Electric Heat installed in Ceilings?

Has Anyone ever seen or have information on Electric Heat that installed in Ceilings?

I just inspected a house yesterday that the Seller had removed the electric baseboard registers and installed some type of electric heat inside or behind almost all the ceilings on first floor! This includes being a cathedral popcorn or textured type material and this is also going to heat the roof .

I’ve never heard of this or experienced it.It’s operated by regular electric thermostats along with a switch panel that would supposedly shut each room off or on with a middle position of using the thermostats .

I used a temperature gun to confirm that each room was working but of course it showed hot spots were devices are located and normal temperature everywhere else.

Are these fire hazards?

I’m basically looking for any information to relay to my client.

Would greatly appreciate any assistance with this type of heating system!!
Thank you!

The pictures are the cathedral ceiling inside and outside of the cathedral ceiling area .

Look up radiant heat.

Also go back and take NACHI courses on the subject.


Well in the HVAC section it doesn’t say much only that it is installed in ceilings walls n floors.That’s not much information about how efficient or risk of heating a roof in PA where we got a lot of snow?

Is there anything else on those kind of heat strips

It is radiant heat so the idea is to warm objects and not the air. It is very efficient and comfortable for the most part. The trouble when it is in the ceiling comes from the difficulty performing repairs if need be.

Also available in hydronic!


What is the risk?


It’s basically heat strips sandwiched between layers of drywall. Other than telling your clients that screwing into or cutting the ceiling could damage the strips, there’s not much you can tell them.

Edit:except for information required by the SOP you’re working under; i.e. thermostat location; heating method.


I’ve only seen this type of system twice, in my area it’s not a common type of heating system to have installed, although I am seeing more and more bathroom floors with electric radiant heat systems.

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Thank you for the information yes very uncommon!
Heat rises so why would I put them in the ceiling!
Makes for a cold floor! And Roof area snow will freeze n thaw n freeze n thaw which causes back up under shingles!leading to potential leaks in my opinion as a former Roofer & Siding contractor!

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Sure, I suppose you could recommend the clients monitor for ice buildup. But I can’t imagine, if it was properly insulated, that it would cause any more of a problem than any other heating method since, like you said, heat rises.

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You’re talking about ice dams.
However, there’s likely insulation between the heat strips and the roofing.
It is a valid concern, but if you don’t see any evidence of that, I wouldn’t mention it.


Warm air rises. Radiant heat is intended to heat objects, not the air. That’s what makes it so much more efficient and comfortable than a forced air system.

When you think about radiant heat, think about the sun. Notice how it’s heat energy travels in all directions?



Efficiency sucks.

If there is no information on risk, maybe there is none.
If you perceive a risk, how about sharing so we know what your talking about.
Then go back to the inspection standard and see why you have to report your perceived risk. You will likely not find anything about that risk either.


efficient : When you only get 3.412 btu/watt and that heat only warms the side of your body exposed to the source… :thinking:

comfortable : ever sit in front of a camp fire in the winter? Your front is blazing hot and your back is freezing? When you sit down in a chair in front of the fire, your butt gets cold because it is at outdoor temperature. Why do people turn around and stick there butt towards the fire. Doesn’t seem like comfort I want to live with inside my house. :cold_face:

Radiant heat has it’s purpose and uses. It is a great add on to the main system, such as bathroom floors that are cold to your feet regardless of the indoor air temps. Or when your house has large window walls that do not reflect or emit your radiated body heat back at you. It radiates heat that your body is loosing through the window so you don’t feel that cold draft type feeling you feel whenever your near a window during the winter. Window coverings also prevents this, but you can’t see through or let light/solar heating in.


Efficient in the sense that none of that watt is wasted up a vent pipe, and none of the heat escapes through leaky ducts in areas that you don’t need heat.


Heat does not rise. It radiates in all directions. Aided or hindered by the medium surrounding it.

HOT AIR rises! I don’t see alot of value heating the air next to the ceiling. The only heat in the ceiling I’ve actually encountered are bathroom systems with a fan. Seems like it would consume a lot of wattage to radiate enough heat to warm the room.

Wow some very interesting comments. I guess the answer to Risk question is Potentially drilling or screwing into the cables! Or if for some reason they malfunctioned and overheated that could cause a fire ? Then the ones in the cathedral ceiling can they be replaced or repaired by just pulling them out or do you have to cut the ceiling Texture coating (big mess)

Now I know that I don’t have to report all these potential problems to my client but they are asking about some of these !!

And I don’t know but normal roofs with attics are supposed to remain cold ! When you heat shingles up your going to cause pre-mature failure or wear , that’s why it voids the warranty on shingles when you put a second layer on!

So I don’t think it was a good idea over the cathedral ceiling! ? What do you guys think!
Not to mention when you melt snow in some and then it freezes n thaws and repeats all winter long it causes erosion of aggregate as this ice slides off ! It’s not just about ice damning .

So idk why people think that the baseboard heating elements were such an eye sore that the seller decided to remove them!

My opinion is just because They make it doesn’t mean it’s good to use !
And Heat Does Rise ! Haha
Come on man ever see a hot air Balloon :balloon:!


The radiant ceiling panels usually have a reflective backing so that all the heat is directed into the room. I don’t see an issue with the attic or the roof.


I had this in the first house I owned - it was a 1967 build. It was a great heat source, warmed the rooms well and you could even feel the warmth on items in the room. The only problem came when I opened my electric bill! I ended up getting a pellet stove for the main living area.

As far as inspecting I explain the type of heat and tell buyers it won’t be cost effective to repair if it ever fails and the same wiring (at the thermostat) can often be used for some other type heater (baseboard, Cadet, etc.). I only find this 1-2X/year and almost always one or more rooms have failed and been replaced with another type.