Electric Radiant Heating & THermostat HELP NeeDeD!!

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KateinIndiana
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Electric Radiant Heating & THermostat HELP NeeDeD!!

Postby KateinIndiana » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:50 pm

We live in a mid-century ranch that uses all electric radiant ceiling heat. Each room has its own metal dial for manually adjusting the temperature. The dial reads "Ceil Heat...Heats like the Sun" Well, we would love to replace the dials with a modern thermostat- preferably programmable, as leaving them on night and day leads to enormous electric bills in our frigid winters. And turning them off, leads to a very unhappy and chilly mommy and baby. I can't seem to find any answers by googling! Hoping someone in these forums might have some experience with this!

Thank you! Thank you for any leads or insight!

egads
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Postby egads » Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:05 pm

I'd look into getting somthing like this:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0016J ... HS0A6AMEV7

You really need a qualified electrician. One needs to know the voltage (probably 220) the amperage (size of the breaker, i.e. 20, 30) so you can get the right one. Most of these are made for electric baseboard heaters, but are also now used for in floor heat mats (like ones installed under bathroom tile floors) Most of the ceiling heat I've seen are 20 amp @ 220v with four wires in the thermostat box. (typical bedroom size anyway) Two in and two out. To wire correctly you need to know which two are in and which two are out. The existing stat may be labeled.

I would also explore adding insulation if there is an accessible attic. On This Old House when they do radiant floor heat, either electric or circulating hot water, they use reflective metal against the floor (in your case the ceiling) and then added bat insulation. Electric ceiling heat is not very efficient, as the heat wants to rise. Do what you can to keep it in the heated space.

KateinIndiana
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Postby KateinIndiana » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:50 am

Egads,

Thank you so very much! You may have not only given us direction, but saved our marriage! I am so relieved! Thank you for your kindness!

Sincerely, Katie

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johnnyapollo
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Postby johnnyapollo » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:56 am

Growing up in Clarksville, TN - our newly built 4-sided brick ranch had radiant ceiling heat - apparently it was all the rage in the late 60's locally. In our house each room had its own thermostat near the door that also turned the heat on for the room - terribly inefficient as I recall - it would be hot near your head and cold near your feet - heat does rise after all.

At some point we converted the house to central heat and air and had the radiant heat disconnected. From memory, the entire system was 30 amps or so - with thick wires going into and out of the thermostats and a huge breaker for the system. We had to disconnect everything before blowing additional insulation into the attic as the system was designed without - another reason it was so inefficient.

If you intend to live in the house for a long time, you may want to calculate the efficiency and think about replacing with a closed-air system (central heat/air) and add insulation, provided the ducting can be added - just something to consider before you spend too much money on the radiant-ceiling-heat technology. Just a thought...
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jesgord
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Postby jesgord » Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:10 am

Nest!!! Greatest thermostat ever

http://www.nest.com/

egads
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Postby egads » Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:57 am

It is, but it's not going to work with electric resistance heat. One needs a stat that actually controls the load. The nest controls a furnace & A/C with low voltage control wiring. (the sort of system johnnyapollo suggests bitting the bullet to install)

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johnnyapollo
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Postby johnnyapollo » Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:38 am

I don't believe (but haven't researched it yet) that the Nest will work on multi-stage delivery systems. My Trane unit is two stage - supposedly more efficient (it basically allows a trickle of air-flow most of the time, only accelerating the air when the temps change too drastically). Most regular thermostats won't work with that type of unit. Just and fyi.
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egads
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Postby egads » Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:21 pm

A little Googling shows that the next generation of the Nest does handle multistage heating and cooling. If it is installed by a Nest Pro, it can also control variable speed fans that the new systems have.

http://support.nest.com/article/How-doe ... nd-cooling

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turboblown
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Postby turboblown » Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:03 am

That stat will not work. You need a line level stat that directly handles 240VAC/20A. Most modern stats are 24V low current control.
Home Depot DOES carry a line level stat for like $29 that would work just fine.

My '65 ranch had a Federal Pacific radiant ceiling system. Each room had a stat with either a 1500W or 3000W grid in the ceiling. Great for cracking plaster! We now have hot water with radiant floors and baseboard units in some rooms. It costs half as much to heat the place and it is actually warm now.

The electric radiant is terribly inefficient. They are also a safety issue after this long. When I removed the system, I may have a few stats left over that I didn't scrap.


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