A radiant heat system is a series of radiant heat tubes that are laid within a floor, which carry hot water into specific rooms or “zones”.
During the preparation and installation of a radiant heat system you should take precautionary measures to protect the radiant heat tubing.
Radiant heat tubing is also known as PEX and is an excellent material for hot water applications. It’s a cross-linked Polyethylene which means that is has been processed to create a more durable molecule that resists creep deformation and chemical attach under extreme temperatures.
Damaged tubing in a radiant heat system will come back to haunt you and could cause unnecessary delays and costly repairs.
Here are some important tips that you should follow in order to protect your radiant heat tubing. It covers storage, unrolling and installation of your radiant heat tubing.
PEX tubing is not for outdoor applications and must be stored in a covered environment not exposed to direct sunlight. It’s best to leave your radiant heat tubing away from your windows; this also means never leaving it outside, without properly covering or protecting it from the sunlight. Sixty days is the maximum UV exposure time for PEX. And if a supplier has stored their radiant heat tubing outside – don’t buy it.
You should also protect your radiant heat tubing from debris. By keeping the ends taped up, you will stop dust, pet hair or other things from entering the radiant heat tubing. Keeping your radiant heat tubing debris free is always best.
When removing your radiant heat tubing from its coil, it’s best to roll it off the roll. When unrolling your radiant heat tubing, if you notice a piece of tape, leave it alone. Often manufactures will mark areas that have kinks or holes. You will need to splice that particular section so make note of the marking.
As far as installation goes, if you are doing a staple-up installation you shouldn’t allow your radiant heat tubing to sag. To protect the radiant heat tubing it’s always best to support it every 16 inches and if your tubing runs close to any lights, especially recessed lighting you should insulate that portion of tubing to protect it from damage. Ultraviolet light will cause accelerated aging of your radiant heat tubes.
Do not install radiant heat tubing to close to your toilets. The heat could melt the wax ring. Also avoid running radiant heat under your refrigerator, stove, freezer, and kitchen cabinets. If you do put tubing in these areas insulate the tubing with a foam pipe insulation, and put a piece of radiant barrier between the sub-floor and the tubing under the appliance or cabinets.
Lastly, when installing your radiant heat tubing, never let it rub on any electrical wires. This may damage the radiant heat tubing and create future problems. If your electrician is working around your radiant heat system, make sure your electrician understands the importance of not damaging the radiant heat tubing when he/she pulls wires.
By taking a little extra care with your radiant heat tubing you will help ensure a trouble free radiant heat system.