Baseboard Wiring

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  #1  
Old 12-23-04, 03:53 PM
docoflove
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Baseboard Wiring

My family room has two baseboard units that were working perfect. I changed them and found one unit had two wires coming down the wall. I extended the wires by adding a junction box. The baseboard with the two wires works, the one containing one wire doesn't.

I found one of the wires hanging inside the wall was hot, both the black and white wires. I found the other hanging wire was dead. I think I wired the baseboard heater wrong. I think somehow I should be sending current to the dead baseboard electric heater.

Can someone tell me how to do that? Or, tell me what I did wrong. I thought I remembered how to do it but lost my notes. It should be noted the breaker box control says 20 on the switch.

Since writing this I joined some wires together from the heater that is working to the heater that isn't working. The wires on the end where the heater isn't working, are hot as my Gage lit up when I touched the wires.

Any help would still be appreciated.

Please help.
 

Last edited by docoflove; 12-23-04 at 07:02 PM. Reason: Added more information
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  #2  
Old 12-23-04, 06:31 PM
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Why did you have to extend the cables if all you were doing was replacing the baseboard heaters?

Anyway, where you have two cables entering the first heater, one brings power to that heater and the second brings power to the second heater.

At the first heater, the wires should all be connected together. By that I mean that the two black wires (one from each cable) should be connected together and connected to one input for the heater. The two white wires should be connected together and then to the other input for the heater.

At the second heater you should only have one cable. Just connect each wire to it's proper input.
 
  #3  
Old 12-23-04, 07:08 PM
docoflove
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Thanks for the reply.

I extended the wires because the heater was longer than the one I had. I got a Fahrenheat Hydronic heater that comes in a larger size than I had.

Since sending my first post, I wired the first heater the way you suggested. I now have power to the second heater as a gage light goes on when I touch the wires. The heater won't work, its the second Hydronic Baseboard heater.

It should be working right if I have power to it???????

I appreciate the help.
 
  #4  
Old 12-24-04, 05:20 AM
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Are these 120 or 240 volt heaters? Are the ones you removed 120 or 240 volt heaters?

You may very well see the light lit if you have one half of the 240 volt incoming power present.

If you have an analog meter you can measure for the proper voltage between all the wires. (Between the black and white, between the black and ground and between the white and ground.)
 
  #5  
Old 12-24-04, 05:54 AM
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Don't take this as a criticism, but you need help here. You have mixed up some wires and possibly created a dangerous situation. I am not sure we can fix it 'remotely' ...not enough information. This will be eaisily fixed by someone with a voltmeter and electric circuit knowledge.
 
  #6  
Old 12-24-04, 08:21 AM
ka3vvv
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I extended the wires by adding a junction box.

You post in your text (I extended the wires by adding a junction box)
Make sure you donít put that junction box in a behind a enclose wall that not code + it can get hot in catch fire. I would just home run a new wire only if the junction box wouldn't be enclose. Someone please correct me if Iím wrong thank you. I'm near the Phildelphia Pa area If you at less 25miles I can Help you.
 
  #7  
Old 12-24-04, 09:15 AM
docoflove
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Thanks for the help. KA3VVV, I live near Hbg. which is no doubt more than 25 miles from you.

I certainly don't want to burn down my house.

I recessed the junction box behind the baseboard heater. I didn't know I couldn't. Guess I really screwed up.

What I did so you guys understand is disconnected the baseboard heater on one side of the room and connected it up like the wiring was.

When I took the second heater apart I found two wires running to it. I unhooked those wires and found I needed to extend the wiring so I could reach the end of the longer baseboard heater. I pig tailed in two sections of 12/2 Romex, 600 Volts. I put the pig tail in a plastic junction box and hid it. I then ran the two new sections of wire to the new heater and it worked fine. I kept the black to black wires together, white to white, copper to copper.

Some current is coming through the first heater wire. But, I re hooked the old heater up and it will not fire off. Its like there is not enough current to run the heater.

I was asked what type of wiring, I think 110 or 220. I don't know, I know the breaker in the garage says 20 AMP.

Since I'm not getting good juice at the first location, I'm thinking about unhooking that wire till I solve my problem. That way I'll only be operating one heater from the live wire. The other wire of course will be dead.

Any other advice????

Thanks and Happy Holidays
 
  #8  
Old 12-24-04, 09:25 AM
docoflove
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Engineer Bob,

The heaters are 240 volt heaters as far as I know. Yes, they are 240 V, 1500 W. I just read that on the computer page. They are made by Marley.

