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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have two very old electric baseboard heaters in our basement that are rusty and generally just ugly. Since I'm painting and recarpeting down there and needed to remove them I plan on replacing them with new equipment. After scaring myself by allowing the white wire to touch the metal case and weld itself there I realized the wiring setup they have wasn't what I thought it was. I'm hoping you can help me understand this. I included a diagram of what they have wired up.

The reason I scared myself and didn't realize they were still live is because the thermostat was off and I also checked between the white and gray wires at the heater for voltage. I got 0.0 volts there when I expected to see 220-240. Measuring from the white to the copper I get 120 volts.

Are these wired as 240 volts if I'm not seeing 240 from the white to grey? I assumed that 240 volts would be there and the black and grey wires were out of phase. Regular household wiring (120V) isn't an issue for me but I get a little confused when it comes to 240. I understand now how the wire was live even though the thermostat was off.

Can electric baseboard heaters be installed OVER carpet? The carpet wouldn't be touching the heating element but I want to make sure they are either high enough away from the carpet or I don't put carpet under them.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Those would work really well but I don't believe I have the depth in the wall. The walls are just panel stubbed out from block walls by a 1x2 or something similar. Cadetco makes a baseboard heater like we have down there so I planned to just go with that. We have NEVER used the ones down there (due to age) and these would be used VERY rarely. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nevermind.... I'm an idiot. I will see 240 volts from white to grey once I close the thermostat. Duh.....
 

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I prefer to mount electric baseboard heaters above the baseboard at a minimum. 8 inches to the bottom is generally a good place. Never in a closet, never under draperies of any kind. Never behind a door. Use common sense of course.

Personally I avoid them entirely whenever possible. As far as cost for comfort, there is nothing less efficient or more costly than a convective electric baseboard heater. A hand held blow dryer would do a more efficient job of heating an area than a baseboard hands down and at half the wattage.
 

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Rats, too bad about the walls.

Eric T - it is all relative to where you live and your heating costs. If you are in the NE electric heat can be a killer, it isn't necessarily true country wide. We are currently seeing our natural gas prices double from 2002 out here in the west due to the new pipelines that went on line, allowing our excess natural gas to be piped out of our area to places willing to pay more for causing our supply to go down and the price to go up.
 

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Mike Finley said:
it is all relative to where you live and your heating costs..
Great point Mike. It also depends how the units are used - as a primary heating measure or as a comfort measure. I installed about 5000 watts worth of baseboard heat in my basement when I finished it. I have a walk-out slider with a southern exposure and 900 watts worth of recessed lighting. During the coldest part of the winter the baseboard units might run 10 hours a week for comfort when the basement is occupied by the kids (about 40 hours a week). The basement stays very comfortable and I can live with the cost. If the units were going to heat the space 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, I would no doubt look for a different alternative.
 
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