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Electric floor heat- bad install

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  • Electric floor heat- bad install

    Hi all...thanks in advance for any help/advice you can provide. I recently had 2 bathrooms remodeled by a local contractor. Good enough guy and all has gone ok until I finally turned on the electric in floor heat in the master bath. It was installed on top of a subfloor and had porcelain tile laid above. He installed suntouch mats and a suntouch command thermostat. I turned it on after 30 days for the first time, per contractors instructions. Here are my 2 issues: first- no matter how high I turn up the temp setting on the always reads a temperature of between 70 and 74 degrees. Ive set the thermostat for the highest temp possible (96 degrees) and tested the actual floor temp at the tile and get readings At 85-90 degrees fairly quickly. The problem is that the thermostat still won't budge over 74. So when I set a program to heat to 80, the thermostat assumes the real floor temp is only 74 and will basically heat forever and never get to the set temp. I looked up the manual online and tested the sensor wires for resistance, which checked out fine according to the chart listed. My assumption is that the sensor is installed outside of the heating coil grid and basically registering the ambient temperature of the surroundings, instead of the actual heat of the radiant system. I did a quick test this afternoon...... I turned off the thermostat and my furnace and let the house temp go down to 68. Both my house thermostat and suntouch floor thermostat read 68 degrees. I kept the furnace off and cranked the suntouch up to 90. After a half hour, the suntouch thermostat red only 70 degrees, while an actual thermometer placed against the surface of the floor was reading 85.

    Second issue: the master bathroom is only 46" between the wall and the vanity. The contractor used a 30" wide mat for the install. After I finally turned it on after the 30 day wait, I came to find out that he installed the 30" mat against the non-vanity wall. So, this leaves me with a 14" space that is left unheated (and cold) exactly where one would stand to use the vanity. The dead space against the other wall, where the door hinges too, is fully heated. I cannot comprehend why he would have done this. Shouldn't the entire floor surface be evenly heated, with the exception of under vanities, toilets, etc?

    I did call the contractor yesterday and told him about the issues. His response for the first issue was that sometimes the thermostats aren't calibrated that well. His suggestion was just to adjust the program settings so it will just turn on and heat in the morning, then shut off, then turn back on in the evening, then shut off. So on and so forth. His suggestion is basically telling me that I'll never be able to get the temp of the floor to an accurate setting. His response to the second issue was that the mars only come in 30" wide sections and that he bought a 6' long roll so he only had so much to work with. He also said that he couldn't get close to the vanity or toilet with the mats (neither were installed at time of install, but he knew the specs of vanity and toilet). However, when I tested the floor temp today with a thermometer, it is obvious that the floor is indeed heated under the front edge of the toilet. Seems like another excuse.

    Now....I'm a contractor myself, not related to interior home improvements, but experienced in customer service and working with homeowners and general contractors nonetheless. I certainly acknowledge that I do have a bathroom floor that heats up when I tell it to. I am just really having a hard time justifying not making him tear out the granite counter tops, new vanity, toilet, and the entire tile floor to fix the issue and make this the way we wanted it.

    Any advice, comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    Yes, make him rip it all out and redo. But first make sure your contract spelled out what he is to do. Better yet, have a more competent contractor do it and bill him for it.
    And next time pay attention to work in progress. You should be able to see where the mats go and stop it if necessary before tile is laid. Also, the location and functionality of the thermostat can be verified before tile is laid. You should not need to babysit the job if you have a competent contractor, but apparently you don't.


    • #3
      at least the shower pan is not leaking, yet


      • #4
        Sad but true, the job was done wrong as you already spelled out.
        BTW I think your supposition about the sensor location makes perfect sense. Do you have progress photos? I was able to fix a floor with that specific problem by drilling at an angle into the floor between the wires from the other side of the wall and sliding the sensor into place. Of course, the mats were in the correct locations (unlike in your situation), and I had access through the wall because we were tearing out the leaky shower.
        This type of mistake seems to be a lot easier to make than I would have guessed. (Don't ask me how I know that.)
        DG and Gary are right, maybe find a competent contractor? This one failed the test already.


        • #5
          I have put in a lot of floor heat kits. Not a big fan of the matts. I have installed the infloor heat cables. Only had a couple of issues with sensor going bad and you could pull them out and push another one in the sleeve . This type of kit is time consuming but you get a better overall even distribution of heat. I could go beside the toilets and up in the knee spaces . No cold spots.


          • #6
            Such floor heating is a great thing.


            • #7
              We have a WIFI Thermostats for Electric Floor Heating. 70$
              WiFi enabled for remote programming and control, iPhone or Android app
              approve by UL 60730-1, UL 60730-2-9, CSA E60730-1:13, CSA E60730-2-9
              7/5+1+1 Day Programming, 4 Settings / Day
              touch screen, 4" screen
              85-265Vac 50/60Hz, 15 amps
              Built-in Class A 5mA GFCI
              Mode: Auto/manual/anti-frozen/override
              19mm thickness which is thinner than Honeywell thermostat
              Very easy to install and operate, you may just need 3-5 minutes from install to operate. People can use same or similar cost to buy a wifi and easier using thermostat.

              Every year we'll attend AHR, National hardware show, IBS, covering, surface etc in US, and after the show, we'll take time to visit the customers one by one.