You said I can check the volts with a anolog meter. I guess I can get one at a Home Depot. Do you know about how much they cost?

Happy Holidays and I appreciate your help.
 
  #9  
Old 12-26-04, 11:36 AM
docoflove
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Voltechtor Test

Hi, I'm the guy who is having trouble with one of two baseboard electric heaters in his family room.

One of the heaters works, the other is dead.

It was suggested I get a voltmeter. I purchased a Voltector which is supposed to tell me if the voltage is AC or DC, AC Volts present.

It said I should hook up the probe, red probe to one side of the wire, black probe to the other. When I did this, nothing happened. WHEN I HIT THE RED PROBE TO THE BLACK WIRE AND THE BLACK PROBE TO THE COPPER GROUND WIRE, THE GAGE WORKED AND SHOWED 120. Is this normal or do I have a wire connected back wards?????

When I touched the red probe to the white wire on the house wiring, ands the black probe touched the copper wire, NOTHING HAPPENED, THE GAGE WOULDN'T WORK. Does this mean the white wire is dead?????

I appreciate your help.
 
  #10  
Old 12-26-04, 12:21 PM
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How were the old heaters connected? Were the old heaters 120V or 220V? How is this circuit connected at the panel? Does it have a double pole (2 handles) or single pole (1 handle) breaker? If you get 120V between the black and white conductors (assuming you have a black, white and bare conductor) then the old heaters were probable 120V. Also, do you have a wall thermostat controlling these heaters? Or is the T-stat on the heater itself?

I hope you're turning off the power when working on this circuit. It doesn't look like you're very familiar with electricity.. wiring these heaters can get pretty complicated if they are 220V and have a remote line voltage thermostat.

We need to know the information I asked above.
 
  #11  
Old 12-26-04, 02:45 PM
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The white wire is be open. You should get either 120 or 240 white to black. It depends on the heater voltage. Is there a double pole breaker controling this heater? It could be the breaker is installed wrong or is the wrong type. For a 240 heater you need a doulbe pole breaker. You can't use a twin 1/2 size breaker.
 
  #12  
Old 12-26-04, 04:10 PM
docoflove
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The old heaters have no markings on them. I looked inside, on the front and back. The panel has a large breaker, well, what I call large. Its not one of those little things like a switch. Its like a handle that controls two switches. It has 20 Amps written on it.

The old heaters were connected with one black, one white and the ground.

Yes I have a wall thermostat controlling the heaters.

Yes, I'm turning the power off at the panel.

No, I'm not very familiar with electricity. I have changed the heaters when they stopped working and had no problems when I purchased a new unit at Home Depot. My problem was when I ran into one heater that had two white wires coming down the wall to the heater. That gave me two white, two black, two copper, not including the wiring inside the new heater. The new heaters are marked 240 volts, 1500 Watts. Inside the heaters are the same type of wires that were in my old heaters. One black, one white or red, one ground.

White to black with my tester gives me nothing. Tester from black to ground wire gives me the reading of 110.
 
  #13  
Old 12-26-04, 08:07 PM
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If you don't have any voltage between the white and black conductors coming from the panel that it's time to open up that panel and check the screws on that breaker.

If everything was installed the "best" way, power should go to the T-stat, then to the heater. Of course, if the Tstat is not calling for heat you will get no voltage at the heater in that case, assuming the breaker is turned on. It is possible that the T-sta may also be bad. You need to find out how the system is layed out.
 
  #14  
Old 12-28-04, 10:44 AM
docoflove
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Hi. Opened the panel and checked the screws on the breaker. Tester showed 240. White wire appeared to be out of screw a little so I loosened the screw, pulled the wire out, put it back in and screwed it tight.

Still no action to heater # 2. So I disconnected heater two wiring until I figure out what is wrong. Worked on this all morning.
 
  #15  
Old 12-28-04, 12:21 PM
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The problem is at heater 1. The one with 2 cables going to it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that heater works doesn't it? The second cable needs to be connected to the first cable. Black to black, white to white and bare to bare. The heater should be connected to these wires as well - black to black, white (or red) to white, bare to bare. Then check the voltage on heater 2 and see if you get 220 between the black and white wires or 120 between black and ground and 120 between white and ground.

Doug M.
 
  #16  
Old 12-28-04, 03:34 PM
docoflove
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Hi Doug, this is Gary. Thanks for the reply.

