Converting Baseboard Heater to a Recepticle?

Reply

  #1  
Old 07-30-12, 08:41 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2
Converting Baseboard Heater to a Recepticle?

When we bought our house three of the rooms had baseboard heaters on their own 20amp dedicated circuits. We ripped them out, covered the ends of the wires with electrical tape and poked them down into the floor from where they had come from. Now I'm thinking I would love to make these into electrical recepticles.

Our house was built in 1920 and has all beadboard walls and mostly exposed wires which are run on the walls themselves along the framing. The baseboard wires come up through a simple hole in the floor and are each on their own double wide 20amp circuit. I tested the voltage with a multimeter and they seem to be running at 238volts? (the rest of the house has 15amp circuits running at 118 volts)

The wires include a black, white and bare copper. Can I simply hook these up to a 20amp recepticle? It seems pretty straightforward but I want to make sure I don't do something stupid. We don't have too many circuits in the house and I figure I should use what we have. One of the wires is in a perfect spot but the other two could really be better used elsewhere....so if I CAN just hook them up to their own recepticles, could I also run a wire into a junction box at some point and transfer the wire to a new location? I'm just not sure where I could put a junction box since I just have a bit of wire poking up through the floor of a few bedrooms.

Thanks for any help, it would be very much appreciated!!!
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 07-30-12, 11:28 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
Welcome to the forums! The circuits you have are 240 volt circuits, so no, you can't just hook a receptacle to the wiring without first changing the source to a single 20 amp breaker/fuse. You didn't say whether you have breakers or fuses, but due to the age, I assume fuses. It is quite dangerous to just tape the ends of the wires and poke them in the holes without disconnecting them from the panel as well. I would run new cable from the panel (single 20 amp fuse) to the location where you want the receptacle. If you choose to use a junction box, you must remember the box must be accessible and covered with an appropriate cover. A new cable makes better sense.
 
  #3  
Old 07-31-12, 10:45 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2
THANK YOU! So glad i asked! I guess i assumed a 20 amp breaker was always a double wide. Interesting...so i guess that makes sense now, two breakers at 120 volts equals 240 volts Different than amperage. I have the breakers shut off and the wires below the level of the floor. I'm terrified of touching anything in the box itself so i guess I'm out of luck. My house is so small too, no drywall, it's all open. Seems like a fairly simple job of running a 20 foot cable under the floor to the box. Is replacing a breaker and wire a big deal?

Thanks again!
 
  #4  
Old 07-31-12, 11:07 AM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
Posts: 2,546
My house is so small too, no drywall, it's all open.
Why not run new circuits, then? That seems like an easy option for places you need receptacles/more power.
 
  #5  
Old 07-31-12, 11:30 AM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
I have the breakers shut off and the wires below the level of the floor.
Properly speaking, the wires should end inside a box with a cover, and be capped with wire nuts. But since you're likely to be replacing or re-using them right away, they may be OK for now.

When we bought our house three of the rooms had baseboard heaters on their own 20amp dedicated circuits... The baseboard wires... are each on their own double wide 20amp circuit.
It sounds like you have three 2-pole (double wide) breakers in your panel that you're no longer using and don't need. The good news is that means you can create the space, by replacing those breakers with single-pole breakers, to add up to six new 120V circuits. What would you like to do?

I'm terrified of touching anything in the box itself so i guess I'm out of luck.
Does your panel have a MAIN breaker that kills all of the circuits in the house, or is there a disconnect ahead of it that kills the power feeding it?

Those of us who do this for a living usually turn the power off to the panel before working inside it, and we always advise DIYers to do that. This may require you to have a reliable source of battery-powered light available before you start, and you will need to be aware of those parts of your panel that will remain energized with the main breaker off. We can advise you how to do the work.

Quick questions: What does the old cable that fed the baseboard heaters look like? Can you tell what size the wires in it are? Probably #12 (12AWG), but we'd like to know for sure. Pictures may help us see what you're seeing. See How To Put Pictures In Your Post.
 
  #6  
Old 07-31-12, 11:32 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,659
Actually it would be easy to re-purpose them as 120v receptacles (assuming #12 wire and 20 amp breakers) and a lot safer than what you have done. You would only need to remove the white wire from the breaker and move it to the neutral bar. To do this you would first turn off the main breaker then remove the cover plate from the breaker box. If you stay away from the main breaker area which has exposed always hot terminals you should be safe working in the panel.

Note while best practice might be to replace the two pole breaker it is not unsafe to use only one side of it. Place a note in the explaining what you did so the next person will understand why the breaker has only one wire.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'