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Chromalox radiant ceiling heat?


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I inspected a ranch style home yesterday that had Chromalox radiant ceiling heat. Home was built in 1966 and I believe this is the original heating system. The current owner had added a split system A/C. Each habitable room had it's own thermostat, and all of the ceilings heated up. Other than some cracking in the ceilings from the expansion and contraction, I didn't find anything else wrong but I don't really have much info in the old memory banks on this system so I am asking if anyone can point me to anything that my client should know? I searched the CSPC website and didn't find any recalls, searched the archives here and didn't see anything. I've e-mailed Chromalox but probably won't get an answer for a few days. Any and all help appreciated.

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I inspected a ranch style home yesterday that had Chromalox radiant ceiling heat. Home was built in 1966 and I believe this is the original heating system. The current owner had added a split system A/C. Each habitable room had it's own thermostat, and all of the ceilings heated up. Other than some cracking in the ceilings from the expansion and contraction, I didn't find anything else wrong but I don't really have much info in the old memory banks on this system so I am asking if anyone can point me to anything that my client should know? I searched the CSPC website and didn't find any recalls, searched the archives here and didn't see anything. I've e-mailed Chromalox but probably won't get an answer for a few days. Any and all help appreciated.

They work fine.

If they stop working, an intelligent electrician can fix them. It involves finding the break, excavating the plaster, and making a simple splice.

If the owner were to use them to heat the entire house, the meter would spin very fast. Depending on what you pay for electricity, that might be costly.

If the owners want to hang a plant from the ceiling or make any other kind of hole, they can find the cables by spritzing the ceiling with water while the heat is on. The areas with the cables will dry faster, showing them the outline.

Having the cables still working is a good thing. They can heat up one room without using the heat pump to heat the whole house if they want to.

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Actually, it's two jobs. There's the fixing the break, and there's the finding someone to fix the break. It involves surgical excavation of the gypsum board, not excavation.

Don't overestimate the number of electricians competent or willing to find and fix a break.

Count on anyone other than the extremely technically handy to tell you it's not possible.

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Actually, it's two jobs. There's the fixing the break, and there's the finding someone to fix the break. It involves surgical excavation of the gypsum board, not excavation.

Don't overestimate the number of electricians competent or willing to find and fix a break.

Count on anyone other than the extremely technically handy to tell you it's not possible.

I guess it depends on how common those systems are in your area. In one little town that I work in a lot, the great majority of homes were equipped with radiant ceiling heat through the '50s, '60s, and the early part of the '70s. Every electrician in town can fix them with ease. They excavate the drywall with a hammer.

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Sure, it's small town America. People fix stuff.

We've got huge downtown towers full of the stuff; a guy could make a business out of just fixing radiant ceiling wires. No one to do it.

Sounds like an opportunity.

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So, folks think resistance heat ceiling panels is a good idea?

Just curious, as I tend to think they're one of the more idiotic ideas come down the pike.

Are they smart?

If the cost of electricity isn't a concern, then I'd say they're a good way to heat a house. They're very reliable, they require zero maintenance, they give room-by-room zone control, very good temperature control, and present no worries about furniture layout (as you might have with radiators or warm air systems). They give all the benefits of any radiant system but, because they're in the ceiling, you can still put thick, heavy carpets on the floor if you want. The radiant surface is never obstructed (well, unless you put big sheets of aluminum foil on your ceiling).

Really, the only drawback is cost of operation. These things are suited to places where electricity is cheap.

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  • 3 years later...

The "break" in my ceiling has been evacuated......hanging right out there for me to work on. My question......is it a simple splice and re-mudding or something more complicated?

Simple splice. I like the smallest underground splice kit you can find. It has a small splice block, a section of heat shrink tubing, and a low profile. Any splice that's insulated and rated for 240-volts will work, though.

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