How to find out if your underfloor heating is leaking

How to find damaged pipes in a warm water floor

For many of us, self-contained heating system is truly a wand, thanks to which you can make almost any home comfortable and cozy. Underfloor heating is one of the most comfortable, efficient and convenient ways to heat your living spaces. Despite the relative simplicity of design and clear scheme of operation, even these heating systems can fail. Emergencies in this case is a rare phenomenon, however, often quite unpleasant. The main problem faced by the owners of private houses and apartments in this situation is damage to the water circuit. In view of violations in technological processes and or as a result of mechanical damage to the pipeline, there is a leak.

If you find faults in the heating system, it means that you have damage in the warm floor. If you can see traces of leaking coolant, the pressure in the system has dropped, it is necessary to urgently eliminate the situation. Otherwise, the situation threatens a new overhaul of the screed, reconstruction of the floor covering. How to find damaged water floor pipes, what is the algorithm of action in such a situation, let’s consider in detail.

How to find a leak in the floor heating

Underfloor heating has become very popular, it is installed in bathrooms, restrooms, kitchens and simply in living rooms, even despite the restrictions on the installation of such systems in apartment buildings. The ban is not entered in vain quite often there are cases of leaks leading to the flooding of neighbors, dampness, destruction of floor slabs and other unfortunate consequences.

Worst of all, a breakage is hard to detect. Often the pipes are connected directly to the centralized heating system and the owner can only find out about the problem from the neighbors below. If there is a separate boiler in the apartment or house the pressure in the boiler will constantly drop, it will be shown by the manometer.

Types of services Investigation area up to 50 m2 Examination area up to 100 m2 Examination area up to 150 m2 survey area over 150 m2
Leak detection in underfloor heating 5000 6000 7000 contractual
Repair, repair, installation and commissioning 5000
Tracing (wiring) of underfloor heating circuits 4000 5000 6000 contractual
Development of executive documentation (scheme-plan) 7000

Cashless payment is possible (are listed excluding VAT 18%);

Outside the Moscow Ring Road add transportation costs at the rate of: 30/km.

Why is the floor leaking?

The most common cause of defective pipes. Often the products of unknown manufacturers have non-uniform thickness: with the increase of temperature and pressure the coolant breaks the weak points and finds the way out.

The second cause is a bad connection of pipes. Experienced builders when installing systems recommend customers not to save money and to lay under the floor in one piece, bringing the fittings to the outside.

The third cause of installers’ mistakes. On the pipe could have been stepped on, missed the hammer or something heavy, from which it was deformed and there were micro cracks. It is impossible to identify the damage by eye, because visually it is intact, but it can burst at any time.

The fourth cause of screed error.

As you can see, the risk of getting defects is quite high.

What to do if the floor is warm?

If the crack is small and about a glass of water per day, then you have time and do not need to worry, even if the leak occurred in the middle of the heating season. Hopefully you had good builders and installed shutoff valves in each area of the underfloor heating.

Just disconnect it from the heating system and contact a MosTeploAudit technician to solve the problem. In any case, you will have to remove the coating, break the screed, repair the pipe, but our technicians will determine the location of the leak to within a few millimeters and do not have to break and open everything, and this is important.


Thermogram 1. The exact location of the leak in the water underfloor heating circuit, recessed in the thickness of the floor screed, at a depth of 10 cm, has been determined and fixed.

How to find a leak?

The surest way to detect leaks is to use a thermal imaging camera. On it you will immediately see the problematic pipe and within a few millimeters, you can determine the exact place where the floor heating is leaking. Once the defects are detected and fixed, a thermal report is produced with recommendations for fixing them. You just have to fix the leak according to our report and the system can be started again.

Thermogram 2. The exact zone of depressurization of the circuit inside the first floor floor screed is detected and indicated on the thermogram in the characteristic infra-color spectrum. Agent (hot water) spill area is small.

The good thing about thermal imaging is that you don’t have to shut the entire system down, it can quickly and accurately show you the location of the leak. Other diagnostic options are much more primitive, some people look for leaks by covering the floor with cellophane film. After a few hours, if your screed is thin and dry enough, moisture droplets may appear on the film. Of course, we are not talking about any precision will have to disassemble quite a piece of coverage.

Thermogram 3. Exact location of depressurization of the circuit is detected. According to the results of tracing it is clear that the emergency circuit as a result of the coolant output has a breach of thermal homogeneity, in other words overheating.

If there is no leakage in the form of liquid (you can tell by the wet spot). it is necessary to search with a soap solution (you can use a brush or a sprayer) in places of possible depressurization of air on the top of the system. There will be bubbles. After all, the excess pressure is going somewhere? There is no wet leakage of liquid (you did not write whether everything is dry under the radiators, pipes, boiler). You have to look at the top: Boiler, expansion tank, pressure gauge connection It is strange that the valve is just in the middle of the pipe! If there will be overpressure, it should pour directly into the room?? ? This is the way to look for punctures in the wheel, check the tightness of the gas equipment.

What to do then?

