Troubleshooting Floor Heating Vents

We don’t usually think of floor heating vents having problems but it can invariably happen. While some problems are fairly obvious, others can be more obscure. Whatever the problems turns out to be, you still need to be able to troubleshoot them in order to fix your floor heating vents.

Clogged Ducts

Your heating ducts are  never likely to become completely clogged but over time, items will fall into a floor heating vent especially if you have children. Where there are pets in the house, fur and dust will also accumulate in the ducts. In extreme cases, this could cause a blockage in the duct.

To check for blockages, lift off the floor heating vents and reach down to try and feel for any items. Because the ductwork will bend around, you might not be able to feel very far. Take the hose from your vacuum cleaner and feed it down the ductwork while it is turned on. This will suck up dust and fur as well as any small items, such as toys, that might have fallen into the ductwork

Water In Ducts

It might seem unlikely that you’d have water in your ducts but this can happen in some areas where the soil has a high clay content or if your house is built on a slab. In these instances, water can easily migrate into the ductwork. You need to get rid of the water because of the health problems it could cause.

To eliminate the immediate problem, use a wet/dry vac and suck the water out of the ductwork. Remove the floor heating vent and feed the hose down until you’ve sucked up all the water.

As a long term solution, you’ll need to dig a trench around your house about 6 feet from the building and angled toward the lowest part of your property. Make it 2 feet deep and line it with heavy gravel before putting in a 4 inch perforated pipe. Add about 16 inches of fine gravel then top with sod. This will help keep water away from your house and out of your ductwork.

Musty Smell

A musty smell from your floor heating vents is a sign that you have mold in your ductwork. It’s important to discover where it originates from in order to solve the problem. Turn the heat up then close the floor heating vent in one room and see if that stop the smell. If not, open that vent and close a vent in a different room. Keep doing this until you’ve isolated the cause of the problem. You may have to replace the ductwork running to that area in order to fully get rid of the mold.

Vent Cover

If you’re having problems removing the floor heating vent cover, it could be due to the fact that your wood floor has expanded because of heat or because it’s has become soaked at some point. Ease a chisel between the cover and the floor with the bevel side down, and do the same with and chisel on the opposite side. Gradually ease the floor heating vent cover up until you can remove it then use a saw to enlarge the opening.