Recently, a Team Handyman client from Amesbury, MA contacted us about a leak in her radiant heat system. The crawl space below her living room floor had sustained moderate water damage. Our technician inspected the heat system and determined that several compression joints were leaking.

Unfortunately, the previous homeowner had installed the system himself! in order to flip the house and several things were wrong with the installation.

• In this installation, 7/8″ tubing was used. In most radiant heat systems 3/8″ or 1/2″ tubing is used. This diameter allows for the flexibility needed to weave back and forth between and through the joists without having to cut the tubing and add a fitting. The larger 7/8” diameter is ridged in nature and cannot be wound, as a continuous loop, through all the floor joists in the crawl space.


• Several cuts were made in the tubing, thus requiring a compression fitting at each cut. Each fitted joint is vulnerable to leaking. In addition, these joists were under a floor that would not be accessed, or visible, on a regular basis.

• The miscellaneous fittings were known to be leaking at installation! Notice the plastic wrap that was applied around the fittings!

• The insulation was installed incorrectly. The vapor barrier was placed towards the cold side and it should have been placed towards the heat side. This trapped condensation within the floor cavity, thus adding to the moisture problem. Please click here for more information on vapor barriers.  For those who like all the technical information, please click here.

• There was no vapor barrier installed over the dirt floor. The lack of a vapor barrier covering the moist dirt also added to the problem of condensation.

Because of the substandard nature of the material and the fact that a qualified technician did not install the radiant heat system, the new homeowner incurred costs that could have been avoided.

TIPS:

When selecting a company to work in your home, you will be better served if the quality of the company and its work is your determining factor – rather than the hourly rate. In the long run, a company with honest, qualified technicians – like us – will save the consumer money, time and aggravation. Team Handyman is committed to serving our customers with care!

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