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Uneven Snow Melt Around Your Home – Are You Losing Heat?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Cindy in Minnesota finds The Money Pit on KBRF and you’ve got a question about radiant heating or floor heating. What can we do for you?

    CINDY: Well, we just added on to our house – a 40×40 foot slab – this past summer. And it seems about two feet all the way around the new addition, the snow is melted and the ground is not even frozen. We’re wondering if … what we should do about this problem. If we should … is it normal? Should we go back to the contractor? Should we (inaudible)?

    TOM: Do you have … do you have heating in the floor system?

    CINDY: Yes.

    TOM: Okay. And so you’re noticing that with the heat in the floor, that that seems to be causing the snow to melt around the foundation perimeter?

    CINDY: Right. And …

    TOM: Hmm.

    CINDY: … we’re looking at filling our 500 gallon propane tank for the third time since August. (laughing)

    LESLIE: Wow. So this is really …

    TOM: Man.

    LESLIE: Do you have it on a timer system? Is it constantly heating the floor? How often are using this?

    CINDY: It’s on a thermostat. We’re in Minnesota so it’s … it seems like it’s running constantly. We’ve gotten a couple different suggestions from some people. One thing is the thermostat is on the wall. We had one suggestion say that we should put the thermostat on the floor because why are you regulating the air when you should be regulating the floor.

    TOM: (laughing) No, you should be regulating the air. That’s a silly suggestion. Because that’s where you live; in the air, right?

    CINDY: Right.

    TOM: When they put the floor in, did you watch this happen? Did you happen to notice whether or not they added insulation between the ground and the foundation? Because they should have.

    CINDY: On the outside perimeter?

    TOM: Yeah. When the foundation was put in; when the floor was poured. It should be isolated from the soil with insulation. It would have been like a foam insulation.

    CINDY: Yep. It’s like two inch foam?

    TOM: Right.

    CINDY: My husband did … he dug down. But it looks like it only goes as far down as the cement.

    TOM: Well, it’s a good … what does it go down? Like a foot or two?

    CINDY: (inaudible) cement slab (inaudible). So right.

    TOM: Yeah. Well, that should be okay. It sounds like it was done correctly.

    CINDY: Okay.

    TOM: I mean it’s going to be warmer than it will be farther out away from your house.

    CINDY: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: The fact that you’re using so much heat could have other implications, though. There could be other energy deficiencies in your house. Have you ever had an energy audit done?

    CINDY: No.

    TOM: Well, that might be a good place to start. You know, a lot of local utility companies and other service providers will do energy audits on your house and they can identify …

    LESLIE: And free of charge.

    CINDY: Oh, really?

    TOM: Mm-hmm. And they identify all of the different places where your home is losing energy. And that would probably be a really smart thing to do. Because that would give you some impartial expert advice on how to save on some of those energy bills that you’re facing.

    CINDY: Okay.

    TOM: But it sounds like they’ve done it correctly. I mean, obviously, the foundation is going to be a little bit warmer if there’s heating pipes in the slab. Is this a hot water heating system?

    CINDY: Right.

    TOM: Yeah, where it was put in the slab. Well, the good news is that that’s a really comfortable system. I mean it’s nice to walk on that warm floor, isn’t it?

    CINDY: Oh, yeah.

    TOM: Alright. Well, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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