In floor heat cable repair

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lightitup

Member
Location
Minnesota
I installed some EZ Heat in floor heat cables last fall. Two of the five cables installed went bad after about a month. (shorted) I ohms tested with multi-meter after installation, after thin set mortar, and again after tile was set.
All tested right on at 22.5 ohms.

When we went back to test, again using multi-meter, We had a reading of 6.9ohms between the the two heat leads, and 3.5 ohms from each heat lead to ground braid.

The second bad cable tested 22.5 ohms R - B, 16.7 ohms R-Gr., 13.6 ohms B-Gr.

EZ Heat offers a CFT 120 Fault Tester, and thermal liquid crystal sheets to locate the fault for repair. View attachment 4450

The problem is there is a waiting list - I've been waiting for two months, and there is still quite a few ahead of me. Customer, while patient at first, is now getting quite upset. Even talking about lawyers.

Any sugestions? Does any one know of source for regulated power supply (inexpensive)? Or rental? Make one with a series on light bulbs?

Also, do you think a IR thermeter Fluke 62 would pin point acurtately, or hiring a guy with an IR camera.

Any suggestions are appretiated!!
 

kbsparky

Senior Member
Location
Delmarva, USA
We installed an isolation transformer to solve nuisance tripping of the GFI unit on the thermostat. Been 2 years, and no problems since; no busting up tile floors either.
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
EZ Heat is the brand name? Is this product any good? Given your failure rate and the fact that there's a waiting list for the fault tester it's sounding like this stuff is junk.
 

PetrosA

Senior Member
If you can get someone with an IR camera in there, it's probably the fastest way to find the fault.

This last week I had to troubleshoot two E-Z Heat snow melt installs for a customer - both outside under flagstone patios and at least 2" of concrete. Based on the failure rate of these installs, either the E-Z Heat system is really junky, or the installer was a monkey, or both. Three of five cables on the smaller patio (approx. 15'x20') are shorted and leaking current to ground. The rear patio, which is probably close to 1000 sq. feet looks so bad the entire patio will have to come up. To add insult to injury, the contactor for the rear patio burned out and caught on fire (fire company put the fire out) and the installer returned and hooked it up "temporarily" by running a 12-2 romex from the j-box (1-pole sensor) across the yard to a flagstone where they just wirenutted to the cold leads. Obviously they never even checked the cables for faults and by eliminating the contactor, they were pumping 120V through the faults 24/7 resulting in electric bills over $2000 per month and a potential shock hazard to the customers and their dogs from both the faults and the crackhead splices under the flagstone. I'm honestly not even sure how you would repair cables like that without completely damaging them by tearing up the 2" of concrete they're under...
 

LawnGuyLandSparky

Senior Member
Well this settles it. I WAS going to install snowmelt cables under the driveway and concrete walkways at a house I'm renovating. Now I'm going with PEX.

I've used NuHeat under my own bathroom floors, no problems.
 

lightitup

Member
Location
Minnesota
EZ Heat is the brand name? Is this product any good? Given your failure rate and the fact that there's a waiting list for the fault tester it's sounding like this stuff is junk.

The product is "Warm Tiles" by EZ Heat. I have installed many of these before, mostly in bathrooms. And have not had any problems before.

This application was about 875 sq. ft. basement family room. We used (5) 240 volt cables on (5) 240 volt circuits run through relays controlled by one stat.

When customer called me back with the problem, we ohms tested the cables and disconnected the (2) bad cables. EZ Heat feels that the cables were damaged by either something heavy dropping on them or tile guy nicked the insulation with trowel. After a few weeks of operation, the insulation broke down and faulted. They may be right - probably are, but it could also be a factory defect. Maybe?

The installation instructions only talks about ohms testing with multi-meter, which we did. Now I realize that a megger test would have been a better choice. I don't own a "megger" and have never used one in over twenty five years of contracting.

I need to do the repair - my cusomer deserves it. Without the EZ Heat test equipment, I'm looking for the best way to repair. I talked to a company that specializes in IR imaging and will probably hire them. But I also need to supply safe power (limited to about 10 amp draw) to bad cable - to heat cable enough for IR detection, without further damaging cable.

I appreciate responces so far, and looking for a cost effective solution.

When repair is complete, I'll either buy a megger or look to rent some where.

Thanks all!!!
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
I'm not sure? I've never used one before. Aren't they more for an open circuit, rather than a short?

Fault locators, by use of the fault to ground, can locate the break. If the heat cable is faulting to ground, I'd think it could find it. It's the same principal. The only difference is the medium of the fault (earth v. tile/thinset).

I've often wondered if my fault locator would work in this manner, but I've never had the opportunity to try it.


TDRs can find opens.
 

ceb58

Senior Member
Location
Raeford, NC
I need to do the repair - my cusomer deserves it. Without the EZ Heat test equipment, I'm looking for the best way to repair. I talked to a company that specializes in IR imaging and will probably hire them.

I agree the customer deserves a repair but at who's expense?

EZ Heat feels that the cables were damaged by either something heavy dropping on them or tile guy nicked the insulation with trowel. After a few weeks of operation, the insulation broke down and faulted. They may be right - probably are, but it could also be a factory defect. Maybe?

Of course they will say it was damaged during installation. Dont admit to any thing for as long as possible and may be the problem will just go away
I am like some others. It sounds like the product is not a quality item. The test equipment is on a waiting list. That,to me, screams poor product
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
I agree the customer deserves a repair but at who's expense?........

Depends on who installs it.

This is why I don't install floor heat cables. I let the tile guys do it. The only thing I will do is install a LoudMouth in the switch box to let them know when they screw it up.
 

Riograndeelectric

Senior Member
for outdoors heating cable and heating matt. My buddy has used Bylin engineering systems.

http://www.bylinusa.com/
.com/

He does a lot of Mountain resorts snow melt and swear by this stuff. although more expensive than normal snow melt you get what you pay for.
all systems are custom engineered by Bylin for each job.
I have installed Bylin snow melt on 2 Federal government jobs in 2006. and have not any problems with it.
I seem to remember it had a 10 year guarantee on the cable if certified by the installer and installed to the specs. you have to provide megger eading and have a some one witness the megger reading with you .
Good stuff.
 

lightitup

Member
Location
Minnesota
Depends on who installs it.

This is why I don't install floor heat cables. I let the tile guys do it. The only thing I will do is install a LoudMouth in the switch box to let them know when they screw it up.

We installed it. Around here I believe the EC usually do. We need to have our inspector look at it befor it's covered.
 
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