Tips for Troubleshooting Electric Floor Heating System
This webinar teaches you how to troubleshoot and repair floor heating systems. While our systems require zero maintenance, installation errors or outdated thermostats sometimes prevent a system from working correctly. Our experts review everything you need to know for any issue that may come up and which steps may require the help of a professional.
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Hi, my name is Lyn. I am a customer service rep here at warmlyYours. I am joined by one of our fabulous technical Port team members, Scott. And today, we are going to be going over some tips for troubleshooting electric floor heating systems. And if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask, in that chat. You can definitely type them out. If we don't see them right away we will, get to them by the end of the presentation.
Alright. So like I said, today, we are going to be talking about some troubleshooting and things like that. First, we're going to go over testing the system. Making sure that it is working and that you don't have to do any troubleshooting. And then from there, if there are any issues, we'll go over troubleshooting steps, as well as the actual steps for repairing a floor heating cable. And that's all going to be Scott, again, our resident technical genius over here.
So talking about electric floor heating, just kind of basically or in general, if you're not especially familiar with it. Electric floor heating is going to give you a very comfortable temperature churches from floor to ceiling. It's not like forced air where you're going to have hot and cold spots. It's not like forced air where you're going to kind of have to crank the heat to feel it. It definitely is a very comfortable warm sensation.
With electric floor heating, you don't have to worry about any kind of maintenance not like hydronic where there's boilers and pumps and things like that that can, you know, have problems or will need to be maintained. Once our electric floor heating systems are in, they are in. There's zero maintenance, and they are good to go. So because they do need to be installed underneath new flooring, it's great for remodeling jobs. It's great for new builds. So if you're looking at something like that in the upcoming future, be sure to let us know and we can definitely help you get some warm floors in that space.
They're also very easy to control and regulate, all of our thermostat come with a floor sensor, so you can control the temperature of the floor to the exact degree. And they're also what location listed. So this allows electric floor heating to be placed in showers and shower benches and wet rooms and things like that. So definitely pretty much anywhere that you are looking at, putting floor heating will have a product for you.
So talking a bit on the floor heating controls that I touched on briefly. So like I said, these do all come with a sensor, all of our floor heating controls are just different ways to, control the system depending on how you plan use it. So it'll really customize that system even further for you. We have anything from a WiFi touch screen model where you can control it through your phone all the way down to a simple non programmable on and off just kind of set it and forget it thermostat. So if you ever need help with your thermostats, whether that's setting them up or just picking out which model will work best for you. Be sure to reach out.
So, Scott, I'm bringing in your tech expertise here, can you kind of tell us a little bit about preparing that floor heating system so that there are as few troubleshooting issues as possible?
Yeah. The main thing is that you can never ever cut the heating wire. We get that question every day on the phone center. Hey, I have too much.
I went online. I bought a big spool of cable. Now can I use part of the cable in one room? Another part in another room and another part in another room? And, no, you cannot.
You cannot cut or shorten the cable in any way. So that's the most important thing, and that's the most phone calls we get. So I wanna shorten the heating cable and you can't do that. What you need to do is you need to make sure you you test the system and you wanna test it the day you get it.
Test it with a digital ohmmeter. You're going to need a digital ohmmeter for this job. You can't do this job without a digital ohmmeter. So you might as well get one, and we're gonna be talking about them in a little bit, telling you what to look for, what to stay away from, but the main thing is to test it the day you get it in case something happened to it on the way to you.
So that will give us time to get the, replacement product to you. So it doesn't delay your installation. You don't wanna wait until the day of installation to test it for the first time. But during your, day of install, You want to make sure that you test it before, during, and after the installation to make sure that it's good.
That's your record of a successful install.
Absolutely. Can you kind of tell us about circuit checks and what those are? A circuit check is a device that keeps track of your system while you can't. So when you're on the other side of the room and you're laying tile or you're laying the product out, you can't keep your hands and eyes on the meter.
So the circuit check, what it does is it keeps track of the condition of the wire. Inside of the wire, there are three cables inside. There's one that carries current that heats up. There's two that carries current and heats up.
And then there's a ground. And what the circuit check does is it makes sure that there's no connection between the ground and either one of the current tearing wires And it also makes sure that you have a circuit that's going to heat because if this gets cut and the circuit goes open, you're not going to get any heat. So you want these two together, the ground separate. So that's what it's doing.
It's making sure you don't have a short and it's making sure that you don't have an open circuit.
And so you would kind of touch on using an ohmmeter. Can you tell us what you're looking for specifically when you're going to be getting or using an ohmmeter? Yeah. The ohmmeter you want is on the left side. It lets you choose the two hundred range. There's a knob on the front that actually lets you turn the knob to the two hundred.
