How to repair, maintain and prevent underfloor heating leaks

UFH pipework

 

Underfloor heating is growing more and more popular each year. With newbuild and pre-existing homes choosing to embrace the benefits of underfloor heating systems, users of UFH have expectations about the advantages they’ll receive.

One way for consumers can fail to reach the full potential of their underfloor heating, whether straight after installation or further down the line, is through system issues or failure.

In this guide, we’ll cover one of the common problems that can cause UFH problems and how installers can prevent them from happening.

 

What are underfloor heating issues?

Like any heating system, underfloor heating has the potential to not work the way that it should. If the heat source (heat pump or gas boiler) is working correctly, then the problem is probably down to a component of the underfloor heating system.

Issues can occur throughout the whole wet underfloor heating system or within a zone. Sometimes problems can be caused by either an increase or decrease in pressure, other times it may be actuator failure. However, some of the most problematic issues are caused during installation which is why it’s important to be aware from the outset.

Apart from specifying the wrong floor covering for UFH, failing to install it properly is a key way to cause issues for your clients with their system. Damage to the system during installation or inability to follow the correct UFH design layout can cause expensive, long-term and disruptive problems.

Underfloor heating leaks are one of the most common issues caused at the installation stage. However, even though they are not frequent, they are troubling.

 

UFH manifold

 

What is an underfloor heating leak?

If there is a drastic loss in pressure in an underfloor heating system then there’s a very high chance there’s a leak somewhere in the UFH network.

Undetected leaks can cause long term damage to the heating systems and the property, especially if it is furnished at the time of the leak

Unmonitored, unrepaired and unmaintained UFH leaks can damage the infrastructure of homes, flood systems and cause huge costs for customers.

 

How do underfloor heating leaks happen? 

A wet system should be fully pressure tested after it has been installed, and the screed (if it is a screeded system) should not be laid until all the pipework has been checked for leaks. Any problems identified should be rectified before the screed and the flooring is placed. For example, a damaged pipe coil should be fully replaced, to ensure complete coils of pipework and no joints beneath the floor.

If an installer skips this step then there’s even more chance an issue will occur. As you can imagine, once UFH has been covered and flooring placed on top of it, going back into the piping to make changes will be intrusive.

Another issue that can cause leaks is foregoing the pipe conduit where pipes run through walls. This can have serious implications post-installation. The conduit acts as a protective sleeve for pipes as they cross through or beneath walls. Pipe conduit will also protect the pipework from damage but help insulate the pipe and prevent an excessive build-up of heat in one area.

As mentioned above, you should always perform a pressure test. During a pressure test, you can make the mistake of not opening the valves on the manifold. Each manifold has two isolation points on each circuit. These are controlled by a decorator cap that has the function of protecting the valve.

When you perform pressure testing, the cap should be unwound if it sits on the manifold or it removed completely to allow the water in the system to flow.

By forgetting to remove the cap, you will pressurise the manifold, not the water.

 

UFH designs

 

How can you prevent leaks during UFH installation? 

Poor workmanship causes problems. Subpar materials cause issues. A bad installation can cause huge amounts of damage to your reputation and your client’s expenditures.

Often claims occur against UFH installers because of inadequate testing. When installing a UFH system through Ambiente, it’s essential that installers fill out a pressure test certificate. This way, customers can be assured that the system was in good order when it was installed and no detectable damage happened during installation.

If you know that your knowledge isn’t as good as it could be and you want to ensure you can prevent leaks during UFH installation, Ambiente can help you become a fully accredited UFH installer.

All of our UFH systems come with informative installation guides and full design sheets that, when followed, make sure that UFH works exactly how it should. Combined with a good work ethic and careful installation, preventing leaks just becomes a matter of doing things right.

 

UFH layout

 

What system should you choose? 

All of Ambiente’s underfloor heating systems are designed for superior performance. From low-profile systems to suspended floor solutions, Ambiente has the solutions you need to improve the way that homes and businesses are heated.

For more peace of mind, our UFH pipework is favoured all over the United Kingdom.

While other suppliers provide general plumbing pipe for use within Underfloor Heating systems, our pipework is designed specifically for its purpose – to dissipate the heat quickly and evenly, rather than act as an insulator which some plumbing pipe is designed for.

We are so confident of the quality of our PE-RT underfloor heating pipework, that we offer a lifetime guarantee, which means it is guaranteed against product defect for the lifetime of the building, or 75 years—whichever comes sooner.

Do you need a reliable UFH system for your next project? Contact Ambiente on 01707 649 118 or email info@ambienteufh.co.uk

 

Recommended articles for you:

Underfloor Heating Controls: Best Options for Installers

Underfloor Heating Installation: Everything you need to know