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America's best heating system! The 80s lingers

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Solid_Fuel_Man
Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
edited December 2019 in THE MAIN WALL
Found this today above a ceiling. Long since abandoned for fin-tube. Glad it wasn't connected as I cut "a few" holes in the ceiling!

Found the company is still in business, I've worked in a few spec houses from the 80s with ceiling radiant, but never knew it was gypsum panels over the ceiling. Kinda scary.
Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
kcopp

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  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,382
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    An electric cable system?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    Gypsum panels (5/8") with the very fine wire sandwiched in the red/white/blue paper. The other end has two insulated wires protruding where a piece of Romex is scotch locked on in a flying splice fashion and onto the next panel.

    Googled "therma-ray" and found this. Looks like they are still making the same product today.

    https://youtu.be/QaAcW2NIKk4
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,588
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    @Solid_Fuel_Man
    You bring back memories. I tore out one of those about 15 years ago. The house had roof leaks that turned the panels into kitty litter. The thin uninsulated wires you describe were just laying in the debris. Since it was the 80's the 240 circuit was on a single pole t-stat. The wire was energized all the time. It was a miracle the house never burned down.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,843
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    I'm pretty sure switching only one pole of a 240v appliance wasn't legal in the 80's either.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,948
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    mattmia2 said:

    I'm pretty sure switching only one pole of a 240v appliance wasn't legal in the 80's either.

    It wasn't. But I've found this too, mostly on 240V boiler-feed pumps where the installer was too cheap to use a relay.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    It is still legal on circuits of 250v or less to only break one leg. Most line volt (240v) thermostats only break one leg for operation, but open the other when the knob is in the "OFF" position.

    I always assumed electric radiant was some type of cable system which was laid in plaster like the the soft copper ceiling radiant systems of the 50s and 60s.

    These panels are made in Fredricton, New Brunswick Canada which is just a few miles from here. I cant imagine how this isnt the worst fire hazard, but I guess gypsum would suffocate/suppress anything. As long as it's still intact @Zman !
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,093
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    IIRC, a single pole tstat is OK on 240 if a disconnect is within sight or if a permanent paddle lock device is placed on the CB. Device may not be removable without removing the panel door.
    2 pole stats are a lot simpler and safer.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    edited December 2019
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    My brother in laws is still functional. Same comfort levels as hydronic ceiling radiant. Until you get the electric bill in the northern Illinois area.

    Home builders in the late 70’s, and early 80’s were sucker punched with all electric incentives.
    ZmanMikeAmann
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,093
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    Started in the 60's with "Too cheap to meter" thoughts.
    ZmanSolid_Fuel_Man
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    JUGHNE said:

    Started in the 60's with "Too cheap to meter" thoughts.

    That was brought on by the atomic age.
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    Yes the all-electric home! I found this on an old fair grounds doing some upgrades. Google told me that Ronald Reagan was in several of these and this may be his silhouette.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • MikeL_2
    MikeL_2 Member Posts: 500
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    I recall the oil embargo in the early 70's. Home builders weren't able to establish new oil accounts for home heating; electric baseboard & radiant sheetrock was available & widely installed for several years in new construction. The work we lost Installing hot water baseboard systems was gained back in the 80's when electricity costs rose; we did scores of conversions back to oil for space & domestic water heating....
  • helene
    helene Member Posts: 1
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    I just found this discussion. Hope someone can still help. I bought a town home built in early 80s. It uses Therma-Ray radiant ceiling heat. This is my first winter. After the heat got turned on, on some days I could hear from random areas inside the ceilings a noise that sounded like a wire broke. My question is, can those thin wires in the radiant ceiling heating break? How to prevent that from happening? And, is that dangerous? Thank you!
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    Describe the "sounded like a wire broke". 

    Is it still functional, as in still heating? A thermal imagine camera may be needed to sort this out. 
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!