If you look at the one in the center, the one in the center is a very expensive meter. The more expensive they are usually the harder they are to use because they're self ranging meters. So what you wanna do is you wanna stay away from a meter that just has an upside down horseshoe, which is ohms, and and a range button because these things are very difficult to use. You have to turn it to ohms and press range, press range, press range, press range, press range, press range, and I'm literally not exaggerating.
Pressing range, range, range, until you get it to finally see something, that is way more difficult than it should be. And the unit on the right is an analog meter. Never ever use one of those because they will not give you any usable information. So the meter you want is on the left.
It has a two hundred area that you can use for testing about ninety percent of our product. And it also has a twenty k range, which is what you're going to be using to test the floor sensor. So right there, you can switch between the two. You don't have to hit range and hope that it finds it.
Because if you're testing your heating product with the one in the middle, it may find that, but when you go test the sensor which is on the twenty k scale instead of the two hundred scale, it won't see it. And we get calls from people all the time saying, especially with this meter right here. That's why I chose this meter for the presentation because I've already had a call this week about this one not giving them an own reading on their sensor and because it doesn't see the twenty k range without you pressing that range button repeatedly. So those are the meters that you want and you want to stay away from and the reasons for both.
Fabulous. Thank you, Scott.
So, actually, the process of testing with that ohm meter, can you walk us through that?
Yeah. If you take a look here at this drawing, You can see that there are those two current carrying wires, the black and the yellow or the black and the red. Those are the ones that connect to each other, and those are the ones that heat up. Then you have the ground, which is next to it. So what you want is you want ohms between the black and the red or the black or the yellow and you don't want any ohms from the yellow to ground or black to ground because that would tell you have a short. So if you're getting a reading from one color to ground that tells you you have a short and you don't want a short. Your system will not work with a short, but you do want ohms across the yellow to black or red to black.
Red to black is two forty. That's how you know what's installed in the floor. If it's red and black leads, it's two forty. If it's yellow and black lead, then it's one twenty.
And that's how you know the difference. So your own reading, what what people do is is invariably they forget to do the ground reading. So they say, yeah, my ohms are good. Well, you've got one third of the test done correctly.
You need to test the other two. Yellow to ground or red to ground and then black to ground. So remember to take all three readings. You wanna get zero or o l or infinity between yellow to ground and black to ground and the same red to ground.
But you do want an ohms reading within ten to fifteen percent across the red and black or across the yellow and black.
Yeah. We get calls about that a lot as well, so definitely good to touch on.
And our old single conductor, cables. Can you kinda go over the testing for those? Well, if you look at this cable, it's like a coax cable. There is a center piece of copper wire surrounded by insulation, then there's an outer braid that goes around it and then there's insulation that goes around it, kinda like an old coax cable for your TV if you're still hooked up to cable.
So there are two ends to test. Also, not one not one end with three wires sticking out of it. You actually have this. You have one set of wires here and one set of wires there. And you want to make sure you test the center core wire, which is that wire in the center, and you go from center core to center core that will give you ohms.
If you go outer braid, which is ground to outer braid, which is ground, you will get ohms. But you shouldn't get any ohms from the center core to the outer braid as shown in that lower right corner. And you don't want any readings on the end from the center core to the ground.
So those are the four readings you need to get on this product instead of three. Core to core, Braid to Braid, core to core, and core to braid.
It would switch. It always switches slides when I don't want it to, and it doesn't switch when I do. There we go. No technology today. Oh, yeah. We're really we're really doing well.
Tell us about our the Mega ohmmeter.
The mega ohmmeter is a device that sends a lot of voltage down the wire. The meters we talked about before are usually have a nine volt battery in them. So they only have nine volts of power to push down that line. This product has five hundred volts or a thousand volts to push down that line.
And what it's doing is not reading ohms of the heater. It's actually testing the insulation between those three wires. You wanna make sure this wire doesn't touch this one? And you wanna make sure that this wire doesn't touch this one.
It run once again, it's testing to ground. So sometimes you can have a really tiny nick in the wire and it never shows up with your digital ohmmeter, but you still get you still get a GFI problem. Well, the problem is the nine volt battery in your meter isn't strong enough to make it jump from one wire to the other. Because when you have five hundred volts, it wants to jump from one wire to the other.
It's looking for ground. But if you have good insulation, it doesn't see ground. They never see each other. So you don't have to worry about that.
But when you have a little nick in the wire, that will find that ground and it will come back with a reading that says fail. So that's why the mega ohmmeter is different than ohmmeter, the mega ohmmeter is testing the insulation of each one of those three wires in the cable against each other to make sure that no power gets from the ground to the other two heating wires. So when you're done with that, press the test button. It'll give you the number, then let it dissipate because the meter has an auto discharge function in in it where it takes the the the the power out of the wire.
If you don't do that and you take your fingers and put them on the wire, you can get shocked. So don't be in a hurry once you do this test. Let it let it end its measurement, let it discharge the cable, and, don't ask me how I know that it shocks you.
