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How To Maintain Your Radiant Heating System: A Big Bear HVAC Repair Pro Explains

Bear Valley Plumbing & Heating


Using a radiant system will help to keep your home warm and save energy costs. While you can install it in your walls and ceilings, the floor is the most suitable place to have the system. It is also important that you maintain it regularly to avoid any inconvenience or a costly HVAC Repair.

In this article, we explore the inner workings of a radiant heat system, how to maintain your radiant heat system in Big Bear, CA, and installation tips for ensuring your system lasts you through the long haul.

How Big Bear Radiant Heating Systems Work

To maintain radiant heat, you may first need to understand how it works. In this section, we explain just that.

A radiant floor heating system works differently from air conditioning units. Rather than circulate heat through the air, it emits warmth from the ground up. The system heats objects within your house, which warm the entire home in turn.

Typically, a radiant heat system transfers thermal energy using electromagnetic waves. When there is no obstruction, the waves retain potential energy. However, upon contact with objects such as furniture, walls, or human beings, the waves expel their warmth. This helps you to feel comfortable even in low temperatures.

How to Maintain Your Radiant Heating in Big Bear

Radiant heat systems are designed to last up to four decades if well maintained. Installing one can cut your heating bill by as much as 25 to 50 percent and provide warmth in a noiseless fashion. However, if not maintained properly , the HVAC repair can cost you a fortune. Hence, consider the following ways to maintain your radiant heat system in Big Bear, CA.

Air Removal

With use, air makes its way into radiators and the system’s plumbing fixtures. It is important that you remove this air before winter, when your installation will be in further use. Removing the air ensures that your system serves you well over a sufficient period.

To remove excess air, locate the bleeding valve on your radiant heat. Simply loosen the valve to let the air out. This task should be performed when the system is on, and water circulates through it.

Fix Leaks Early

Fixing leaks early can save you hassles. Common signs of a leaky system include water stains on your floor or boiler.

You could have a leak in any part of your system. Some you can fix by simply tightening the bolts or getting a replacement for your valve. However, should the leak be coming from the boiler, it is best to engage the services of a qualified technician.

Another place that leaks could occur is in your pipes. If the pipes are copper, they can easily be fixed. However, you will need to overhaul steel pipes completely.

Observe the System

Observing the system involves watching out for tell tale signs of a problem. If the installation is showing symptoms of inefficiency, for instance, providing less warmth than it did in the past, or there’s a problematic thermostat, it may be time to call in for hvac repair.

Heat Distribution

Another way of maintaining your radiant heat system in Big Bear is by looking out for an unequal distribution of temperature. Normally, you should feel the same level of warmth in different parts of your house, but if this is not the case, schedule a maintenance check.


Boilers are an integral part of your heater’s performance. They aid the system in maintaining room temperature and performing optimally overall. Ahead of the cold season, conduct a cleaning of your boiler and its fuel component.

Flushing the System

Ideally, you shouldn’t flush your heating system, especially when it already has enough pressure. The important thing to do is monitor it and ensure the pressure stays between 10 – 20 lb. If your system dips below the recommended pressure level, engage an expert to solve the issue.


If you use an older variant of radiant heat, you may have some noise from the installation. However, newer models tend to be silent. The important thing to note is that when you have excessive noise, you should invite a technician to help with replacing your pumps.

Pumps can fail due to rust in the expansion tank. The issue may also be in the reducing valve or pressure relief valve. To fix these problems, you need to get your hvac repair done; get the affected component replaced.

Inspecting Your System

In maintaining your radiant heat system in Big Bear, CA, one way to keep trouble at bay is to inspect. Inspect your system carefully for any leaks or drop in pressure. You can employ an expert to do this once every year.

Once there is a leak, it indicates that the system is no longer closed as it should be. It also means that it has emitted oxygen into the water and places the pipes at risk of corrosion.

Checking Your Thermostat

This is necessary if your electric or hot-water system won’t turn off. The problem can occur if the floor probe isn’t functional or there is incorrect wiring to the thermostat. You need to check your manual for instructions and call an electrician if the probe is fine or the thermostat needs to be replaced.

