I have worked with baseboard heaters for over 16 years. My first two and half years as an electrician was spent working on Multi-Family buildings. I hot checked hundreds of units. This provided me diagnostic experience beyond belief. Installing and replacing a baseboard heater is not as easy as one would expect. The work itself is straight forward enough. But the most important parts are the details and knowing what to look for.
Some questions come to mind when I am working on baseboard heaters. Are the branch circuits protected properly? Have the baseboard heaters been tampered with previously? Have the circuits been load calculated properly?
In most situations replacing a baseboard heater with the same specifications is fine. If the home has not been tampered with, the original wiring should be sized properly. But at times I have come across situations that really needed a qualified electrician.
If you are going to replace your own heater please use the proper bushing where the wire enters the heater. I have seen this step skipped so many times. This bushing protects the wire from abrasion and possible short circuits. And don’t just put in a larger baseboard heater as a replacement, this will cause an overload.
One of the more common service calls I get is where an outlet circuit fails due to the fact that the customer has used a portable electric heater. These units use more power than the circuit can provide. These lighting circuits were never designed to heat a house. People believe they are saving money using these appliances, but in the long run you are not. The use of these portable heaters even put your house in greater danger of a fire.
Baseboard heaters cannot be turned on and expected to heat a house in short order. A room is like a big heat sink. All your walls will continue to take that heat from the room until they come up to the ambient temperature. Then, the room will hold the heat that you desire. So if you are going to turn your heat down, turn it down no more than five degrees. You save money in the long run not having to reheat all those walls and window panes. A house will loose heat no matter what. How fast depends on the insulation and the type of windows installed.
I know many of us live in houses without insulation or upgraded windows. This type of house is hard to heat and we never feel comfortable with the drafts that occur. An investment to improve your home’s insulation will make your winters warmer and your summers cooler. It will also make a notable improvement in your energy costs. Just food for thought.
If in the event you need a Tacoma electrician to service your baseboard heaters, or possibly upgrade to forced fan wall heaters, give us a call.