By Roland Reisley, Original Owner, Reisley House, and Edith Payne, Former Owner, Richardson House
For a few weeks we were puzzled by an intermittent scratching sound that we thought might be caused by an animal inside the roof. I made an appointment for a wildlife person to explore. My grandchildren were visiting and said the sound was coming from the floor–near a large stone in the fireplace hearth. They were right. It was intermittent hissing from a pipe under the stone. About 20 years ago I repaired a leak there.
The expert plumber who helped me with radiant problems had retired but offered to return.
"For those with unlocated leaks, get a cat. It will be attracted to the warmth of the leaking water and will curl up on the concrete over it." - Edith Payne
The plumber found that there was a leak about a foot away from the original one and another in an adjacent pipe. The pipes were now quite fragile but he was able to repair them. He knew a good mason who was able to cut and then renew the concrete floor. It took three days and the heat is now working perfectly.
I feel that inexperienced plumbers urge abandoning these radiant heat systems too soon. Finding and fixing leaks is easier and much less costly than a new system–which, sadly, will ultimately be needed.
Unfortunately, this topic will continue to engage us.
Response by Edith Payne, former owner, Richardson House:
While we were not as successful as Roland in making spot repairs, for approximately two years we cured the worst of our problems, covering the excavated spaces with red painted plywood hexagons. When we entertained, we would remove the plywood and salt the space with a couple of twenties. I don’t recall that any of our guests contributed to our money pit!
Also, for those with unlocated leaks, get a cat. It will be attracted to the warmth of the leaking water and will curl up on the concrete over it.
Posted April 1, 2022