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How many new circuits do I need for 6 230V 1500W baseboard heaters?

How many new circuits do I need for 6 230V 1500W baseboard heaters?

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  #1  
Old 09-24-12, 09:02 AM
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How many new circuits do I need for 6 230V 1500W baseboard heaters?

I am considering electric baseboard heating. I will need six 230V 1500W baseboard heaters in 3 rooms? Each baseboard heater will draw 1500W / 230V = 6.5 Amps, for a total of 6x6.5= 39 Amps. The 230V breakers say 30 amps on them.

Would I need 2 new 30 amp breakers, and 3 new wire runs to the 3 rooms?

If I locate the heaters near each other, can they share the same wall outlet?

Can I stack electric baseboard heater on top of each other on the same wall?

The reason I ask is before I contact an electrician, I want to make sure I have space in my electric panel for the breakers (I do not know I have space for 6 30A double breakers), and running that many new wires would be maybe too expensive anyway.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-24-12, 09:16 AM
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You can load breakers to 80% of their capacity, so it sounds to me like you'd need two circuits.
 
  #3  
Old 09-24-12, 09:37 AM
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You can load 3 per circuit. For ease of wiring, you might want to establish 3 new circuits and run one to each room.

If I locate the heaters near each other, can they share the same wall outlet?
Yes.

Can I stack electric baseboard heater on top of each other on the same wall?
Doubtful. It would at least knock their effectiveness way down.

FWIW, space heating - any heating - is one of the least efficient uses of electricity, and using electricity for heat is one of the most expensive ways to produce heat. What other options do you have?
 
  #4  
Old 09-24-12, 11:34 AM
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What other options do you have?

My mother owns a large house near the ocean that in the summer she rents as a boarding house, and only used during the summer. At one time it had steam heat but she never upgraded the boiler and some of the pipes have been disconnected. There are asbestos issues too. So to reconnect the steam would require reconnecting the disconnected sections of pipe, insulating the pipes, installing a steam boiler, removing the old steam boiler with asbestos insulation, and then troubleshooting the old radiators and other possible problems.

To stay the winter she really only needs to heat a kitchen and 2 bedrooms on the first floor. So one option is to put electric on the first floor and maybe a hanging vented heater in the basement. A hanging heater in the kitchen might also be possible.
 
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Old 09-24-12, 12:31 PM
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What other options do you have?

My mother owns a large house near the ocean that in the summer she rents as a boarding house, and only used during the summer. At one time it had steam heat but she never upgraded the boiler and some of the pipes have been disconnected.
What fuel did the boiler burn?
 
  #6  
Old 09-24-12, 03:56 PM
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The now non functional boiler used oil, but the house has gas. So oil gas and electricity are all possible. The question is cost effective. According to online calculators gas is twice as expensive in terms of BTUs per dollar. But I suspect electric would be simpler and cheaper to install and operate.

I just finished dealing my own home furnace pre season tune up, and it does take some time and effort. This year it did not start up automatically without my effort. But new systems are probably more maintenance free.
 
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Old 09-24-12, 04:13 PM
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Electric is easier to install, but in most places, electric is more expensive to operate unless you can get off peak rates. I am not sure what calculator you were using but it sounds wrong.
 
  #8  
Old 09-24-12, 06:22 PM
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If it is more expensive to use gas than electricity to make heat in Brooklyn, then there is something unique about the utility prices there.
 
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Old 09-24-12, 06:31 PM
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Here electric costs 2-3 times more than gas be it heat your home, dry your clothes, heat your water, or cook your food. I don't know about Brooklyn but here an old house would have a gas connection in every room.
 
  #10  
Old 09-25-12, 02:10 PM
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WHOOPS!! Electricity costs 2x gas.
 
  #11  
Old 09-25-12, 02:16 PM
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Told you so.

25 letters or more
 
  #12  
Old 09-25-12, 05:43 PM
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WHOOPS!! Electricity costs 2x gas.
Is that all? You must have expensive gas!
 
  #13  
Old 09-25-12, 08:37 PM
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Electricity costs 2x gas.
Per what? I'll bet you that if you calculate it out on a BTU or therm basis, it's a greater difference than that. And that's not even taking the relative efficiency of gas and electric heaters into consideration.
 
  #14  
Old 09-26-12, 08:53 AM
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I think I screwed up again, I was using some online calculator. So I will try again, and probably screw up.

From my electric bill in NJ electricity is $0.18 / KWH
From my gas bill in NJ gas is $1.25 / Therm

There are about 30 KWH in a Therm so,
From my electric bill in NJ electricity is $5.4 / Therm

So coming into the house electricity costs 4.3 X gas.

But then you get into efficiency. Electric is close to 100% efficient, and each room would be its own heating zone. A new boiler in the basement would be say 70% efficient. So Electricity would be more like 3x gas or maybe even less depending on your view of efficiency.

On thought I had was a gas hanging wall heater in the kitchen like those offered by Rinnai put out up to 38,400 BTU at 80% efficiency.

An again electricity is almost zero maintenance. Gas furnaces get to be more of a pain as time goes on, especially near the ocean where things rust faster. So I am still not sure.
 
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Old 09-26-12, 09:14 AM
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There's a lot of marginal cost with using electricity to heat but a bunch of our townhomes have electric heat and no tenant yet has complained about their utility bill.

Personally, I would go with gas and I back that up by being able to tell you I have a gas water heater and dryer. The stovetop came with the place, it will be gas if I have to replace it.
 
  #16  
Old 09-26-12, 10:03 AM
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Gas furnaces get to be more of a pain as time goes on, especially near the ocean where things rust faster.
A gas furnace is probably the best option, long-term, but there are gas space heaters.
 
  #17  
Old 09-26-12, 10:11 AM
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As I wrote earlier if this is an older house there may already be gas connections in each room. Have you checked?
 
  #18  
Old 09-26-12, 11:06 PM
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" there may already be gas connections in each room"

The first floor rooms have the old non functioning steam radiators and some of the piping leading to the old boiler.

The ceilings do have the old piping for gas light, I do not think there are any gas pipes near the floor level where a gas heater would be. But it is the first floor of a house with a full basement so putting in gas lines should not be difficult.
 
  #19  
Old 09-27-12, 08:08 PM
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This is the energy calculator I originally used to compare Gas and Electric

Home: ENERGYguide.com - Lower Your Energy Bills

It reports electric costs 2.37 times gas. I set the thing up to just look at heating so I told it there was no air conditioning, water heated by oil (so as not to add to the electric or gas), and no appliances of any kind.
 
  #20  
Old 09-28-12, 04:32 PM
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Do not be fooled by the "electric is 100% efficient" claims. It is very misleading. This is very easy to figure out. You can get a gas boiler with at least 80% efficiency. So if electricity is $5.40 per therm, then it would cost you $4.32 in electricity to get the same amount of heat as you would using gas.

I almost forgot. If you only heat a few rooms of that house, you risk freezing pipes. You should heat the whole place to a minimum temperature. Then you should use space heaters to ssave some money. As long as the space heater isn't in the room with the thermostat for the central heating.
 
  #21  
Old 09-28-12, 05:48 PM
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Do not be fooled by the "electric is 100% efficient" claims
Electric heat IS 100% efficient, but comparing gas to electric is like comparing apples to oranges. Both fuels must be converted to BTUs and the cost calculated per 1000 BTUs to do an accurate comparison. No matter how you figure it, gas will be less expensive.
 
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