Q: My husband and I are currently shopping for our first home and have found a couple that we really like. However, one of these houses is listed as using "Cadet" heat. I have looked at several articles but would like to know what the benefits and disadvantages are in regards to this type of heating system? Also, is this something that will need to be replaced? If it is replaced, will we be able to do this ourselves (my husband is an electrical engineer) or is this a professional job? If we choose to leave this type of heating in the house, will it harm its resale value in the future?
A: As you may know already, Cadet heaters are simply the name of a popular brand of electric wall heater. In real estate listings, "Cadet heat" is sometimes incorrectly used generically to refer to any type of wall heater, even those not made by Cadet.
In 2000, Cadet and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled approximately 1.9 million Cadet heaters due to reported problems with the heaters that could be related to overheating and fires. For more information about the recall, you can visit the CPSC Web site.
As part of any home purchase you’re considering, you’ll want to have the home inspected by a qualified home inspector before you close the purchase. As part of that inspection, the inspector should definitely check the Cadet heaters, and include in his or her report what their condition is, and if they are part of the recall or not (they may not be affected, or they may already have been replaced).
If the Cadet heaters in the home you’re thinking of buying are part of the recall and need to be replaced, it’s a fairly simple do-it-yourself project, or you can hire a licensed electrician to do it. The cans that are in the wall remain in place and only the internal part of the heating mechanism is replaced, so there is no drywall to replace or repair.
Quite honestly, zonal heating systems such as wall heaters and baseboard heaters are typically not as desirable from a resale standpoint. A lot depends on the other homes that you’ll be competing against for sale, but if everything else is equal, central heating can be a big selling point over zonal heating. …CONTINUED