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Ceiling Radiant Heat

jhoup Member Posts: 1
I own a split level house that was built in 1971 and has electric radiant heat in the ceiling. I was a little miffed by this to begin with for the simple science that heat rises (so my attic has to be nice and warm, right?) Anyways, it seems that some of the rooms that were not used during the winter in the past two years and are now being used does not work properly. In my 9 month old son's room it seems only about half of the ceiling gets warm and in our spare room which is just used for storage does not work right either. My questions are these:

1. Are there people still out there that may service this type of heating?

2. Do I call an electrician or a HVAC guy?

Thanks for the help.



  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    radiant heat

    works just fine from ceilings.  Hot air rises -- heat just conducts, convects, or radiates.  Translation:  As long as there is sufficient insulation above the ceiling, you are not losing much.

    You need an electrician who understands radiant heating.
  • MikeG
    MikeG Member Posts: 169
    Common in that era

    Radiant ceilings were common during that time, leading up to the early 70s oil embargo.   In NW Ohio NG, oil and propane new installations were hard to come by.  Total electric new  houses were the norm.  My dad was a plasterer and we did quite a few houses with the cable in the ceilings.  I can't speak to their longevity.  I know they had a way of repairing the cable if it was damaged during the install or after plastering.  The electricians would test after we put on the first coat of plaster.  I know they repaired some bad areas. They were 220V with a thermostat in each room.  Insulation and humidity control were key factors to comfort.  Oftentime the temp difference from floor to ceiling was only a few degrees.  Radiant heat travels in a straight line and heats objects, think the sun on your face on a cold day.  Its 93 million miles away and doesn't heat the space it travels through.  It heats you and or room objects which then give off heat to the room air.  A lot of these houses had some supplemental baseboard units under the windows.  I know in our area they did get a better rate on the electric costs.  Check the thermostats, they often the weak link.  As stated earlier an electrician may have knowledge of fixing the actual cable if it is damaged.  Mike
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,990
    Be careful

    I am not a fan of electric radiant in drywall. I remodeled an entire house and switched to hydronic. I really could not believe they got a UL rating.

    The system consists of bare electrical conductors imbedded in drywall. The system was energized all the time because the t-stats only switched one leg. There were areas where a slight roof leak had turned the drywall to kitty litter. There was just a bare live wire laying in kitty litter looking for something to arc to.

    The panels were clipped together with little plastic connectors which were not accessible.

    An electrician could test the amp draw and resistance to get some idea of the health of the panels.

     I personally would not live in a home with electric rad ceilings.

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
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