Electric baseboard heater not working

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  #1  
Old 01-09-05, 10:21 AM
Matt Balik
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Electric baseboard heater not working

I have an electric baseboard heater that quit working after 21 years of service. I have determined that the thermostat works, there is power to the heater and there is continuity through the element. I think the problem is in the heat sensor located on the heater. It is a round item with a long copper wire coming out of it that runs the length of the heater. How can I check this sensor? Is it a replacement item or must I replace the entire unit? Thank you for your help.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-09-05, 11:30 AM
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The sensor will have 2 wires on it. Check for continuity though the sensor. When it is cold it should be shorted. If it is open when cold then I would say it is defective.
 
  #3  
Old 01-11-05, 11:19 AM
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Location: Fayetteville, NY, USA
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I've replaced a million of those. It is commonly called a safety-stat, and is put in series with the regular thermostat and the heating element to open the circuit in the event that the regular thermostat fails or the element has a melt-down. I have never seen a melt-down. But the very possibility is why that copper tube runs down the length of the element. Remove one wire on it and test continuity through it, as Joed suggested. If there's no continuity, the thing's shot. Take the make/model and length of your heater to an electrical and lighting supply house. (Or take the old safety-stat with you when you remove it.) I don't believe your local home center will carry these. The copper tube is sealed to a diaphragm that opens the safety-stat if the heater overheats. But it never closes again. It is very rare when the heater actually overheated, it is that the safety-stat got old and quit.

What is a huge pain in the neck is threading that copper tube all the way down the length of the heating element.

Hope that helps.

Juice
 
  #4  
Old 01-11-05, 04:08 PM
Matt Balik
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Electric baseboard heater not working

Thanks for the advice, I'll remove one of the wires from the sensor and check for continuity. I am pretty sure that is the problem. Also, thanks for the warning about rethreading that copper wire the length of the heater. Better do that when nobody else is home!
 
  #5  
Old 01-12-05, 12:24 PM
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Matt,

That is not a copper wire. It is merely a tube. The air in it expands if the unit overheats and presure from within it pushed on a diaphragm that presses a microswitch open. It is not a dangerous operation to install a safety-stat. You would, of course, kill the breaker when you do.

The problem is just threading the darn thing along the back wall of the heater. Depending on the length of your heater, and the manufacturer, there are usually bulkheads spaced along the unit's sheet metal that make you sort of have to "sow" the copper tube through them. If you take out the heating element and remove the screws at the top of each bulkhead, it's more work but it makes the safety-stat installation easier. My memory of doing this is tainted because I repaired many 10-foot long heaters of this type, and it was a real pain. Not difficult, not dangerous, just tedious.

Hope that helps,

Juice
 
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