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Failing to Protect the Tubing Bends

For decades, in-floor radiant heating systems have been extensively used in Europe. Many people that have chosen a radiant heating system are aware of how comfortable, quiet and cost-effective radiant heat is to operate.

Yet, with poor design and installation of a radiant heat system certain areas of your home may be cold, while others are hot. To ensure that your system will maintain a comfortable and uniform temperature, professional design and installation by a qualified in-floor radiant heating expert is advised.†

With radiant heat, uneven circuit lengths, insufficient tube size, improper tubing depths, and poor circuit layout can all affect individual areas, but I find that the most common problem with an in-floor radiant heating system stems from not properly positioning or installing bend protectors.

In fact, thatís what happened to Fred and Deb. They had to tear up part of their flooring because with their radiant flooring system the right side of their home was much colder than the left side.

You see, in larger homes or buildings it is quite common to break down a radiant heating system into three or more zones, each one providing a comfortable interior temperature control.

The proper zoning of a heating element, such as in-floor radiant heat, must take into consideration the size of zones, positioning of zones, direction the room faces, as well as the location of the thermostats for each individual zone.

Similar to all construction, it becomes vitally important to coordinate the trades so that problems are avoided.

With an in-floor radiant heating system, your radiant heat contractor may have designed the system properly. However, the concrete contractor pouring the slab may damage or adversely affect the performance of the system.

As well, many lackadaisical radiant heat installation teams donít take the care needed to do a suitable job. I hate to say it, but I have personally heard other contractors instruct their radiant heat staff to ignore kinks and rush through jobs, in hopes of a future repair call.

If there is a crimp or blockage it will affect the flow of fluid through your radiant heat line. A crimp will restrict the flow of fluid in the radiant heat tubing and the section of floor following the crimp would not get enough fluid to heat up properly, thus keeping it colder than the other.

Thatís why bend protectors become so important. Anytime your radiant heat tubing needs to make a sharp turn, the bend becomes venerable. Itís the bend protectors that safeguard the radiant heat tubes from kinking and ensures that water can continuously flow though them.

Another thing to consider; if your radiant heat lines are not well supported prior to the pouring of the concrete, or are ďsaggingĒ between supports, then the thickness of concrete above the lines will vary resulting in a non-uniform heat distribution.

If Fred and Deb had a radiant heat installer that believed in doing the best job possible, chances are they would have avoided the added expense of tearing up their flooring to fix the problem. Although they are now enjoying an even heat distribution, it was a costly error that could have been avoided.

When radiant heat is installed properly, bend protectors will eliminate many of the problems associated with cold and hot spots.

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Copyright 2006 Larry Lang All Rights Reserved.
Lang Enterprises Inc.

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