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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,
it is getting wintery here in Colorado, and this is not the time to have no heat... as things go, this is when my electric baseboard heat quits working.

Upstairs there are three heaters in sequence and one of them kept tripping the breaker. So that is the one, I replaced. I wired a new double pole (like the old one) thermostat on the 6' electric baseboard heater (King Brand, 110V), and turned it on to make sure it works. It was getting hot quickly, so I turned the thermostat down and let the heater cool off enough so I could screw it to the wall without getting my fingers burnt.

I screwed it into two studs so it is on tight. Now it is not coming on at all any more. Neither are the other two heaters. The whole circuit is dead. I flipped the breaker off, then on again - nothing. The whole circuit is still dead. I checked in the crawlspace behind the heater if any wires were punctured with the screws - that is not the case. The wires are fine.

Now I'm lost. Is there something wrong with the breakers? Was the breaker at fault all along and not the heater? The new King brand heater did not trip the breaker for almost a week running with a replacement double pole Cadet brand thermostat. Today I finally had the time to put the matching King thermostat on, which seemed to work fine getting the heater going at first until I turned it off to screw the heater into the wall.

Also, there are two 50 Amp breakers to this circuit on the subpanel for the upstairs. And there are two 50 Amp breakers for this circuit in the main panel. (I had the sub panel and separate meter installed for the upstairs over a decade ago.) How do I know, which breakers are the bad ones?

Does anyone have any ideas? Help...pleeeaaazzze - it's freezing here:(
 

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Several things concern me, you say the breakers are 50 amps and you say the t-stats are double pole but 120 volt. A double pole t-stat is 240 volt.

Do you have a meter to check for voltage? Start at the breaker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your quick response! I didn't expect that on Christmas!

I don't know much about these things, so I just replaced what was there with the exact same things in the same way - or so I think. So, from what I can tell, the heater says 120V and the thermostat has four wires coming out of it just like the old one + one green/ground. As far as the breakers, it is just a 10 year old memory that tells me that they are two 50 Amps each clipped together. What should they be? I have a meter, but the circuit is dead as of right now. I can touch the wires coming out of the wall with my bare hands, so it doesn't surprise me the meter is not showing any voltage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
P.S. I am not sure, how to test anything at the breaker? I just tested at the wires coming out of the wall to the heater.
 

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Remove the panel cover. Place one probe on each wire coming out of the breaker. It should read 240. If not place one probe on one wire and the other where the white wires in the panel connect. This should read 120. Check from the other wire the same way.
 

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Remove the panel cover. Place one probe on each wire coming out of the breaker. It should read 240. If not place one probe on one wire and the other where the white wires in the panel connect. This should read 120. Check from the other wire the same way.
Can still get each wire to read 120 to neutral, if the thermostats are closed and the heaters aren't burnt out, and only 1 side of breaker is closed.
 

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That is why I wanted to see the output of the breaker first.
 

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Is the new thermostat electronic or mechanical?

I ask this because the heater circuit is 240 volts and a 120 volt heater was installed. The 120 heater will draw twice the current at 240 than it is designed for and will burn up fairly quickly.

If it did indeed burn up, the burned element may have become grounded. If so, an electronic thermostat cannot handle a ground fault and it too, will simply burn up.

Since you're familiar with the thermostat, I'd suggest removing it entirely and splicing the wires together in order to bypass it. Make sure the breaker is off, then splice both black wires together, then splice both whites. Turn on the breaker (disconnect the new heater first) and see it the existing heaters work.
 

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UAW SKILLED TRADES
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Need information off the new heater data plate. and the other two baseboard heaters. Op says 120 volt heater on circuit with two other baseboard heaters and this circuit is protected by 240 volt 50 amp double pole circuit breaker. None of this sounds right.
 

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Also, there are two 50 Amp breakers to this circuit on the subpanel for the upstairs. And there are two 50 Amp breakers for this circuit in the main panel
.

The one in the main is probably the double pole breaker protecting the feeder for the sub-panel.

Still something isn't correct in your description I wouldn't do any testing on live parts at your experience level .. :)

Give us the information off the new heaters nameplate and one of the existing ones ...

Also in the sub-panel double check the breaker toggle numbers I don't think they are 50 amp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you everyone for all your help! To the best of my knowledge, the breaker test with the Voltmeter shows 240 on the bus and 0 on the sub panel breakers. Took them out and found out that one of them is totally fried, i.e. big bump on the side and cracks coming from the bump in all directions. So, I'm off to the hardware store to get two new breakers. Taking the old ones with me to make sure, I get the right ones.

Also, in the day light, I was able to see, that the two breakers on the sub panel are 20 Amps each. The ones on the main panel that feed the upstairs heat are two 50 Amps. For now, I'm just replacing the two 20 Ampers upstairs and see, if that'll do the trick.

I'll keep you posted, if this works or not.

Thanks to everyone for your supportive thoughts and ideas, and Jim Port in particular who donated his expertise during valuable Christmas time!

Happy Holidays!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Just a quick note to let you know, all heat is back up and running with the two new 20Amp breakers!

So grateful! Thanks again to all of you and a Happy New Year!
 
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