How do you know? Because it shocked me once. Oh, interesting.
Alright. So talking about the actual thermostat test thing. We recommend that you do this every month, especially to do it's important to do before winter comes. We get a lot of calls from people the first cold day of the, of the year or of the season where they're having issues.
So you do want to make sure that you're testing it before you need the system to be on and running. Can you kind of tell us exactly the process for testing these thermostats Well, what's telling you to test monthly and when you test it, you're pressing the test button, and when you press the test button, it will give you a message saying there's a ground fault. Because you're making it do that. You're you're shorting the system inside to make it display that.
It's telling you that the GFI Sensing circuit is working correctly. And if you press that button and you get the warning, ground fault, it's doing exactly what it's supposed to do. You press the button on the side of the thermostat. It will clear that, and then that will go away.
So if you press the button, It gives you ground fault error. That's what you're supposed to get. We get calls all the time for people to do this test. Oh, I just test.
I just pressed the button. It gave me this error. That's exactly what you're supposed to get. So that's good.
So we're going to show you some other things coming up here where you need to be concerned.
Absolutely. So oh, there we go. There we go. So if there is some system damage, the first thing to do is identify where it is and what's going on.
So can you kind of tell us how you would do that? If you're getting a GFI message, it's telling you it's seeing leakage. You're sitting you're getting power going from one of those two wires to the ground. So it's making a connection somewhere.
And if you look at that picture in the upper right hand corner, That is the spot where the ground is touching one of those power carrying leads inside the wire. And it's making a short circuit. That's where the word short comes from. You're taking a normal circuit, and then if you have a a connection somewhere before the full thing, it's short.
It's a short connection. So that's where the term electrical short comes from. It's not traveling exactly the way it should be. It's getting to a certain spot and making contact with ground.
So this is a spot where you can see that this red spot is where the ground, there's voltage going from the current carrying wire one or both of them and jumping to the ground, and it's creating a circuit there. And that's what that red spot is, a really, really hot spot.
Now you could you could put the system in tomorrow, and you may never get a GFI until fifteen years from now. But as that wire heats up, and shrinks expands and contracts expands and contracts over the year. That little tiny pinhole that you made by hitting it with your your trowel. That little tiny pinhole has expanded and contracted, expanded and contracted.
And that's where somebody calls them and says, yeah. I don't get a GFI until it calls for heat, then it heats up for a second and then it turns off and says GFI. That's because that little tiny pinhole has opened up and the power's gone through it. And then when it gets cold, it shrinks down again, and your digital ohmmeter isn't strong enough to make that power jump through that hole, which is expanding and contracting.
So that's what's going on, and that is nine times out of ten caused by a sharp trowel Getting hit when you're putting the the thinset or when somebody comes in and cleans grout lines with really sharp, nigh, knives. Or really sharp blades. And we know that that's after we've gone in and repaired one spot, we find another spot. And we fix it and we find another spot.
And those spots are always when when you have this case, they're always in the grout line. And you know that the rest of that floor is probably all cut up because they took a real sharp knife to clean the grout lines out. So you fix one spot and then you find the next one. You fix it, then you find the next one.
And once you do that, you know the rest of the floor has been damaged by that person cleaning the grout lines. The last person I talked to that, we went out and did a repair for, they, the guy doing the grout line cleaning was unaware that there's electric wire underneath it. Nobody told him. So whenever you're doing one of these jobs, as each one of these people come in to do their part, the trim people.
The trim people come in and they'll put a door stop in. Well, the system worked before the trim people were here, and now the system doesn't. So what happened? The trim person either shot a nail in the trim that hit the wire as it was going running back to the thermostat or they put a door stop in or they put a transition in.
They put screws in the transition to hold it in place. So that's where the ohms readings come up so important because the owners were good up until here, till here, till here. Now a week later, they don't work anymore. And you can pin it directly to the person who did the last bit of work on there, usually, and that's why you wanna keep track of that.
And, That's why you always have to use your ohm meter to keep track of your installation as you go because that's your record that everything was good here. Everything was good here. And at this point, everything went sideways. Well, what happened is the trim person came in and put a door stop in, or or a plumber came in and drilled a hole in the floor for the bathtub.
That's another big one because they don't know. No one told them that there's heat in the floor. So if you're the homeowner, you need to make sure with each trade person that comes in, You say, hey, there's electric heating here. Hey, there's electric heat.
Every single one that comes in there, don't assume that they know.
Absolutely. Yeah. That's gonna be I think that's the biggest thing I see people forget to do is tell every trade person walking into the room. I'd say before they enter your house, I would be like, just so you know what's happening here, please don't damage my very nice floor system.
So there's also that's that's a big different that's a different call from somebody calling up and saying part of my floor is hot, part of it's cold. Completely different thing. Completely different thing.
