Baseboard Electic Heat - Replacement Question

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Old 02-23-06, 11:42 AM
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Baseboard Electic Heat - Replacement Question

Hi Everyone,

I'm in the process of replacing my 30 yr old baseboard electric heat with some newer, more efficient hydronic Electric baseboard heaters (Farenheat baseboards). I've already done 2 rooms, so I'm somewhat familiar with these and the wiring (each room only had 1 heater).

However, I've moved onto my finished basement and I've run into a question. The basement, being so big, has 3 heaters in it. Line is at the thermostat. From the thermostat box, there are 2 load wires. 1 goes to 1 heater, and the other is the power for 2 heaters. I have no problem with the wiring for the '1 heater' line, but the question is with the 2 heater line.

The farenheat instruction manual says that if you have multiple heaters on the same line, you should connect the first line at 1 side of the heater (say the line from the thermostat), and then connect the other line (the line going to the next heater) to the connections on the opposite end of the heater. Ok...that's fine, but that's not the way my wiring is. When I pulled off the old heater, both those lines are just pig-tailed together and connected to only 1 side of the existing heater.

Is this OK? Is one of these methods better than the other? I have no problem re-wiring that (luckily the way the basement is setup, It wouldn't be too much trouble), but I don't want to if I don't get anything out of it.

What do you guys think?

Thanks in advance!

JP
 
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Old 02-23-06, 12:08 PM
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I think there is nothing more efficient than baseboard heaters. You can't improve efficiency on something that is already 100 percent efficient.

I am not familiar with these heaters so I don't know if it makes a difference. I can't see how it would, but perhaps it does.

However, I will point out that if it's necessary for some reason to redo the wiring, then you need to redo it for all three heaters, since they are all wired at one end, and not the two you are thinking of.
 
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Old 02-23-06, 12:44 PM
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Once again, thanks racraft.

The hydronic electric baseboard heaters are pretty interesting contraptions. They are electric, like standard baseboard electric heaters, but they actually contain an oil filled tube that heats up and gives you a bit more of a radiant effect (the oil stays warm for a while after the heater has shut-off, and as such, the heater doesn't seem to cycle as often, once the room gets to the correct temp, the oil continues to give off heat and keep the room at that temperature for a little while). I've actually noticed that the heat they throw is a lot more comfortable also....a lot more even. They also draw about 500 watts less power than standard baseboard electric heaters (looking at an 8' section of each, the hydronic state that they draw 2000 watts where the standard seem to draw 2500 watts). All-in-all, I've been pretty happy with the ones I've put in, it's a nice compromise between electric heat and forced hot water baseboards, without having to go through the expense of upgrading the whole house to forced hot water. They do run about $250 per 8' baseboard (as opposed to the 60-70ish for the standard ones, but the cost seems to be worth it). Of course we'll see when my next electric bill comes in

I think I should be fine without rewiring 2 of the heaters based on what the manual says. It says to wire from 1 end, unless you are chaining them together...then you need to wire at both ends (1 from line and 1 out to the other load). So the 1 heater that has a direct wire from the thermostat should be fine (just wire from one side), and the other heater (at the end of the chain on the other side) should be fine also, just wire the line in from one side...it's really the one between that one and the thermostat that I guess I maybe need to change.

I dunno...I'll need to keep pondering this one.

Thanks!
JP
 
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Old 02-23-06, 01:31 PM
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I think you are missing my point.

At present you have all three wired from the end. If change the wiring for the two that you say are end to end, then you will have two wired one way and one wired the other way.
 
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Old 02-24-06, 09:03 AM
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I see what you're sayin...

So, assume these were standard electric baseboard heaters (these work exactly the same), is there any benefit to wiring the baseboards from 2 sides instead of through 1 side? The way the system is currently set up is as follows:

1) Double 20 amp breaker
2) 12 gauge romex, line at thermostat
3) Thermostat is (going to be) a Honeywell programmable for Electric baseboards. I've installed a few more of these, the way it works (in a singe heater system), is you connect the white load wire to the white line wire, and connect the black load wire to the thermostat, and then the black line wire to the thermostat. Grounds just connect together.

The way my current wiring is setup
1) At thermostat, 1 line wire, 2 load wires.
2) 1 load wire goes directly to a heater. The other load wire goes the other direction, also to a heater, but at the heater connection, another load wire shows up (this goes to the third heater), and this is connected to the first load wire coming in (black/black, white/white, ground/ground).

If I changed this to the wiring from both sides I would have to pull some new wires, but essentially the thought would be that the only wires at the thermostat would be 1 line, 1 load....the load would go to the first heater side A, then from the first heater side b to the 2nd heater side a, then 2nd heater side B connects to third heater side A. Done...

Anyway, are either of these preferable/optimal (or even unsafe)? The second scenario will be done if needed, but it's a lot of pulls given the basement is finished (no real access to joists/stud bays).

Hopefully it doesn't matter...

JP
 
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Old 02-24-06, 09:19 AM
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I do not know why these heaters say that they should be wired end to end (in a series topology) instead of all at one end (in a star topology). You will have to read the information about these heaters or contact the manufacturer and ask why the want them wired this way.

For regular baseboard heaters it does not matter it does not matter since they are all effectively wired at one end.
 
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Old 02-24-06, 05:14 PM
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Petey, it sounds like your alright. the load on heater #1 goes to one end, and the other is spliced, correct? this creates the resistance that creates the heat (a fillament if you will).
Now it sounds as if the other 2 are the same , ONLY the feeds for them are parraleled in heater #2.correct? (wire from T-stat to#2 And wire from#2 to#3) if this is the case
No need to go end to end. It only makes an easier wireing diagram.
 
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