Mickey Gentile: Ceiling Heat Panel Problem

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  #1  
Old 01-26-13, 12:53 PM
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Mickey Gentile: Ceiling Heat Panel Problem

Help...I have electrical ceiling radiant heating panals. The system works well with the exception of my living room.I have replaced both the cercuit breaker and the thermostat. I have continuity through the panal system with a resistance of about 24 ohms. When my thermostat calls for heat I see 120 VAC going to and from the panals but I can't "feel" any heat anywhere on the ceiling. The panals used to heat "occationally" but they've been on the fritz the last month or so.The rest of the rooms in the house work GREAT. any suggestions will be "warmly" received. Mickey
 
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Old 01-26-13, 03:35 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

If the thermostat is controlling more than one panel, or there is more than one panel on the circuit, you will need to isolate the problem panel to test it. Otherwise you will be reading other panels in the system.

I am not sure what you mean by 120 volts going in and out. You should either have 120 going to the panel, or 240 volts going to the panel, depending what type of panel you have. Your readings should be taken between the two hots in a 240 volt circuit, or between the hot and the neutral in a 120 volt circuit. These readings should be taken on the load side of the stat, when the stat is closed. (calling for heat)
 
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Old 01-26-13, 06:05 PM
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Still Confused

First of all I want to thank you for the prompt reply. Secondly...I was afraid this wasn't going to be easy. The thermostat feeds only one room. All the other rooms which are fed by their own thermostats are working fine. The voltages I am seeing are to ground. Before the thermostat calls for voltage (closes) i am seeing the hot side at 120VAC and when the switch closes there's 120VAC on the output side to ground. When I took the resistance readings with the heating coils isolated I just figured the coils were connected in series so if I saw a small resistance then the there wasn't an "open" in the system. Are these heating pads wired in series or parallel? I'm about ready to just put a space heater in the living room and wait til spring. You'll have to bear with me...in the shop I was referred to as the "low voltage instrument wimp" by the linemen (now you know they used a different word for "wimp". Thanks for all your help and patience. Mickey
 
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Old 01-26-13, 07:03 PM
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There shouldn't be any real issue here. You checked the continuity of the panels and found 24 ohms. That's good and the heating panel is probably ok. Based on ohms law.....that panel is around 600 watts.

You measured the 120vac to ground. You should be measuring to neutral (white) wire.
 
  #5  
Old 01-27-13, 07:13 PM
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Makingsome headway.

Well, I spent time with a contractor most of the day-the "little woman" is getting new kitchen. I thought I got a real breakthrough on my ceiling heatling problem. The contractor was trying to find the panals in our kitchen (wouldn.t want to drill into any 240). Anyway he pulled out his "chirper" at least that's what I've always called it. I always carried one at work to pick up AC voltage at connections-it just "chirps" away when ther's AC voltage present close by. Well right away he picks up voltage ite ig -two panals runing lengthwise. I grabbed my "chirper" and headed for the livingroom. I turned off the thermstat-no "chirp" tunned in on, went above trip point and "chirp city"-voltage in the ceiling. The problem was there wasn't any heat either. Maybe it just takes some time. I was able to upgrade 3 other thermostat in the house (they were so old the contractor didn't even know what they were).
So, everything works fine, I have 120VAC to ground on my Black and White wires, I have 220VAC from Black to White, ~24 OHMS through my ceiling panals, my Honeywell CT410B thermostat works the way it's supposed to...and my cieling is COLD...Maybe I'll plug in the space heater til spring-Thanks for all your help anyway-Mickey
 
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Old 01-27-13, 07:30 PM
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Didn't realize those were 240v panels.

When thermostat calls for heat you measure 240 vac on the wiring.
You've checked the two wires coming from the heating panels and have found 24 ohms on them.
Based on 240 volts that would mean 1200 watts of heat which is probably correct.

You've used a voltage ticker or chirper to confirm that you have AC in the ceiling at the panels. The chirper would indicate that you have at least one half of your circuit there.

Are you checking for 240 vac and the resistance of the panel at the same exact place in the wiring ?
Remember....make sure AC is off before using an ohmmeter.

Something doesn't make sense here.
 
