4 min read

Can you repair electric underfloor heating?

Can you repair electric underfloor heating?

One of the most common fears of underfloor heating is the fear of it ‘going wrong’ or stopping working altogether. “Can electric underfloor heating be repaired?” is a very common question asked by homeowners and one that is on par with ‘is it expensive to run?’.

Much of this fear comes from the fact that after underfloor heating is installed, a beautiful floor finish is then laid on top. For the homeowner, any thought of pulling up a stunning tile, stone or wood finished floor will send shivers down their spine. However, we don’t want you to worry. So, here are some top tips and advice that will alleviate any fears and will help to answer the question, can you repair electric underfloor heating?

So, without further ado, let’s run through it.

Electric is simpler

Electric underfloor heating is a much simpler system compared to its wet underfloor heating counterpart. Electric underfloor heating is basically a resistive heating cable that’s under the floor. So, if it is installed well, preferably by one of our ThermoSphere Connect members, there is almost no risk of your electric underfloor heating system developing a fault.  However, after about five years or so, you may want to consider updating your underfloor heating thermostat to take advantage of new or improved technology that further enhances energy saving or efficiency features.

Having said that, there are instances where electric underfloor heating sometimes gets installed by people that appear to not have paid much attention to the installation instructions or who have forgotten to test the system before, during and after installation.

Fear not! Some of the most common problems that we come across can be resolved relatively easily.

Problems with thermostats and sensor probes

Most issues we encounter are associated with either the thermostat or the sensor probe.

If the thermostat has a fault it can be replaced easily. Sensor probes, on the other hand, are under the floor so they can be a bit trickier! This is the main reason why we always specify two sensor probes to be installed under the floor in all types of projects. This way you can simply switch over to a new floor sensor probe should the first one develops a fault.

If there is not a second sensor probe in the floor then a new one will need to be installed, or the thermostat can be switched to operate via the ambient sensor. This is not really advisable though, because you have no reference of the actual floor temperature. But why is this important? For the majority of floor coverings, a maximum floor temperature of 27 degrees Celsius is recommended. Without a working floor sensor probe there isn’t an accurate way of measuring the temperature of the floor and more of a risk the floor overheating.

Damage caused during installation

If your electric underfloor heating cable gets damaged accidentally during installation then don’t worry. There are some options!

If the installer is a member of ThermoSphere Connect, they can call us straight away, and we will arrange for a free of charge replacement to be collected from the nearest stockist on the same day. We can even deliver a new one the very next day direct to the installer or on site. Warmup provide a similar service to their installers too so it is worth checking your underfloor heating brand’s website for further details and remember to check the ‘small print’. This is the best option because the homeowners will still benefit from the Lifetime Warranty.

Another option is to buy a heating cable repair kit. This is a set of crimps and waterproof heat shrink sleeve that can be used to repair a cut or damaged heating cable. A repaired cable will no longer qualify for the Lifetime Warranty unless it is repaired by one of our approved technicians. In this case there will be a 5-year warranty on the repaired cable. Contact us to find out more or book a repair appointment with an approved engineer.

What if the cable gets damaged and stops working after it is installed?

This is a genuine concern because the heating cables are buried under levelling compound, tile adhesive and tiles.

If an underfloor heating cable is installed properly and the recommended insulation and resistance tests are completed and recorded then there is practically zero risk of the cable developing a fault under normal operating conditions. There’s a great article you can read which covers all the testing you need to do as part of the installation process. Have a read of the ‘How to test an electric underfloor heating system’ blog.

Sometimes a cable can be damaged during installation, for example by dropping a tile or catching the insulation with a blade or the edge of a trowel. If this happens and is not detected, a leak to earth can develop over time which causes the underfloor heating cable to trip the RCD and not get hot.

The good news is that this type of cable damage can be easily located and repaired by an electric underfloor heating repair specialist such as UFH Services Ltd. These types of electric underfloor heating repair companies have specialised equipment that can send high voltages through a damaged heating cable. The damaged area shows up on a thermal camera and the fault can usually be located to an area as small as £2 coin. For tiled floors, the tile in this area can be removed, the break in the cable repaired and then a replacement tile is laid, making your floor as good as new!

How much does electric underfloor heating repair cost?

The cost of an electric underfloor heating repair depends on quite a few variables. Most companies charge somewhere between £300 to £500 depending on your geographical area, the extent of the damaged and the time taken to perform the repair. This price does not usually include the cost of the replacement tile or floor finish.

The most popular electric underfloor heating systems like Warmup, Schluter and ThermoSphere all come with a lifetime guarantee and if the fault is found to be caused by a manufacturing issue, the manufacturer will cover the cost of the repair but you must remember to register your warranty!

In summary, yes, electric underfloor heating can usually be repaired without too much expense and disruption. So, if you’re thinking about getting it installed in your home, go for it! But if you still have any questions, contact one of the team.

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