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  1. #1
    steve ostenso's Avatar
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    Default In floor heating

    I am going to inspect a home with an in-floor hydronic heating system. This is new to me and I was wondering if anyone has any tips on what to specifically look for. Thanks everyone.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: In floor heating

    Quote Originally Posted by steve ostenso View Post
    I am going to inspect a home with an in-floor hydronic heating system. This is new to me and I was wondering if anyone has any tips on what to specifically look for. Thanks everyone.
    I had one a few months back.. It will add some time to your inspection, or it did to mine.. Each room had it own thermostat/control for the heat.

    This home used a special WH and not a a boiler to heat the water. It had one room with all of the controls and valves for the system. The system was already on when I arrived but they had all of the rooms turned down to 60f so nothing was flowing through the lines. This made it easy to go to each thermostat and turn it on and then soot the floor with my IR thermometer. By doing it this way I was able to locate a few dead spots that were not warming like the rest of the room.

    This was only my third home with hydronic floor heat, so my technical expertise is very limited with them. In the end I located some problems with it but as far as knowing or being able to do much more than turning it on and looking for leaks that is about all I could do.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: In floor heating

    What Scott says. Manipulate the thermostats, take temp measurements, give it 15-20 mins, check for temp changes.

    In the boiler room, check for circulation pumps working. Lay a hand on it, you can feel it if it's pumping. Makeup water should come in thru a check valve. There should be an isolation valve and a thermostat for every zone or loop. Expansion tank, PRV. Check for gas supply safety and venting, etc.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

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    Default Re: In floor heating

    I have lots of houses with it here. If it's in the slab, you probably won't notice much of a difference in 3 or 4 hours. Check for type of tubing. If it's an older house you may find PB tubing or Entran II. If it's PEX, make sure it has an oxygen barrier.

    The normal boiler / water heater stuff is in play for the heat source.

    If you have a normal efficiency boiler, as in not a condensing type, look for a tempering valve. This allows the boiler to run at high temperature yet deliver lower temperature water to the in floor tubing.

    If it's a staple up system under the floor, try to verify insulation with foil facing up towards the heat tubing.

    I add a disclaimer about zones on the wrong t-stat, leaks under the slab, etc. There are a lot of variables present that determine how well the system will work, and almost none of them are going to be visible at the home inspection.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  5. #5
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    Default Re: In floor heating

    Those heating systems is just one of the things which can be done quickly if one had an infrared camera as that camera would tell you right away what was working and not working.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: In floor heating

    check the SN of boiler which life expectancy is 20-25 yrs, also working T & P; turn all the thermostats on, it takes up to 3 hours to get to the setting T sometimes; watch the combustion if possible & leaking expansion tank or dripping PRV or noise pump; touch the pipe before & after zone valves to make sure they are effective; watch the vent; watch the floor & ceiling for any leaking sign; may be more but I am stuck here now


  7. #7
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    Default Re: In floor heating

    Once upon a time, I would crawl around on the floor to see how evenly the heat seemed to be distributed. Now, with my handy-dandy IR camera, I turn on the heat, go do some other work for a bit, and come back with my camera and immediately see how well the system is working. It'll also pick up leaks.

    But, check to make sure that the plumbing isn't Entran II.

    How do I know if Entran II Entran 2 is installed in my house?

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: In floor heating

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    Once upon a time, I would crawl around on the floor to see how evenly the heat seemed to be distributed. Now, with my handy-dandy IR camera, I turn on the heat, go do some other work for a bit, and come back with my camera and immediately see how well the system is working. It'll also pick up leaks.

    But, check to make sure that the plumbing isn't Entran II.

    How do I know if Entran II Entran 2 is installed in my house?
    Using IR to Check the pipe distributed & leaks is kind of ads more than practical. No matter how bad the workmanship the in-floor pipe arranged, it will offer even heat more than forced air furnance. I do not think any clients could drop the deal for uneven heat distributed as long as the room got heat. Even tiny leaks will be apparent.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: In floor heating

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    Using IR to Check the pipe distributed & leaks is kind of ads more than practical.
    I can tell that you have not used an infrared camera, otherwise you would not feel that way.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10

    Default Re: In floor heating

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: In floor heating

    Quote Originally Posted by Dana Bostick View Post

    Good luck seeing that with a laser thermometer.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: In floor heating

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Those heating systems is just one of the things which can be done quickly if one had an infrared camera as that camera would tell you right away what was working and not working.

    Yes, Jerry. I have not got an IR but I kept watching it. I do not think this is the way to check boiler heating.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: In floor heating

    Quote Originally Posted by Dana Bostick View Post

    Does it mean anything on a home inspection?


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