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Do Radiant Heaters Have Common Installation Errors?


Who has time to read instruction manuals? We’ve heard that many times over the years, and probably said it a few times ourselves! But joking aside, all of Detroit Radiant Products units come with important information listed in the manuals. From simple install instructions to wiring diagrams, these helpful booklets can make or break an installation. Unfortunately, even when you do your best to follow the instructions things can still go wrong. That’s part of the reason why the following tips are so handy!

This top ten list of common installation and application errors is a quick reference for anyone who wants to start simple and work out what could possibly be causing an issue with your infrared tube heater. At the very least, double checking this list before, during, and after the installation is a great way to ensure you are starting on the right foot when using your new Re-Verber-Ray infrared radiant heater.

We’ve divided the list below into two categories: Application Mistakes and Installation Mistakes. Choosing the right heater for the right application is paramount to ensuring the heater can operate correctly and deliver on your expectations.

Application Mistakes

  1. Selecting too long of a heater for the mounting height. As you move further down the tubes of an infrared tube heater, you’ll notice a difference in temperature. That’s normal. But when a longer heater is mounted too low it doesn’t give the heat a chance to spread out evenly. Instead, it concentrates in a hot spot that can make it uncomfortable. Always select the right heater for the right application.
  2. Clearances to combustibles. When selecting an infrared heater, always consider the clearances for the unit against what space is available in the application. All units have a top, side, and below clearance number that could disqualify it from being used. Once installed, clearances to combustibles information should be posted where it is easily accessible and should always be maintained.

Installation Mistakes

  1. Chain/Cable mounting. It’s very important that all mounting chains or cables are installed straight up and down. This prevents the unit from being pulled in opposing directions, potentially making it unsafe. Follow the instructions listed in the manual to ensure that chains are placed correctly through the length of the unit.
  2. Improper hanger placement. The first ten-foot tube after the burner box should have two hangers–one near each joint–and every tube after should have one hanger placed near the following joint. This is important for load distribution and supporting the reflectors of the unit.
  3. Proper tube placement. Heater models that are 150,000 BTUs or higher require a special combustion tube to be placed as the first ten-foot tube following the burner box. These will be marked with an orange sticker.
  4. Improper securing of reflectors. Most reflector joints should be properly secured, except for one expansion joint per heater. The installation manual for your heater will specifiy which joint should be the expansion joint to allow for proper expansion and contraction of the unit.
  5. Securing the clamps. Clamps should be installed at the center of the tube seams (where two tubes fit together) and secured following proper torque guidelines. This will prevent unsafe separation of the tubes.
  6. Improper gas flex line connection. The flexible gas line coming into the heater should be connected in a “C” shape between the shut off valve and the back of the burner box. This allows for expansion and contraction without exponential stress on the connector.
  7. Common Venting. If two units are common vented, they must share the same thermostat or control. This is to prevent exhaust gases from the operating heater from traveling down the non-operating heater.
  8. Baffles in the wrong tubes. The baffles are designed to go into the last tubes of the unit to retain the warmth rather than exhausting it through the vent. If installed in the beginning of the unit it will can cause a burn through of the tube and the heater will not correctly heat the space.


As always, Great Lakes Radiant is here to help you with any technical assistance you may need during the install process. Once the unit has been installed, we can also work through any trouble shooting that you may need to diagnose the problem with your unit.

Call 888-501-0252 or email us at for all of your radiant heat needs!