In existence for centuries, radiant floor heating was first developed by ancient Chinese engineers and further developed by ancient Roman inventors.
In recent years, it has become a popular fixture in homes and commercial spaces due to its energy efficiency and gentle heat output.
However, ignoring potential issues can lead to bigger problems that require extensive repairs for your home or business.
If you notice uneven heating, inconsistent temperature control, or overall system malfunction in your electrical or hydronic radiant heat system,
continue reading to discover the best initial steps to take and what to do next.
Troubleshooting Radiant Floor Heat System
Identify the source of your radiant heat:
If you did not install your heating system, you need to determine the type of radiant heating in your space.
Each type of radiant heat (electric & hydronic) comes with a different set of potential problems.
Examine your valves:
The most straightforward solutions are usually the ones you should investigate first.
If you have a hydronic radiant floor system, begin by examining the radiant heat valves’ temperature settings.
Adjusting the valves to the appropriate temperature is free and easy.
Inspect the thermostat sensors:
Another step you can take on your own is to check your temperature sensors for accuracy.
Incorrect signals from your thermostat to the heater can occur if the sensors are not properly calibrated.
Seek professional help:
If you have examined the valves and sensors and the problem persists, it is time to contact a professional.
Many HVAC or radiant heat companies offer rental DIY kits for simple fixes, and they are equipped to handle more challenging issues if necessary.
Common Issues with Electric Radiant Heating Systems.
1. Thermostat Functionality:
The most essential element of electric radiant heat is its thermostat an operational thermostat plays a big part in reducing your electricity bill.
Because it minimizes the use of the electric floor heating when it’s needed or either it will remain to be turned off.
Even though it’s one of the most important parts, you will be shocked by hearing that it’s the part that gets malfunctioned more often in an electric radiant system.
A malfunctioned or broken thermostat is harmless, but it gets your radiant heating system to shut down or operate excessively which can exceed your energy bills.
How to resolve the issue: Usually, a broken thermostat is beyond repair, installing a new one is an easy and cost-effective solution.
Simply determine the model you need, order it, and replace the old thermostat with the new one by rewiring it.
If you lack electrical knowledge, you can always seek the help of a local handyman to install the new thermostat for you.
2. Electric Cables Getting Damaged:
The In-floor heating wires are very fragile, even though they are safeguarded by the floor itself, even then there is a chance for several incidents that can cause damage to them.
Your electric cables can become faulty, if you have recently drilled a hole in your floor.
So now you should seek assistance from a professional immediately to prevent any damage. Because it can cause a fire by a shock circuit.
You should first use a thermal imaging camera that has the ability to detect wires underneath your floor before making any alterations or drilling.
But if even then you sense some issues with your radiant heating system, call a radiant professional directly.
How to resolve the issue: If it is too late for prevention and you are on the mending side of things, fixing the issue can be straightforward if you are good with electrical tools.
By using a cable defect detector and thermal imaging camera, you can locate where the problem has occurred.
After determining the problem’s position, you will only need to lift the flooring in that area to patch the issue.
If this appears daunting, consult your local HVAC specialist for assistance rather than attempting to do any electrical repairs yourself.
3. Malfunctioning Heating Mat:
If you have tried all the troubleshooting techniques and still haven’t diagnosed the problem, it can be possible that your heating mat is malfunctioning.
This is one of the most unfortunate and expensive problems to deal with.
Radiant heating mats are very durable and they last long but still they can encounter some issues and resolving them can be a pretty tough job to be executed perfectly by yourself.
To avoid any electrical hazards, it’s important to disconnect the power to the mat until it can be inspected since damaged wires can result in smoke or fire.
How to resolve the issue: Unless the malfunction is isolated to one or a few specific areas, replacing the entire heating mat is often necessary, making it the last resort.
The repair technician will need to remove the flooring in the entire room and replace the mat with a new one.
If you are skilled at DIY projects, you may be able to replace the mat yourself; otherwise, it is best to contact your local HVAC technician for assistance.
Common Issues with Hydronic Radiant Heating Systems
1. Troubles with Zone Valves:
Zone valves are responsible for transporting water from your boiler to your under-floor heating system.
If these valves malfunction, either due to incorrect installation or wear and tear, it can lead to inconsistent water flow or even complete stoppage.
This can cause unpredictable radiant heat function.
Although this is not usually hazardous, a malfunctioning valve can lead to increased expenses and energy consumption.
Because your system works harder to compensate for the deficiency.
Fortunately, resolving this issue is often a straightforward process.
If you are experiencing inconsistent heating patterns, try the following remedies.
How to resolve the issue: To resolve the issue, you should begin by checking the transformer first, so that there are no blown fuses.
If you find some, replacing them with a fuse switch will resolve the problem for you.
But If the issue prevails, you should hire a professional as it may be complicated for you.
A skilled technician will properly diagnose any issues in the valves, which may cause you minimal expenses.
They will also examine the transformer, to ensure that the valves are not properly installed in it.
And check the gears that have been worn out so that they can easily repair them.
2. Corroded or Defective Pipes
Although most plumbing installers are made up of high-quality pipes to last for a lifetime, imperfections may still occur.
Over time, the constant use of pipes can cause weakening.
So because of that, you have to start resolving it hence you will be replacing flooring or updating plumbing systems that will further expose and worsen underlying faults in piping.
If you are experiencing symptoms similar to those of faulty zone valves, the cause might be rusty or defective piping.
If all the valves are functioning properly but the heating is not consistent as it should be, then it is also an issue to investigate.
Another sign of damaged or corroded hydronic radiant floor heating piping is water damage to the floor,
around the baseboards, and at the bottom of the door trim, as well as water stains on ceilings located under the doubted piping.
How to resolve the issue: Keep in mind that damaged floor heating piping isn’t something that you can easily fix by yourself.
Because the procedure is precise that consists of removing and replacing piping, as well as tearing up and replacing your flooring.
This can cost you a lot and is also a time-consuming task to resolve your radiant heating issues.
You should hire the assistance of a trained professional such as an HVAC technician who can help you identify the problem professionally.
3. Air Locks
In hydronic water radiant floor heat systems, air locks can occur unexpectedly, despite proper planning and installation.
If an open-loop process was used during installation, disturbances in the water supply can lead to the formation of an oxygen bubble that blocks the piping.
Disrupting the floor heat just like a faucet.
While typically harmless, air locks can sometimes cause overheating and flooding, resulting in a malfunctioning heating system.
If your floor heat system is partially or completely nonfunctional, an airlock could be to blame.
How to solve the issue: If you have technical expertise, you can attempt to fix the issue yourself using the flushing process described in your hydronic water system’s manual.
Which is the same as the one used during installation.
However, if you lack confidence in your abilities, it’s best to call in a professional HVAC technician…
Or a hydronic water radiant heat expert to assist you, as attempting to fix the problem on your own can cause further damage.
To fix radiant floor heating you need to start by identifying the problem. If the floor is not heating up, check if the thermostat is working properly and the boiler is producing enough heat.
If the problem persists, there might be a leak in the pipes, so you should call a professional plumber to check them.
It is important to keep the system well maintained by checking it regularly and replacing any damaged parts.
Remember safety always comes first, so make sure to turn off the power and follow proper procedure when fixing your radiant floor heating.