wire embedded in drywall

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Old 10-21-09, 09:28 AM
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wire embedded in drywall

Not sure if this is the right forum for my question, but I have to start someplace. I went to install a ceiling fan in the main (upper) floor of a bi-level. As I was cutting out the drywall for the box, I discovered what appears to be insulated 18 gauge steel/ silver stranded wire embedded in the middle of Ĺ inch sheetrock.

The attic is above and from that perspective, everything looked normal. The wire appears to be spaced about every 2 inches. As I was cutting out the opening, I did nick the insulation (yellow) enough to see the wire inside, but did not cut through the wire.

The owner told me that they have a forced air system as well as a radiant heat system in the floor. Does anyone have any idea what these wires might be for and/or how to verify what they are for? I donít want to just cut them or try and push them out of the way not knowing why they are there in the first place. The ceiling fan has a funnel like mounting bracket that could fit between the wires, but I hesitate to do even that without knowing what these wires are for.

Thanks,
mousedoc
 
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Old 10-21-09, 10:30 AM
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The owner told me
For reasons of civil and criminal liability you should not do any electrical work on property you do not own unless you are licensed to do it. Ask the ownerto hire an electrician to install the fan. If he balks perhaps you could offer to pay for the electrician.

Are these wires actually embedded in the Sheetrock or laying on top?
 
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Old 10-21-09, 11:39 AM
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Thanks for the cautionary statement. To be clear, I'm not doing the actual electrical work, just positioning the boxes, running the pull strings and mounting the fan bracket. A licensed electrician will make the actual connections.

The wires are not laying on top of the sheetrock, they are actually embedded in the center of the Ĺ drywall.
 
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Old 10-21-09, 12:25 PM
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Although I have only seen it one time, it could be radiant heat built into the sheetrock.
 
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Old 10-21-09, 12:36 PM
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I was thinking the same thing...maybe the owners THINK that they have radiant FLOOR heat. Do they think the floor heat is electric or hydronic?

A friend back in VA had electric ceiling heat..not sure how it was installed..I always thought it was applied over the sheetrock, then plastered over somehow.
 
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Old 10-21-09, 01:02 PM
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Let the electrician the owner hires do ALL the work. If he screws something up it's on his dime. More importantly being an electrician working in the area if the system is common to your area he may already be familiar with the situation. There is going to need to be a 4" hole for the box with only two inches between the grid it is going to take someone with knowledge of the product to solve the problem.
 
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Old 10-21-09, 01:36 PM
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I donít know for sure if they do have radiant heat in the floor. If they do, it would be electrical and definitely not hydronic. I do know for sure that they have a forced air furnace. Radiant heat was the first thing I thought of except it didnít make sense to me to put it in the ceiling, especially in this climate. But then again Iíve seen people do a lot of things that donít make sense to me. I havenít put a meter on it, so I donít know what, if any voltage or resistance is there.
 
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Old 10-21-09, 01:42 PM
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Ray, Iím sure the owner is contacting an electrician as I write this, but that is no guarantee that the problem will be correctly diagnosed or resolved. Iím the curious type, and just want to know how to correctly identify the situation and determine the proper course of action.
 
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Old 10-21-09, 02:15 PM
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Ceiling HEAT

We live in a house built in 1967 which has radiant ceiling heat. The heating wires are sandwiched between two layers of drywall.
 
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Old 10-21-09, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by mousedoc View Post
Ray, Iím sure the owner is contacting an electrician as I write this, but that is no guarantee that the problem will be correctly diagnosed or resolved. Iím the curious type, and just want to know how to correctly identify the situation and determine the proper course of action.
Look in the breaker box for 240v breakers that have no obvious use. Of course it could be the radiant heat was replaced with the forced air furnace and the breakers re-purposed. Do you have any thermostats other then for the furnace?
 
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Old 11-01-09, 06:36 AM
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Update: Yes, the wires sandwiched in the sheetrock in the ceiling are for radiant heat. The solution was to place the junction box flush with the drywall in the attic, then make a wooden 1Ē x 10Ē cover plate with a 1Ē hole in the center for the wires, and attach that on the room side. Then attach the ceiling fan hardware to the 1Ēx 10Ē.
 
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Old 11-01-09, 07:32 AM
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Thanks for letting us know. I'm curious were you using the heat and didn't even know it?
 
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Old 11-06-09, 07:41 PM
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No, the radiant heat was not being used. The visible thermostat was for the forced air system. The thermostat for the radiant heat is separate. It was mounted inside a closet just off the living room and had a piece of tape across its face keeping it at the lowest setting, essentially off.
 
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Old 11-06-09, 09:15 PM
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Very weird. Thanks for solving the mystery.
 
 

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