Radiant Ceiling Heat Problems

Radiant ceiling heat is an effective heating solution that does not have many of the drawbacks that conventional heaters do. The system operates without vents or blowers and relies on radiant panels to transmit heat across the room. This makes it effective, noise-free, and helps provide consistent heat throughout an interior space. 

With all the benefits of radiant ceiling heat, the system has some drawbacks too.

Possible problems associated with this heating method include inefficiency in certain areas, high installation charges, drywall cracking, and difficulty to repair.

If you’re considering investing in radiant ceiling heat for your home, office, school, or building, there are many pros-and-cons to doing so. First, let’s take a look at the main benefits of this system. 

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Benefits of Radiant Ceiling Heat

Radiant ceiling heat has a number of features that make it a reliable heating method.

As the radiant panels are laid out across the ceiling, heat is evenly distributed to all areas of the room. This means you will feel warmth everywhere and not just in one specific spot.

Another major benefit of radiant ceiling heat is that it is energy-efficient when used in the correct way. The radiant panels take a very small amount of time to heat up and can get sufficiently warm even when set to a low thermostat. This means you don’t have to turn up the temperature a lot, which can result in cost savings. 

Radiant ceiling heating works without vents or blowing elements, which make it practically noise-free. Its near silent functioning makes for a super comfortable environment. In addition, the system does not require much maintenance or cleaning once installed and one of the safest types of heating.

Read more about what radiant ceiling heat is and how it works here.

Problems of Radiant Ceiling Heat

Now, let’s take a look at some of the possible issues associated with radiant ceiling heat. 

Uneven heating

Most of the time, radiant ceiling heat is highly effective at reaching all areas of a room. However, sometimes you may still face uneven heating, especially beneath obstructions like tabletops. If the heat rays are unable to reach these areas, you might feel cold if your feet or legs are placed in such a place. 

Goes against nature

We all know that heat naturally rises. So, what does that mean for radiant ceiling heat? After all, the heat has to come down towards the ground, essentially fighting against the work of nature. The system is still designed to be quite effective but this happens to be one clear drawback of radiant ceiling heat. 

High installation costs

It is usually quite expensive to get radiant ceiling panels installed and it isn’t easy to get a competitive price on this. The radiant panels tend to have a high cost and so does the labor required to install them. Plus, you will need to hire professionals to do the job as it requires solid technical know-how. 

Operating costs can be high

When used correctly, the system can prove to be energy-efficient in the long run and can give you savings of up to 20% on your utility bill compared to other heating systems like forced air. However, this will depend on the type of radiant ceiling heating you opt for.

Electric radiant panels will be expensive to operate as electricity is a costly fuel. In contrast, hydronic radiant panels can be more cost-effective as they depend on hot water to heat up the panels. In this case, the cost of the fuel being used to fire the boiler will determine your spending.

The benefit of electric powered panels is the instant heat when you turn them on. People may be more inclined to use them in places that required heat on demand, but can also be turned off at anytime, like a bathroom.

Plaster separation

One problem some people face with radiant ceiling heat is plaster separation. This is not a common occurrence and is more likely in houses where the system wires are enclosed in plaster.

Over time, the plaster can come apart and break away from the ceiling joists because of consistent heating.  If left unaddressed, entire parts of the ceiling could collapse and fall below. The best way to address the issue is to get it inspected immediately and prevent it from happening in the first place.                                                                                              

Drywall cracking

One other issue associated with radiant ceiling heat is drywall cracking. This can happen as the gypsum core of the drywall usually contains some moisture content. With close contact to heating wires, there can be uneven heating with some areas drier than the rest.

Eventually, this can lead to cracking as a result of the expansion and contraction of the drywall. This can lead to the wall breaking apart and crumbling.

Slight fire hazard

The chances of a fire breaking out with radiant ceiling heat are very unlikely but it is still a hazard to be aware of and highlights the importance to have it installed, maintained and repaired by professionals.

If the radiant ceiling heating system malfunctions for any reason or there’s a short circuit, flammable materials can get ignited and lead to a fire. Short circuits can occur even due to simple accidents like home repairs. So, it is very important to be careful when handling the system and its wiring.