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Thread: Ceil Heat

  1. #1
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    Default Ceil Heat

    I did a 50 yr old ranch on a slab with Ceil Heat. I used to put it in in the old days as a builder so I know how it works. But through the years some rooms now don't warm up. Could be a cut some where, a bad thermostat. Any one know of any other things I should recommend?
    JLMathis

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ceil Heat

    This is where I wish I had an IR camera but I have seen less than a dozen of these systems. IR thermometer is next best thing to test.
    Most of what I have seen has been burned out thermostats but I suppose the wires could eventually burn out or be damaged.
    Bottom line is it works or not and is a simple system to diagnose although repair of damaged heating element is no fun task. Fortunately, around here central A/C is the norm so it is easy to retrofit for electric forced air heat.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Ceil Heat

    Voltage sniffer will usually pick it up when its turned on. You can also sometimes check it from the attic.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ceil Heat

    I do as Jack and use a voltage sniffer. I use one of those grabber poles that you squeeze the handle and it grabs whatever from the other end. I put the sniffer in it and hold it to the ceiling and walk around it. When it finds a break in the circuit/wire it stops glowing and beeping. Works great and it is a heck of a lot less than an IR camera..

    You can also use an IR thermometer with a 12/1 ratio or better.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Ceil Heat

    Scott,your answer is correct,no need for fancy cameras,etc


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Ceil Heat

    Thanks. I used the old IR thermometer and a sniffer. Some rooms warmed up more than others.

    jlmathis


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Ceil Heat

    Even if you can find where it's broken... is it cost effective to repair?

    Anytime I see a house with this system there's usually at least one room with a Cadet heater in the wall below the thermostat where I've just always assumed the ceiling heat went out and it was just cheaper/easier to abandon it.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ceil Heat

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Even if you can find where it's broken... is it cost effective to repair?

    Anytime I see a house with this system there's usually at least one room with a Cadet heater in the wall below the thermostat where I've just always assumed the ceiling heat went out and it was just cheaper/easier to abandon it.
    No they are not cost effective! But if that is the only heat in the house then somebody needs to make a decision on what needs to be done. I always recommend that "old" radiant ceiling heat systems should be disconnected and a new heating source installed due to the system being outdated.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Ceil Heat

    Just inspected an home with electric radiant ceiling heat, don't see to many of them. As others have said using an IR thermometer is a good way to see if all rooms are heating up. Commonly these types of older systems have dead areas that are burnt out. I suppose in some cases they can be repaired cost effectively, but for the most part I have found that no one wants to mess with them. They usually install a different source of heat, or install a baseboard or electric wall heater in areas where the ceiling heat is no longer working.


  10. #10
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler is offline Member
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    Default Re: Ceil Heat

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    When it finds a break in the circuit/wire it stops glowing and beeping. Works great and it is a heck of a lot less than an IR camera.
    If this was the only thing an inspector would used an IR camera on I would say you are correct.

    Best

    Ron


  11. #11
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
    Jerry Peck is online now Member
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    Default Re: Ceil Heat

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    If this was the only thing an inspector would used an IR camera on
    And I will add 'Shame on that inspector for not using it for more things.'

    Sure, IR cameras were over-hyped, not as bad as 'Mold is Gold' but was getting there, but that was because the IR cameras were not being promoted for the uses which an HI could make excellent use of an IR camera.

    Kind of like saying, when sliced bread came out, that you would prefer to continue to tear chunks off your bread with your bare hands, and that sliced bread has no use and no future.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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