A friend of mine has a large (4000 sq.ft.) home built in 1950. It's in New England with a concrete slab on grade construction. There is a small basement under about 10% of the house containing the heating boiler and the beginning of plumbing loops.
The house has radiant heating with copper pipe buried in the concrete. There are also 4 baths and two sink kitchen areas with all supply and drain piping also buried in the concrete.
My friend lost one of the radiant loops about two years ago and heard water sprying out of the loop via a burst pipe under the concrete. The water was geysering out from under the foundation to the outside. She installed a new hydro-air heating system in that part of the building to replace that lost loop. The leaking loop was blocked off and abandoned. The cost was over $17,000 but insurance picked up part of the price. The new system only covers about 1000 sq ft of the home with the remaining radiant loops still heating the rest of the place.
To me the house is a nightmare waiting to happen with most likely frequent plumbing and heating loop failures in the near future with absolutely NO access without jackhammering up the concrete. I'm amazed that the copper has lasted in damp concrete for the 56 years that it has...
Anyone seen a situation like this? So far, we've not even found tradesmen willing to get involved.
I'm tempted to advise her to start a replacement program, jack hammering up pipe runs to each bath, one room at a time. However, most of the flooring has beautiful tiling and she's reluctant to damage that. There's a shallow attic over only part of the house, where they've installed the hydro air system. Due to the almost impossible access I can see why they didn't make the new system more extensive.
My friend is more house rich and cash poor. She has some budget room but it's not unlimited.
Any ideas? I shake my head when I'm in the place wondering what the original builders were thinking.