After diagnosing the location of water leaks in the pipe in an apartment or private home must somehow solve the problem. If you live in a private home, then close off the leaking branch and call a handyman who will eliminate the leak with minimal damage.

Keep in mind that to repair plastic pipes with standard fittings is to aggravate the situation. After a while the joints will certainly start to leak. That is why professional builders never embed them into walls or under the floor and leave them accessible. Nuts on them have to be periodically tightened.

It is better to change the whole pipe. With metal pipes is easier. it is enough to apply a clamp. In multi-storey buildings the situation is more complicated. you have to block the entire riser and look for a master from the local service company.

Thermogram 3. Identified the exact location of a hidden depressurization of the heating line, on the section of the corner joint, located in the floor screed, to a depth of 10 cm.

Thermogram 4. Determined the exact location of hidden depressurization of the DHW line on the welded, angled joint located in the floor screed.

It is worth noting that, provided the use of quality pipes and fittings, service life will be at least 50 years. During this time, the occurrence of leaks due to the thinning strength of the water circuit wall is excluded. But despite this, the probability of a water heated floor leak still exists.

Usually leaks occur for the following reasons:

    Carrying out repair work. Most often the integrity of the contour is damaged in the laying of the floor covering, as well as when it is necessary to fix, any structure on the already poured foundation.

What to do afterwards?

After diagnosing the location of a water leak in a pipe in an apartment or private home, it is necessary to somehow solve the problem. If you live in a private home, then shut off the leaking branch and call the masters, who will eliminate the leak with minimal damage.

DN-II Automatic Water Leak Detector for Floor Heating System

Keep in mind that repairing metal plastic pipes with standard fittings is quick and easy, it takes a few minutes to press the coupling. Replaced joints with new ones are unlikely to start leaking. Professional builders try not to embed metal joints into walls or under the floor and leave them accessible. Nuts on them have to be periodically tightened, especially on the circuits of hot water, to conduct the so-called revision. However, if this is not done and there is a leak. don’t get discouraged, there’s no need to break anything. In the 21st century, all problems can be solved in minutes!

If plumbers with past thinking and hacks advise to change the entire pipe, break here, and then we’ll need to do that, just call us! With metal pipes it is easier enough to put a clamp or weld. In multi-storey buildings, the situation is more complicated, you may have to block the entire riser and look for a master from the local service company. But to diagnose with a thermal imager, you do not need to shut off anything, there should be a leak at the time of the inspection. You just call in an emergency.

Thermogram 3. The exact place of the hidden depressurization of the heating line at the corner joint in the floor screed at a depth of 10 cm has been determined.

Thermogram 4. Determined the exact location of hidden depressurization of the DHW line on the welded, angled joint located in the floor screed.

How to find a broken floor heating cable

To avoid having to tear down the entire screed with the inevitable repetition of the process of pouring the floors, you must try to determine where the cable is broken. Finding a break is difficult enough and not always possible even for professional installation crews, but using some tips and tricks can increase the chances of success.

Finding a break is done as follows:

A broken cable test with a tester helps pinpoint the cause of the heating system’s malfunction. The exact place of mechanical damage is found with the help of special tools.

How to Find a Central Heating Leak With Your Eyes Closed

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Specifically, the following equipment is used:

  • The high-voltage generator detects where the cable breaks by creating an arc between an unprotected wire strand or braid. The fault is located where the discharge occurs.
  • Audio detector operation principle of the device is similar to a metal detector. When the device is over the point of breakage, a corresponding sound is emitted.
  • Voltage tester or hidden wire detector. Cable continuity diagnostics are easiest to perform with this device. The wiring detector not only shows the presence of cable inside the screed, but also allows you to determine the location of the break with a high degree of probability.

Water flow

Since a properly installed underfloor heating system is a closed loop system that runs the same water over and over again, you should not notice any signs of water flowing from the boiler. If your water meter is spinning slowly even though you’ve shut off every possible water outlet in the house, you’re probably dealing with a leak in the heating system that’s causing new water to fill the boiler to make up the difference. This barely perceptible sign is often the first signal of a possible malfunction that causes a homeowner to think about the condition of their underfloor heating system.

Faulty heating cable

We have already checked the thermostat and sensor of the floor heating, but the problem is not found yet? Let’s start heating cable test. In order to determine the load that the heating cable creates, it is necessary to measure its resistance. Compare the data obtained with the values specified in the technical passport of the device.

Based on the readings of devices, we can determine the cause of malfunction of the heating floor. Data below the norm indicates damage to the outer sheath of the heating cable. If the resistance tends to zero, the reason is in the mechanical damage of the cable or burnout of the connecting sleeve. Unstable values indicate the presence of water under the sheathing. If multimeter shows the sign “infinity” the problem is in burnout or breakage of heating element in the socket of the device.

After conducting diagnostics and identifying faults in the heating system, you can fix it yourself, or resort to the help of professionals. But be sure to note that finding the location of damage to the heating cable in the screed is possible only with special equipment. If you have such a situation, we advise to contact the service center, masters which will repair the heating cable with minimal damage to your flooring.

Get advice, more information about products and buy electric floor heating in our online store, by phone 8.0 or in one of the stores in your city.

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