LOCATING RADIANT HEAT PIPING WITH INFRARED (THERMAL IMAGING)

By
Home Inspector with Massachusetts Home Inspections MA. License#566

 

Radiant heating systems are installed in many floors and ceilings of homes and businesses throughout Massachusetts. The continuous supply pipes for these systems are not visible and are unable to be monitored (on a continuing basis) in order to ensure that the piping is always functioning properly and not leaking. Something as important as (concealed) radiant heating should always be monitored on an annual basis. An unknown radiant heating system leak can waste energy and cause major property damage if not repaired in a timely manner. Locating the exact area of a leaking hot water pipe which is buried under a concrete slab can be quite time consuming. It can take quite the physical process of tearing up or breaking up big areas of the flooring in order to locate the leak site. If the location of a leak is not found quickly and accurately, floors can often wind up becoming severely damaged and very costly to repair. I'm finding that many of the older style steel and copper floor pipes are now failing and causing serious damage to structures without anyone even knowing about this concealed defect until the moisture issue becomes quite obvious or until I show up with my infrared camera.

I will always have a convenient and very simple solution for locating and monitoring all those hidden radiant heating pipes. My infrared (thermal imaging) camera detects differentiating thermal patterns of buried heating pipes which enables me to pinpoint the exact piping locations and monitor for concealed leaks under any floor or ceiling material. My infrared imaging camera is so sensitive that I'm able to map out an entire radiant heat system (no matter what size it is; revealing where all the tubing is located within your floor or ceiling. Not only am I able to locate the piping, I'm also able to detect the temperature of the tubing itself, and locate any hidden leaks that may be yet undetected.

If you plan on renovating or remodeling on top of or in proximity of a radiant heating system, I highly recommend having your radiant piping completely examined and have all the buried pipes clearly marked out before you undertake any construction work. Without knowing where those radiant pipes are located, construction around a radiant area could become very expensive if one of those pipes all of the sudden becomes punctured.

I've had many radiant inspections where I've detected irregular patterns in the embedded radiant lines with improper spacing between the pipes themselves (See image below). These particular pipes were not properly secured in place while the mortar was being poured over them, which caused them to be pushed out of position, permanently. It's always nice to know exactly where those radiant pipes are laid and if they are all spaced out in a straight sequence. There are also instances where radiant heat coils can be close enough to some surfaces that you could end up driving a drill bit or hardware right through one of those pipes. That would cause you down time and exorbitant expenses by having the system shut down and then paying contractors to jack hammer a good portion of the floor in order to access and repair the leak that would have never happened in the first place if you hired me to map the entire radiant heating system.

NOTE THE IMPERFECTIONS IN THIS RADIANT PIPING

Have your radiant heating pipes marked out today. Visit my website at http://www.massinfrared.com

 

Comments (5)

Ann Heitland
Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties - Flagstaff, AZ
Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
Cool idea.
Mar 21, 2008 10:56 AM
Gene Allen
Fathom Realty - Cary, NC
Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate
Thats pretty neat.  We don't have much in the floors but we do have electric strips in the ceilings.  You can tell when they break because they just don't work.
Mar 21, 2008 11:38 AM
David Valley
Massachusetts Home Inspections - Methuen, MA
Massachusetts Home Inspections

Ladies,

With infrared....when radiant heat is failing, I am able to tell you exactly where the defective line is located without tearing out a whole lot of material to locate the exact area of the defect.

Mar 21, 2008 10:43 PM
Anonymous
Corinne G

David,

Do you know of anyone doing this sort of work in New Jersey?  We seem to have a leak in our copper-tube radiant heating in our dining room (carpet is very slightly damp) between washing machine in utility room on one side and shower in bathroom on the other side of the dining room.  The pressure of the cold water in the shower is also low.  We would like to keep the radiant heating system if the leak can be easily found and repaired.

Aug 19, 2009 09:03 AM
#4
David Valley
Massachusetts Home Inspections - Methuen, MA
Massachusetts Home Inspections

Corinne,

 

Please go to....http://www.inspectorlocator.com/ and enter you location and check off "THERMAL IMAGING" and you will get a list of inspectors in your area that perform IR scans.

 

Good Luck with your search.....

Aug 19, 2009 10:09 PM

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