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Radiant heat is becoming a popular energy-saving device in homes, but the expense of fitting the system often makes people concerned about how much it would cost to repair a radiant heating system if they were installed. Much of the price of installing a radiant heat system can be blamed on the expensive concrete needed to shield rooms from cold, but the cost of repairing a radiant heat device, or the whole system, can also be quite high.
Radiant heating repair costs can involve fixing the heating system itself, or part of the device. This can be complex if you are using a ceiling radiant heat, for example, tiles alongside the source of warmth. Ceiling tiles can often be damaged by the heat, so this is one area in which good maintenance is a requirement. Not only will the ceiling tiles have to be replaced with ones which can absorb radiant heat, but with older models you may need to have the tiles analyzed for traces of asbestos or other harmful materials. You may also need to have repairs performed to the heating unit which will involve removing it from the ceiling for a period.
Downfalls of Ceiling Heat
One of the biggest side effects of using a ceiling radiant heat system is that it can cause cracking and peeling in the ceiling above. Radiant heat can sometimes over-dry plaster and ceiling tiles, meaning that it comes away from the board above it. It can also cause damage to ceiling pipes above, and these may need replacing more frequently than before. It is a good idea to have your ceiling checked and even re-plastered before the radiant heat unit is installed, as this will prevent it from sagging and cracking once the heating system is in use.
Copper & Steel Tubes
Broken wires are trapped between flooring surfaces and are difficult to repair. Tubing is also in the flooring and can be difficult to get at depending upon installation.
When a leak occurs in the concealed tubing of the radiant panel, all copper tube systems are completely repairable. Because of the "closed-loop" environment there is absolutely no electrolytic degradation of the copper tubing.
For the most part, steel tube radiant panel systems cannot be repaired because once they begin leaking, it is an actual degradation and deterioration problem which can only aggravate more problems by attempting to fix it. This is not to say all steel systems will eventually leak. If they were installed at the proper height in the concrete and the protective plastic coating was undamaged during the concrete pour, they can last many years. It is the steel tube systems which were pushed below the bottom of the slab and subjected to degradation from external environmental factors that have failed.
Not Enough Heat
Electric radiant heating systems provide a low heat under floors and in ceilings. This low heat slowly builds up and makes the surface warm to the touch, and heats the room up a bit. Radiant heat systems can heat up to as high as 95 degrees F. While the system will not function at optimal levels, it can also be installed under hardwood, vinyl, and wall to wall carpet. The reason why these floor coverings do not work well with electric radiant heating is because they act as insulators, blocking the heat from the room.
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