>> Watch our “How to repair a Warmup heating cable” video and learn how to repair a radiant floor heating system.
WHAT COULD DAMAGE & HOW CAN I REPAIR A RADIANT FLOOR HEATING SYSTEM?
One of the attractions of electric radiant floor heating systems is that if they are installed properly, it is unlikely you will have any issues with them operating properly. This is due, in part, to the fact that there are no moving parts involved and that your electric floor heating system will be protected by the materials it is encapsulated in and/or covered by. Nonetheless, issues due sometimes occur, 100% of the time due to not following the installation instructions.
Here are some examples:
- Not taking the ohm readings of the floor heating system with a digital multimeter. It has to be done before, during and after installation (prior to encapsulation in thinset or floor leveler when applicable as well before the floor covering is applied), thus allowing you to detect any accidental damage that might have been caused while the wire is exposed in the initial laying out of the wire.
- Not ensuring that the factory joint (when applicable) is encapsulated in thinset or floor leveler to prevent a break once the floor heating system is powered on.
- Not having the correct circuit breaker installed to power the electric heating system. For example, if you connect a 120V floor heating system to a 240V circuit in your electrical panel, you will first receive a warning from your thermostat in the form of a message and/or constant tripping. In this scenario, you will typically experience a break at the factory joint, end cap and/or at a weakened part of the wire damaged at the installation phase that was not identified due to not taking the required ohm readings.
If there is an issue with your radiant floor heating system, one of the more obvious indicators will be related to your floor not heating up enough (or not at all) in some parts (or all parts) of your floor, where it is installed. Another indicator, as mentioned previously, will be a constant tripping of your ground fault indicator, either on your floor heating thermostat or at the breaker itself.
ONCE DAMAGE HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED, HOW TO REPAIR A RADIANT FLOOR HEATING SYSTEM?
Since we have identified some of the things that could damage your electric floor heating system, one question that comes up is, “How do I locate the problem area, in the form of a short or break, underneath my floor covering?”.
The good news is that the entire floor does not have to be removed thanks to a handy device Warmup makes available at no cost (on a rental basis) called a TDR (Time Domain Reflectometer) meter. This device actually has a lot in common with a rescue dog. They are both used to sniff out their objective; they just go about it differently. So how does a TDR meter “sniff” out a short or break in your electric floor heating system?
Basically, once properly connected to your unpowered system, it sends an electrical pulse through the connected cable, traveling along until it reaches the short or break and then goes back to the TDR meter. The time it took for that pulse to reach the problem area is measured and converted to a distance reading that allows your electrician to ascertain approximately where the issue is.
Read our guide: “How to use a TDR meter to locate a fault in your heating system?“.
For an easier repair process, it will be important for you to know the size of the electric floor heating system that was installed, as well as having, at the very least, a general idea of the layout.
Feel free to speak to one of our representatives for more details regarding the use of this helpful troubleshooting device.