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How to install your HCW floor heating system in 8 easy steps?

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1 Nov, 2022

Hydronic floor heating systems are the ideal solution for pleasant and even heat. In addition to keeping your feet warm, they also save energy and money. Moreover, HCW products offer the possibility to install the floor heating system yourself. No need to have previous experience in construction: a simple manual skill is enough!

For a successful installation, follow the 8 main steps to install your floor heating system. You'll see, it's simple, simple, simple!

Step 1: Installation of the pex pipe

First, install 2 inches of rigid foam and wire mesh or isorad on the floor. You can then lay the pex pipe according to the provided pipe plan. On the other hand, if the installation is on a joist floor, fasten the pipes directly to the plywood with clamps; the addition of insulation is not necessary in this case.To make the process easier, you can also make your own reel from a pallet received at delivery

Next, you must install a length of empty pex from the center of the room to the future location of the thermostat at 60" from the floor. This step is important because it will be used to insert the thermostat's floor sensors.

Follow the right technique

When installing the tubing, you must start with the parts furthest away from the heating panel to avoid overlapping the pipes (see diagram below).

Diagram of two room layouts with a good and a bad circuit of underfloor heating pipes.

In order for the heat to be distributed evenly, each circuit should not exceed 250 linear feet. The distances between the pipes will be provided with your piping plan. In addition, the pipes coming out of the panel (supply) must absolutely run along the walls. This section of the floor tends to stay cooler and acts as a thermal barrier.

Depending on the thickness of the concrete, you will also need to plan the spacing between the pipes.

For more information regarding the installation of the tubing, do not hesitate to download our installation guide or to consult our explanatory capsules.

Step 2: Do a pressure test

Before the concrete is poured, you will need to ensure that the pressure is still good. To do this, connect all the pipes together with "T" joints. Note that the pex pipe coming out of the concrete requires a 90-degree external elbow to ensure a good radius. Next, you will need to inject air into the system with a compressor to achieve a pressure between 60 and 80 psi. You will need to leave the system pressurized during the pour to see if there is a leak or breakage.

Step 3: Installing the thermostat sensor

Once the circuits are installed, you can then insert the probe into the empty pex tube.

Step 4: Pouring the cement

Once these steps are completed, you can pour 3 to 4 inches of cement on top of the pex tubes. If your installation is on a joist heated floor and the pipes are installed directly on the plywood, you will need to pour a minimum of 1 ½ inches of concrete.

Step 5: Installing the panel

Install a panel on the wall above the supply and return pex pipes that protrude from the cement. Make sure you have an adequate location for the panel: it must be accessible and respect the distances required by the electrical plumbing code.

Electrical panel of an HCW floor heating system.

Step 6: Installing the tubing to the manifold

Connect the pex pipe to the corresponding supply and return manifolds. It is very important to differentiate between the hot and cold water outlets... Finally, you can simply cut the pipes and fix them to complete the installation of the tubing. 

Step 7: Engage a trade

In Quebec, several laws govern self-construction. Therefore, even if you install your floor heating system yourself, you will still have to call on certain trades. In this case, you will have to ask a professional electrician and/or a gas installer to make the appropriate connections. 

Step 8: Filling the system with water and glycol

Before filling the injector and all the loops in the system with glycol, make sure you pre-mix the fluid. You will also need to bleed the air at the same time to remove any bubbles from the pex tubing.

Conclusion: That's it!

You now know how to install your HCW floor yourself, in only 8 easy steps! Once it is assembled, you can finally program your thermostats. For the rest, simply install the desired floor covering and enjoy the soft and pleasant heat in your rooms!

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