If you follow the guidelines in the manual, you should be able to fix your thermostat yourself. However, if you use a battery-powered thermostat and nothing seems wrong when you check. Therefore, you will need an expert to check if hvac repair is required or not. It is also important to note that having a faulty thermostat can’t keep your heater on continually.

Types of Radiant Heating And How To Avoid A Costly HVAC Repair 

There are three types of radiant heat, each one classified by its method of delivering warmth. Knowing which one you use will help with meeting its maintenance requirements. To help with maintaining your radiant heat in Big Bear, CA, we discuss the types below.

Hydronic/Water-based Radiant Heat System

This variant is the most popular heating system. It is cost-effective and relies on a network of underfloor pipes to diffuse heat. With a hydronic system, you can control room temperatures using a thermostat. Heat circulates from a boiler which pumps hot water into pipes placed below ground.

The distribution of this water is regulated with a manifold. A hydronic system has low maintenance requirements and allows you to renovate easily.

Air-heated Radiant Heat System

This system works by blowing air through underground pipes, which warm the air in turn. However, air cannot retain heat for long, making this variant unsuitable for residential structures.

Electric Radiant Heat System

Electric systems work using floor-based plastic mats or heating cables. They can result in very high electricity bills and are suited for owners with time-of-use rates. Concrete floors are also a bonus because of their thermal mass.

Your system can be designed to work during off-peak hours when electricity rates are low, and the floor can store as much heat as possible. With this method, your house will remain warm for several peak hours when you have to shut the heater to avoid high charges. However, this is also dependent on the floor’s thermal mass.

If the mass is low, the floor will retain heat for a shorter time, making it necessary to operate the heater when rates are high.

Radiant Floor Heating Installation Types in Big Bear, CA

Like its classification by type, radiant heat is also distinguished by the installation method. These have no reference to whether they are water-based or electric heat. Below are types you might have in your Big Bear home.

Wet Installation

Wet installation is an aged method of installing radiant heat. It entails embedding hydronic tubes, mats or electric cables in solid concrete slabs or a thinner subfloor. Unlike a dry one, this method comes at a higher cost.

Heaters installed using this method take longer to warm your living space, but the concrete allows heat to be retained for several hours.

Dry Installation

Under this technique, fixtures are placed in ground air pockets rather than concrete slabs. Dry installation is also faster and cheaper to use. However, the system has to run at high temperatures as it doesn’t disperse heat through floors.

Pre-Installation Tips for Your Radiant Heating in Big Bear, CA

In the long run, what you do before installation will be essential to maintaining your radiant heat in Big Bear, CA. The following will keep your system optimal for a long period without having to get a hvac repair done.


When you’re getting a radiant heat system, observe the material the fixtures are made of. For electric variants, fluoropolymer is a great material. It makes the wire thin but tough at the same time. For water-based systems, three kinds of pipes are available.

You have the PEX-a, the PE-RT/AL/PE-RT, and the PE-RT. PEX-a is preferred because of its flexibility and resistance to kink.

When your materials are of great quality, you have less to worry about in terms of maintenance.


You may also want to check if support is available for your installation. This could be in the form of help with components such as the thermostat or support for technicians. While you are unlikely to encounter issues, ascertaining this will save you from worries.


Though remote, your equipment can get damaged during installation. Replacing it can attract high costs, making it necessary to have warranties and guarantees in place.

Who Can Do HVAC Repair in Big Bear? 

You should be able to do your fixes yourself if you have sufficient DIY knowledge. However, in the absence of this, it is important that you hire a qualified technician to do it for you. Also, note that electrical works are best left to an electrician.

Our HVAC Repair Technicians in Big Bear Are One Call Away!

This article has examined various necessary issues for maintaining your radiant heat system in Big Bear, CA. In the preceding sections, we have looked at maintenance and pre-installation tips, types of radiant heat systems, and installation methods.

To keep your system at its best performance, engage a service expert in Big Bear to run periodic checks. Bear Valley Plumbing and Heating has HVAC Repair pros available 24/7 to handle any fixes concerned with hvac repair. Contact us now to schedule a free case evaluation.



If you are looking for a Big Bear plumbing, heating & air conditioning contractor, please call (909) 584-4376 or complete our online request form.