Walking through a home you might notice a non descriptive box in every room, some may have numbers on a dial 50, 60, 70, and wonder what it is.
What you are looking at is a thermostat for a radiant heat ceiling an alternative to a furnace or boiler.
The house is not heated by air coming out of a vent but “wired heating panels” embedded in the ceiling. When the thermostat calls for heat the wires heat up much like a toaster or hair dryer element and warms the ceiling, which after about ten minutes radiates the heat down into the room.
The colored photo taken with an infrared camera shows the lines of the heating wires (in red) as they heat up, the blue is the gap between each embedded heating panel.
These infrared ceilings were very popular in the “all electric” homes of the 60’s and 70’s when electricity was pushed as cheap clean energy and it was a heating system that required no servicing or maintenance.
The down side is that you want to attach something to the ceiling, the ‘heating wires” are not visible and the wires are easily damaged by screws or nails used.
Panels that are damaged or non functional are generally repairable (from the attic side) by a good electrician who is familiar with radiant heat ceilings.
Do not attach anything to the ceiling without checking
using an infrared camera, that the area is heating element free.