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Connecting an electric baseboard heater...
Old 08-18-2010, 10:05 AM   #1
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Connecting an electric baseboard heater...

I'm in the process of renovating my entire house so I can sell it and move to my retirement place 600 miles away. I don't need to hire anyone since I can do almost everything myself, having already built an entire house, and watched my dad in his contruction work.

I can do plumbing, electrical, roofing, flooring, etc. But every once in awhile I run into something I can probalby do but don't know how.

About 15 years ago, I ripped out the electric baseboard heater in the bathroom, since a) I heat the house with wood, and b) when my son was under 11, he would get up at night to go to the bathroom, and always pee on the heater not in the toilet in his sleepy condition.

But in selling the house I bought a new one to put in. There are the three standard wires going into it: unsheathed ground, white and black. But the heater only has a connection for a black and an unsheathed ground. Where does the white one connect on the heater? The instructions are inscrutable to me, even if they are in three languages.

HC
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Old 08-18-2010, 10:31 AM   #2
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The unsheathed ground should connect to a green screw on the chassis of the heater somewhere. Has to be a white wire somewhere, possibly on the opposite end? Most can be wired from wither end.

Here is a reasonably good diagram: http://www.king-electric.com/PDF/HEAT_CB_info_0703.pdf
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Old 08-18-2010, 10:48 AM   #3
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The unsheathed ground should connect to a green screw on the chassis of the heater somewhere. Has to be a white wire somewhere, possibly on the opposite end? Most can be wired from wither end.

Here is a reasonably good diagram: http://www.king-electric.com/PDF/HEAT_CB_info_0703.pdf
Nope.. No green screw. Two wires. On common ground on the inside, and one hot black wire that goes through the heater coil. No place for the neutral wire to connect. Maybe I'm supposed to wire nut connect the neutral and the ground together on the inside. I have seen things like that.

Its a Marley. I guess I could go back to Home Depot and ask, but its been my experience that contrary to their advertising, the guys in the store just sell things but don't have a clue how stuff goes together. And in the current recession they seem to have unemployed carpet guys working in the electrical dept.
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Old 08-18-2010, 11:42 AM   #4
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Based on experience and drawings from the web, either:

a. There is a loop on either end, and at the end used for connection, the loop is cut, thus creating two wires, one for black, one for white;

b. Black goes to black, and the white goes to the safety cut-out switch.

In both case, the bare ground goes wither to a green screw, or in your case, to the bare wire inside the unit. I personally would not recommend connecting white and bare together. The bare wire is an extra ground path, in case the chassis becomes "hot"...
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Old 08-18-2010, 02:05 PM   #5
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OK.... I could up load a photo.

Instructions say there are two sides for connection:

Left side: bare wire for ground, black wire that goes into a wire nut with anther black wire coming out of the wire nut which goes into this little round device, red wire that comes out of the little round device and goes into the heating coil.

Right side:bare wire for ground, black wire going into wire nut, red wire coming out of wire nut and going into heating coil.

It looks like it would be better to use the right side and connect the black to the black house, the red to the white house, and of course the bare to the bare?

That would leave the little device on the left untouched.

Is that possible?

HC
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Old 08-18-2010, 02:09 PM   #6
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Sometimes you simply have to admit you are in over your head and pay a pro to do the job. Yeah, it galls me to have to do it but I've seen the results of "OK, I'll wire this to this and give it a try. What could go wrong?"
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Old 08-18-2010, 02:33 PM   #7
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Sometimes you simply have to admit you are in over your head and pay a pro to do the job. Yeah, it galls me to have to do it but I've seen the results of "OK, I'll wire this to this and give it a try. What could go wrong?"
I would never do that. There is always a book, or a person somewhere who can help you. I need three wires attached. I'm not paying an electrician $100 to connect them for me, when I have already wired an entire house, and most of the extra outlets including inlcuding adding a couple of circuit breakers to this one. When I did the latter, I had an electrician look at my work and he said it was better than most of the electrical work he'd seen done by pros.

