Possible burst underfloor heating pipe

priscilla

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264
Hi,

I have underfloor heating in place with geothermal heating system the past 6 years,working very well.
About 2 months ago, there was a loud noise out of the blue "like a large book being dropped to the floor", I did wonder at the time if one of the pipes had burst but as there was no sign of water on the ground afterwards, I didn't think anymore about it.

Recently, the county council have been checking water meters in the areas for possible leaks and they believe I have a fairly substantial one according to the water usage.

I have checked the meter with the stopcock to the house off and the water meter stops so it looks like I have an indoor leak unfortunately.

There are no signs of leaking within the house but I am very worried that the loud bang I heard a couple of months ago was now a burst pipe.
There are tiles throughout the ground floor wher the bang was heard, my son was sitting right over and felt a little vibration.

Sorry so longwinded but I was wondering if anyone could offer their opinions please. I'm reluctant to contact the contractor who installed the heating system so I would be grateful if there was anyway of checking if there is a leak and how would I go about that.
Also, how would it be possible for pipes to burst after only six years?, they were laid according to instructions and are laid in concrete screed and left undisturbed since.
I know I will probably have to contact the contractor at some stage but I would prefer to have as much information as possible before hand.

Any help greatly appreciated.
 

kkelliher

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669
First thing to do is notify your insurance company as the cost of repair to floor finishes etc could be massive. You need to look at the trace and access condition on your policy in case the water has not actually damaged your floor finishes and the plumbing repairs itself are also not covered by insurance.

A plumber should be able to isolate difference sections of the system to at least narrow down the possible leak location or you can invest in a leak detection company to come and find it for you. Leaks underground are not an easy fix and you need a bit of luck on your side trying to find it
 

priscilla

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264
Thanks KKelliher for your prompt reply.

Just wondering why my water pump isn't constantly going off if there is a leak as I had a dripping cistern before and the pump was constantly comming on ,the pump usually alerts me to any tap that hasn't been turned off properly.
 

delgirl

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1,306
We had a hot water pipe crack under the floor and also didn't know where it was.

We got a guy in with an infrared camera and he found the leak within about 15 minutes. The company was Leak Busters and the person we dealt with was Pierce McGuinness - I'm not sure if they're still trading as the leak was quite a few years ago.

When we contacted the insurance company, they told us that they would pay to repair the leak and any damage caused by the water, but would not pay for damage caused to tiling etc. to uncover the leak. :rolleyes:
 

priscilla

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264
Thanks Delgirl,
I had a look at Leakbusters site and they do seem to be still in business.
I see they are based in Wicklow and I am in the Northwest but there are probably similar companys working up here, I hope.
Was your leak underfloor heating?, do they happen often?.
I was under the impression that once the system was up and running there was virtually no chance of having a burst pipe,:confused:.
Do the installation company have any responsibility for a number of years?.

I'm still a bit of in denial, when there are no indications except for a runaway water meter.
 

delgirl

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1,306
Hi Priscilla, the leak was a hot water pipe, part of the central heating system (not underfloor heating) and was relatively easy to find with the camera.

Hope you're able to get help to sort your problem! :)
 

Leo

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Just wondering why my water pump isn't constantly going off if there is a leak as I had a dripping cistern before and the pump was constantly comming on
The underfloor heating isn't fed by this same pump. It's on a separate circuit and uses the circulation pump attached to the boiler.
 

priscilla

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264
So, it would appear that the leak is either

1. From the stopcock to the connection to the house.

2. Within the underfloor heating circuit.

Would the pressure in the pipes be high or low?.
If one of these pipes burst, would there be a loud bang and vibration?.
 
Last edited:

shoestring

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118
I would find it very hard to believe that a pipe encased in solid concrete for six years would just suddenly decide to burst. Also the pipe would not be subject to extreme highs and lows of temperature. If the pipes are installed correctly and set in concrete you would definetly not feel vibration. I have to say Priscilla I would be getting a plumber on the job, even just to put your mind at rest.
 

priscilla

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264
Thanks shoestring, I'm feeling a little relieved.
I'm waiting for the plumber to call and as he didn't install the system, I'm just trying to see if I can narrow things down for him.
Chances are that the leak is near the stopcock, I hope, it was just that unexplained "bang" a couple of months ago that had my mind going overboard.
 

Leo

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I would find it very hard to believe that a pipe encased in solid concrete for six years would just suddenly decide to burst.
This can be caused by settlement, which often takes a number of years to surface.
 

shoestring

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This can be caused by settlement, which often takes a number of years to surface.
Though likely, I think it would have to be a fairly large crack to burst an unfloor heating pipe, which to my knowledge are pliable and bend relatively easily
 

Leo

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Where a slab cracks, the two pieces can shear like a scissors. Pex is pliable, but will fail if stressed like that.
 

shoestring

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Still would have to be a large crack, circa pyrite style, to burst the pipe I reckon. Anyone I know who has built their own house and had underfloor heating installed (4 couples off the top of my head, me included) have had settlement and no issue with their pipes. If it was a common occurance for pipes to burst with settlement cracks it would render underfloor heating 'un do able'. This would seem not to be the case based on the current popularity of underfloor heating all over the world. A loud bang would not suggest the bursting of a pipe in this way also. Still anything is possible and I’d be well interested to hear what the resolution is Priscilla.
 

Leo

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It actually only takes a couple of mil. The loud bang may have been a crack forming in the slab. Significant subsidence is actually common where there is a leak, especially one significant enough to get the council's attention. All that water is washing away somewhere, and causing erosion along its path.

It's all speculation, OP needs to pressure test each loop in the UFH system to determine if there is a leak
 

gemma36

Registered User
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10
Leak on tiles

Hi priscilla, just wondering what your outcome was? I heard a similar bang few weeks ago and thought no more of it until we turned on underfloor heating last night for first time since the summer. Came down stairs this morning to find unexplained puddle on tiles on floor. We in 6 years too so now really worried this might be underfloor pipe leak so would love to know how you got on with yours.
Thanks Gemma.
 

priscilla

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264
Apologies for delay in reply. The leak was between the stopcock and the connection to the house, easily sorted out.
I hope you got sorted out Gemma.
 

pepithomas

New Member
Messages
1
Hi Gemma I have a similar problem with part of my 7 year old underfloor heating system.. Water is coming through the grouting of the tiles now that I have turned on the system for winter. Did you find out what the problem was?
Many thanks
pepithomas
 
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