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Master Brian 11-07-2010 11:30 AM

Baseboard heater meltdown...
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Ok, some of you may remember I recently had a thread about re-wiring a baseboard heater. Not sure if it had any bearing on this or not, but I'm curious as to what caused this, so here is that thread. Basically, this heater was wired as 110v. The black leg of a 12/3 fed this heater, the red leg a GFI outlet, both on seperate circuits, both shared a common neutral and ground.

Being as this is a 220v heater, I re-wired it using the red and black wires from the 12/3 and fed those into a 20amp 220v breaker. The GFI is now unhooked. Everything seemed fine for a few days and the heater worked great, but I started noticing that the room was getting warmer even though I had the thermostat, mounted on heater, turned way down, which should be off. If I turned the thermostat up, it would click, like it was turning on/off, so that seemed fine, but not wanting it to keep heating the room, I flipped off the breaker.

This morning I noticed a small section of carpet near the heater that looked singed, so I looked closer and noticed a few coils that didn't look right. This is what I found! Is this likely just age or a problem with the wiring?? I don't see how the wiring could be problematic, but..... I'm sure I am luckly all I had is melted carpet!!:eek:

McSteve 11-07-2010 01:25 PM

Looks like the heating element might have been shorted to ground at that point. On a 240V heater, a short to ground in the element won't necessarily trip a breaker, because the element has resistance, so it's just like any other load on the circuit. And typically, the thermostat only switches one leg of the 240V circuit, so a ground fault on the other leg will allow the heater to keep heating with the thermostat off. Here's another thread with this problem:

Looks like in your case the short to ground was giving off enough heat to destroy the heating element. Good thing you caught it while the carpet was still merely singed, and not smoldering!

Master Brian 11-07-2010 02:04 PM

yes, I am very lucky. I thought maybe the t-stat was bad, so I've been turning off the breaker. Glad I left it off last night!. to go get a new unit!

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