Electric Baseboard Heat/Thermostat and Breaker Panel

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Old 02-23-14, 01:30 PM
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Electric Baseboard Heat/Thermostat and Breaker Panel

Hello,

I think I originally posted this in an incorrect portion of the forum; so, I'm re-posting it here.

I just signed up for the forum because I have an "issue". I'll bet that's how a lot of people come to this forum.

Okay, here's the nitty gritty, if you will. We have electric ceiling and baseboard heat in our house. The heat does not work in a couple of rooms (two with ceiling heat and one with baseboard heat). The breaker panel does not indicate what breaker supplies the power to the ceiling or baseboard heat - for any of the rooms. In an effort to complete a process of elimination: generally speaking, is power in these situations "usually" tied to a circuit or is it "usually" on a separate circuit for just heat or none of the above? In past situations I haven't had to dig this deeply into the whole electrical setup and a simple thermostat exchange has sufficed.

I hope it's obvious I need some help.

Thanks,

Rob
 
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Old 02-23-14, 02:14 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Not a lot to go on here. Are these heaters 240vac ?
Can you get to the ceiling heat wires ?

Do you have a test meter.
 
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Old 02-23-14, 02:29 PM
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I have no idea what voltage the baseboard heat units are. They are original to the house and it was built in 1973.

I can't get to the ceiling heat wires.

I do have a test meter and there does not appear to be power coming to the thermostat which was why I posed my original question about how a "normal" baseboard heating unit --> thermostat --> circuit breaker is usually set up. Usually, is the baseboard heat on the same circuit as the electricity for the room or could it be on it's own circuit, potentially with the heat for other rooms? I'm trying to eliminate things as I determine what/how to correct the lack of heat.

1. How do I find out what breaker it goes to?
2. Once that is determined I can ascertain if the breaker needs to be replaced.
3. If the breaker doesn't need to be replaced, do I need to replace the thermostat or the heating unit?

It should be a pretty simple process of elimination, right? It should be one of those three things, right?
 
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Old 02-23-14, 03:24 PM
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Normally electric heat is 240vac and you may find several rooms on one breaker.

I guess the best thing to do is see if you have any extra two pole breakers in the panel.
The next place to make tests would be at the thermostats. The specs for the baseboard are usually near the ends... some times down low by the floor.

If the baseboard was an afterthought.... it could get power from the room but that is not the correct way of setting it up.
 
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Old 02-23-14, 03:42 PM
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PJmax,

Thank you for your help.

As if it weren't obvious, I'm a geologist and not an electrician. <smile> Give my rock, soil, groundwater, chemistry, etc. and I am good to go. Electricity? Not so much.

We have found, over living in this house over the last 20 years, that there are a lot of unusual things about it. The electric heat may be another. I can pretty safely say that, as many times as I have been in the breaker box (many), I have never seen an entire breaker devoted to the heat.

I will keep you posted.

Thanks again.

Rob
 
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Old 02-23-14, 06:45 PM
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I'm getting closer to figuring this thing out...

Just wanted to let you know that I have figured out the breakers that provide power to the thermostats and heat throughout the house. The panel has two columns of breakers. The main is clearly labeled as are larger breakers, located in the upper portion of the panel, for things like the range, dryer, etc. There are a number of smaller breakers, located at the lower portion of the panel, that are numbered and labeled for things like outlets and light switches. Situated between the larger, aforementioned, breakers and the smaller, aforementioned, breakers are a number of large un-numbered and un-named breakers. To confirm my suspicions, I spoke with the son of the man who built our house and he indicated that his dad liked to put the breakers for the thermostats and heat in the middle of the panel so that they would be clearly noticed. Now all I have to do is figure out which one of those needs to be replaced.

Not only have I located the haystack but I have also narrowed down the portion of the haystack where the needle is located.

Thanks!
 
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Old 02-23-14, 11:42 PM
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You can use your voltmeter to check the breakers for proper operation/output.
 
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Old 02-27-14, 09:27 AM
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I just wanted to follow up with how things went. I was able to determine that the breaker was not functioning properly. I changed out the breaker and installed a new thermostat. We now have heat in the room. Perhaps the better news is that I now know where the breakers for the electric heat are located in the breaker panel.

Thanks for all of your help!
 
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Old 02-27-14, 11:04 PM
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Most people don't realize how important it is to know what is on which breaker..... especially for troubleshooting.

Glad you found the problem there.
 
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