Troubleshooting Radiant Floor Heating Systems

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System Isn't Producing Enough Heat

  • Radiant Floor Heating Systems, for those unfamiliar with how they work, are a system of pipes located beneath a home or building's floorboards that continuously circulate warm water. The warmth from the water transfers itself to the metal of the pipes and then radiates to the floor above, heating it.

    If the system isn't producing enough heat, first check the two temperature gauges on the circulator pump. One gauge measures the temperature of the water as it leaves the pump to be circulated; the other gauge registers what temperature the water is as it returns to the heating tank. There should be a difference of roughly 15 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit between the two gauges. If there is less than a 15 degree Fahrenheit difference, it means that the heating tank thermostat needs to be raised higher. Should the thermostat being raised fail to raise amount of heat the pipes radiate, then the tank is of insufficient size to heat the volume of water flowing through the system and must be upgraded.

System Pressure Drops Consistently

  • If the system's pressure is slowly dropping (as can be seen on the pressure gauge connected to the circulator pump), there are two possible causes. The first is that the pump is underpowered for the amount of water it is being made to circulate. The second is that there is a leak in the pipes running beneath your floorboards. Do a quick check of your basement to see if any water is leaking through from above; this is a sure sign that a pipe has broken. If not, pry up a corner floorboard to check the pipes visually. If the pipes are sweating, if there is any condensation on the underside of the floorboards, or if there is a humid mildew-like smell, a pipe is leaking. Leave the circulator pump on and turn on the waste spigot at the base of your heating tank to drain the pipes. Turn off the pump and the heating tank and call a repair person to have the pipes fixed. If the pipes are not leaking, then you need to have the circulator pump upgraded.

System Is Producing too Much Heat

  • If the system is producing too much heat, check the two temperature gauges on the circulator pump. If the temperature of the water leaving the circulator to the radiating pipes is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then the thermostat on your heating tank is either set too high or broken. If the temperature of the water entering the circulator from the radiating pipes is less than 15 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the temperature of the water entering the pipes, then your circulator is overpowered for the size of your heating system. It's forcing too much water through the pipes and causing too much heat to build up. If possible, lower the rate of flow setting on the circulator. Otherwise have it downgraded.

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  • Photo Credit http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Circuit_de_menjador.JPG
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