How do I tell where the radiant wiring or pads, or whatever, is in my ceiling? I want to install overhead cupboards but am afraid of ruining the heating.

  • 1
    You have radiant heat in your ceiling, or radiant heat in the floor above?
    – Tester101
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 20:09
  • Ya, tester, never seen heat in the ceiling unless for the second floor. Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 23:12
  • I once lived in an apartment that had radiant electric heat in the ceiling; that was in the late 1970s, no idea how old the building was at that time.
    – TomG
    Commented Feb 1, 2014 at 1:40
  • Unfortunately this is a thing. Here in PA I've heard of several houses that are single story and have radiant heat in the ceiling. :(.
    – mankoff
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 3:17
  • Here in the Pacific Northwest during the era of cheap hydro, a large portion of 1 story housing was equipped with radiant ceiling heat. The cables came in predetermined length kits with thermostat and were gridded on the gypsum board ceiling on nails with heads driven to within 1/8" of the surface and then covered with a sort of hard-set joint compound (not really a plaster job). In this era, you turn them to just come on (50F) and then run the heating stove to keep the thermostat off. Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 4:43

2 Answers 2


You could order a cheap thermal camera ($200 from http://www.thermal.com/ ) and see them. I have no affiliation with that company but own one of their products and LOVE it.


In the good old days, you could get magnetic pickup devices for recording incoming phone conversations. Combined with a small test amplifier or one of those portable tape recorders that had audio playback on record, you could swing the pickup across walls to find electrical cables and across the ceiling to find the ceiling heat cables.

Tends to be a bit better than those stud finders at finding the wires, you can hear the 60Hz hum quite loudly especially if it's carrying load when you're dead on top of the cable.

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