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Adding Electric Baseboard Heaters to an Existing Circuit, Wiring Four Light Switches and Changing Light Switching Around

July 6, 2010

DIY Electrical Wiring Help Douglas asks:
Can I run more than one 1000 watt baseboard heater on one line, using baseboard thermostats?

First you need to determine the rating of your unit-mounted thermostats. They need to be rated for the total load which you intend on controlling with the t-stat. For example if you plan to add another 500 watts of heat, then your t-stat needs to be rated for 1,500 watts or more; if you are going to control both heaters with one t-stat.

To convert wattage to amperage, simple divide watts by volts. So let’s say that your heater is 1000 watts at 240 volts. Then this heater would draw 4.17 amps. So, in this scenario, it would be OK to add more heaters to this circuit.

Typically, electric baseboard heat is on a 30 amp circuit at 240 volts using #10 AWG wiring in a house. However, sometimes you will find lighter loads on a 20 amp circuit at 240 volts using #12 AWG wire.


Brandon asks:
I have one home run (12-2 romex) ran to a 4 gang box for 4 light switches. How do I wire up the 4 gang box?

I’m going to assume that there is only one power supply cable and 4 switch leg cables (romex to the lights); and that the power is off. If this is the case, then connect all of the ground wires (bare copper) together and leave 4 tails to connect to the ground screws on each of the switches. Connect all of the neutrals (white wires) together and tuck these into the box. Cut 4 pieces of #12 AWG black wire approximately 8 inches long and connect them to the home run black wire. Now connect each black switch leg (black wire which goes to the light) to each switch. Next connect one each of the power supply tails to each switch. Install the switches and cover plate. Turn on the power and test.


Susan asks:
I have 2 wall switches for recessed lights. #1 has ten lights. #2 has only two. Is it possible to move two lights from # 1 and add them to #2. (how, if possible?) Contractor went overboard in the kitchen and under board in the dining area!

Anything is possible. It depends on your framing, but you’ll probably need to cut some sheetrock to do this. What you need to do is install a 2 conductor NM cable with a ground (romex) from one of the lights on #2 switch to the 2 lights which you want on #1 switch. You need to disconnect the existing wiring to the lights on #1 switch, wire nut the ends and tuck them back into the boxes before connecting the new wiring from switch #2.

This type of question is best suited for my DIY Electrical Wiring Help from a Master Electrician service. There are lots of tricks and tips that I could offer here which may help prevent the need to cut any sheetrock and possibly some wiring tricks as well.


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2 Responses to “Adding Electric Baseboard Heaters to an Existing Circuit, Wiring Four Light Switches and Changing Light Switching Around”

  1. jason gorham on May 12th, 2011 5:15 am

    i am installing baseboard heaters in a basement living area, 2 spaces. first space a 2000w and a1000w heater , the other 2 2500w. im running 10/2 with 2 30amp breakers. 3000w on 1 and 5000w on the other. my question is can i run 2 heaters off a single t-stat and i believe they should be wired in parrallel, correct?i am below the 80% on the circuit amp capacity for both circuits. do they make double pole t-stats that are rated at more than21 amps? any help would be great ! i just wanna make sure it is safe. what type of line voltage t- stat would i need?

  2. tony beale on December 3rd, 2011 5:45 pm

    can i wire a 120v baseboard heater to existing electrical circuit in the room ? i have 3 wall circuits a light switch and a light fixture . i was thinking about splicing off of one of them and rendering the outlet useless so i can eliminate running a new line from the electrical box to the baseboard heater. is this possible ?