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Q&A About Wiring a Tanning Bed, Installing a GFI Receptacle on a Non-Grounded Circuit, Wire Size for a 100 Amp Sub Panel and Troubleshooting an Electric Baseboard Heater

November 30, 2009

Question Erin asks:
We put a commercial tanning bed in our house, an ovation 154 220v/50amp 60hz, we have a double flip breaker box, how do we wire this to get power from the house?

You need to install a 6/3 with ground NM cable (romex) from your breaker box to a new 50 amp receptacle located near the tanning bed. I would use a 50 amp twist-loc receptacle and plug but, you may use a 4-wire range receptacle as well.


Mike asks:
I just installed a GFCI receptacle and the wires are only black and white there is no ground wire. Can I still use the outlet?

Yes. I always recommend installing a new circuit with a ground wire. However, the National Electrical Code® permits installing a GFCI receptacle on a non-grounded circuit.


Louis Mangiacapra asks:
I want to connect from my service entrance to my workshop. I would like to bring 100 or 150 amp service to my shop. I have 2? conduit buried already. My service entrance is a 200 amp panel. My question is how large is the wire that I need to run for either 100 or 150 amp service?

The first thing that you need to do is determine if you are permitted to do this work legally. Some areas do not allow homeowners to install their own electric services or sub-panels. If you are permitted to do this work the you need either #3 AWG copper wire or #1 AWG aluminum wire for 100 amps. You need 1/0 AWG copper wire or 3/0 AWG aluminum wire for 150 amps. I recomend installing a ground wire in this conduit as well. If you install a ground wire, then you need to ensure that your ground and neutral wires are separated in your sub-panel.


Steve asks:
I’ve just had to replace an electric baseboard heater. The original was 8 feet long but I opted to replace it with 10 feet (two five foot lengths wired together). The electrician did the job and everything is working okay. The heater is still new and smells a bit (this is normal). But what I noticed is that the heater really doesn’t get as hot as the old one. I can touch the outside edge and even (momentarily) touch the heat-spreaders inside. Will this change as the heater “breaks in” or is it some new “safer” standard or is it something different all together? The heater is a standard type (not hydronic) on it’s own 220 volt 20 amp circuit.

It’s probably wired wrong. I would check the wiring coming from the thermostat and the terminations in the heater. You need the wiring instructions for your heater. If you do not have these, then you can probably get them from the manufacturer’s website.


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