September '14

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Black Gold Already with a sturdy foothold in the luxury RV market with Gold Heat, Aries Engineering hopes to bring the thermal wonders of radiant heat to the lower and mid-range luxury RV markets with its cost- effective Black Gold product. "Gold Heat is a premier product for coaches with stone and tile floors," Millard says. "One tier down in luxury RV pricing – where the trim levels are still very com- parable in many cases – the best option for radiant heated floors is now Black Gold." Introduced three years ago, Black Gold is a carbon fiber heating system that can be installed beneath vinyl, laminate, wood, carpet and engineered flooring. Unlike Gold Heat, which uses an open weave mesh of resistance wires that's ideal for mortar- bonded tile flooring, Black Gold uses a paper-thin laminated heating element that can be glued down or stapled into place without adhesive. "When manufacturers go to a vinyl floor or an engineered floor for cost and weight savings, then Gold Heat becomes less appropriate because you'd have to pour a self-leveling floor or use mortar to create a cement-like slab," he says. "It's a very natural progression for manufacturers who have used Gold Heat under tile to implement Black Gold under other flooring types. Black Gold is very compatible with most construc- tion adhesives or vinyl flooring adhesives." OEMs can also mix the two products in the same coach, installing Gold Heat under tile floors and Black Gold under carpet or vinyl in slide-outs, bedrooms, and under dinettes. What makes Black Gold the new essential option in lower-priced luxury RVs is its cost- effectiveness, according to Aries Engineering. "There's a little more installation effort," Millard says. "But at the same time, the cost per coach is down to about half or two- thirds of the price for Gold Heat. There's a pretty significant improvement in the mate- rials cost." Black Gold presents additional cost savings to the end-consumer because it's more energy-efficient than forced air fur- nace systems. "Electric radiant heat is more energy effi- cient than forced air heat, offering a typical energy savings of 28 percent, and greater sav- ings with room zoning," says Vanessa Amerio, executive manager of Aries Engineering. OEM installation concerns are mitigated by Aries Engineering's famed customer ser- vice ritual. The entire production process – from fabrication, to install and diagnostics – is overseen by a team of Aries Engineering experts who work with and assist coach designers, purchasers and installers. Once the Black Gold is installed, the OEM and end-consumer can be at ease that the product won't ever have to be tinkered with again. "Unless a tile is pulled up or somehow the thermostat is interfered with, it's really headache-free," says Amerio. "Elec- tric radiant heating systems have no moving parts. Once Black Gold is under the floor, it's 100 percent maintenance-free." Reliable Diagnostics and Trouble Shooting Service centers are happy to be a part of the Gold Heat installation process, too. That's because, when there is a problem, it doesn't last long. "Sometimes somebody does something they're not supposed to do – either spikes the wire with a trowel, or slices a couple of wires with a razor when they're cleaning out the grout lines," Millard says. "I help them with some diagnostic tools and a little back- and-forth to pinpoint the break." Working with readings from a diagnostic tool called the TDR – which Aries can loan to customers who do not own one – Aries creates an 'X' marks the spot diagram showing the location of the damage. "My customers tell me that locating and repairing a break usually requires about two tiles to be removed," Millard says. Chalet RV demonstrates Black Gold installation on a custom truck camper Available in three widths, Black Gold heating elements are cut to length during installation.

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