Electric Radiant Ceiling Heat: Red Hot Retrofit
A U.S. Department of Energy sponsored study found that radiant heat panels were
52% less expensive to operate than electric baseboard heat and 33% more cost
effective than air to air heat pumps. The study concluded that “energy savings would
be obtainable in a great portion of U.S. households".
The radiant panels made by Enerjoy are about 1 inch thick, and range in size from
2’x2’ to 2’x8’. They are textured to look like the ceiling and can be painted to match
the room’s decor with any quality water based acrylic paint.
The panels operate at 150-170 degrees F., and radiate heat to objects and people in
the room. The panel itself reaches operating temperature in only three to five minutes.
Advantages of Electric Radiant Ceiling Heat
Heat loss from ducts, even insulated ones, reduces the efficiency of forced air
systems. Additional leakage is created by the internal air pressure generated by
forced air systems. No ducts, no pressure, no leakage problems.
Red hot as in sales, that is.
The reasons behind the
increasing popularity of radiant
heat panels are ease of
installation, quick warm up,
dust free heat, and low cost
relative to other retrofit heating
For the same price as a pellet
stove, you could heat a 1,500
square foot home and not have
to deal with locating, storing
and lugging 40 pound bags of
|Recessed Radiant Heat Ceiling Panel
The quick response time of radiant panels will return an unoccupied room to a
comfortable temperature in minutes.
Radiant Heat Panel Applications
Radiant heat panels are an excellent source of heat for bathrooms (no more foggy
mirrors), log homes, gazebos, screened in porches and stables. If you’re heating a
greenhouse, radiant heat will protect your plants in the absence of sunlight by
maintaining root temperatures.
Replacing a wood stove with ceiling mounted panels in auxiliary buildings such as
workshops or studios allows the use of all available floor space.
Radiant Heat Panel Installation and Cost
The low amperage requirements for ceiling heat panels can usually be provided by
existing 120 or 240 Volt circuits. The 30%-70% wattage reduction over electric
baseboard heating eliminates the need for dedicated wiring. Wherever a single panel
is installed, the existing 120-volt capacity circuit is usually adequate for the additional
Installation of radiant heat panels typically costs between $1.25 and $1.50 per square
foot of heated space. For a 1,500 sq. ft. house the estimated cost would be $1,900 to
$2,300. That's considerably less than the cost for a complete forced air system.
Disadvantage of Radiant Heat Panels
The major limitation of radiant heat panels is the absence of a cooling function.
Installing a ducted central air conditioner would undermine many of the advantages of
using radiant panels.
One way around this would be to install a mini-split air conditioning system. The mini-
split, like radiant panels, is also a cost effective retrofit solution and can be zoned to
cool only occupied rooms.
If controlling heating costs is your primary concern, radiant heat panels offer an easy,
cost effective and healthy way to retrofit your home with comfortable, reliable heat.
Since the need for a blower to circulate
heat is eliminated, so is the cost of
electricity to run the blower motor.
Without a blower, there are no filters
that need to be replaced.
Heating without moving air also
eliminates drafts and prevents dust and
pollen from circulating while maintaining
the air’s moisture content. Radiant heat
panels require no maintenance or
service because there are no moving
With separate thermostats for each
room, zoned heating is easy as turning a
light switch on and off. Significant energy
savings can be realized by allowing only
the occupied areas to be heated.