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Your in-floor heating system, also known as the radiant floor heating system, can last for many years if maintained properly. It’s in your best interest to ensure proper maintenance of the heating system if you want to save yourself from the trouble of installing a new one every few years.
Here are 6 ways to properly maintain your in-floor heating system:
- Ensure proper installation of your in-floor heating system.
- Get the in-floor heating system checked every year.
- Deal with any leaks immediately.
- Pay attention to noisy pumps.
- Replace your thermostat if it’s malfunctioning.
- Fix broken or damaged cables ASAP.
Radiant floor heating is typically installed beneath the floor of the house, thereby keeping your house warm from the bottom. This article will explore all the above strategies on maintaining your in-floor heating system in great detail. Keep reading to learn everything you need to do to ensure your in-floor heating system lasts for decades.
1. Ensure Proper Installation of Your In-Floor Heating System
Some people try to take a DIY approach with installing an in-floor heating system. While you can save some money upfront by doing it yourself, you’ll end up spending much more on maintenance and repair in the long run.
It’s always a good idea to get your in-floor heating system installed by a qualified professional. Doing so will save you from problems that may arise because of poor installation.
If you’re working with a radiant floor heating company, it will design and install the system for you. However, if you’re working with a contractor, make sure to hire someone who knows his job well and has previous experience.
Ensure that the person you’ve hired to do the job uses a proper radiant base system. This will prevent any complications in the future. Remember that circular pump failure is a common occurrence with the radiant floor heating system. So, take time to decide on the circular pump that fits your needs and ensure that your contractor follows the specifications and installation process recommended by the manufacturer.
2. Get the In-Floor Heating System Checked Every Year
Modern in-floor heating systems can last for many decades as long as you install them properly and pay attention to maintenance. Still, like any other HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system, it requires timely checks and proper maintenance to function smoothly.
To ensure the system’s longevity, you should get it inspected by a qualified HVAC professional once a year. If that’s not possible, do it at least once every three years. Hire the professional and have him inspect the condition of all safety and pressure relief valves. Also, have him clean the boiler and heat source and check if water pressure and fuel are in good working condition.
Some people flush the heating system themselves, which isn’t recommended. Instead of doing that, ask the HVAC professional to check if the pressure is sufficient. If the pressure is below the recommended level of 10 to 20 psi, they’ll flush the system for you.
3. Deal With Any Leaks Immediately
Even after proper installation and annual checks, there can be times when your radiant heating system will malfunction. It’s an infrequent occurrence, but it happens. Over the years, your heating system will suffer some wear and tear. Sometimes, this can result in leakage.
An in-floor heating system is a closed system, but the leakage means oxygen can get into the water. If this situation is not dealt with promptly, it can eventually corrode the entire pipe.
If the pipe has a leak, the best thing to do is get it fixed as soon as possible. Don’t worry; it’s fairly easy to repair copper pipes. However, if the pipes are made of steel, repairing them isn’t possible. In that case, you’ll have to replace the corroded pipes with new ones.
These days polyethylene (PEX) tubes are becoming quite popular, and they last up to 50 years. If you need to replace your old pipes, consider using PEX tubes. It’ll save you from dealing with the headache of leakage in the future.
4. Pay Attention to Noisy Pumps
If you have a recently-installed radiant floor heating system, you may have noticed it doesn’t make much noise. This is because the modern heating system is designed to work quietly. However, older heating systems tend to generate some noise, but it isn’t necessarily a sign that something is wrong.
Still, you should pay attention to the sounds. If at any point the noise becomes excessive, you may want to have it checked. Usually, excessive noise is a sign that some part isn’t working as expected and needs to be replaced.
5. Replace Your Thermostat if It’s Malfunctioning
A thermostat ensures your electric radiant heating system works at the desired temperature. It doesn’t run the entire time but gets to work when needed.
However, if the thermostat malfunctions, your electrical radiant heating system can keep running even when you don’t need it, thus increasing your utility cost. Another possibility with a broken thermostat is that your heating system can stop working, thereby turning your place cold.
The good thing is that fixing a broken thermostat isn’t complicated. All you need to do is order a new thermostat for your specific heating system and replace the old one. Anyone with little knowledge of electrical work can do this. However, if you aren’t comfortable doing this on your own, you can hire someone to do it for you.
6. Fix Broken or Damaged Cables ASAP
If you recently drilled into your floor or altered it somehow and your electrical radiant heating system has been malfunctioning since it means your in-floor heating cables are damaged or broken. This is pretty dangerous as it can lead to a fire hazard.
In such a case, you need to seek the help of an HVAC technician and get the cables fixed immediately. Also, in the future, use a thermal camera to help locate wires under your floor before you proceed to drill a hole or alter it in any way.
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Giovanni Valle is an architect, designer, internet entrepreneur, and the managing editor of various digital publications including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place. He is the founder of BuilderSpace LLC.