Heated tiles malfunctioning in recently purchased house


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Old 04-10-21, 11:47 PM
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Heated tiles malfunctioning in recently purchased house

Our downstairs has heated tile flooring. There are two 'SunTouch' brand thermostats controlling it. If I raise the temperature to, say, 70, I get a protection fault on the thermostat after about ten minutes. I currently have it set at 66... no fault, but the heating is patchy. Specifically, the central area is warm and wonderful, but the majority does not seem to be working at all. So, for example, as you walk into the main area (family room) it starts off warm and nice but a few steps later is chilly.

I know very little about the technology. Is this common? Is this fixable? I have a feeling I'll need to call in a pro but have no sense of the magnitude of the job.
 
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Old 04-11-21, 04:55 AM
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Did the floor heat ever work correctly? The spotty warming may have been how the cable was installed. Sometimes it does not cover every square foot of flooring.

There are typically three parts to a cable floor heating system, the thermostat, the cable, and the temp sensor.

If the thermostat is the issue they are easy to replace as everything is accessible.

The temp sensor is embedded in the floor so that cannot be replaced. However, you can bypass the temp sensor by replacing the thermostat with a line voltage thermostat. This doesn't work as well and the sensor in the floor as you are using the air temperature for your setting. Floor heat is typically set at a lower temperature than the air temp.

Sadly if something has gone wrong with the heating cable in the floor the only option to fix it is to tear up the tile and replace it.

As a test, you could bypass the thermostat and wire the heating cable direct if the cable is line voltage. Then see if the floor is heating correctly. If so then I would try a new thermostat.
 
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Old 04-11-21, 08:30 AM
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Unfortunately, I have no idea if it ever worked correctly, nor the extent of cabling. We just moved in.

That said, given there are two independent thermostats, it seems odd. There are 4 smaller rooms and one large one, and the only area (seeemingly) being heated is maybe 10x10 when you first go downstairs.

i say seemingly because I'm not sure how to properly check the temp of the floor. I know the central area is distinctly warm and cozy... some of the other floor is just 'not cold', and some is chilly. I have both thermostats set to 67 as a test.

I did some research and it sounds like a pro has the equipment to check for breaks in the cable or something? Which might make this fixable... the tile is well done and there is no way we'd tear it all up. If this is a localized issue where someone can pop a few out... then maybe?
 
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Old 04-11-21, 08:53 AM
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You should be able to check the temp of the floor with an infrared thermometer. There are lots available now.

Somebody with a thermal camera might be able to "see" the cable under the tile when it is heating to see if there are cold spots. If you remove the thermostat there might be a sticker on the cable stating what the resistance in Ohms should be for the length of cable. You can check that with a multimeter with the power off and everything disconnected.

The spottyness of the heating could just be the layout of the cable. Often cable/mats come in "standard" sizes and cannot be shortened so when installing it you have to do the best you can with the length you have.

The two thermostats are likely because there is more than one cable/mat installed.
 
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Old 04-12-21, 06:45 AM
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Often during a home transfer, the buyer gets or buys a home warrantee. Did you get one? This sounds like an excellent application.
 
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Old 04-12-21, 07:30 AM
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You can rent a thermal camera typically in any big box store and inspect it yourself to see if the heating is installed uniformly. But if the ground fault is tripping, it may need a quick ohm-test to check for shorts and/or open circuit. Here's a good video outlining this quick test: https://www.warmlyyours.com/en-US/vi...ng-a-gfi-issue
 
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Old 04-12-21, 08:42 AM
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A thermal camera will very quickly tell you what is working and what is not. You will also probably be able to actually see the heater wire buried in the floor which may help identify if a section is missing/not working.
 
 

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