I just had Gerald come out from California Plumbing and Radiant Heating. The first visit he looked over the heating system, thermostat, and water heater. There was no charge.
The second visit, he replaced the transformer in the heating system and installed a new thermostat (at my request). The cost for this visit was $550.
I am pleased with his work and he seems knowledgeable about these systems. He took the time to explain things to me about how it all works. I think the cost was reasonable considering that I have not had any work done on the heater or thermostat in over 10 years. He wore a mask the whole time and was very efficient and courteous.
Contact him at 510-444-3992 if you need this kind of service. (August, 2022)
A note from Ida:
Phil at Kel-Aire has retired and, as of this writing, the company does not have anyone certified to work on the Pinnacle heating system. Here are three local companies that are licensed to do this work. If anyone has experience with them, please let me know.
California Plumbing and Radiant Heating (December, 2020)
Re: 1400 Pinnacle: Because the heater unit is the highest point in the units to which water flows any air in system will cause an airlock and prevent hot water from entering the heat transfer unit. So if you have had any source of air like replacing your water heater or there is a source of air getting into the hot water system that may be your problem. To check if this is the case you must remove the access panel in the ceiling and expose the heating unit. You will find a hose outlet with a valve on the left side of the radiator. Make sure your heater is turned off at the thermostat then connect a hose from that valve to your sink or bathtub. Open the valve and if you get air coming out then that is your problem. If you look at the unit’s manufacturer website they provide an installation and maintenance PDF describes the process in more detail. (January, 2020)
Re: 1400 Pinnacle: The good news is we have heat again and the bad is the $250.00 it cost us for an apparently minor problem which may recur. Apparently somehow air got into the system and blocked the heat exchanger, we have no idea how this happened. The company we used (referred by Val Betti) was Kel-Aire Heating and Air Conditioning, technician is Phil and he was excellent. He also offered to put a furnace filter in with a box for easy access but have not gotten a quote yet. (January, 2020)
Re: 1400 Pinnacle: Regarding the lack of heat, if you have had any work done that required opening the plumbing system to the air (like replacing a water heater) you may have an air lock preventing hot water from reaching the hydronics unit. There is a bleed valve on the unit itself which requires a hose attachment to a drain (like the bathtub) to remove the air and get the water recirculating. There is a page on the web from the manufacturer on the process. (March, 2018)
After reading about anodes in our gas hot water heaters in building E I asked my neighbor and handyman, Tony Carr, to replace my anode. He performed the task promptly at a reasonable price. It looks like I saved my hot water heater from being eaten up by electrolysis in the nick of time. You can reach Tony at 510 207-9642 for more information. (March, 2018)
Water heaters: Changing the sacrificial zincs didn’t seem to prolong the life of our heater. We changed the zincs twice and still had to replace the heater last year. We also noted corrosion on some of the copper to galvanized fittings. Val Betti did the change for us for $2,600 complete, made the change in half a day and did excellent work. They were the “best” bidder (combination of price, time to install and proven reputation) with competitors ranging up $3,400 to do the job in a day and a half. Our failing heater was leaking unbeknownst to us. There is a drain line from the pan under the heater that leads to the garage. We were alerted by the owner of the car receiving our leaks. (March, 2018)
Hydronic Heating System: The heating systems were manufactured by Apollo HydroHeat & Cooling, Ashland City, TN. The Benicia Plumbing contractor who supposedly installed the units denies having anything to do with the Pinnacle building. The heaters have never worked properly. Part of the problem is that the general contractor set the water heater temps at a low level to avoid scalding (legal requirement?). Raising the water heater setting increases the efficiency of the hydro heaters. But we have another potential problem with the systems; Leakage. In the original installation instruction manual, it is clearly noted in outlined, bold type “This hydronic air handler …will eventually leak. Do not install without adequate drainage provisions where water flow will cause damage”. I’m not aware of any drainage provision other than the floor of the bathroom. (March, 2018)