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Old 01-28-13, 06:30 PM
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More "wierd" information. All of my Honeywell CT410B thermostats are wired the same. All are functioning the same except the "problem" unit in the living room. When the other units are controling none of them output current to their panals after adjusting their setpoints to their "trip points". On the questionable unit it doesn't output until AFTER reaching it's trip point. When I switch out the "problem" unit for another "good" one IT STARTS INHIBITING it's output until it's setpoint is moved to IT'S trip point. And the once "problematic" unit starts functing properly when its wired in another room. I'm about to "take the bridge"! Can wiring do this , could the new circuit breaker cause this? I wrote to Honeywell but I don't expect much from them except telling me to buy another Honeywell thermostat from them.
 

Last edited by Mickey Gentile; 01-28-13 at 06:58 PM.
  #8  
Old 01-28-13, 11:23 PM
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I honestly don't have an answer for you Mickey. I don't know what the issue is there.
 
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Old 01-29-13, 09:41 AM
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Well, at least you realize what kind of a "nutty" situation I've been dealing with...I can only assume my attic is haunted by some kind of Gremlins. Last night it took me 2 hours to wire up another CT410B. It took that long because wires kept breaking or pulling out of their wire nut connectors. All the "old" wires were late 50's/early 60's and it took forever to push them back in the box far enough to secure the thermostat. Finally the wires stayed intact and is working now. I wrote a letter to Honeywell but I don't expec tmuch help from them (too young/no experience with 50's wiring-just text book theries. Right now I'm taking a break(after I return 2 CT410B units to Home Depot that don't work at all. Thanks again, any Revalations from the Thermostat Gods about this I'll let you know! PS Thanks for all your patience in this bewildering problem---Mickey Gentile
 
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Old 01-29-13, 05:18 PM
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Sorry, I have been gone for a bit.

Since you have the proper voltage (240 volts), and you have resistance (24 ohms), I would bypass the stat and see if anything heats up.
 
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Old 01-30-13, 02:45 PM
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I'll try that a little later after the wife goes to bed-she's been a little "testy" with my tearing into the thermostat "RIGHT NEXT TO THE TV"). That might be a good idea thgat would bypass any timing mechanisms in the thermostat. Thanks again, Mickey
 
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Old 02-01-13, 06:59 PM
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Well...I've been busy. I tried bypassing the thermostat and had voltage I only had 40VAC on the common(white). I was going to give up and call an electrician but when I was tracing the wires from the distribution panel (I thought I might locate a possible wire "nick" and then alert the electrician when he showed up) instead it lead me to another thermostat that was Tee'd into mine. That's where I found a loose common going to my "problem" heating area. and Fixed. I've been going around the house checking all my replacement Honeywell CT410B"s. I was down to 2 systems. I took a break from the "heating system from hell" in the living and settled into a back bedroom. There I bipassed that CT410B and got instant heat to the ceiling. I changed out that thermostat with a new one but the ceiling wasn't getting warm so I took a break for about 20 minutes (I'm going to check it out now...wish me luck) I'm back---no luck I'm going to check the wire connections one more time, maybe this stat is bad too but I checked it out throughly . I guess I still have two bad systems. One of the problems is that the wiring is so "inflexable" that while pushing them back into the box I either loosen I wire in the wire nut or damage the thermostat. Oh well-I've been at this thing on and off since 3:30 this morning. Im runing out "of gas-i'll keep you up to date-unless I "take the bridge".
 
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Old 02-01-13, 07:52 PM
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These are 4 wire thermostats. Are you using all 4 of the wires or only 2 ?

L1 - T1 are the thermostatically switched pair
L2 - T2 are open when t'stat is off and closed when t'stat is on.
 
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Old 02-01-13, 07:57 PM
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I think your on the right track. The panels are likely good since you are getting resistance (ohms) on them. It might help to twist the wires together with some linesmen's pliers and use good red wirenuts, or use push-in wire connectors (Ideal, or Wego) to make your connections.

BTW- there is no "common" in a 240 volt, or 120 volt, system. The white is a neutral in a 120 volt system or a hot. IF it is hot, it should be marked with a marker or tape.
 
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Old 02-02-13, 07:18 AM
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Great, that's the clearest explanation of the that CT410B stat I've seen. On my system I have the Black 120 connected to the L1 and the White 120 to the L2 . Then one of the Red heater panels to the T1 and the other Red wire on the ceiling heater panels to the T2 on the stat. I'm on my way to the local Home Depot to pick up 2 more CT410's (they take a lot of punishment with all the pushing and pulling I have to do to check their voltages and wiring) and look into some "push-in connectors Tolyn has suggested. Thanks for all your suggestions-the "fog" of this project is starting to lift.
 
