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How to Repair a Radiant Floor Heat Mat System

Key Takeaways

  • The most common cause of performance issues with radiant floor heat mat systems is issues with the thermostat.
  • The second most common cause of a floor mat heating system failing to heat up is problems with the sensors.
  • If you have ruled out the thermostat or sensors as the cause of a heat mat system failing to work properly, and suspect the problem is due to damaged electrical wiring, you should seek the assistance of a qualified service technician or experienced electrician to diagnose and fix the problem.
Repairing radiant floor heat mat systems isn’t something that should be attempted by people without the right levels of expertise or those that aren’t qualified to work with electricity.

What Are Common Problems With Underfloor Heating?

When it comes to repairing underfloor radiant heating systems it is important to distinguish between electric radiant heat systems and hydronic radiant heat systems

This is because hydroponic underfloor heating has the potential to suffer from many more types of issues or failures than radiant electric underfloor heating.

Common Problems With Hydronic Underfloor Heating

hydronic underfloor heating

Hydronic underfloor heating uses a system of pipes fitted under the floor to circulate hot water that functions in much the same way as a traditional central heating system with radiators powered by a boiler or furnace. 

As such, they are prone to suffer from many of the same sorts of problems that can occur with those more common central heating systems. This can include issues such as

  • Trapped Air

The most common issue with hydronic or “wet” underfloor heating systems is trapped air in the pipes. Even with a constant flow of water, it is possible for air to make its way into the piping which can reduce or prevent the flow of water entirely. 

To resolve issues with trapped air you should bleed the pipes just as you would with normal radiators.

  • Blocked Pipes

Similarly, it is not uncommon over time for particulates of dirt, scum, and other detritus to build up in your pipes just as they can in normal central heating systems. Just like trapped air, these blockages can reduce water pressure resulting in a reduction in heat throughout the entire system. 

The best way to clear blocked pipes is to have the system power-flushed by a professional HVAC technician.

  • Leaks

Unfortunately, leaks are not uncommon with hydronic underfloor heating. Even more regrettably leaking pipes in underfloor heating have the potential to cause massive damage to your home. 

If you have a leak in the pipework of your traditional central heating or radiators the biggest issue you are likely to face is that the heating will no longer be able to reach your target temperatures. 

If you suffer from leaks in your hydronic underfloor heating pipework, it can cause extensive damage to your floors and ceilings (underfloor heating in bathrooms, for instance) and potentially ruin them completely. 

If you suspect you have leaking pipes you should call out a service technician from the manufacturer or other qualified HVAC technicians.

  • Screed

It is possible for the screed to compress and narrow the pipes if it was laid when the pipes weren’t fully pressurized. If this is the case, the pipes will never be able to reach optimal water pressure levels which will prevent rooms from being able to reach target temperatures.

Common Problems With Electric Radiant Underfloor Heating

electric radiant underfloor heating

Fortunately, electric radiant underfloor heating does not suffer from any common or frequently occurring because many of them, Like STEP Radiant Heat Mats, are self-regulating which makes it impossible for them to overheat. 

They also have no mechanical components or other moving parts that can fail over time. Which also means that are not in need of regular servicing or maintenance, which is a blessing after the initial investment for electric heat mats

Which isn’t to say that radiant floor heat mat systems never go wrong. On the rare occasions that radiant floor heat mats fail to work properly, the two most common causes are senor issues or problems with the thermostat.

How to Repair a Radiant Floor Heat Mat System

Check the Thermostat

If your heat mat system is not heating up at all then the problem is likely with the thermostat.

Ensure that the thermostat is set to the correct setting and make sure the battery charge hasn’t fallen to the point where the thermostat no longer functions.

checking the thermostat

Replace the Sensor(s)

Radiant heat floor mat systems have a number of systems throughout the mat network. If one of these has failed you will see an error code on the digital thermostat display. 

Should this be the case you should consult the accompanying STEP Heat manual to determine the next steps and possibly arrange for a visit from a service technician.

radiant floor heating mat

Repair or Replace Damaged Wires

Occasionally the wired heating cables can become damaged during the installation process. 

It is possible to test for damaged wires by using a digital ohmmeter and a digital circuit breaker if you are sufficiently qualified to carry out this kind of electrical work.

However, we recommend that if you suspect there is damaged wiring in your floor heat mat system you call out a qualified technician to deal with the issue.

checking of damaged wires

FAQs

How To Find A Leak In Radiant Floor Heating?

Whilst the symptoms of a leak in hydronic radiant floor heating may be readily apparent there is no simple way to go about finding the leak yourself. 

Should a leak occur, your only option is to call in a qualified technician to diagnose and fix the issue.

How Often Should Radiant Heat Be Serviced?

Electric radiant heat floor systems will never require servicing or any form of regular maintenance, it’s one of the many advantages of electric heat mats. 

Hydronic radiant heat systems require an annual service at the bare minimum if you want them to continue functioning at optimum levels of performance.

Conclusion

Repairing radiant floor heating mats isn’t something that most people that use them ever have to worry about. 

However, on rare occasions when problems do arise 9 times out of ten it will simply be a problem with the thermostat which you should easily be able to resolve yourself. 

If the problem doesn’t reside with the thermostat, and you suspect either faulty sensors or damaged wires you should consult with the manufacturer’s guide for the next steps and will likely need to call out a qualified underfloor heat mat technician to identify the issue and then provide a resolution.