Radiant Heat Leak Detection and Repairs

When a leak occurs in the concealed tubing of the radiant panel, all copper tube systems are completely repairable. Because of the "closed-loop" environment there is absolutely no electrolytic degradation of the copper tubing. The only reason for leakage in a copper radiant panel system is excessive stress. As all concrete slabs crack, if the tube crosses the crack and enough stress or movement is placed on it, over time the tube can anneal and split. The Eichler tract homes were built with thinner and non-uniform slabs which have been subjected to more movement, settling, and cracking than the custom slab home. Usually, the copper radiant panel homes we repair today have on the average 1-5 leaks which have developed during the last 25-50 years of continued grade stress. Because of many years of experience and new superior leak detection techniques, we believe that once we perform a complete leak detection, location, and repair of these homes, they will be trouble-free for many years to come. For the most part, steel tube radiant panel systems are NOT REPAIRABLE because once they begin leaking, it is an actual degradation and deterioration problem which can only aggravate more problems by attempting to fix it. These systems must be replaced with another heating system. This is not to say all steel systems will eventually leak. If they were installed at the proper height in the concrete and the protective plastic coating was undamaged during the concrete pour, they can last many years. It is the steel tube systems which were pushed below the bottom of the slab and subjected to degradation from external environmental factors that have failed. On occasion the injection of the proper type of sealer additive into a steel system with minor leaks can prolong the life of the system.  In the Eichler Home, hydronic baseboard is the most common choice for replacement of the heating system. Today, most of these repairs are a simple routine with little mess and are easily completed in one working day. Because of superior experience and leak detection equipment, ANDERSON RADIANT HEATING is required to only make a small penetration, approximately 6" in diameter, to repair most leaks. THERE ARE NO REQUIREMENTS FOR EXPLORATORY DIGGING OR MANIFOLD REPLACEMENT TO LOCATE AND REPAIR A CONCEALED RADIANT PANEL LEAK.


How precise are our detection techniques? With our advanced equipment, we consistently locate the smallest of radiant panel leaks, one drop of water or less -- to a very localized area, no matter at what depth the tube has been installed. Your homeowner's insurance may assist in the cost of the repair as water damage to your home caused by an accidental or sudden burst of a copper tube in or under a concrete slab. Our experience indicates, most insurance companies will reimburse you for approximately 90% of the cost of the repair as "non-plumbing" work. Some insurance companies have covered the "non-plumbing" portion of the leak repair bill for many years, when water damage is present. It is true that some insurance companies have modernly excluded coverage for radiant panel leaks. It is important to check with your local representative for the exact coverage allowed by your insurance company. We can assist you in preparing the proper report write-up and breakdown for your processed claim should you make one.





Radiant heat leak water damage

For a concealed radiant leak repair in the Eichler or custom home, the scope of our work includes the following:
  • initial evaluation and paperwork for submittal of a claim to your homeowner's insurance company
  • locating the leak
  • rearrangement of any furniture at the residence
  • removal of floor materials (i.e. floor tiles, linoleum, carpeting and padding prior to the dig)
  • digging to expose the leaking tube
  • repair of the leaking tube
  • replacement of any defective boiler safety and support equipment
  • restarting of the radiant heating system
  • replacement of the concrete
  • final paperwork and photographs for submittal of a claim to your homeowner's insurance company

WE DO NOT INCLUDE REPLACEMENT OF FLOOR COVERINGS. THIS WORK IS TO BE PERFORMED BY ANOTHER CONTRACTOR.

WE HEREBY PROPOSE TO FURNISH THE MATERIALS, LABOR AND GUARANTEES AS FOLLOWS:
  1. We will perform a hydrostatic pressure test to verify the presence of a leak. THIS TEST ONLY CONFIRMS THERE ARE ONE OR MORE LEAKS IN THE CONCEALED TUBING.
  2. For copper systems, we will plumb the boiler for leak isolation and detection by installing the appropriate valving which will remain for future testing. For black iron systems, we will remove the boiler and reinstall it after the repair is completed.
  3. We will locate all the leaks using low pressure helium gas combined with spectrographic analysis.
  4. We will dig into the concrete at the point of the leak and replace the burst copper tee or tube. All repairs shall use a slip joint and be silver-brazed to meet the requirements of the UNIVERSAL PLUMBING CODE and UNIFORM MECHANICAL CODE.
  5. After the repair is completed, we will perform further spectrographic analysis to determine if all the leaks have been located and repaired.
  6. If the spectrographic analysis is negative, we will perform another hydrostatic pressure test. If pressure drops, we will repeat the above procedure until all the leaks have been located and repaired.
  7. Only after receiving a "NO LOSS" pressure test, will we backfill affected areas with concrete. All floor coverings will be replaced by another contractor.
  8. We will replace all damaged boiler parts and restart the heating system.