Yes, the first heater works.

I connected the second cable as you suggested. The first heater works, the second one doesn't. I get a reading off the black wire on the second unit but I have to touch my ground then the black wire. I even connected my old heater to see if it would work with less power, it didn't.

The white wire at the second heater is dead. You get nothing. You get 110 when you touch the black and copper wire.

Today I went to Lowe's and talked with three guys who used to be in the electric field. It was their opinion the dead white wire is broken some place in the wall. They told me if I have 240 going in, I should have 240 going out and 240 at the point of entry to the second heater.

I have no idea what I could have done to break the wire. One of the guys told me in his fifty years of doing electrical work he has run into this problem often. He said I have to find the place the wire is broken...........Not an easy job when the wires are hidden behind the walls.

I should point out this room used to be the garage and was turned into a family room before I moved into the house. A new two car garage was built so I suspect the same person wired the garage for the heaters.

I'll accept any advice to have. Thanks
 
  #17  
Old 12-28-04, 07:19 PM
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You don;t have to find the break in the wire at all, unless you want to. It may very well be easier and cheaper to run new wire. You can then abandon the broken cable and leave it right where it is.
 
  #18  
Old 12-28-04, 09:19 PM
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Have you checked your connections at the box you installed to splice the wires? If you wire the 2 cables together there (black to black, white to white...) and eliminate heater number 1 from the picture, do you get any power on the white wire at heater 2? I'm not convinced a wire could have just broken in the wall. Wasn't it working before you started?

Doug M.
 
  #19  
Old 12-29-04, 07:21 AM
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I jumping into this post a bit late. Let me see if I understand your problem.

You have two heaters controlled by one thermostat?

The power goes to the thermostat and then to heater 1 and on to heater 2?

After installing the heaters, heater 2 does not work?

You checked heater 2 for voltage and only have it on 1 leg?

You checked the splicing you did at heater 1 and it is correct?

How did you connect heaters 1 & 2 to the branch circuit conductors?

You should have spliced one of heater leads to one hot leg for heater 1 and heater 2. And splice the second heater lead to the second hot leg for heater 1 and heater 2. This is called a parallel connection.

Suggestion: before running new cable to heater, turn off the power to the heaters and splice the 2 hot wires together that supply heater 2 at heater 1.

Disconnect the two hot wires at heater 2 and use an ohmmeter to determine if you have a complete circuit (needle should deflect if you have a complete circuit).

Hope this is clear.
 
  #20  
Old 12-29-04, 03:22 PM
docoflove
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Hi and thanks for all the help.

Today I took the junction box off and pulled a little of both wires running down the inside of the wall to heater # 1. I observed a piece of black tape on each wire. I took the tape off the white wire and discovered the white wire was burned off. I seen where the black wire had a nick in it and it was in the area where the white wire was burned.

I cleaned the white wire up and cut off the burned area. I then tried the 2nd heater and again I only had 110 in the black wire. The white wire was dead.

I then purchased a section of wire and ran from the first heater to the second and it worked perfect. So, there must be another damaged spot on the white wire.

So, I guess I'll need help in running a wire as I believe that's my only way of getting electric to unit # 2. My white wire goes up the wall into the Attic, across the attic and down the other wall. I've never run a wire before and would appreciate any advice.

I don't understand parallel connection. Can you explain it again?????? Should I use parallel connection????

Thanks
 
  #21  
Old 12-30-04, 07:50 AM
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Wasn't trying to confuse you, but I've seen people use series connections before.

Originally Posted by docoflove
I don't understand parallel connection. Can you explain it again?????? Should I use parallel connection???? Thanks
Yes, use a parallel connection. In the junction box, splice (wire nut) together one power supply lead (black) to one hot lead (black) first heater and one hot lead (black) to the second heater. Repeat the process for the second power supply lead (white), first heater's hot lead (White) and and the second heater's hot lead (White).

Splice all equipment grounding conductors (bare copper or green insulation) together.

http://www.opamp-electronics.com/tut...ory_ch_005.htm

http://www.outlawnet.com/~oclass/ele...arallel_ex.htm
 
  #22  
Old 12-30-04, 01:22 PM
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Have you "inspected" the cable up in the attic? Maybe a mouse chewed into it or something. That cable is only hot when the thermostat calls for heat. If you find the problem up there and can fix it, that would save you a whole lot of trouble. It's unusual for wires to become damaged inside walls.
 
