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Old 10-28-2006, 12:41 PM   #1
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In-Floor Heating Cable Trouble...


Wondering if anyone has any experience locating a ground fault in a floor heating cable. Cable resistance end-to-end is 120 ohms as it is supposed to be...but since the ceramic tiles were installed over the cable, there is no longer infinite resistance to ground. It is reading about 4200 ohms...enough to trip the 30 mA GFCI on the thermostat. Obviously, the tiler damaged the cable during the tile installation. Question now is...how to find where the ground fault is located without taking up all the tiles. The tiles are on a bathroom floor and also, along with the heating cables, are on a step and ledge around a bathtub. This is the single-wire type heating cable approved for this type of use. The heating wire has a braded ground all along the length...so the leakage is between the inner element and this braided copper ground sheath...somewhere. Any suggestions?

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Old 10-28-2006, 02:54 PM   #2
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In-Floor Heating Cable Trouble...


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Originally Posted by sootybuttercup View Post
Any suggestions?
Yes. Take up the floor and replace the cable on the tiler's coin. No other option IMO. You are not about to repair it.
This is why we do an ohm check out of the box; once installed; and then after tile/flooring. Any differences along the way point to who caused the problem. If you left with the ohms in range and came back to find the cable shorted or open it is obviously an issue that was caused after you laid the cable.

For the record, I HATE that single wire radiant heat. Give me a mat any time.

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Old 10-28-2006, 03:08 PM   #3
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In-Floor Heating Cable Trouble...


Hi Speedy...I was afraid someone would say that (take the floor up). I had been checking the ohms after every phase of the job (I laid the cable...and OK), the floor tiles went down, after the leveller...and OK, the steps and deck tiles went down...and NG. Took a few tiles up and found that the tile installer pounded the staples in enough to crush the wire. Found 1 so far with the copper braid showing. Wishing there was a way to "narrow it down" besides doing ohm checks between the heater end wire and wetted grout spots randomly selected (that's how I found the first exposed braid).
Thanks!
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Old 10-28-2006, 03:30 PM   #4
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In-Floor Heating Cable Trouble...


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Took a few tiles up and found that the tile installer pounded the staples in enough to crush the wire.
This can be translated to: "He's a moron!"
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Old 10-28-2006, 04:21 PM   #5
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In-Floor Heating Cable Trouble...


There is no compliant repair method for the cable type floor heat. It is either all perfect, or it's all junk. The tile man owes you new heat and a new floor. Simple as that. This is another insurance claim that you should stop messing with right now. Get on the phone Monday morning to the tile man and ask him to send over his insurance man.
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Old 10-28-2006, 04:30 PM   #6
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In-Floor Heating Cable Trouble...


mdshunk...i guess you are right. I was trying to narrow things down to help with the process, but I'm not having much luck. I have taken up more than a dozen tiles and the staples have been pounded in so far that there is are deep permanent grooves in the wire. I'm taking lots of high res photos. I'll be calling them with the bad news on Monday. Strange that I am not reading a dead short if the staple went all the way to the inside. They'll probably say I damaged the cables putting them down...and I have no proof I checked them along the way...except my 15 year old daughter helped the last time, before the final tiles and grout went in. I'll let you know what the tiling people say about it. Thanks.
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Old 10-28-2006, 05:04 PM   #7
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In-Floor Heating Cable Trouble...


Consequently, I'm surprised you can find the cable. Did they use thinset only? The way you're supposed to do that is to pour floor leveler over the cables so that you have a new "flat" floor area, with the cables covered in leveler. Then, after that dries, you use thinset to set the tiles. If they used thinset to lay the tiles right over the cable, they did it wrong. That's the procedure for mat heat.
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Old 10-28-2006, 05:11 PM   #8
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In-Floor Heating Cable Trouble...


They did do the levelling thing on the floor, and everything was still okay after those tiles were laid. They just used the thinset on the vertical surfaces and tub ledge/step. The tiler did say to me that he "wished I would have routered a groove to lay those wires in"...so after that he must have pounded the staples in. I'm not sure you are allowed to router grooves for those cables...only for the splices. I think I aged 5 years today. Thanks for the replies.
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Old 10-28-2006, 05:13 PM   #9
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In-Floor Heating Cable Trouble...


You used the Easy Heat "Warm Tiles" stuff, then?
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Old 10-28-2006, 05:32 PM   #10
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In-Floor Heating Cable Trouble...


I used the Stelpro brand cables, but the stuff you mention sounds the same.
http://www.stelpro.com/en/floor.html
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:28 PM   #11
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In-Floor Heating Cable Trouble...


hi guys just want to get some feedback.screwed up on my square footage,said it was around 70sq ft but its actually around 50.Now got this stelpro heating cable thats for 61ft and its way to long.can you cut it off and seal the ends somehow?Lookslike they just put heat shrink on the ends at the factory,can't see what else and dont want to strip the heat shrink.
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:27 AM   #12
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In-Floor Heating Cable Trouble...


revid...they have splicing kits, but I believe if you have to splice it (to repair it) that it has to stay the same length. Best to call Stelpro Toll free: 1-866-766-6020 and ask them. I think they will tell you to space it closer (if you can do that and still stay within the recommended distances)...or run the extra into another room or hallway. Good luck. Let us know what you find out.

Last edited by sootybuttercup; 05-05-2010 at 07:28 AM. Reason: added phone number
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Old 05-05-2010, 06:37 PM   #13
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In-Floor Heating Cable Trouble...


had no choice but to buy shorter cable.Bought 44ft,did reading 121.5,box says 124 ohms.poured leveler down and did reading,120.6 ohms,is the cable still good or what?asked stelpro about the 124 to 12.5 and they says its still good but to late to ask them now about the 120.6 difference.what do you guys think?
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Old 05-05-2010, 06:48 PM   #14
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In-Floor Heating Cable Trouble...


what are those numbers again?
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Old 05-05-2010, 06:55 PM   #15
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In-Floor Heating Cable Trouble...


box says 124 ohms.I tested got 121.5.did test after floor leveler down and got 120.6ohms.what do you think?

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