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Answers to Electrical Questions About Electric Baseboard Heaters

January 5, 2011

DIY Electrical Wiring Help Jerome A. Pollard asks:
I have electric baseboard heaters in my house and I have a question about installing an additional one.

I would like to install a small one (no more than two feet) in the bathroom. However, on the wall opposite to where I want to install this new heater there is another baseboard heater. My question is can I connect the new baseboard heater to the baseboard heater on the opposite side of the wall?

Also where is the wiring on the baseboard heaters that I would use to connect them.

You need to determine the load on the circuit first. There are a couple of ways to do this. The quickest way is to turn up all of your heater t-stats to high and use an amp meter to determine the full load amps on this circuit. You need to take this reading at your breaker box with the power on. Simply take off the cover to your breaker box and place the amp meter around each wire on the breaker which controls the circuit you wish to tap power from. This is definitely an advanced task. If you do not feel comfortable doing this, then I highly recommend hiring a licensed or qualified electrician.

Or turn off the breaker which controls the circuit to the heater which you want to tap power from. Now go check all of your heaters and count which ones are off. You will need either the amperage or wattage rating from each heater. Since it is electric heat, you will probably find wattage ratings. Add up all of the wattage ratings and divide them by 240. This will give you your amperage rating. So, let’s say this circuit is being controlled by a 2-pole 30 amp circuit breaker. Then, if the full load amps, including the amperage from the heater you wish to add to this circuit, is less than 22 amps, than you can add your heater to this circuit.

The wiring is in the wiring compartments on either end of the heater if it is a standard baseboard heater. If it is Cadet’s sofheat heater, then the wiring compartment is only on the left side of the heater.

Jean asks:
I have an electrical baseboard heater that I want to move. I am replacing it with a new one and moving it to a different wall. Can I extend the wire coming from my electrical board by simply adding on a extra piece? Everything will be the same just the location that will change.

Yes, but you need to use the same size wire and all splices need to be in an electrical box which needs to be accessible. You are also not permitted to install NM cable (romex) on the surface of a wall. I recommend either wiremold or EMT conduit.

Robert asks:
How do I wire a 240v baseboard heater with thermostat on heater?

The wire which comes from your breaker box terminates to the line side of the t-stat. The load side of the t-stat terminates to the heater. If this is a 240 volt circuit, then you are required to use a double pole t-stat.

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One Response to “Answers to Electrical Questions About Electric Baseboard Heaters”

  1. Karen Prescott on June 24th, 2011 4:28 am

    My Comcast cable tv service cannot correct pixelation and audio dropout. After manyvisits they told me something about voltage and a ground wire next to the breaker box and outside meter. Is this possible or bs. As a chick I’m tired of trades ripping me off while I’m redoing this house. My last renter stole power so the meter was pulled here. When I moved back in I had to hire electrician who pulled permit and city inspected and passed. Any advice would be appreciated. I’m on a limited budget. I’ve already had all outlets plugs replaced. Thx!