Electric Underfloor Heating – What Can Go Wrong?

Electric underfloor heating systems are a modern incarnation of an ancient engineering system. Whether you trace electric underfloor heating systems to the ondol fireplaces venting hot air under the floors in Korea and China or Roman hypocausts, the value of warm floors in keeping buildings habitable and comfortable in winter has been known for thousands of years and around the world. The only major change has been the shift from steam and smoky exhaust to electric heating elements. What are some of the most common electric underfloor heating problems not caused by installation or failure in the control system?

If you install new wood floors or tile, you risk damaging the electric underfloor heating system. Even if there is no damage, overly thick tile or flooring may prevent you from feeling the system’s warmth. Spills can cause local problems with electric underfloor heating, such as shorting out elements.

A significant cause of electric underfloor heating problems is water related. If you have a pipe leaking into the foundation or wall supplying electricity to the heating system, it can be damaged.

Shifting foundations can break electric underfloor heating elements. This problem is most prevalent in electric underfloor heating systems installed or mounted to concrete foundations. This is less of a concern in pier and beam homes with the electric underfloor heating system lying below the shifting floor. Cracks in the foundation can also cause heated air to escape outside instead of warming your home.

Do you have pests beneath your house? Are they digging under the foundation? If so, this may cause problems if they chew through wire insulation or dig around heating wires and cause them to shift and break. Squirrels, mice and even crazy raspberry ants have been known to chew through electrical insulation around cables. If the pests attack the wiring, you may experience occasional electrical problems. However, you will have to get rid of the pests before you can mend the electric underfloor heating problems.

If you want to find out more about underfloor heating – or find answers to questions such as how much is underfloor heating? then why not take a look at About Underfloor Heating which offers lots of independent underfloor heating information. Mark Richards is a freelance writer who writes for lots of well known home and garden publications.

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