Lakeville Residence
Lakeville, MN 

Small Dream Home, Big on Features

When the Richards family of Lakeville, Minn. set out to build their dream home, they decided that comfort, not size, was their number-one priority. With the money saved on less square footage, they added some “wow” features like radiant heated floors throughout the home, a heated garage floor, and a fire safety system for peace of mind.

“We have two teenagers who are often home by themselves,” says homeowner Kurt Richards. “With a fire safety system installed, I have complete peace of mind when I leave my family home alone.” In fact, in the first month the family lived in their new house, six home fires were written up in the local paper. “With every news story, I was reminded about my smart decision to have a sprinkler system installed,” he says.

The fire safety installation was easy, according to Richards. Since the system is an extension of the plumbing system, it is installed by a licensed plumbing contractor. The contractor, Preferred Plumbing of Prior Lake, Minn., had not installed a fire safety system prior to this project, and they received Uponor training and certification on site. The Fire Marshall and two city inspectors reviewed the system after installation, and since multipurpose fire safety systems, like Uponor’s, are still relatively unknown, the city posed questions around the location of a few sprinkler fixtures close to the eaves for possible freezing issues. With the help of Uponor’s fire safety experts, a few sprinkler heads were adjusted and extra insulation was added to alleviate freezing concerns. “All in all, the inspection and approval process was fairly easy,” says Richards.

The home also boasts Uponor’s radiant floor heating system throughout – even in the garage. With the harsh Minnesota climate, the family enjoys a constant 50°F temperature setting in their garage and therefore a warm car ride to work, from the moment they start their engines. “We honestly didn’t realize how much we would enjoy the radiant floor in our garage,” he says. “In the winter, we arrive home covered in snow, but by the next morning it is gone and the water has even evaporated off the floor. We absolutely love it.”

With radiant heat (and unlike forced air), the heat is evenly distributed throughout the house. There is no blast of hot air near registers and no cold spots elsewhere. “It is a comfortable and even heat,” he says. “My kids rave about the comfort of having radiant in the bathroom and on their bedroom floors.” And with the elimination of vents, it doesn’t disperse dust, allergens or pollutants through the air, providing a cleaner living environment for the family.

The installers used ½" Wirsbo hePEX™ tubing for the entire radiant installation with Joist Trak™ heat-transfer panels for the main and upper levels. Joist Trak panels provide fast and effective installation and the rigid channel construction make it easy to snap the tubing into place – tightly and securely. For the basement, tubing was buried in the concrete and hooked up to heating manifolds in a central location.

The Richards also chose to have Uponor’s crosslinked polyethylene (PEX) plumbing system installed in the home. Their previous home was plumbed with copper, and they could see the greenish color of the copper pipes at the joints in unfinished parts of the house. “I could also see how there was condensation on the cold-water pipes through the unfinished areas,” says Richards. Using PEX for the plumbing system retains more heat in hot-water lines and resists condensation in cold-water lines. The plumbing system included Uponor AquaPEX tubing, ProPEX® expansion fittings, engineered polymer (EP) multi-port tees and out-of-the wall products for an efficient and complete system with fewer feet of tubing and connections. PEX-a tubing offers the tightest bend radius of any plumbing product on the market. This eliminates the need for fittings and connections with each change of direction, and fewer fittings reduce liability and problems.

Though it’s quite the process to build a home, the Richards family are now enjoying all the luxurious features of their new house, and they all agree; it isn’t the size that matters, it’s the comfort and peace of mind.

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Project Highlights:

• 2,700-square-foot home
• Uponor Radiant Heating System
• Uponor Plumbing System
• Uponor AquaSAFE™ Multipurpose Fire Safety System
• Building Contractor: GBI Homes, Lakeville, MN
• Fire and Plumbing Installer: Preferred Plumbing, Prior Lake, MN

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