  #23  
Old 12-30-04, 03:49 PM
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I strongly dissagree. There's evidence that the wire is damaged in multiple places. No telling how many and you'll never know if you've found all the damage. If the wire has burned in one place, a fire has already been narrowly averted. The person who did this originally should be arrested. Replace the whole thing and pray that the same expertise was not used in any of the rest of the house.

Doug M.
 
  #24  
Old 12-30-04, 06:58 PM
docoflove
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Hi,

Doughm,

When I ran the power through the bad wire, without connecting the first heater, I got 240 at the second heater and it worked perfect. When I connected the first heater again the second one wouldn't heat up.

I agree the wiring has me upset. I have not been up in the attic to check it.

As far as I know I used parallel wiring but didn't know it was called that.

I contacted customer service and they told me how to go on line and check the wiring pictures. As far as I can determine, you connect the black to black, white to whites, bare to bare.

Any other suggestions?
 
  #25  
Old 12-30-04, 07:25 PM
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One final test you could do: Run a new wire (of proper size...) accross the floor from baseboard 1 to baseboard 2. Connect the wires as you have been and see if baseboard 2 works. If it does, the wire in the wall is bad for sure. Unhook the wire on the floor and run it in the wall to replace the old one completly.

Doug M
 
  #26  
Old 01-01-05, 05:00 PM
docoflove
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Hi Doug M and Happy New Year.

I ran the last test your suggested. The 2nd heater worked perfect so I know the burned wire in the wall has problems in other areas.

Today I made a decision to wire the 2nd heater from my panel box. I put a 20 amp breaker in a empty spot and ran a wire to the heater. I will put a T-stat on it once I get one from the company.

I was in the attic to see how hard it would be to replace the burned wire, I couldn't even get to the area where the wire entered the attic.

Thanks to you and all that helped.
 
  #27  
Old 01-01-05, 05:33 PM
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You do not want two thermostats in the same room, unless it is a large room.
 
  #28  
Old 01-02-05, 01:11 PM
docoflove
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Hi Racraft,

No, I desire one T-stat but it was hard to remove the bad wire so I had to run another line from the box, therefore, I had no T-stat. So now, the one on the wall will only power one heater, the t-stat on the heater will run that one.

I knew of no other way to run the second heater other than getting the bad wire from the wall and replacing it. My attic has such a small crawl space.

Thanks for your interest.
 
  #29  
Old 01-02-05, 01:32 PM
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You do not want two thermostats in the same room, unless it is a large room.

If you can run new wire for a new unit then you can certainly run new wire either from the existing thermostat or from the existing heater. You need to think creatively and outside the box. What about in the room below? What about in the wall behind the baseboard.

You don't want to do something you'll regret later because you couldn't figure out how to do what you wanted to do in the first place.
 
  #30  
Old 01-04-05, 07:55 PM
docoflove
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Hi Racraft,

No room under my family room, its a garage that someone turned into a family room.

Didn't know how to run the wire up the inside of the wall from the first heater. Attic space was so small and the wire goes up the wall into the attic at the area near the rain spout so you know you can't hardly reach that area.

The wire that runs to the second heater is the wire that burned. I can't trust that wire.

Let me know if you have any other ideas. I've been trying to think outside the box but with safety in mind.
 
  #31  
Old 01-05-05, 06:56 AM
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A few comments on wiring the second heater:

1. Remember you can wire the second heater either from the wall thermostat or from the first heater, whichever is easiest.

2. One possible way to run the wire would be to remove the baseboards and either cut a channel of sheetrock and drill holes in the studs behind the baseboard or remove enough sheetrock at the joists to chisel a notch in the studs to lay your wire into. Either way, install nail plates over the wire / stud to protect it from baseboard nails. The wire can be fished from the thermostat box down the wall to your wiring channel. Start feeding your wire from the middle of the run to each location for easier pull. Replce baseboard when through.

3. A second method would be to run wiremold around the room from the 1st heater to the second. Attach wiremold directly at top of baseboard or shoe mold for aesthetics. Start wire pull from middle of run, heading each direction.

4. Another possibility would be to reuse the holes drilled for the faulty wire and pull a new wire. That would only be possible if you could crawl close enough to the wall, up in the attic, to push a fish tape down to the heaters, or if you have a removable soffit, sometimes the area can be accessed in that manner.