So can you kinda go over some common installation problems that we see? Well, here's your your two one on either side here. On the one on the right is where the plumber came in. And put a pipe in for a stand up tub, you know, a standalone tub that's out in the middle of the floor. No one told him that there was electric wire there. And you can see that that drill went right through that wire. On the left side is where someone, nailed, something usually trim.
Trimmed nail in there, and the nail went right through the wire. So assume if you're going to be putting a a wire in the floor, and you're going to have somebody coming in to put a transition in or someone's coming in to put a piece of plumbing in, assume that they're going to hit the wire. Because that's just Murphy's law. If something's going to go wrong at will, that's why you have to be so very careful when somebody comes in there after the floor has been installed.
That perfect example of cold spots is right there in the middle. This wasn't laid out correctly. This wasn't laid out per the plan that we supplied. And those big blue areas are cold areas.
And you can see the temperature literally ranges from eighty six degrees down to about sixty six, about seventy. So you can see that it is sixteen or seventeen degree difference in the span of about six inches. And you can see that nice blue hole right there in the middle, that area is cold. So when you stand there with your foot, your foot is going to feel that seventy degree spot surrounded by an eighty six degree spot, and you're going to go, why is this area so cold?
Is because there's no heating cable there. If you don't have any heat, you don't have any cable there. The heat only travels an inch and a half laterally on each side of the wire. So it's like a big circle.
It goes around an inch and a half. So that's why on our mats, on our roles that we supply, those wires are spaced at three inch spacing because that gives you a perfect overlap between the two wires. Inch and a half this way, inch and a half that way, and you have nice heat going across.
So you can see this spot was left unheated. And it's going to be cold. That's why you can't put the strip right down the middle of the floor and expect it to warm the whole floor I can't tell you the number of times. I've heard that.
We just put it in the middle of the floor because we thought it would warm the whole whole floor up. It doesn't. It only travels an inch and a half from this side and an inch and a half from that side. So you have a, like, a landing strip down the middle of your of your bathroom that's warm and all the other areas are cold.
And that's also why we recommend, getting and using a smart plan from us to kind of prevent things like in the middle happening. If you're actually following the plan that will show you, you know, where exactly to cut turn or, you know, to run the cable back and forth, then you aren't going to have these hot and cold spots. This I see a lot more for someone who is kind of you know, just winging it, wants to just do it themselves and not have any kind of plan or anything like that, or someone who, you know, decided to kind of go off plan a little bit for, you know, corner of a room, something like that, and there are issues. So definitely, if you can, we can usually turn these plans around within a day. I definitely recommend reaching out, getting a smart plan just to have a pretty good idea going into it, what you're gonna be doing. Right.
So, Scott, our troubleshooting kit, we rent these out. Can you kind of tell us what all of these very fancy, pieces of equipment are.
These tools are very expensive.
And we rent them out to people who have trouble because one of the most common, bits of miss information out there is that if you have a problem in your electric heated floor, you have to rip it all up and start over again. You do not need to rip up your floor and start all over again because these tools will show you exactly where the bad spot is by shooting a whole bunch of voltage down the wire with that high pot tester, creating a short and heating that short with a variac transformer.
And that variac transformer allows you to start at zero volts and turn your knob up voltage wise until you start to see the heat on the floor using your thermal camera which is on the lower right hand corner. That's where you see the hot spots. That's where you see where there's cable not installed and cold spots.
The digital multimeter is what you do to do your ohms testing, and also that clamp on the top is designed to do an amp draw test to make sure that when you're turning the very act, heating that portion of the floor that the you should see the amp meter increase. You should see amperage going through that. And as amperage goes into that floor, you should start to see the floor heat up with your thermal camera. The cable fault finder back in the day back when I started fifteen years ago, this is all we had.
And you all it would tell you is the number of feet down the cable that the problem was, either the short or the open. So if you use the plan, you could tell, okay, it says a hundred and ten feet I would follow the plan and do the math and find out it's probably over here. That is if they did the layout the way we showed them. Because if they didn't do the layout the way we showed them, it could be on the other side of the room.
And then you're never able to find it using the cable fault finder. So what it does it's primarily the assistant of telling you how close it is to the thermostat. The cold leads are fifteen feet. So if your short stop says Hey, your problem is twenty feet down the line.
It tells you there's probably within five feet of where the thermostat is down on the floor. But if it says it's three hundred and seventy feet, you know, it's out on the other side of the room probably, and that's about all it's good for.
So you twist the red and the red and the black together or the yellow and the black together and you put one probe on that? You put the other probe on the ground, you press the button, and it will tell you how many feet down the wire the problem is.
So you can use it with a with a plan if you have one, but the other tools, you don't need to know a plan. You don't even need to know where the plan is over the cable because you'll just see the hot spot.
Awesome. So talking about the actual location of the, of the problem, like said, Scott.
Can you kind of talk about well, first, I'd like to say this should be something that's done by a licensed electrician. Correct?
