How to Repair the Radiant Heat Floor System in a Raised Floor
Learning how to repair the radiant heat system in a raised floor will help to keep your home warm and toasty throughout the year. Radiant heat systems are under floor heating systems which produce heat using hot water or electricity. In this article repairing the systems used under raised floors will specifically be discussed.
Step 1 - Inspecting the Radiant Heating System
The first thing that you need to do is lift the access hatches in your raised floor so that you can actually see the heating system. Radiant heating systems are made up of a series of electrical wires or water pipes. This can make troubleshooting difficult because there is such a large area to inspect.
Water radiant heaters could be suffering from leaks or damaged pipes. Leaks are particularly common if the heating has not been used for a long time but water has been left in the pipes over the winter.
Step 2 - Identifying the Problem
If you have a water radiant heating system which is experiencing problems then the first thing to check is for the sign of any leaks. You might notice this by a damp patch on the floor under your raised floor. Try to locate the leak if your system appears to be losing water.
If the radiant heating doesn't get hot enough then this could be because your boiler is not powerful enough. Check the rating on your boiler.
An electric radiant heater works on a different principle. Instead of using hot water to transfer heat, a large electrical element is made and fixed under the floor. This will get hot as electricity flows through it. However there are a number of potential problems which can affect electric radiant heat floor systems.
Damage to the wires caused by rodents could cause the whole circuit to short out which could be potentially dangerous. Fuses and wiring could be other common problems.
Whichever type of system you have, you will need to try and identify what is causing the problem. Troubleshooting and finding out what is wrong will help you to put the problem right.
Step 3 - Repairing Problems
Hopefully by now you will have a good idea of the cause of the problem with your radiant heat system. The solution will depend very much on the problem and type of system you have. Look at the relevant sections below to find out how to repair these problems.
Step 4 - Fixing Water Leaks
This section only applies to you if you have a water based system which you suspect is suffering from a leak. Leaking pipes can be very damaging to your entire house which is why it's important to get the problem fixed as quickly as possible.
There are a number of different methods of fixing leaks. The easiest and quickest is to use fiberglass resin tape. This is a special type of tape which can be purchased from plumbing stores, designed specifically for leaking pipes. This needs to be soaked in water and then wrapped around the leak. If the leak is around connections then this technique will not be suitable and you will instead need to use epoxy resin. Alternately, replace the portions of pipe that have developed leaks.
If the problem is because the boiler isn't powerful enough then you will have no other choice than replacing the boiler.
Step 5 - Fixing Electrical Problems
Electrical problems could be something as simple as a blown fuse, so that's a good place to start. Lift up your flooring so that you can find out exactly what is happening. The most common cause of problems with electrical radiant floor heaters is due to mice and rats biting the wires, causing a short.
Start by fixing the problem, and then get rid of the cause by poisoning the rats or mice. Electrical problems can be difficult to fix and it's a good idea to consult a professional. Using electrical tape to insulate the wire again may be sufficient, but it may be necessary to replace the entire run of wiring.