Baseboard Heater Issues


Old 10-22-07, 06:15 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 3
Baseboard Heater Issues

I had a problem with some of my baseboard heaters that we noticed last winter (it was our first winter in this home). We decided to just live with it for that winter, but now that colder temperatures are approaching I'd like to find a solution and fix it.

It concerns heaters in 3 different rooms: the bathroom, master bedroom and computer room. In order for the heater to work in either the master bedroom or bathroom, the heater from the computer room must be turned on.

We first noticed this when we turned off the heat from the computer room one night last winter and it got cold in our master bedroom, and the washroom as well.

This issue wasn't noticed when we got an inspection done because when th heaters were tested to see if they were working they were all turned on at the same time, so everything worked obviously.

I don't know a whole lot about electrical wiring or anything, but I'm guessing that those 3 heaters are connected in a series rather than parallel, which would probably resolve the issue.

Am I correct and if so, how difficult would it be to figure out what to do to "re-wire" it in parallel after removing all three thermostats and having a look at the connected wires?

Thanks in advance for anyone's help with this.
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Old 10-22-07, 06:39 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
You need to examine the wiring at the thermostats and possibly at the heaters themselves.

You may be able to fix this by rewiring at the thermostats, but if it is really poorly done than you would have to rewire with at least some new cable.

Note that your home inspector should have caught this. When we had our first house inspected the home inspector would not let us turn on all the heat at once. He insisted that each thermostat be turned on separately, to detect this exact issue.
Old 10-23-07, 11:01 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 3
If I take pictures of the thermostats and heaters, would it be possible to figure out what's wrong, or does someone really have to physically be there to figure it out?
Old 10-23-07, 11:32 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: port chester n y
Posts: 2,117
It's un-likely that they are series-connected.

You will have to examine the "Line" connections in all three heaters -- where the cable conductors connect to the internal wiring. If you find a connection with two Black wires joined together , and two White wires joined together, it's a "parallel" hook-up.

Presumimg threre's a "Line" wall thermostat, examine those connections.

It MAY be possible to attach themosats to each heater at the wiring compartment. You will have to identify the "make" of the heaters to determine if this component is available.
Old 10-24-07, 06:13 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 3
Thumbs up

Thanks guys, I've figured it out. I'll post my solution just in case it could help someone else out.

Basically, the thermostat that was controlling everything was not capped correctly. At one cap, there was the power from the breaker box going into the thermostat, at the other cap there was the power leaving the thermostat and 3 other wires. One going to the heater and the other 2 going to the other 2 thermostats.

I didn't know which wire was going where though, so I took the thermostat off and wired the power from the breaker box with one of the 3 wires. Turns out I picked the wire going to the heater in my computer room. When I turned the breaker back on the heater was now heating constantly without a thermostat.

So after that, all I had to do was cap the power from the breaker box with the "power in" from the thermostat and the other 2 wires that were going to the other rooms. Then I capped the thermostats "power out" with the wire going to my heater and everything worked after.

I can't believe that the guy who was living here before never bothered to take a look at this, he knows more about this stuff than I do, but he just decided to live with this annoying problem.

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