Yes. Yes. This is testing out with any of the troubleshooting kit. Components is not something that you want to be DIYing or trying yourself.
Can you kinda tell us what the, you know, how you find the exact location?
The high pot, first of all, can shoot about twenty five hundred volts. Down the line. If you turn it all the way up and you do not wanna do you do not wanna grab anything that's twenty five hundred volts. So that's why you need an electrician to use this.
And, what it's doing is if you have a wire that's become that got cut and it became disconnected, what you're doing is you're sending enough voltage down that wire to make it jump from one end to the other. And when it jumps from one end to the other, it makes a big pop, and it gets really hot, really quickly. But when that is getting really hot really quickly, you do that on for two seconds, bang, bang, bang, take it off for two seconds, then bang, bang, bang, off bing, bang, bang, bang, off, and do that repeatedly. Could be five minutes.
Could be six hours. But eventually, that arc that's formed by jumping that distance is going to show up as a red spot with your thermal camera, and that's where you know that the cut is.
And that's usually what you see when somebody cuts through it on the grout line. They've actually cut the wire and it's separated. It's come across it's come apart. And you're just using all this voltage to jump that distance, and that's going to create a hot spot. So you're shooting voltage usually down black to ground or red to ground. You're trying to see if you can get a you're trying to do two things. You're trying to create a hot spot.
And you're also trying to create a short so you can heat that short up. So you're really doing two things.
So you're trying to jump that gap to make a hot spot. Or you're trying to weld those two pieces inside together, either black to ground or red to ground. Because if you weld them together, You can then use the very act to send just a little bit of power and you keep turning that power up using your clamp amp meter and watching the amps go up. And as those amps go up, you should see the four start to heat up until it gets to that spot.
And then it stops. That tells you where the short is. And that hopefully is just under one tile. You break one tile.
You lift the tile up.
Fix it and put a new tile down. That is a lot different than completely replacing your floor. Yes. A lot easier, a lot less of a headache.
So this is kind of what you were talking about over here with using the thermal camera and kind seeing the exact location. Correct?
Yeah. This is after you heat it up with a very act. You can turn the very act up until you start to see the red signature and where that red signature stops is where the short is. This spot will also, if you're zapping from red to ground or black to ground, you may see something like this, but usually that spot inside the white circle is much brighter because that's the spot where it's jumping together. It's it's bridging that gap. So that's what is going on there with that short. You're gonna see it come to a a stop, and that's the spot that you're going to fix.
So like you said, when it does come to removing the flooring over wherever it's damaged, That's the nice part about, you know, using all of these tools. You don't have to tear up the entirety of the floor. Only a small section usually needs to be replaced. Usually just one, maybe two tiles, fix it, and then you can, replace those tiles.
Yeah. And and what happened here is oops. What happened here is that, with this particular job, this tells me, because I've been doing this for so long, This tells me that this was probably somebody that sent a plan into us to have us do a drawing installation plan, but they didn't show the air vent in the floor. So we designed the heat to go right up to, you know, pretty close to the wall, but no one told us that there was a a event there. So what happens is you can't heat. You can't put electric heat in a vent.
It's not going to go there. So what happened is the person Oh, I'll just kinda tug on it moving around here.
A lot of times that wire just gets pushed down into the vent. And then when they take the grate, to push the grate down on it, all of a sudden, that grate cuts the wire, and that's exactly what's happened here. That wire got caught in the vent, and somebody said, oh, this great isn't going in very well here. Bam, and they put it, you know, they get it to see And as soon as they get it to sink down into the floor, that's where the wire has been cut.
So you'll see this kind of problem here also people that try to get into the, door stop air or into the, the, the area between two rooms. They wanna get it very close to the transition. You don't wanna get it very close to the transition. You get it away from the transition so the transition installers don't hit it like this.
I fix dozens of floors where they wanted to get it right up to where the carpet was. They want the tile right to the carpet and they want it to be warm. No. You don't.
You get it away from there because that person when they put the transition and put the screw right through the wire. So those are couple of the things you wanna do. And all you have to do As you see here, using the hammer to break the tile, and then once you break it, you start lifting it up. You never ever stick something in there and try to pry it up.
Because as soon as you start to price something up, you're going to ruin the areas around it. So what you wanna do is simply break the tile with a sledge hammer But one secret, when you're breaking the tile is to make sure that you route out the grout line around that tile You don't need to take it completely out, but you wanna score it. So when you hit the tile, it doesn't travel to the other tiles on either side.
Make sense. Yeah. The less damage you can do, the better. Right.
So what are some of the key takeaways for beginning planning out that project. Obviously, like we kind of touched on heat is only going to be pretty much where the cable is, maybe an inch and a half away from it. So you do want to take that into account. And then, you would kind of touch John Scott as well.
