Contractors play key role in ‘Extreme Makeover’ show

Contractors play key role in ‘Extreme Makeover’ show

HAYWARD, MINN. — Two contracting companies from Albert Lea, Minn., were instrumental in the completion of a recent home construction project for an episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” which aired on Dec. 7, 2008.

Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services donated a domestic water heating system, and installation was done without charge by Jim & Dude’s, a local plumbing and HVAC contractor. Dirk and Susan DeVries, and their three children, had their share of health issues over the years.

To help the family, the show built them a new home. The builder, Larson Contracting, was asked by the show’s producers to head the monumental task of building an eight-room, 3,200-sq.ft. home in Hayward Township, Minn. Having worked with Larson on design/build projects for roughly ten years, Jim & Dude’s was chosen to install the plumbing and HVAC system.

In preparation, the contractor requested product donations from its various suppliers. To meet the domestic hot water needs of the new home, Freeborn-Mower donated a 105-gal., Rheem Marathon electric water heater.

Manufactured by Rheem Water Heating in Eagan, Minn., the Rheem Marathon has a non-metallic PermaGuard seamless polybutylene inner tank and a filament-wound fiberglass outer tank. As a result, the Marathon is impervious to rust and corrosion, and warranted not to leak for as long as the DeVries own their home. The Marathon water heater also uses Envirofoam insulation, which is free of CFC and HCFC ozone depleting gases. The water heater also features low watt density coated elements for performance and durability, a polyethylene jacket that resists rust and a high energy factor and 4’ pipe insulation for savings.

Roughing in the plumbing and HVAC for the family’s new home began on the third day of the weeklong project. With only seven hours scheduled for all plumbing and HVAC work, Jim & Dude’s installed the water heating system and the rest of the plumbing in time for the inspectors who arrived at nightfall. Even with the time constraint, Jim & Dude’s had no problem installing the Marathon, according to Bergstrom, whose company has worked with Rheem-Ruud water heaters for approximately 20 years.

“The installation was pretty straightforward,” he commented. “The water heater is used primarily as a storage tank for the domestic hot water, which is supplied by geothermal heat pumps. When the heat pumps are not enough, the Marathon’s electrical element kicks in for supplemental water heating.”

“Seven hours to do everything is relatively intense, but everyone had their jobs and we broke into teams,” explained Dennis Bergstrom, co-owner of Jim & Dude’s. “It was quite an organized chaos with probably 80 to 100 people working on the house at any given time.”

Approximately 25 of those people were plumbers while another 20 were HVAC technicians. “This was an amazing project for the family and our community,” says Dawn Jenson of Freeborn-Mower. “So many people came forward to volunteer their time, talents and home-building materials. We were so proud to be a part of such a wonderful, successful, once-in-a-lifetime event.”