As near as I can figure, I've spent about $2000 in materials for a renovation that if I'd paid a pro to do it, would have cost $20,000+.

With the bathroom last week.... Well, I thought I was simply replacing the toilet seal. But it turned into a replace the seal, then replace the sub flooring, then replace the heavy 3/4 inch flooring above the joists, then adding support joists, then realizing that the ceramic tile that I needed to replace was no longer made so tearing up ALL the sub flooring and ceramic tile and replacing that with Pergo(actually Swiftlock) and then replacing all the woodwork too.

If I'd called a pro, I'd still be without a bathroom because the plumber would have replaced the flooring above the joists, but told me I had to hire a capenter to do the rest.

My sister in law recently paid some dude $2000 just to paint her kitchen walls, no woodwork, no cabinets, just the walls, and she thought she got a good deal. Heck, she should have hired me for $2000, and I would have replaced her paint and painted/replaced her aging woodwork too.

I was going to buy a new patio door because the current one is fogged. I found one I liked for only $350, but Lowe's wants $600 to install it. Yeah, right! They're just like windows which I put a 10 in in my cabin. You take out the old frame, you slide the new frame into its place. And then you lift the windows in. The biggest problem is that the windows are heavy and really need two guys to lift. I'll be able to do the job in about 2 hours max.

So no..... no $100 electrician for two stinking wires. Someone somewhere will know and then I will too.
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Old 08-18-2010, 02:35 PM   #8
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O...K...
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Old 08-18-2010, 03:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Sometimes you simply have to admit you are in over your head and pay a pro to do the job.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HsiaoChu View Post
I would never do that. There is always a book, or a person somewhere who can help you. I need three wires attached. I'm not paying an electrician $100 to connect them for me,

So no..... no $100 electrician for two stinking wires. Someone somewhere will know and then I will too.
You won't be paying an electrician for two stinking wires. (I thought you said three wires? ) - you will be paying the electrician for knowing which two or three wires need to be connected, and exactly how to do it so that the device is safe.

The problem with electricity is, one can wire something and see that it 'works' and assume all is good (no smoke, proper operation, no tripping circuit breaker). But that 'working' wiring can be fatal under certain instances. Especially around water like in a bathroom.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HsiaoChu View Post
.... black wire that goes into a wire nut with anther black wire coming out of the wire nut which goes into this little round device, red wire that comes out of the little round device

.....

That would leave the little device on the left untouched.

Is that possible?


... The instructions are inscrutable to me, ....

HC
These questions and words like 'little round device' don't exactly instill any confidence that you are going about this with the attention to detail and serious demeanor that it demands.

Step back, take a deep breath, educate yourself (word descriptions are NOT good enough for something like this, you need to know and communicate the EXACT situation to anyone you are looking for help from), or get a pro to do this. The person who buys the house may have a child the age that your son was when you disconnected it. You need to take this far more seriously than what your posts convey.

-ERD50
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Old 08-18-2010, 04:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Sometimes you simply have to admit you are in over your head and pay a pro to do the job. Yeah, it galls me to have to do it but I've seen the results of "OK, I'll wire this to this and give it a try. What could go wrong?"
Don't worry, REW. We're on the ERCOT grid, pretty good separation from the other grids. We might hear a big bang in the distance, but we'll still have power.

H-C,
I guess we have to assume that this is a 120 V heater, not a 240 V? You really didn't say.

Isn't there a connection pictorial diagram under a plate or somewhere that identifies "Line" connections on the heater?

You might agree, H-C, that a text description with "little round device" does not instill confidence in the reader on this particular topic

But I admit I'm curious what it is... hi-temp overheat disconnect? Fixed thermostat?
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Old 08-18-2010, 05:03 PM   #11
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I'm curious what it is... hi-temp overheat disconnect? Fixed thermostat?
Alright, you guys have forced me to REALLY read the directions.

The instructions call the little round thingie a "safety limit". So I guess they mean a hi temp saftety limiter. The system is already connected to its own circuit in the breaker box, and to its own adjustable thermostat in the bathroom.

And its 240 volts, verified by the color of the wires in the unit itself.

