Repairing a Hydronic floor heating system


I have a Concrete slab home that was built in 1954. i was outside the other day and observes some wettness on my block foundation. i think one of my radiant floor heat pipes is leaking. does anyone know if there is a way to pinpoint the location of a leak? i do not want to think of removing my entire concrete slab and having to reinstall tubing and pour a new slab. I do want to figure out how to make the repair because i never want to give up the floor heat.
please help
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snipped-for-privacy@msn.com wrote:

Hmmmmmm Half a century of copper tube embedded in hostile concrete? Folks would say that's end-of-life.
OK. You're committed to salvaging it.
As a first step- shut off the boiler feedwater and see if the pressure begins to drop (over a period of days, maybe). Refill the boiler manually to get some idea of the magnitude of loss. That will establish that you have a hydronic leak (or not).
There are many hi-tech instruments today for measuring moisture content by probing the surface. If you can pinpoint the spot, then what?
Inject a product like "Stop Leak" into the system? That may be effective at least short term in plugging pin holes.
A corrosion-inhibitor mixed with the boiler water *might* help, but only if the corrosion is from within and not on the outside. (I'm not a corrosion engineer.)
My take on this is that you are shoveling against the tide. I would be making a plan for some alternate heating method while plugging the leaks.
Jim
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I was on a job where they jackhammered a floor like this and we found the copper was pretty much disintegrated throughout. I'm thinking he may be better off adding new plastic tubing in gypcrete right over the existing slab
wrote:

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RBM wrote:

Quote: "...tubing in gypcrete right over the existing slab"
That's very good. Jim

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This is by far the best answer - just lay a new floor over the top of your hydronic slab. It will be more energy efficient and with the new tubing will last 100 years, not 50.
On Fri, 2 Feb 2007 19:49:27 -0500, "RBM" <rbm2(remove

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How thick should the new floor be? I can't imagine the changes needed to add a 2" or 4" floor. All the doors, entrances, kitchen cabinets and plumbing changes to be made. If there is a step at the entry doors, it may no longer meet code. Ceilings will be "lower" now; windows will be "lower" now. What do you do for closet doors? How about al the trim?
Do you really think this is a sensible method?
Installing baseboard heat requires none of the other changes needed here, aside from some baseboard trim removal.
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You can do it with about 1.5 inches of gypcrete

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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Yeah, but the OP was absolutely adamant that he wasn't giving up in-floor radiant... He'll have to weigh the pros and cons (if the Stop Leak doesn't work :-) Jim
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NO!!!
Be very, very careful. Automotive coolant should never be used in a hydronic system.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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A moisture meter would work, be sure its probes are for concrete.
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snipped-for-privacy@msn.com says...

Unless there are a few hydronics experts reading this newsgroup -- and although I've answered a few hydronics questions recently, I am decidedly NOT an expert on the subject -- you're much more likely to get solid answers here:
http://www.heatinghelp.com -- then scroll down to the Got Questions? box, and click the link for "The Wall".
Or go there directly: http://forums.invision.net/Main.cfm?CFApp=2&CFPush=Login
Registration is free, and they don't spam or collect personal information.
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About that time, Levitt was building thousands of homes in Pennsylvania using the same type of system. Some years ago they started to corrode and leak. Many have been converted to standard baseboard heat. Not easy, but sensible and long lasting. It may be your best solution.
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