New wall & radiant ceiling heat

I have in-ceiling radiant electric heat (my house was built in 66). I want to divide a room in two by building a wall across it. Can I butt the top-plate 2x4 against the ceiling? Is there any danger of overheating and causing a fire etc? (I understand I can’t nail the wall up into the ceiling, I will have to fix it to the floor and walls.)


No. It sounds like you have a cable system embedded in plaster (a common approach back in the 60’s). As you’ve guessed, the wall header will act as an insulator and the localize heat is very likely to at least cause the system to fail, if not be a fire hazard.

So what do I need to do to disburse the heat?

You should hire a Thermographer and determine how much heat is being dispersed, personally I doubt you would have any problems, but not knowing the amount of heat being radiated could be a concern.

If anything I would stop the top plate short of the ceiling and run the sheetrock to the ceiling leaving about a 2-in air gap between the base of the ceiling and the new wall. Having a Thermographer locate the heating elements would be a great start for anchoring the new wall as well.

Thank you.