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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    2

    Default Unknown Radiant Floor Heat

    We purchased a house through foreclosure. Therefore we did not get any disclosures from the previous owner. This home has a large addition that was added by the previous owner including a finished basement. In the basement there is a chase with radiant floor tubing stubbed out. It is not hooked up to anything.
    I need to determine how much of the basement slab is covered by this tubing. Is it just the bathroom or is it the whole addition?
    The rest of the house has forced air heat. I would love to utilize this system but how can I figure out how much tubing is in the system so I can size the boiler?

    TIA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,842

    Default Re: Unknown Radiant Floor Heat

    You could start puring water in one end, keeping count of the volume, until water comes out the other end. Onec you have the volume and the radius of the tubing you can calculate the length. Once you knw the length you should be able to guess at the coverage.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,203

    Default Re: Unknown Radiant Floor Heat

    Maybe the NSA will send you a ground-penetrating radar image of your house if you ask nicely....

    Or you can feed a wire in from one end, attach a circuit tracer to it, then find where it's at with the receiver. I'd look closely at the ends of the piping first. If it appears that it was once hooked up, then more than likely it was taken out of service because of problems. If you see bare copper piping going into concrete abandon the project- these all corrode and fail over time. If you see undisturbed PEX or encased copper you may be in luck.

    Before running water into it, bodge together a way to pressure test it with air. It should hold at least 80PSI and not leak down for at least 24 hours. Then before buying a boiler, connect it to a water source and check for unimpeded flow. I love radiant heated floors and I'm hoping you're lucky here.

    Phil

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Unknown Radiant Floor Heat

    Thanks for the replies. I had given thought to pumping fluid into the tubing and calculating the volume etc. In answer to the comment about material. It is PEX (or at least some type of plastic) tubing. There are 4 separate tubes (as I recall) coming out of the floor. They have never been hooked up. Also I realize it needs to be pressure tested prior to getting serious about doing anything with it.
    This home is in northern Minnesota and will be our retirement home. Hopefully the previous owner had planned on using this system as the main source of heat in this basement space because the forced air, which has also been run into the space is poorly done and totally inadequate to keep it heated comfortably. The home is now shut down for the winter. I am planning on retiring soon so that will give me more time to spend there and get to some of these projects.
    Appreciate the ideas. One more question, does the NSA have their phone number in the book?

    Thanks, Pjay

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,203

    Default Re: Unknown Radiant Floor Heat

    Quote Originally Posted by Pjay View Post
    One more question, does the NSA have their phone number in the book?

    Thanks, Pjay
    Sorry, I can't tell you that- it's classified if it exists at all. In the 'old days' of the 'Cold War', people who worked at the NSA were told to "Never Say Anything" while those who knew of it's existence joked that there was "No Such Agency"

    I've been thinking (which is not always a good thing) of finding some way to fill the pipes with something easily detectable to see where they're run. Radioactive water and a geiger counter would work beautifully but that's a just a little over the top A metal detector would be easier to get one's hands on- I've heard some places rent them, but now how to get something metallic in there, and you'd need to first scan the areas and plot metals which are already there to compare the two. BB's are cheap and with enough water flow they should all wash out, but if they didn't you'd have killed what might be a perfectly good system. Maybe someone else will have an idea along this line better than my original 'wire and circuit detector' one. Such a method could prove useful to find water piping in walls etc. for those of us who remodel.

    Maybe when you pressure test you can figure out which sections are loops, then run hot water through them and see which floors heat up where. So far that's all I can come up with as an alternative. Glad to hear that it's PEX piping, methinks you're in luck!

    Phil

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