Areas that there's going to be plumbing columns, floor vents, anything like that you want to be sure to let us know when we are drawing up your smart in. And can you kinda tell us what this picture is showing us? Well, this picture is showing us the three inch spacing and how the nice smooth temperature is all the way across the floor until you get to the area in the upper left hand corner where it's cold. There's nothing wrong with this floor.
It's heating up perfectly. As you can see, the only difference is we left out this area that's blue. We left out the Sarasorb there. And we put the cable directly on the slab.
And you can see this is why we always tell you if you have a concrete slab, you want serosorb over the top. Because you can see in that upper left hand corner, this was this is about after ten minutes of turning the system on. So it wasn't even really on that long. But you can see already there's a four degree difference between the area that has cirrhizorb in the area that doesn't.
And the insulated area, it's gonna go up and get into the eighties, usually into the eighties without much of a problem. But the area where it's non insulated is going to be stuck in the seventies. Kinda like my wardrobe, but that's okay as long as you are expecting that that floor where it's uninsulated will not feel cold. It won't feel cold.
It won't feel warm, but it won't it'll it won't feel cold. So there's a big difference between not feeling cold and actually enjoying the heat. And you're going all this trouble to install the floor, put it in so it gets warm. And the way to do that over concrete slab is to do it with Sarah'sorb.
So I just wanted you to see this the slide because it's a slide that shows a correctly operating system that's installed correctly and nine tenths of it and one tenth of it is where it's installed on a concrete slab, and it shows you what kind of repercussions that can have.
Yes. Definitely. I think that's a really good picture to illustrate.
So we get a call a lot, I'd say, handful of times a day, part of my floor heaps and part of it does not. So can you kind of tell us what the smart plan is indicating?
Well, there's four controls on this plan. And you can see they're in circles. There's p one, p two, p three, and a t for a thermostat.
The thermostat turns those p, which are power modules. It turns them on or off. So when the thermostat at calls for heat, it will communicate that with a low voltage wire from from the thermostat to the power module, from the power module to the other power module, like a daisy chain. It'll do that, and that's how they all come on at once or how they all turn off at once. So if you have a thermostat that turns on and all the other system turns off, And when the thermostat turns off, all the other system turns on, that tells you that the wiring, the low voltage wiring between one control to the other is reversed.
There's polarity in that connection. There's a plus and a minus.
If you turn it the wrong way, when this turns on, this will turn off, When this one turns off, this one turns on, because the wiring is backwards.
So that's a simple case where all you have to do is take a low voltage connection, change it. Just reverse it, and you fixed your whole floor. So that's what kind of questions we're going to be asking.
However, if if part of the floor doesn't heat up, And all the rest of the power modules are working, it tells you you might have a problem with the flooring with the with the problem under the flooring. That's where you always do your ohms test first. The first thing you ever do if you have a suspected problem is to find out what part of the floor it is In this case, there's four one, two, three, four different roles there. If the section, in the upper part doesn't heat, then it tells you that that problem is in that role, probably, not in the other roles because they're all working. The first thing you have to do is disconnect that purple section at the top, disconnect it from the p one and test for ohms. That's always the first thing. Whenever you have a problem with your floor heat, always test it for ohms, just like we've talked about already in the in the presentation.
Absolutely. So looking at our previous model thermostat, this is one that we get calls about a lot We used these for quite a few years. They're very, they're pretty much everywhere right now in the country. There's going to be or in both countries, the States and Canada, these have been used for years.
So we see these a lot. And as they're aging and getting a little bit older, we're also seeing a few problems crop up. So if you have one of the use of smart stats or the th one one five or some variation of that model number, then you if you have problems with it and you call us in, we're gonna give you some pretty general troubleshooting stuff to start. Can you kinda tell us what what are some common issues we see with these?
Well, first of all, we're we've sold these for a zillion years. But the thing is we're not the only people that sold them. Everybody else sold. This was about the only game in town for years for every floor heating company.
So people will go on YouTube. They'll say, hey, I saw your thermostat, but it's not really ours. It's a competitors of ours who sold the same one. So, it's not necessarily our system, but we have a lot of videos out there.
And a lot of our video content is very popular on Google, And when they do a Google search for this thermostat, we invariably come up. So if you have a thermostat that's getting power, but it's blank, it tells you the thermostat has failed. Transformer inside of it has failed. Thermostat has a face plate and a base unit that screws into the wall.
The face plate hooks onto it. These two pieces must be replaced at the same time. You don't take the faceplate off and put another faceplate on. You would take the whole thermostat out and you put a whole new thermostat in.
Same thing is you don't if you have let's say, hey, I've got two of these in my house. I'm gonna take the face plate off this one and take the face plate from a good one and put it on here Oh, it still doesn't work because the problem isn't in the faceplate. It's in the base.
So that's why you can't just swap a faceplate and expect it to do anything. You have to replace both units and take them out of the system. So if it's if if the thermostat is getting power at the back of it, and it doesn't come on. The thermostat that the the the, the transformer inside of it has failed.