Actually the directions for the right side is easier and say to remove the wire nut on the right, and connect house lines to the black and red wires. The don't specify since the instructions call the house lines L1 and L2. The ground connect to the ground.

So I guess my question is really whether it matters since the instructions don't specify L1 and L2.

I guess I should have taken the time before asking, but I was hoping that someone would know quickly since I really hate reading boring directions that have been translated into three languages probably from the Chinese original.
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Old 08-18-2010, 05:28 PM   #12
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Alright, you guys have forced me to REALLY read the directions.

The instructions call the little round thingie a "safety limit". So I guess they mean a hi temp saftety limiter. The system is already connected to its own circuit in the breaker box, and to its own adjustable thermostat in the bathroom.

And its 240 volts, verified by the color of the wires in the unit itself.

Actually the directions for the right side is easier and say to remove the wire nut on the right, and connect house lines to the black and red wires. The don't specify since the instructions call the house lines L1 and L2. The ground connect to the ground.

So I guess my question is really whether it matters since the instructions don't specify L1 and L2.

I guess I should have taken the time before asking, but I was hoping that someone would know quickly since I really hate reading boring directions that have been translated into three languages probably from the Chinese original.
No, it doesn't matter, he said, stepping away...
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Old 08-18-2010, 05:34 PM   #13
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Since you won't pay for the expert's knowledge. Connect any two wires any which way you like. Once the smoke clears, decide.
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Old 08-18-2010, 05:42 PM   #14
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And its 240 volts, verified by the color of the wires in the unit itself.
edit/add: Forget what I wrote below - the previous two answers are MUCH better . over.

-ERD50

You continue to scare me. Don't you get it? You can't guess with this stuff, you can create a potentially FATAL situation that will not be apparent until someone finds the body. It is only when you fully understand what you are working with and what needs to be done and how to do it that will help to assure it was done safely.

I really hate to feed any more info, in cases like this 'a little knowledge is a dangerous thing'. But I will point out that you can't really determine 220V from 110 by wire color. RED can mean one hot leg to be used with the paired hot BLACK leg to form 200... or, RED can mean a switched leg of 110. That isn't intended to tell you how to do it, it's intended to point out you are making unsafe assumptions. There is also the distinct possibility that the person before you didn't follow color code standards. You can't assume anything, but I am safe in assuming one thing - you are in over your head.

I'm not saying that some of these details can't be worked out over forums, but the level of information you are communicating is totally insufficient to provide enough info back to have any confidence that this will be done right. There are still issues of the type of breaker you have ( I just saw another post like this where they didn't have both legs of 220 physically tied together in the breaker box).

So, STOP NOW, swallow your pride, open your wallet and make sure this is done correctly. Esp in a bathroom - you shouldn't be able to sleep at night if you DIY and sell the place.

Really.


-ERD50
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Old 08-18-2010, 11:33 PM   #15
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And its 240 volts, verified by the color of the wires in the unit itself.

Actually the directions for the right side is easier and say to remove the wire nut on the right, and connect house lines to the black and red wires. The don't specify since the instructions call the house lines L1 and L2. The ground connect to the ground.

So I guess my question is really whether it matters since the instructions don't specify L1 and L2.

I guess I should have taken the time before asking, but I was hoping that someone would know quickly since I really hate reading boring directions that have been translated into three languages probably from the Chinese original.
I am assuming that you wanted a 240 volt unit, and that is what you got. I DID NOT assume that you just went to H/D and picked one up depending on the wire colors

For a 240 volt AC circuit, L1 and L2 have no correlation to a specific wire color in the building wiring, as long as you use the two conductors in the building wiring that provide the 240 V AC circuit.

As an example, depending on the wiring technology used (EMT, "Romex", old BX, etc.) the two conductors making up the 240 v AC circuit could be two Blacks, or a White and a Black, or a Red and a Black, etc.

