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Topic Title: Repair of electric underfloor heating
Topic Summary: Is it possible
Created On: 12 February 2011 12:35 PM
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 12 February 2011 12:35 PM
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I have just laid a fairly large electric underfloor heating system, which has failed so I'm looking for anyone with experience of this.

It's made of 5 rolled mats with blue heating cable with earthed and sheathed outer. It came fixed to a plastic mesh. I fitted them as per the manufacturers instructions with the mesh on top, tested it and left. Next day I had a call from the customer, who had hired 2 men to fit the floor. The customer said the mat was put down the wrong way up and the fitters were turning it over. I was very concerned by this and asked her to tell them to leave it as it was, but they carried on.

I went back and found they had poured latex over the mat, but not completely covered, it leaving cable exposed on top. The cable had been routed close to the edge of the floor and in one place adjacent to a sharp metal corner plaster bracket. I disclaimed all further reponsibility for the work and emailed the customer to that effect. However I tested the mat and it was OK for continuity and isulation.

The fitters then started installing the floor, which is reclaimed floor boards, glued on top of the mat. After they had got half way through I tested it found it OK for insulation and continuity, then powered it up and found it OK for function. I issued the EIC for the house and left.

A few days later I got a call from the customer saying the RCD was tripping. I went there and found one of the floor had gone short to earrth. No surprise there.

My problem now, is that the customer is refusing to pay my bill, claiming that I have caused the fault and issued an incorrect certificate stating the installation was OK.

I could take the legal route but that will cost me. The floor supplier put me in touch with someone they use in warantee cases, who will identitfy the case of the fault, photograph it and issue an impartial report.

Any sugestions?

 10 March 2011 06:44 PM
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From what you say, you should be able to identify which mat the fault is in and the insulation test results on your installation certificate is sound evidence that the current problem didnt exist when you installed the floor. Apart from any damage caused, the rest of your test results should still tally.

There is an instrument called a time domain reflectometer or TDR. If you have a drawing of the layout or a reliable memory of the layout of the mats, a TDR will be able to give you an indication of where in the floor the fault lies. However, ther are various types of TDR and, to use one in this scenario, you would need some experience to be able to use it effectively. (A bit like divining really)

Are you in England or Wales? If so, is the floor installer not committing an offence by messing with the mats? Likewise the customer, if he is responsible for him doing so?

Taking the legal route is not a winner financially but you should think of all those customers who pay an time and as agreed. Unfortunately your story is very common - the customer looking for someone to blame for his own mistake and taking a gamble that you haven't the stomach for a fight.

Its a good idea to get a second opinion though and the route to solving the proble will help to reveal the cause - although that isn't guaranteed. You may be able to point to a break in the insulation but how are you going to be able to convince the customer that someone else caused it? Unlikely, I would have thought, if he doesnt want to take responsibility.

It may be worth ahving a word with your friendly BCO on this. They can sometimes be prepared to lend an objective view. Alternatively, if he is refusing to give you money that is rightfully yours- that is theft in my book - try the police.

Chris Matheson MInstMC
 27 March 2011 12:37 AM
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Two points:

Who purchased the mats you or the clients? If it was you and you are owed the cost of the mats plus labour it is probably worth chasing the money. If you did it labour only you may be better walking away, other than the client may try and claim against you for a lose on the cost of the mats etc.

There is no way the customer can say you caused the fault as the floor layers relaid the mats, laid the latex and flooring, so none of your original installation work is now in place.

The trouble is it costs money to chase debts.

 29 November 2011 06:54 PM
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Yes, it's reparable. Not an easy endeavour though.

There's a lot of places online that you could just read up on this, just google away Check this site out for example: Link Removed
 30 June 2012 11:30 PM
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Is it settled yet?


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