Thursday January 27, 2011

BENNINGTON -- Two years ago, record oil prices and $4 a gallon gasoline prompted local business owner Michael Jordan to search for a better way to heat his home. What he found was a carbon-based film from Japan that has for years warmed radiant flooring systems there with infrared heat.

Starting in November, Jordan’s new business, Tempur-Tech, has capitalized on the material by using it in radiant flooring applications -- as well as in innovative heated carpet and area rug mats. The proof, he says, is in the carpet.

"I stumbled onto what we call ‘magic carpet,’ " Jordan said. "Bring one home, and you’ll end up spending the whole day on it."

And many people have, as Jordan said he has struggled to keep pace with demand over his first winter in business. Jordan said he performs radiant floor heating installations and sells area rug mats and carpets that incorporate the film. Inns and hotels have been good customers, he said, with the Arlington Inn using heated carpets to cover cold marble flooring in rooms and a dining area. Another pile of Tempur-Tech’s 3- by 4-foot heated area rugs recently were sold for use under the desks of employees at Mace Personal Defense Products.

The technology is so new, Jordan’s first shipment of the carbon film in October was held up at U.S. Customs after they had trouble classifying the material.


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Jordan said the film’s inventor came up with the idea after noticing the heat emanating from personal computers.

Using infrared heat instead of resistance heat as typically found in electric space heaters and some conventional radiant floor heating installations, Jordan said that his products are more energy efficient, less expensive, and safer than other heat sources.

Tempur-Tech’s carpeting and rugs heat to a uniform 105 degrees, no more and no less. Jordan said that there’s no risk of burns, electrical short outs, or fire as with conventional electric space heaters.

"Everyone knows about radiant floor heating," Jordan said. "But what we have is so incredibly energy efficient." The carbon film is also "unbelievably inexpensive," he said, which results in cheaper installation costs compared to conventional radiant heat flooring systems. But that’s not all, he said. The carbon film is also versatile.

Jordan credited his wife with the idea of adding the film to mats to be placed beneath area rugs, and soon afterward, directly incorporating it into area carpeting -- available in burgundy, green, and gray. Meanwhile, vulcanized rubber versions can be placed outside on foyers and decks to melt away the snow.

With an array of electric space heaters, handheld steamers, and other inventory from Jordan’s previous business, New England Wholesale Liquidators, sharing space at Tempur-Tech’s 160 Benmont Ave. location, Jordan said they "put meters on everything." The cost to operate one of Tempur-Tech’s typical 3- by 4-foot area rugs works out to approximately $12 a month -- low compared to competing radiant flooring solutions or electric space heaters.

Right now, during the coldest winter months, wholesale orders are beginning to slacken as wholesalers look to clear their inventory. But come this spring, Jordan said that he will begin production for next winter. After catching the attention of a major national infomercial company, the only obstacle to that deal, Jordan said, was in meeting their request to supply 150 rugs a day -- beyond Tempur-Tech’s current production capacity.

Pricing for Tempur-Tech’s heated rug mats and carpets vary by size, with an assortment of sizes standard, and Jordan always willing to work on custom specifications and applications. In addition to keeping up with demand, another hurdle has been getting homeowners, and even electricians and plumbers, to understand and believe in the product.

Fortunately, it takes just minutes for the product to prove itself, and Jordan said that his showroom on Benmont Avenue is available by appointment, for people to touch, feel, and ask any questions they might have. "It’s been an exciting ride for us so far," he said.

For more information, the phone number for Tempur-Tech is 802-688-8919.