5. One more option. Cut out just enough sheetrock (one small hole at top of wall beneath top wall plate to access hole drilled for original wire. Work a fish tape up hole and into attic where it can be used to fish a new wire through the attic. One such hole on each side of the room can be easily repaired, or if possible, like the baseboard method, can be covered with crownmold.

6. Is it possible to run conduit through the wall and along the outside of the house? Not likely, but I've seen it done before.

7. You can jackhammer a trench across the room in the concrete floor.

You're going to have to think "outside the box" to come up with more ideas.
 
  #32  
Old 01-05-05, 07:14 AM
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Or you can install a low voltage relay type of thermostat and use a small low voltage wire between baseboards.

Doug M.
 
  #33  
Old 01-05-05, 08:31 AM
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Couple of Questions

Originally Posted by docoflove
Hi Racraft,

No room under my family room, its a garage that someone turned into a family room.

Didn't know how to run the wire up the inside of the wall from the first heater. Attic space was so small and the wire goes up the wall into the attic at the area near the rain spout so you know you can't hardly reach that area.

The wire that runs to the second heater is the wire that burned. I can't trust that wire.

Let me know if you have any other ideas. I've been trying to think outside the box but with safety in mind.
What are the linear dimensions of the family room?

What is the physical length of the baseboard heaters?

Thanks.
 
  #34  
Old 01-05-05, 08:43 AM
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Not to steal thinman's thunder, but would it be possible to relocate the second heater next to the first one? In other words, put both heaters on the same wall.
 
  #35  
Old 01-05-05, 01:29 PM
docoflove
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The room is about 13 X 24. The size of a one car garage.

The heater is 5 feet 10 inches.

I can't hook them together, well, come to think of it, I can remove the first heater and place it along side of the second heater, but the second heater doesn't have a t-stat. The T-stat runs the first heater. A direct line from the electric panel now drives the second unit.

Thanks for your help.
 
  #36  
Old 01-05-05, 01:41 PM
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You can't fish a wire up the wall from behind the heater up to thermostat (eye) level and install a cut in box? Your thermostat is probably rated to handle both heaters - see what kind of wattage it will handle.
 
  #37  
Old 01-05-05, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by docoflove
The room is about 13 X 24. The size of a one car garage.

The heater is 5 feet 10 inches.

I can't hook them together, well, come to think of it, I can remove the first heater and place it along side of the second heater, but the second heater doesn't have a t-stat. The T-stat runs the first heater. A direct line from the electric panel now drives the second unit.
I'll venture to guess that you have 6 ft. baseboard heaters. Each heater is normally rated at 1500 watts.

Is the first heater mounted on the 13' long wall?

You pulled a new cable to the 2nd heater? You can buy a thermostat that will mount on the second baseboard heater. Like this:

http://www.acehardwareoutlet.com/pro...16191&narFlag=

http://www.acehardwareoutlet.com/pro...16191&narFlag=

Here's a link showing which retail stores sell cadet heaters. They should have the thermostat that mounts to the baseboard heater.

These links show in-wall mounted heaters w/fan. This could have been an option if you were still having problems supplying power to the second heater.
Install one of these above the first heater and then you could of removed both baseboard heaters altogether.

http://www.cadetco.com/show_product.php?prodid=1008

http://www.cadetco.com/show_product.php?prodid=1006

Good luck!
 

Last edited by thinman; 01-05-05 at 02:32 PM.
  #38  
Old 01-05-05, 02:33 PM
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You don't want a thermostat on the second heater anyway!

Just put it near the first one and run a wire from the first to the second.
 
  #39  
Old 01-06-05, 04:38 PM
docoflove
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Hi Racraft,

I can't run a wire to my second heater no matter how close I put it unless I hide the wire beneath a baseboard and I don't know how smart that is or if your even allowed to do that. Its a thought !!!!!!!! I could mount it on the other wall and run the wire under the steps and along the baseboard.

What do you think about that idea?

Have you ever known anyone to remove the three wires from the cable and run them that way???????
 
  #40  
Old 01-06-05, 04:52 PM
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If you want, you can remove the baseboard and then make holes in the drywall behind so that you can run the wires in the wall. Alternately you can use a product called wiremold (or something similar) to run individual wires in around the baseboard.

And you don't remove the wires from the cable. You buy three rolls of wire (or lengths of wire if you don't want a whole roll). One would be black, one would be red (since it is hot) and the other would be green (for the ground). You install this wire in conduit or in the wiremold.
 
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