A ceiling panel system is a forced warm-air heating system in which the heated air is delivered through ducts to an enclosed space above a false ceiling. There are no air supply outlets in the ceiling, and the heated air is therefore blocked from direct penetration of the occupied spaces below. Because its downward path is blocked, the heated air spreads over the entire surface area of the false ceiling. The ceiling eventually absorbs the heat and the cooler air is returned to the furnace for reheating and recirculation. The heat is transferred from the ceiling to the occupied spaces by radiation. A more appropriate name for this type of panel heating system might be “ceiling space panel system.”

A ceiling panel system of this type does not differ from the standard forced warm-air heating system except in the design of the heat emitting unit. Instead of using compact individual heat emitting units a ceiling panel system uses a portion of the structure itself. As a result, considerable experience is necessary to install this type of heating system. It is only recommended for new construction, and never as a conversion from an existing heating system.

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