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Diagnosing / locating radiant floor leak

woobagooba
woobagooba Member Posts: 129
Situation is Climate Panel install was left pressurized to 95 PSI (air). Half of finished floor (3/4 oak) was laid down. Pressure gauge now reads 25. Assuming the pressure drop was caused by a nail strike on the tubing, what are the tactics to locate the leak?

Comments

  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,788
    The simplest way would be to air it back up and listen for the leak with a stethoscope, electronic ground mike, or screwdriver behind the ear. Putting some water in the system will make the noise louder but has other undesirable consequences.
    If that does not work, you can fill the system with helium and find it with a helium detector. Professional leak detection companies are usually set up for this.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • woobagooba
    woobagooba Member Posts: 129
    Helpful Zman thank you. I'd been considering filling with hot water and using an IR camera, but don't want to soak the flooring.
  • More often than not, the leak is in the manifold or test equipment. Check with a bubbly leak detector.
    Often wrong, never in doubt.
    STEVEusaPAZman
  • woobagooba
    woobagooba Member Posts: 129
    edited August 30
    Pressurized the system with water, revealed at least one direct hit. Flooring will be coming up.


    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
  • woobagooba
    woobagooba Member Posts: 129
    The finished floor is now in the dumpster. Loop has been replaced. System will be commissioned and an IR camera on hand for next attempt to put down the flooring.
    ZmanAlan (California Radiant) Forbes
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,668
    Connect it to a well/air compressor type pumptrol with a battery and buzzer on it that will go off if the pressure drops?
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,680
    edited September 3
    I know I told this story before, a cousin in the city was having a radiant floor poured.
    His brother was on site to monitor the air pressure on the manifold.
    It suddenly dropped, they stopped the pour.
    It turned out that one of the concrete guys threw a cigarette down and it burned thru a tube.
    You probably couldn't hit that tube again if you tried.

    Something to consider on the construction site.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,788

    The finished floor is now in the dumpster. Loop has been replaced. System will be commissioned and an IR camera on hand for next attempt to put down the flooring.

    I fixed a job once where they hit the tubes in dozens of spots. It took a couple of years for the staples to rust and leaks to start.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • I fixed a job once where they hit the tubes in dozens of spots. It took a couple of years for the staples to rust and leaks to start.


    Me too. The contractor put sleepers down, we installed tubing between them and they poured concrete to cover the tubing to the level of the sleepers. The flooring contractor was supposed to nail his flooring to the sleepers, but he either didn't get enough sleep or let his mind wander. He nailed the tubing in multiple spots. A few months later after the family moved in, it started leaking.

    The GC sued the flooring contractor and the flooring contractor sued me for putting the tubing where his nails went. My insurance company's law firm told him to drop the suit and settle out of court, otherwise if he lost, he would have to pay legal fees as well. He lost and even though he was silly to persist, I felt bad because it probably ruined his business.

    Often wrong, never in doubt.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,788
    edited September 3

    I fixed a job once where they hit the tubes in dozens of spots. It took a couple of years for the staples to rust and leaks to start.


    Me too. The contractor put sleepers down, we installed tubing between them and they poured concrete to cover the tubing to the level of the sleepers. The flooring contractor was supposed to nail his flooring to the sleepers, but he either didn't get enough sleep or let his mind wander. He nailed the tubing in multiple spots. A few months later after the family moved in, it started leaking.

    The GC sued the flooring contractor and the flooring contractor sued me for putting the tubing where his nails went. My insurance company's law firm told him to drop the suit and settle out of court, otherwise if he lost, he would have to pay legal fees as well. He lost and even though he was silly to persist, I felt bad because it probably ruined his business.

    You should have been more careful in your tubing placement. :s
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    Alan (California Radiant) ForbesCanucker
  • woobagooba
    woobagooba Member Posts: 129
    I did not like the risk of this assembly before we installed and like it even less now. I generally avoid systems that prohibit service after install.

    The rest of the house is cast baseboard and we had no place to put hydronic baseboard in this room. Past experience with noisy and failing kick heaters meant they were not an option. That left us with either above or below subfloor radiant tubing. We opted for above w/ lower water temperature and easier install.