & Rubber for Heatway Systems from 1989-1994. A plasticizer was added when the tube was manufactured to keep it flexible. This plasticizer, however, began to leach out of the rubber when it was exposed to high temperature heating water. The tube then hardens and cracks, causing complete failure of the heating system. Entran II tubing was installed in approximately 10,000 homes throughout the U.S.
How do I know if Entran II is installed in my house?
There are two places where Entran II may be visible for inspection: at the boiler and at remote manifold locations in the house, generally behind access panels in closets. In some cases the Entran tubing is not visible and sheetrock may have to be cut to access it. If you have radiant heat in your Santa Fe house, and it was either built or remodeled between 1989-1994, there is a very high probability Entran was installed.
The tubing was bright orange when it was first installed but may have turned a dusty, dark orange due to deterioration. It is clearly labeled "Entran II." There is also an "Entran 3" installed after 1994, but no problems have been reported with this product.
How can I determine the condition of Entran II tubing installed in my home?
We can evaluate the condition of Entran II tubing with a durometer. This device is designed to measure hardening in rubber products. If the Entran II is visible, this is a simple test that will give you some idea of the condition and longevity of the tubing. We've tested dozens of systems in the Santa Fe area. Some are nearly "good as new," and some are only months away from failure. Most are somewhere in between.
Is there any way to slow the deterioration of Entran II tubing?
Yes. A two temperature delivery system can be installed. A boiler needs to operate at 140 degrees or hotter to prevent harmful condensation in the combustion chamber. By installing a mixing valve, secondary pump and control wiring, we allow the boiler to operate at the proper temperature, but deliver water to the Entran tubing as cool as 110 degrees. This will significantly increase the life of Entran II tubing. However, the house may be difficult to heat during the coldest weather. We've heard about certain chemicals that some contractors are adding to boiler water, but we do not recommend them.
Could the Entran II tubing installed in my house be leaking without me knowing it?
Yes. In a typical slab-on-grade house about 99% of the Entran II tubing is embedded in the slab. Any water could very well be absorbed by the soil with no water apparent in the house. If you're in the City, you may or may not notice a very gradual increase in your water bill. If you're on an unmetered water well you could be losing water and not know it.
There's a simple way to test for leaks, simple enough for you to do without assistance from a professional. Just turn the water feed off to the boiler and monitor the boiler pressure gauge. If the pressure remains constant you don't have a leak-if it drops, you have a leak. If you're not comfortable doing this test yourself, or if you need some assistance over the phone, please do call our office.