Having radiant floor heating installed in your house is a great way to get effective and energy-efficient warmth. Radiant heating systems are especially good ideas for new home construction, but existing homes can also be retro-fit to enjoy their many benefits.
Because radiant heating systems use hydronic (water) power, they have few moving parts and therefore a reduced need for repairs. However, no system can run 100% trouble-free. Here are some of the repairs that radiant floor systems may need. You should only trust repair work to professionals.
Common Radiant Floor Heating Repairs
- Sealing leaks: Any hydronic system is susceptible to leaking, and radiant floor heating is no different. The closed-loop copper or PEX tube system of radiant floor heating makes them highly resistant to corrosion—but not damage from outside stress such as sagging floorboards and cracked stones. Professionals use leak detection systems to locate where the leaks are occurring in the panels and pipes, then create a small penetration to make the repair. The flooring material is replaced once the repair is completed.
- Replacing damaged tiles/panels: Sometimes, improper installation of radiant floor heating will place material over the pipes that cannot properly absorb the amount of heat the system produces. This will eventually cause damage to the floor, such as cracking and warping. Repairs (preferably from a different company than did the poor installation) will replace the damaged tiles/panels with proper ones that will work with the system.
- Replacing damaged mixing valves: The mixing valve on the hot water tank for radiant heating thermostatically controls the water temperature sent through the pipes. If it malfunctions, it can lead to insufficient heating, or heating that is so high it begins to damage the floor material (see above). In most cases, you will need a professional to replace the mixing valve so you get the proper temperature control.
You should definitely avoid do-it-yourself techniques with radiant floor heating. If you try to rip up wood floors or stone floors to get at the piping, you will most likely do further damage, both to the floor and to the heating system. Technicians with precision tools can take care of this work for you fast and effectively.