Radiant Ceiling Heat-damaged


Old 02-07-06, 06:55 AM
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Radiant Ceiling Heat-damaged

I'm remodeling a 60s vintage home which has electrical radiant ceiling heat. Upon inspecting the hall bath ceiling from the attic side, I could find no evidence of that heat source being used there. Stupidly, I proceeded to cut a 2 x 4 foot hole in one of the corners of the bathroom to extend a closet area. It was then I discovered that the heat source is under the sheetrock embedded in plaster.
1. Does the system need to be repaired to be operable?
2. Have I created a fire hazard?
3. Is each room a closed system, or might I have affected other areas of the home as well?
4. What's involved as far as trying to fix the mess?
Thanks so much. Jim
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Old 02-07-06, 07:57 AM
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4) pictures please
Old 02-07-06, 08:26 AM
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Jim, These systems were installed in a variety of different ways and without looking at it I can't know for sure how yours was designed, but... Since you didn't know there was any heat in this room, can I assume that there was not a separate thermostat on the wall for it? If that's correct, it's fair to then assume that the coils in this room are either part of a bigger loop or connected onto the thermostat in another room. Once cut, most can't be simply spliced and fixed, so this coil is going to have to be disabled. Totally disconnected to be safe. The challenge is going to be to take up all the insulation above and find the wires to see how they were connected to the thermostat and from room to room. Make sure all the heating breakers are off. If you're lucky, the bath was run as a separate loop, but just wired onto the thermostat with another room and you can simply disconnect it completely. You have to get both sides of the loop disconnected for it to be safe. If any other room was in the same loop, it's not going to be functional any more either. There are a couple of manufacturers that make radiant ceiling panels that can be placed on top of the ceiling sheet rock and substitute for the wires that are imbedded if you would like to maintain the same type of heat. Otherwise, this/these room/rooms will have to be converted to baseboards.

After you get this fixed, get a spray bottle full of water, turn all thermostats to their maximum setting and spray water on the ceiling of every room. After about 5 minutes, video the resulting water pattern on the ceilings. The dry areas will tell you exactly where the heating coils are.

Good luck.

Doug M.
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