Radiant Heating - Home Inspector
home inspection tech talk

Radiant Floor Heating

There are good advantages to radiant floor heating. This type of heating provides a very even distribution of heat (when compared to systems such as forced warm systems). In bathrooms, its nice to come out of a shower and walk on a warm floor.

inspection of radiant heating

This photo illustrates a defect in older radiant floor heating systems. Hot water produced by a boiler is circulated through copper pipes embedded in a concrete slab on grade. The concrete slab becomes

warm as the hot water is circulated through the pipes, and then the slab radiates heat to the area above. Look at the arrows, during the home inspection these pipes were found to be disconnected and are capped off; therefore, the portions of the home heated via these loops will receive no heat, a serious defect. These pipes were capped off because there were leaks in the copper pipes within the floor slab. The other pipes may also develop leaks because these pipes are embedded in the concrete slab without any protective sheathing; the minerals in the concrete react with the copper pipes causing corrosion of the copper and eventual holes and leaks.

During the home inspection, the piping system was found to be poorly installed, there is a connection between the copper pipe and a black steel pipe without proper insulating material to prevent galvanic corrosion, and there are some other defects, but these are the majors. At the end of the day, there are parts of the home that were  unheated!

Improved installation techniques have been developed, for example,  the use of plastic piping in lieu of copper piping; this eliminates the corrosion problem with copper piping.

One consideration for homes with heated slabs on grade; if your home is located in an area that is susceptible to subterranean termites, heated grade slabs are an attraction to termites.

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