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Old 02-02-13, 07:31 AM
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The White has 120VAC to ground and the Black wire is 120VAC to ground. The voltage across them are 240VAC.(I was strickly a low voltage guy at the shop-I'm a little "shacky" on termonology). thanks for your help, I'm going to check on the "pushin" connectors at the local Home Depot. Thanks again.
 
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Old 02-02-13, 08:13 AM
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Just a tech note:
Black 120 connected to the L1 and the White 120 to the L2.
No. In a 240 supply both the black and white are 240 volts. Your house is supplied with 240 volts and each is one leg of that.
 
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Old 02-02-13, 03:07 PM
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You won't believe this but after weeks of long days and short nights I finally have all my rooms updated with new thermostats, circuit breakers, and my rooms are actually WARM! I want to thank all my new friends at DIY for your patience and guidance in bringing along a poor "instrument wimp" who spint 30 years "milking" 1-5VDC and 4-20ma circuits at Dupont to the "manly" land of 120 and 240vac heating systems w/o harming myself. I spent made sure all of my cirsuits were powered down before touching anything and have a lot more respect for all you real electricians. I'm certainly not going to put any of you out of work. Thanks again--Mickey
 
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Old 02-02-13, 03:12 PM
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Excellent! Glad the gang here could help you. Thanks for letting us know.
 
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Old 02-03-13, 09:22 AM
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Well done!
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  #21  
Old 02-14-13, 08:08 PM
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A footnote

Just thought I'd drop a note on my "well functioning" radiant ceiling system. All is well...just relax! But just before leaving for a long vacation (I'm still "away") I encountered a strange thing. When I went into the last room I was having trouble with, I immediately read voltage with my "chirper". This was no big deal but when I went into the system, pulled out the wiring (after shutting off the breaker) put my volt meter across the output to the heaters I still was hearing my "chirper" going off even with no voltage being sent out. What the heck is going on here? When I closed the contacts I lost the "general chirping" but picked up a a good localized "chirping" about where you'd expect to find an array of heating panels would be. With this in mind I shut off the breaker, tightened all my wiring, carefully tucked the wires back into the box, turned on the breaker and all was warm. It was then that I wondered about the three "stats" I'd thrown away thing they were "bad". As I sit here I realized there is a whole house fan sitting above the ceiling of that room and when it is running there must be quite electro magnetic field being generated just a few feet away. Well, live and learn it cost me a lot of time and 3 thermostats but it also taught me a good lesson-you can get false positives with my "good 'ol chirper"
Thanks again for all your help and I hope I supplied some humor to you "real electricians" out there.-----Mickey
 
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Old 02-14-13, 08:14 PM
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Yes, you can get false positives with non contact detectors. This is why we tell people that they are only good for a quick check to see if there MIGHT be hot wires in a box. To be sure you should always use a meter.

If you want some more fun, stand "close", meaning within 100' or more from some high power lines and see if your chirper will go off.
 
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Old 02-14-13, 09:10 PM
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I can use my non-contact detector to "prove" that a loose fluorescent tube that I'm holding in my hand has power in it. Common cheap carny trick on the job.
 
  #24  
Old 03-16-13, 05:31 PM
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Update on my wonderful radiant ceiling heat.

Don't get too upset. With all your help (and patience) my entire house is warm and reliable. The question I have is that my wife (who is probably too comfortable) has decided to remodle our kitchen and to my relief has called in a professional. He has great plane which enclude new cabinets. My question is, how much space is required between the top of the cabinets and the radiant ceiling? I've pretty much mapped out where the panels are and I know there must be an air space, I just don't know if there a code that spells it out. any help will be appreciated-again. Mickey
 
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Old 03-16-13, 05:47 PM
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Do you know the manufacturer of the panel ?
This is a question you should be asking them.
 
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Old 03-16-13, 07:09 PM
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The house my parents bought as I was leaving home had radiant ceiling heat. Still does, for that matter. The wall cabinets in that kitchen butt to a soffit. The heat is in the rest of the ceiling.

It sounds like this professional is planning to install cabinets directly below some of your panels. I would think that doing that with the normal soffit space left open should allow enough clearance. They don't get really hot, as you probably know.

With a shelf on top of the cabinets, that space can be handy for display/open storage.
 
  #27  
Old 03-16-13, 07:25 PM
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Thanks for your input. I don't know the manufacturer of the heating panals (they were installed ~40 years ago). The initial plans called for storage cabinits in close proximity to the ceiling with decorative molding concelling the joint. I'll speak with the contractor tomorrow and see what he says. Thanks for all your input.---Mickey
 
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