Heat mats in the attic

Been helping my parents make some alterations to their bungalow they have just bought, built in the 1970's and located near Scarborough, the walls have that compressed straw stuff for insulation (internal walls too) My dad was stumped to what these black mesh like panels were with single electrical connections to them between all the rafters was,
He thought some sort of earth screen... maybe the last owners were paid up members of the tin foil hat brigade and went one further to have a faraday cage built above them :)
But as soon as i saw them i recognised them as electric heat mats, as i have some reptile heating mats i use for injured birds i look after, black tightly woven resistance mat with sewn on copper strips each side, placed inside a polythene type bag, the edges of the poly bag are trapped between the celing joists and the plasterboard celings, so it was put in as the house was built it seems,
They no longer work, a lot of them have had the connector at the ends ripped off taking part of the copper strip with them, and others have the cable cut (a black outer, green inner and single stranded cable inside that, terminating in a push on metal clip that is pushed onto the copper strip of the mats, then tape put around the connector end)
No signs of any controller, but i imagine there may have been a frost stat in the roof space to control them?
Am i right in thinking it was a way to keep the attic slightly warm to stop pipes freezing and/or condensation forming? probably used in place of traditional insulation? The loft space is just the usual storage area, and i don't think over ceiling heating is that good an idea... but there may well have been a cowboy selling it in the 70's :)
I can only imagine the bungalow was built at the time nuclear powered electricity too cheap to meter was on the cards, Wonder what the police choppers doing thermal scans for drugs farms in attics would make of the heat mats being on.
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On Sunday, October 19, 2014 8:43:08 PM UTC+1, Gazz wrote:

I can't see the idea ever making sense, presumably a snake oil sale. Perhaps some are still saleable.
NT
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On Sunday, October 19, 2014 9:03:05 PM UTC+1, snipped-for-privacy@care2.com wrote:

Ceiling heating is vaguely sensible if you use radiant heat and have well insulated ceilings.
The "Dulrae" system springs to mind.
http://www.eweb.org/saveenergy/home/ceilingheat
Owain
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It could do if electricity so cheap that it isnt worth metering ever happened with a well insulated place like that.
Some real downsides over electrically heated floors that were all the rage at that time, but some real upsides too, particularly maintenance wise.

Much more likely someone with nutty ideas like with harry.

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There was a while when 'radiant' ceiling heating was being plugged for bungalows. If they cover the full ceiling area then maybe that was it.

You've got it, cheap to install, bl'dy expensive to run (no thermal mass so no off peak rate) so they were rarely switched on. Control was via individual bimetal stats in each room. I don't know if there were any timers involved.
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fred
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On 19/10/14 21:35, fred wrote:

I had radiant ceiling heating in my first flat (built circa 1985) in south London.
These looked like the stick on after market rear window heaters you could buy from Halfords in the 70's - in sheets about 4-5' by 16" IIRC.
Horrible system - slow to work, the *most* expensive heating I have ever experienced

Mine was just stats.
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It's a bedroom ceiling mirror demister heating pad for when things get a bit steamy in the bedroom.
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Adam


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On 19/10/2014 20:43, Gazz wrote:

For a short time I lived in a flat with ceiling heating. Absolutely horrible. Hot head, cold feet.
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On 19/10/14 21:51, polygonum wrote:

I had the car ports under me - really cold feet!
Had flu once there - 2 weeks off, much of it in bed. **** was what I said when I got the next electricity bill...
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Just as well they were no longer connected, could have been very nasty if the person discovering them was not aware they were connected to the mains supply. Brian
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that's a very good thought Brian, my dad thought they were some form of earthing screen, ground plane for an antenna or something, he saw the single core wire to them, and that the wires were black, but inside one of the cut wires the black is an outer thick protective insulation, the inner insulation is green!! and had been playing about with them trying to find a makers name or something,
They cover the entire area of the original bungalow, and were deffo put in before the ceiling was put up, as every one of them is held in place by the bags they are in being about 50mm wider each side of the actual heat mats, so they are trapped between the ceiling and joists.... tho i imagine they are stapled in place to the underside of the joists, as they are all perfectly lined up with the joists.
I should have took one out and measured it's resistance to try and work out how much power they pulled, they are all just under 600mm wide, and about a meter and a half long, tho i can see they can be cut down to fit between noggins (or what ever the proper word is for the bits of wood you put between 2 joists to keep them at 600mm centred)
I imagine the heat mat was supplied on a roll, then cut to size, the bag heat sealed at the open ends, and what looks like sellotape wrapped around the cable connections... wouldnt like to think about a burst pipe in the attic with this system.
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On 20/10/14 08:41, Brian Gaff wrote:

I thought they were an appalling idea. My flat had little signs on each room stat saying "do not put pins in the ceiling"
If you did and your pin was about 15mm long you had a perhaps a 20% chance of getting a shock based on conductor area and allowing a fair bit was at lower potential.
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