Replacing the faceplate is not going to do If you have a thermostat that you turn it on, it goes fourteen fifteen blank. And then it rotates again. Fourteen fifteen blank. Then it rotates again overnight.
It's just trying to boot up and it's not able to. The thermostat is bad.
So that's another thing. There's also inside of the thermostat. There's a mechanical relay that you hear click and click. It clicks when it goes together and it clicks when it comes apart.
When it calls for heat, the relay clicks together. When it says, hey, I've got enough heat, I'm gonna turn off. They come apart. What happens is when these thermostats get really, really old, is that relay can't close anymore.
It's stuck. It's mechanical. It's on a hinge, and that hinge won't move.
So what happens is it's thinking. It's calling for heat. Hey, I told the relay to close. You should be heating up now.
The only problem is the relay doesn't go, hey, you know what? I'm not able to close. It doesn't say that. It just goes I'm gonna try to close.
I'm gonna try to close, but I can't. So the thermostat thinks everything's good. It thinks it's sending power to the floor, but it really isn't because that relay isn't closing inside.
Well, that's where the case is. You test your floor with a digital ohmmeter. If your floor test good and your floor still doesn't heat, It's that mechanical relay inside that's not working. And we the ninety nine times out of a hundred.
When somebody says that, it's calling for heat, but it's not heating, and the ohms are good. It's because the thermostat needs to be replaced.
Now, fortunately, if you're one of our customers, if we can find your order in the system, we can get you a fifty percent off replacement. Because that's what we do for our return customers. So that's why we're going to ask you, hey. Do you have any order information? Because I'll be glad to replace that for fifty percent off. One of our new thermostats, because we don't sell this unit anymore. One of our new easier to use thermostats, And we can find the order, then we're good to go.
Definitely. I'm switching it out. Again, you'll get that fifty percent discount. And then you have what is generally an easier, more user friendly model to continue using. And I did a video. We have a video exactly on how to go from this thermostat with a new thermostat. So it shows you everything you need to know about changing from the old to the new.
So, Scott, another call we get all the time is someone has forgotten to install the sensor. And that's why we do like to kind of hammer the point home. The sensor is in the thermostat box. So we see a lot of homeowners, you know, will get their product, hand the the mat or the cable to the installer, and then keep the thermostat off to the side to install at a later time once the flooring is in.
And doing that means that the sensor is not going to be put into the floor at the same time as the floor heating itself. So if that is the case, if you have made that mistake, what is the remedy?
Well, first of all, every product we sell has a big sticker on it that says don't forget the sensor. It's right on the you have to rip it to open the cable up to install the cable, and you have to rip it to open the roll up. But for some reason that message sometimes doesn't get across, but we're trying. And if that's the case, the system will work ambient temperature, which is the air temperature, but controlling the temperature of the air is very very It isn't very, it wasn't a very good way to control Florida.
You want to be able to control the temperature in the floor. Especially if you have carpet or if you have laminate or if you have another product like, I don't know, l v t that says you can heat this up to a certain temperature. If you don't install the force sensor, you can't do that. So the four sensor has to be there.
And if you forget to do it, what you do is you turn the system on, set it to ambient. So it's trying to heat the air set it to Ambient. Take a thermal camera. They're available at many, many home depots.
You can go to heat Home Depot, rent the thermal camera, and you can mark on the floor where those wires are, and where they loop, and where they loop. And what you wanna do is you want to find a grout line that's between two of those wires because you don't want the wire, the the the sensor sitting right on top of the wire. Because it won't work correctly. It needs to be between those two wires.
So you're looking for a grout line that's lining up between the two wires That way what you do is you route out the grout line very carefully. You stick that very small sensor down in the grout line and you grout right over it. And that way, you don't have to rip tiles up or anything, but you don't need to get it out in the middle of the floor. You only need it to get into about six or eight inches into that area just as long as it's between two of those heating wires.
And you want that's where there's thermal cameras gonna come in because it's going to show you where those wires are and where you have the open loop to send the wire in because you don't wanna run the wire over a closed loop either.
Alright. So when it comes to actually repairing a floor heating cable, there you can be spliced together? Can you kind of tell us what we're looking at here? There's there's a few steps to it.
Yeah. And we don't expect anybody to learn this right now. This is simply an overview from about thirty five thousand feet. We've got documents that we can send out to you that show you exactly how to do it.
We also have videos that show you how to do this. So so we're not gonna be doing that here. But what this is, it just shows you that there are those two in that middle picture. There are those two wires there that heat up, and then there's that copper braid that doesn't heat up.
And when you're doing your repair, You have to do the repair on each one of those heating wires and cover it with waterproof shrink-wrap or heat shrink that's got adhesive inside of it. So when you heat it up, you can see it melts. And that keeps it waterproof. Then you make your connection on the ground.
