How to Find a Broken Wire in a Heated Floor
Just like other floor heating systems Toronto, your radiant floor heating system may develop some problems. The most common problem is a broken wire. You may wake up one day and realize that your electric floor heating system is not working anymore. However, you do not have to give up because you can still revive your heating system. The process of repairing a home wiring system is straightforward, and you do not have to worry. The tricky part when dealing with a broken wire in a floor heating system lies in how to find a broken wire.
The first step towards identifying a broken wire in your floor heating system Toronto is getting in touch with the experts. Most experts will allow you to rent their troubleshooting toolkit. What does a troubleshooting toolkit consist of? The troubleshooting toolkit consists of a wide range of components, including a variable AC transformer, a time delay reflectometer, a dielectric strength tester, and a multimeter. Other components may include splice kits that will help you not only find a broken wire but also to repair the broken part of the wire once you trace it. To help you see through the tile, you will need to hire a thermal imaging camera.
What are the Causes for Hidden Broken Wires?
Detecting compromised integrity of wiring in hidden sections is not always easy. You may have to go without electricity- a basic amenity- before realizing such a problem exists. To avoid that, you must first know how to find a broken wire behind walls, underneath floors, ceilings, and other crevices. Understanding such installations and detecting defects is the best way to ensure the power supply remains constant.
That said, detecting a broken wire in hidden areas is not simple. You require the correct tools and guidelines to handle such tasks without causing more damage or harming yourself. Understanding the dangers associated with such a task is also critical – you must maintain a high level of caution, knowing that the slightest mishap can have dire consequences from electric shock.
The information below can be valuable if you want to learn how to locate a broken wire in floor heating or know someone dealing with electrical wiring issues. We provide various processes and tools that can help you restore power.
Find a Broken Wire Through Different Processes
Variable AC Transformer Process
The variable AC transformer process is not as risky as other methods of locating the exact break in heating wire under floor tiles. It involves low voltage that eliminates possible harm from electric shock. You will need a test kit consisting of a wire extension cord that you attach to the variable transformer and connect the loose end to the ground shield and core wire to read the ohms value or short circuit. The extension wire has an exposed tip, making the connection straightforward.
After connecting the variable AC and extension cord to the core and ground shield, set the multimeter to amperes. Put the clamp around the exposed part of the wire on the extension cord to ensure the dial reads zero, then turn on the variable AC transformer with the dial. Be careful not to surpass 10% of the rated voltage, remembering you need 12 volts for 120 volts of heating components and 24 volts for 240-volt materials. The multimeter should be between 1.5- and 2-amps range. The amperage draw should also be constant and not go to zero.
You can tell an existing break in heated flooring wire if the voltage drops while the current increases. You can monitor the graph for the slope to keep track of the amount of time it takes to indicate the fault.
Remember, a steep slope could signal that the fault takes a shorter duration to occur – it translates to higher current values per unit of time. The longer it takes for the flaw to manifest, you may have multiple breaks influencing the diagnosis process. That is also a vital factor to remember – there may be more than one faulty circuit, but you can trace the sources through the information displayed on the graph.
Assess the connections and cables carefully to establish what caused the issue in the first place. That means checking them all by scanning the floor. You can also use a Thermal Imaging Camera cable and see the heated section through the tiles – it can appear as an orange line in a serpentine pattern on the floor surface. Check where the line stops. That could be the point of the break. Do not stop after finding the first break.
After learning how to find broken wire in a heated floor, ensure you discover all the circuits, then trace them back to the source where you can apply the necessary fixation measures.
Dielectric Strength Tester Process
You will need a qualified professional to assist you when figuring out how to find a broken wire in a house using the dielectric strength tester. The process involves sending voltages ranging from 400 to 6000 through the core wire, which can be dangerous for an inexperienced person. The testing procedure is about duplicating the functionality of a sparkplug, translating to passing current across the ground shield.
Apart from needing a professional, you will also require a dielectric strength tester, a gadget that measures the ability of a material to withstand an electrical field. The device is popular in facilities making electrical elements. The performance capacity of the device relies on its ability to apply high voltage to the component under test.
The ability of the material to withstand high voltage means it has a high dielectric strength. A material that breaks down or shorts the circuit under high voltage has a low dielectric strength, even if the voltage is higher than the design limit of the gadget.
Short circuitry happens when the dielectric strength is low, causing current to flow through the air instead of the conductor. That is why one of the best ways of finding short circuit faults in in-floor heating is through the dielectric strength tester, particularly with pre-established perimeters like frequency ranging from 5 kHz t50 kHz, capacitance ranging between 1 pF to 10 pF, and voltage not exceeding 100 volts.
Part of the underfloor heating test includes measuring two types of metal electrodes – coaxial probes, which should be 0.5 m long, and loop electrodes which should be 1 m long. You place the loop electrode on one end of the and coaxial one on the other – they should be perpendicular to each other.
Once you set up the cables on opposite sides, adjust the voltage while being keen to note a different sound showing the circuit breaker. Repeat the process until you find all the circuit breaks within the cable.
Dielectric testing requires patience and keenness that you may not have as an untrained person. It can also be tedious, requiring you to use a timer when determining the sound rhythms.
Thermal Imaging Camera Process
One of the methods you are likely to come across when figuring out how to find a broken wire is the thermal imaging process, which is not as complicated or dangerous as the dielectric process. The imaging process revolves around getting ohms figures from the floor circuit, and you know there is a short circuit when the readings from one core wire to the other are infinite or open. Existing ohms readings between the core wires and the sheathing show a circuit break.
Please note that it is possible to have a short circuit and circuit break concurrently. That means you may need different repair measures depending on your discovery. You must ensure that the room is dark and cool before using the thermal imaging camera to identify the heated wires that require repair. Draw your curtains or shades, ensuring they do not allow in rays of sun that can disrupt your process. You can place garbage bags over the window if you lack other coverings. Turn off all the lights, including accent lights or overhead incandescent lights. The heat signature from the thermal imaging camera is enough to map the area with the damage.
Once the room is ready, switch on the thermal camera and point it to the inspection area. Circuit breaks or short circuits will appear darker on the screen, while flawless sections will have a bright orange colour. Ensure you mark them accordingly for later repairs. The camera helps you differentiate between the hotter and cooler areas on the floor.
Thermal imaging cameras are perfect for finding electric circuit faults if you want a straightforward or painless process – they are undoubtedly the easiest method to use when finding flaws in underfloor heating systems, better than the other alternatives. They can help you save time, and you do not require professional expertise to use them. They provide the solution to a flaw common with trying to locate issues in a heated floor with the naked eye – you will discover the problem areas quickly and efficiently. They do not have the potential danger levels associated with dielectric systems.
Numerous tutorials on using thermal imaging cameras make their use simpler, even if you have never used one before. You can go through a few to understand the basics of the operation process before starting the diagnostic process on the floor, especially if you are unsure about handling the camera.
Ensure you turn off the heating system before using the thermal imaging camera – cold floors provide the best results. You can also call a professional if you do not want to do the task yourself. The straightforward nature of the test process should not hinder you from getting ideal assistance if you wish.
So You Found a Broken Wire – Now What?
Fixing electrical faults requires technical know-how that experts from Heavenly Heat are always ready to provide. We can also assist with troubleshooting or finding possible circuit breaks or short circuits. We understand the need for electricity and will not waste time when you contact us. Get in touch today for a consultation or more questions.