Baxi Heats Alaska

A case study of how Baxi-certified contractor Mike La Fay has successfully installed and maintained 300 Baxi Luna boilers since 2000 throughout Alaska's Matanuska Susitna Borough

Reliable Heating Performance in Alaska: Proof Positive Baxi Luna Can Heat Anywhere

To excel with a boiler installation in North America's most demanding heating market is admirable. Mastering 300 reliable installations of a brand over 12 years can best be described as exemplary -- and that is precisely what Alaska contractor Mike La Fay has been doing with Baxi Luna wallhung modulating boilers.

Mike La Fay, owner of Meadow Lakes Supply in Wasilla, Alaska has successfully installed Baxi Luna boilers since 2000 throughout Matanuska Susitna Borough, which is a 50-minute drive north-east of Anchorage.

"It can be 30-below zero here for three weeks straight, so a reliable heating appliance is essential for home comfort, not to mention survival," says the Baxi-certified contractor.

"I recommend this hydronic heating appliance to builders and homeowners with confidence, knowing it has a proven Alaska track record for quality, safety and reliable performance.

"I have not experienced any serious problems with this product," adds La Fay. "I am also excited about new Baxi products that are on the market or are being developed for introduction in the next year or so, including Micro CHP technology."

Monthly oil bill of $500 reduced dramatically to $150 gas bill

Mike La Fay says his personal experience with Baxi equipment was "icing on the cake" for his confidence in the product.

"My neighborhood just got natural gas a few years ago, so I now have a Baxi Luna unit heating our family home and my shop. Our previous fuel oil bill was up to $500 a month, and now we are spending around $150 for gas," La Fay notes. "You simply can't get better than that - saving lots of money while knowing your heating system will withstand the coldest challenges of our winter."

One of La Fay's top Baxi customers is builder Greg Koskela, owner of Elkhorn Log Homes in Wasilla.

"Mike is really good at what he does. He convinced me five years ago how these compact, efficient Baxi boilers are ideal for our custom building," says Koskela. "He designs simple, workable systems. Plus, he is a thorough and quick trouble shooter, always standing behind his work. At the end of a day, you just know Mike knows how the appliance has got to work."

Modulo enhances custom home

In December 2009, La Fay completed a Baxi installation in a 3,200 square-foot custom log home built by Elkhorn in the Meadow Lakes area. Overlooking the scenic Twin Peaks landmark, the new home features multiple heating zones and high domestic hot water demand. To the delight of the builder and the homeowners, La Fay designed a hydronic heating system featuring the 98%-efficient, low-NOx Baxi Luna HT 1.33 modulating, condensing boiler atop the 21-gallon, stainless steel Modulo storage tank. The Modulo comes fully equipped with a fitting kit designed to connect directly to a fully loaded Baxi heating-only boiler.

"The Baxi boiler with Modulo tank is a slick combination heating unit that easily supplies the four heating zones as well as four bathrooms. The heating zones include three radiant loops with RHT tubing and manifolds. Janes Brothers installed one loop in the concrete slab, and two others in Gypcrete. We also have supplemental baseboard heating in the loft," says Greg Koskela.

The Elkhorn custom log home was La Fay's first Baxi modulating, condensing boiler with Modulo install. He also added Sentinel chemical water treatment to the boiler system. Sentinel, now included with all Baxi boilers in North America, eliminates any impurities and oxygen in the boiler loop, enhancing system performance and longevity.

"I like the Baxi combination heating and domestic hot water boiler with everything built into it. For this application, which has a high domestic hot water output demand, the boiler and Modulo tank combi is perfect," says La Fay. "We simply followed the manuals, checked a Baxi installation CD-ROM, and then assembled the boiler and Modulo within a couple of hours."

Commitment to learning pays off

Mike La Fay says his commitment to keeping aware of Baxi product installation specifications goes hand in glove with keeping his promise to customers for ongoing maintenance of his work.

"I will not install any product that I don't fully understand. Also, since I remain responsible for servicing units that I install, I want to make sure they are installed flawlessly every time," notes the seasoned heating and plumbing specialist.

La Fay says his product knowledge is kept sharp by referring to installation manuals for each install. He has found the Baxi Luna training and certification CD-ROM to be an ideal sales and installation support over the years, and has taken the on-line Baxi certification test. The contractor also appreciates having 24/7 access to the password-protected Baxi Certified section at Marathon' International's web site, He also values Baxi technical expertise available from hydronic specialists at Gensco and Marathon.

Marathon International, the exclusive North American distributor of Baxi products, has produced a series of technical training and certification CD-ROMs for the Baxi Luna HT modulating, condensing boilers line (up to 98% energy efficient), as well as the Baxi Luna 3 Comfort and the original Baxi Luna modulating boilers. The CD-ROMs are available from authorized Baxi distributors.

Marathon President Mike Thomas says his firm's CD-ROM series is a great learning tool for hydronic heating contractors located in remote locations.

"Mike La Fay's Baxi success is terrific. His careful attention to equipment specifications in each of his installs is clearly a manufacturer's dream," says Thomas. "Above all, his work with Baxi equipment demonstrates that if a boiler can heat a home in Alaska reliably, then it can heat a home or business anywhere."

Mike La Fay attended Baxi factory technical training at Marathon International's Baxi laboratory and training facilities near Toronto, Ontario in September 2012. "Training was top-notch, and I got to learn and work with test models of new Baxi products soon to be introduced in the United States and Canada," says La Fay.

Baxi is now in its fourth decade of manufacturing and marketing its Luna series of boilers worldwide. The firm's Bassano, Italy plant produces 4,000 boilers a day for export to 70 countries, including the United States and Canada. Baxi Luna boilers are fully certified for North America, and include stainless steel heat exchangers bearing the ASME H-Stamp.

A case study by Marathon International, Exclusive North American Baxi Distributor - www. Revised October 2012

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