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Author Topic: baseboard electric heat  (Read 4857 times)

g'bye, Dick Rees

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baseboard electric heat
« on: November 24, 2015, 10:22:51 am »

Quick home-owner question:

We've just moved into a house which has an electric baseboard heater in the kitchen area.  It's a Cadet model 8F2000 which specs 240/208, 8.3/7.1 amps and 2000/1500 watts with a length of 96".

There has been very little heat available from it, so I shut the breakers off (a pair of 20's) to examine the wiring.  Seems like it's only getting 120.  I can fix everything OK, but my question is how much more output should I expect?  Is it linear: 2x the Btu's or will it be more going to 220 full power?

TIA
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: baseboard electric heat
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2015, 10:39:16 am »

E^2/R so 2x voltage = 4x power.

Cadet also sells 120V units (I put one in my bedroom).

JR
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: baseboard electric heat
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2015, 01:01:10 pm »

We've just moved into a house which has an electric baseboard heater in the kitchen area.  It's a Cadet model 8F2000 which specs 240/208, 8.3/7.1 amps and 2000/1500 watts with a length of 96".

There has been very little heat available from it, so I shut the breakers off (a pair of 20's) to examine the wiring.  Seems like it's only getting 120.  I can fix everything OK, but my question is how much more output should I expect?  Is it linear: 2x the Btu's or will it be more going to 220 full power?

Hmm. JR answered your question, but I'm wondering why, if you have a double-pole breaker, it's only getting 120V. Is it only using one pole of the double-pole, and the other pole of the circuit is hooked to neutral? Or was this baseboard wired in series with another?

Maybe you've got that figured out, after all, you said you "can fix everything OK", but inquiring minds nosy people want to know what's up!
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Mike Sokol

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Re: baseboard electric heat
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2015, 07:13:27 pm »

Quick home-owner question:

We've just moved into a house which has an electric baseboard heater in the kitchen area.  It's a Cadet model 8F2000 which specs 240/208, 8.3/7.1 amps and 2000/1500 watts with a length of 96".

There has been very little heat available from it, so I shut the breakers off (a pair of 20's) to examine the wiring.  Seems like it's only getting 120.  I can fix everything OK, but my question is how much more output should I expect?  Is it linear: 2x the Btu's or will it be more going to 220 full power?

TIA

Since it's a 240-volt element producing 2,000 watts of heat, at 120 volts it will only produce 1/4 of that, or 500 watts. That ain't much, so you'll need to see why there's a double-pole breaker. Bust out the meter and check the color of the wires and the voltage feeding it. Sounds like someone tied one of the legs to neutral to reduce the wattage, or maybe someone did something really stupid like tie one side to the ground wire. Also, if it has a wall mounted thermostat you'll want to poke around in there and see that it's really getting for voltage.

And yes.... for any of you newbies or lurkers who don't know safety precautions, opening up live panels is dangerous and can get you killed. So find someone who knows how to do it if you're not 100% comfortable around live circuits and licensed to do so. Just remember that 120 volts can kill you just as dead as higher voltages. But you do look better in your coffin.  :-\
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Mike Sokol
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: baseboard electric heat
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2015, 07:39:14 pm »

Thanks to all.  Simple answer is that while the breaker panel indicated that the double-20 breaker was for the kitchen heater, the unit was actually being fed 120 from a patch into one of the wall outlet circuits...which I had also turned off "just in case" before opening things up.

I've figured out the wiring now and am having a real electrician come in to re-wire things.  I was somewhat hampered by having my Fluke meter 150 miles away at the old house.
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Scott Helmke

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Re: baseboard electric heat
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2015, 10:00:08 am »

...which I had also turned off "just in case" before opening things up.

I bought a 1950's house just a few months ago, and my new favorite tool is a non-contact voltage tester. Some interesting surprises didn't end up being dangerous surprises thanks to the NCVT.
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Daniel Levi

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Re: baseboard electric heat
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2015, 12:37:08 pm »

A NCVT would have been very useful when I replaced a socket in my grans dining room. Turns out the socket was a more recent addition and was wired to the separate fuse box for the kitchen. Therefore turning off the breaker on the main fuse box doesn't kill the power to that socket. Got a slight tingle when I touched one of the terminals on the socket and was lucky I wasn't touching anything else as 240v on a 30a circuit can be nasty.
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Mike Sokol

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Re: baseboard electric heat
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2015, 08:14:34 pm »

I bought a 1950's house just a few months ago, and my new favorite tool is a non-contact voltage tester. Some interesting surprises didn't end up being dangerous surprises thanks to the NCVT.

Same here. My 1923 house had K&T wiring in a lot of the rooms, with the light switches on the neutral side. So turning the switch "off" would cause the the fixture to go "hot". I found that out by accident some 20 years ago when I thought the circuit was unenergized Since then I've upgraded most of the wiring to modern code, and corrected all the silly stuff. Getting ready to put in a new panel with separate ground and neutral bus bars this spring. Right now the 60's panel has all the ground and neutral jammed into the same bus-bar with no room to correct it. I'll add a generator transfer switch at the same time that I change out the panel. 
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: baseboard electric heat
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2015, 11:57:27 pm »

Same here. My 1923 house had K&T wiring in a lot of the rooms, with the light switches on the neutral side. So turning the switch "off" would cause the the fixture to go "hot". I found that out by accident some 20 years ago when I thought the circuit was unenergized Since then I've upgraded most of the wiring to modern code, and corrected all the silly stuff. Getting ready to put in a new panel with separate ground and neutral bus bars this spring. Right now the 60's panel has all the ground and neutral jammed into the same bus-bar with no room to correct it. I'll add a generator transfer switch at the same time that I change out the panel.

Automatic or manual?  If you are doing manual, I really like the interlock switches that Square D makes.  Easy to install, about $50 and done.

Also, if your local ahj requires upgrading to AFCI breakers, the new "plug on neutral" s are really nice-helps keep the panel a lot cleaner and less congested.
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Mike Sokol

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Re: baseboard electric heat
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2015, 08:27:20 pm »

Automatic or manual?  If you are doing manual, I really like the interlock switches that Square D makes.  Easy to install, about $50 and done.

Yeah, planning on the manual interlock for the genny. It will be good to get all those stacked breakers out of the old box. I can also drop in a feed to a new sub-panel in the garage at the same time.
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Mike Sokol
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Re: baseboard electric heat
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2015, 08:27:20 pm »


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