And then you put that big tube over the whole thing and seal it up to make it waterproof. So you can see that you have to put those tubes on, those waterproof tubes before you make your first connection. Otherwise, you're gonna be doing your connections and then undoing them and then putting those tubes on and do don't ask me how I know that either. Because even after I've done this a hundred times every once in a while, I'll forget, oh, you know what?
That was a great repair. I wish I would've had the tubes there. Where they need to be. So you can see all the tubes need to be put there in place.
So when you make your repair, you can cover it, heat it with a hot air gun, and then move on to your next one.
So can you kinda walk us through these steps? Yeah. Real quickly, there's the, there's a heat shrink tube. You can just go forward.
You can see you're going to cut the wire. You're going to open it up. You're not using a wire stripper you're using like a box cutter wire strips wire strippers do not work on our floor heating cable because they're very small and they are not normal sizes. So you can't just look like if you're doing Romex, you got twelve gauge Romex, you put it in the twelve gauge thing, you hit the stripper and it strips it off.
You can't do that with this. So what you do is you cut that wire. You strip it back. You then can see in number four.
You can see the two heating wires in the ground. And then you need to cut into those heating wires so they can get down to the bare metal, and you can go forward now.
And there you can see we've offset them. So one's longer than the other on both ends. You don't have to worry about pairing up either one because they both travel the same distance to the end. So you're not gonna have to worry about, hey, I did I got this one. Do I need to match it with you just do it whichever way you want to. It doesn't matter. Still completes the circuit.
So what we've done there is we've done our offset cuts.
And we stick our heat shrink tubes on there, and you can keep going.
And there, we're showing the, with our but splices, which are insulated on and also have solder. So when you put the hot air gun on it, not only do those shrink up, and seal, but they also melt the solder in the center, which makes a better connection makes those two pieces of metal come together better. And that's what you're seeing there. So we're doing one, then doing the other, crimping them on.
Once you crimp them on, you heat them up. And they shrink and you melt in the bottom right hand corner. If you look on number seven and look to number eight, number seven, you can see where the solder hasn't melted yet. And on number eight, you can see where the solder has melted. That band in the center has shrunken has gotten smaller, and it is now a nice clear connection. You can see the melted solder in the center.
And you just continue on. You continue and you make your your your two wire heating wires have been repaired and isolated from one another. And now you put a butt connector on the ground, and then you don't have to worry about the ground touching the heating wire because the heating wires are all covered up. So you just go ahead and put that on there and slide the big tube over it. You heat that up, and there's your repair.
And like we said also, this is not something that you need to be memorizing. We will walk you through this if it comes up. And here we move on to the next one. This is a solder method, and this is what experienced electricians like to use because solder really is the best connection. So you can use the solder method here. You can go forward.
And here we have little tiny pieces of heat shrink that you can get locally.
You just put those on the side there. You solder the two pieces together. You put that heat shrink over like on number four.
You heat them up. You shrink them. You make that connection on the ground.
Once again, and there, the big tube goes over it, and you're done.
Easy peasy. Yep. I say that like I could ever do this myself.
Simple enough in common. Yeah. Anybody can do it.
I don't know if I don't know if I could. I'm not I'm not an electric person. I'm too scared.
So are we are there any questions from any of our participants today? I'm not seeing anything If anything comes up while we do some housekeeping, be sure to let us know. You can definitely send these in the chat, and we would be happy to answer again any questions that you might have. So our next webinar will be Thursday, September fourteenth at one zero pm. We'll be going over, snow melting for asphalt driveways. We're gonna walk you through, some installation, steps and things like that. So come join us for, for a snow melting conversation before it gets too cold to install.
Hey, Lynn. Did we have any questions sent to us ahead of time? I don't remember? I do not believe we did.
Okay. No. Olivia says we did not. Okay.
And then we do offer daily trainings right here on Zoom. We offer them at least once a day, often twice a day. They're hosted by me, usually, hosted by Scott, other, of our technical support team members. So their five, ten, fifteen minutes pop on in and, learn a little bit more about our products and ask any questions that you might have.
And then our promotion for August is fifteen percent off of all of our snow melting systems. So be sure to check that out.
Once this is over, we'll send you an email asking about your experience during today's webinar. So we would love to hear any comments.
I always say we like to hear compliments, especially Scott likes to say on, on his hair. He really wants to hear some compliments. So if there's anything like that, or any suggestions. We'd love to hear, if you, if you have any ideas for, future webinars, be sure to let us know. We would like to talk about things that you actually care about and want to hear about.
And of course, if you have any questions. If you need any help, give us a call or shoot us an email visit our website. There is a lot of information on that website. So you can definitely, learn a ton and always feel free to reach out if you need us for anything.
And that is all we have today. Thank you, Scott, so much for joining me. It was great having your technical expertise until next time. As always, stay warm. And be radiant. Be radiant. See you everybody.