A 240 volt AC circuit is really 120-0-120, as it comes from a center-tapped distribution transformer. The lighting loads and other 120 volt loads go from either of the 120 lines to neutral (0). A device that uses only 240 gets the two separate 120 conductors, as it is 240 volts across them. But measuring from either of the 120's to neutral/ground will measure 120 volts.
Most 240-only building circuits do not pass the neutral along to the device, as the neutral would not be used. However, the safety ground should be passed on and connected to the device in the appropriate place.

Here is a link to the company you mentioned. That may or may not be the unit you have, but you can probably use the base url to find your product to see more info.
http://www.marleymep.com/en/multimed...2500wiring.pdf
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Old 08-18-2010, 11:55 PM   #16
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You might need to check your old heater and or the actual voltage you are supplying to the location. It is possible you bought a 220/240 volt heater but really only have 120 volts available. You will also be running power through a thermostat, so it will automatically turn on & off as needed. That may be where the hidden wire is you are searching for.
That's only a guess and pure speculation, not being there to check it out myself.
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Old 08-19-2010, 12:09 AM   #17
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factory wiring directions in message #2 give required info regarding required cut in heater wiring. You need to open both ends of the heater - betcha the green pigtail with groundscrew is in the side not opened. Do use a meter to determine wiring voltage and check label on heater to be sure it matches.
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:30 AM   #18
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You might need to check your old heater and or the actual voltage you are supplying to the location. It is possible you bought a 220/240 volt heater but really only have 120 volts available. You will also be running power through a thermostat, so it will automatically turn on & off as needed. That may be where the hidden wire is you are searching for.
That's only a guess and pure speculation, not being there to check it out myself.
Steve
ALL MY heating units are ganged 120 breakers in the the breaker box, that is 240 volts. The other ganged units are the electric clothes dryer which and the electric cook stove which have outlets, and these are the obvious giant 240 volt ones.
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:36 AM   #19
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factory wiring directions in message #2 give required info regarding required cut in heater wiring. You need to open both ends of the heater - betcha the green pigtail with groundscrew is in the side not opened. Do use a meter to determine wiring voltage and check label on heater to be sure it matches.
I will use my meter to measure the voltage output just to be sure. There is no green screw, but there is an obvious unshielded ground wire on both sides. The instructions in the box tell me what color wires to expect if its to be 240. Since the instructions say that the hot wire to the heater coil is 240 if its red and mine is red I am assuming that its 240. And like I say, there are double breakers for all the 240 volt appliances in my breaker box which also include the electric cook stove and the electric clothes dryer. Each breaker covers two of the 6 baseboard electric heaters. I don't use them a lot since I heat 85% with wood.
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:44 AM   #20
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I am assuming that you wanted a 240 volt unit, and that is what you got. I DID NOT assume that you just went to H/D and picked one up depending on the wire colors

For a 240 volt AC circuit, L1 and L2 have no correlation to a specific wire color in the building wiring, as long as you use the two conductors in the building wiring that provide the 240 V AC circuit.

As an example, depending on the wiring technology used (EMT, "Romex", old BX, etc.) the two conductors making up the 240 v AC circuit could be two Blacks, or a White and a Black, or a Red and a Black, etc.

A 240 volt AC circuit is really 120-0-120, as it comes from a center-tapped distribution transformer. The lighting loads and other 120 volt loads go from either of the 120 lines to neutral (0). A device that uses only 240 gets the two separate 120 conductors, as it is 240 volts across them. But measuring from either of the 120's to neutral/ground will measure 120 volts.
Most 240-only building circuits do not pass the neutral along to the device, as the neutral would not be used. However, the safety ground should be passed on and connected to the device in the appropriate place.

Here is a link to the company you mentioned. That may or may not be the unit you have, but you can probably use the base url to find your product to see more info.
http://www.marleymep.com/en/multimed...2500wiring.pdf
THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I WAS HOPING FOR. THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

I'm such an internet freak, I don't know why it didn't occur to me to look up the company website and get a description.

You have shown me exactly what to do as the unit pictures are my unit pictures
exactly.

No need for a $100 electrician. There is always a helpful person or a book or a website. In this case TWO of them.

Thanks again for your help!!

HC
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