Cost of the Work

Other Considerations

ANDERSON RADIANT HEATING agrees to perform the work on a "TIME & MATERIALS" basis. You are charged a hourly rate of $120.00 (One Hundred Twenty Dollars) per man. The materials to complete the work include the following:
  • Helium Detector Rental ($350.00)
  • Nitrogen and Helium Gas ($275.00 for homes under 2400 sq.ft.)
  • Concrete ($20.00 per 30lbs.)
  • Silver Brazing ($25.00 per leak)
  • Copper Tube and Fittings ($10.00 - $25.00 per leak)
  • Valves and hose bibs to inject the detection gases ($75.00 - $150.00).

As a guideline, the average cost to locate and repair most radiant panel systems is $1,250.00 - $2,500.00 in the southbay. For homes outside our normal service area the average cost could be a little higher. All leak repair work is billed on a "Time & Materials" basis of a $140/hr. for the first man and $120/hr. for the second man  plus the materials to complete the work. All boiler safety and support equipment damaged due to the leaking concealed radiant panel are replaced at an additional cost.

 


We work for the owner of the property and not the insurance company. The owner may choose by law any Contractor to perform the work. We will complete all the required paperwork for submittal to your insurance company. We will photograph all damages incurred at the residence and provide a copy to your insurance company. All the material and labor costs are divided into plumbing and non-plumbing work on the invoice. The plumbing items include the labor and materials to actually repair the burst copper tee or tube once it is exposed. Some insurance companies also consider damaged boiler items as plumbing items. The non-plumbing items include the labor and materials for all other work:
  • location of the leak(s)
  • digging to expose the burst copper tee or tube
  • replacement of the concrete
  • replacement of any defective boiler equipment directly damaged by the leak (some insurance companies only)
  • replacement of tile, linoleum, carpet, padding, wooden and other floor materials

Our past experience indicates your insurance company will reimburse you for approximately 90% of the total invoice as NON-PLUMBING work. The insurance company only pays for damages caused to your residence by the leak. They do not pay for the repair of the tee or tube. It is the owner's responsibility to pay for the plumbing items, approximately 10% of the total invoice plus the insurance policy's deductible.

ANDERSON RADIANT HEATING CANNOT GUARANTEE THE WORK WILL BE COVERED BY YOUR INSURANCE POLICY. CHECK WITH YOUR INSURANCE AGENT PRIOR TO BEGINNING THE WORK FOR THE EXACT COVERAGE ALLOWED.

The typical leak repair requires at least one working day for the standard 2,000 sq. ft. home. A second and third day are only required for larger custom homes, when the water pressure drop is extremely low, i.e. 1-5 PSI, or when the home contains an unusually large number of leaks. Because of HELIUM SPECTROGRAPHIC ANALYSIS, we are able to precisely locate all the leaking tubes. Penetration of the concrete slab is accomplished with a small 30 lb. electric jackhammer. Most of the dust and dirt are removed from the residence with a large vacuum cleaner. THERE IS NO NEED TO REMOVE FURNITURE, CARPETING, PADDING OR OTHER FLOOR MATERIALS TO LOCATE THE LEAK.

Guarantees

ANDERSON RADIANT HEATING guarantees the workmanship on all tubing repairs for 20 (TWENTY) years, including parts and labor. ANDERSON RADIANT HEATING guarantees all mechanical repairs of damaged boiler equipment for 2 (Two) years, including parts and labor. All guarantees apply to the original and any subsequent owner of the property. Back to Main


ANDERSON RADIANT HEATING
520 East McGlincy Lane, Suite 16
Campbell, CA  95008
Phone: (408) 378-3868
Fax: (408) 559-0818

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