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Old 12-29-2008, 08:20 AM   #1
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Help move baseboard heater thermostat and avoid electrocution


I'm hoping to move an electric baseboard thermostat about 18'' to the left and above (same wall). The reason: I will be wall mounting a flat panel TV and speakers and the thermostat is in the way. I have no electrical experience. I have a variety of pictures that may help.

Picture #1 The arrow indicates were I would like the thermostat moved to. It will be above a light switch




Picture #2 I have removed the thermostat cover. There are two sets of wires. Each contain a white, black, and ground wire.




Picture #3 Same view but I have removed the top bracket. It shows the same two sets of wires contained in a metal wire tube.





I live in Winnipeg Canada. The building is 4 years old and has metal studs. I'm assuming I will have to remove some drywall to complete this project.

Any thoughts? Obviously I want this to remain at code. Thanks


Last edited by Gunserotti; 01-04-2009 at 10:15 AM. Reason: removed a picture
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:48 AM   #2
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Help move baseboard heater thermostat and avoid electrocution


First turn off the power to the heater by turning off its circuit breaker (likely two) down at your main electrical panel. If you need help doing this, chances are you shold not be doing the project yourself.

At the new location install a metal casing (a junction box) similar to the one you opened up. They make metal strips to hold the box in place in the middle of drywall if you really don't like the position the box would be in if fastened to a stud.

You need to either move both metal tubes (actually flexible metal sheaths like goosenecks for lamps) over to the new location, or put in one short length of cable of the same kind to get between the old location and the new location. The final project will look nicer if the old cables are long enough to reach the new location. If not you have to keep the old box in place and put a plastic cover on it that remains visible on the wall. You may not have cable splices or joints hidden inside the wall and not inside a box with an exposed cover. Metal sheathed cables cannot be bent sharply so you may need more length to loop around with than you might otherwise think. The cable sheath end must come into the box as shown in your existing setup. At least six inches of each wire should come out from the cable sheath into the box. For metal sheathed cables, bushings (shown on your old cables) need to be put at all sheath ends to protect the wires.

In the new box you would reconnect the thermostat in the same manner as it is connected now if both old cables reached. Otherwise in the old box keep the two old white wires connected just to each other. Connect one old black to the new black and the other old black to the new white. Connect all bare wires from all cables together, and have a short length from that joint fastened to the box itself. The "top bracket", and also a "bottom bracket" (probably taken from the new box), need to be put back to hold the cables in place against the back of the box. Put a black or red band of tape or Magic Marker on both ends of the new white wire.

Your building code may now permit variations such as plastic boxes or cables without metal sheaths but I won't write a long treatise here to discuss all the permutations. I will point out that when wires or cables not in metal sheaths go through metal studs, the edges of the hole in the stud have to have to be lined with a bushing to prevent cutting the wires.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 12-29-2008 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:11 AM   #3
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Help move baseboard heater thermostat and avoid electrocution


Allan,

Thanks for the reply. Makes perfect sense. I was unsure if "low voltage" hookups needed a junction box. I suspect based on the location of my main panel (located left) and baseboard heater (located right) that the cable will not be long enough to bend into the desired place or it will have to be placed higher on the wall.
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:55 AM   #4
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Help move baseboard heater thermostat and avoid electrocution


Psst! This is not a low voltage hookup. Electric baseboards almost always run full line voltage and amperage (240, occasionally 120 ,volt) through the thermostat which must be intended for electric heating!

Generally low voltage circuits such as for furnace thermostats and doorbells and speakers do not require junction boxes; the wires may simply poke through the wall.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 12-29-2008 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:25 AM   #5
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Help move baseboard heater thermostat and avoid electrocution


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunserotti View Post
I was unsure if "low voltage" hookups needed a junction box.
Good thing you didn't poke around in this box too much as it is high voltage (per residential standards). Two immediate clues are the cable conductor size (looks like 14 or 12awg) and the addition of a ground wire.

Low voltage thermostats are often 22-24 awg bell wire, and when using 2 conductors, frequently red & white.
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:22 PM   #6
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Help move baseboard heater thermostat and avoid electrocution


Thanks for the help so far gents. BTW the power is/was off while I was working. Update I have installed the junction box to a metal stud. I only need to lengthen one set of three wires contained in the metal sheath (black, white and ground). Is the splicing of the wires as simple as connecting them to a wire nut? What about the ground wire? Thanks
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:38 PM   #7
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Help move baseboard heater thermostat and avoid electrocution


Post an updated pic.

Splicing the wires is as simple as connecting them with a wire nut. Cut the wires the same length and make sure the nuts are TIGHT.

Splices obviously must be contained in covered junction boxes.

I don't know what method you used but you could have run a single cable from old jbox to new jbox and put a blank cover on it.
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:47 PM   #8
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Help move baseboard heater thermostat and avoid electrocution


If both old cables won't reach the new box, you can leave them both at the old box. Still, just one additional piece of cable is needed to get current between the boxes.

If you need to "lengthen" a cable, then yes the ground wire needs to be spliced as well as the other wires. If you managed to put one old cable into the new box and the other doesn't reach, then you need the old box to hold the splice.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 12-29-2008 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:58 PM   #9
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Help move baseboard heater thermostat and avoid electrocution


Btw, keep those red "things" on the cable. Its for protection of the conductors.
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:11 PM   #10
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Help move baseboard heater thermostat and avoid electrocution


You should hire a professional
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Old 12-30-2008, 01:17 PM   #11
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Help move baseboard heater thermostat and avoid electrocution


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wethead View Post
You should hire a professional
Believe me I tried. Nobody seemed interested in the job

Here is an update with pics. The picture below shows the junction box with the spliced wires. White-White, Black-Black, and Ground-Ground. I only had to splice one of the 2 sets of wires as the other set was long enough to move to the new location. Next step is to move the thermostat to the new location and hook-up the old set of wires and the new spliced set of wires.


Last edited by Gunserotti; 12-30-2008 at 06:21 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 12-30-2008, 01:39 PM   #12
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Help move baseboard heater thermostat and avoid electrocution


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunserotti View Post
Believe me I tried. Nobody seemed interested in the job
I have to agree with Wet. try harder.
I do not like the look of this.

AC cable, metal studs, wiring and DIY do NOT mix.
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Old 12-30-2008, 04:49 PM   #13
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Help move baseboard heater thermostat and avoid electrocution


I understand you are not finished yet, but looks like you just straight-wired your heater, by passing the thermostat.
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:01 PM   #14
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Help move baseboard heater thermostat and avoid electrocution


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunserotti View Post
Believe me I tried. Nobody seemed interested in the job

Here is an update with pics. The picture below shows the junction box with the spliced wires. White-White, Black-Black, and Ground-Ground. Next is to move the thermostat to the new location.

Why did you put all that electrical tape all over everything?
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:10 PM   #15
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Help move baseboard heater thermostat and avoid electrocution


Het put that electrical tape all over the place because he is a DIY homeowner doing electrical work. Don't take that as an insult, it is just something people without experience like to do.

I used to work with some in the trade who used to do and when asked why he did it he really couldn't give me an answer.

I think the joints are correct because he only moved one set of wire over and left the other one there. Quicky working it through my head I beleive it is correct.

Just to add it doesn't look like your ground wire is under the ground screw, maybe it is just bigger wire but i would give it a slight pull and make it is tight underneath that screw.


Last edited by darren; 12-30-2008 at 05:13 PM.
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