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running electric baseboard heaters to help heat my house questions.....

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by 88rxn/a, Oct 19, 2008.

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  1. 88rxn/a

    88rxn/a Member

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    my father-in-law decided to be nice an order some for this winter until i get my EKO boiler up and going....BUT, he ordered 220V instead of 110V. can i still run 110V through them without hurting the heaters or my house???
    and these have no thermostats or wiring for them. im looking for a cheap thermostat i can run to these. i thought i read they have plug in thermostats then plug the heaters into the thermostat?

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It doesn't sound like this is what you want. They need to be wired for 220v and are typically designed to work off a hard-wired central thermostat. However, depending on the make and model there may be an optional thermostat that mounts on an end panel. Can they be exchanged?

    PS: Moving to the DIY forum, not really hearth related.
  3. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Maybe I'm way off here, but if you run 220v baseboard on 110, you will get 1/2 the hear. If rated at 1000 watts at 220V, you will get 500 watts at 110V. I don't believe there is any safety issue.
  4. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    If I recall correctly, 1/2 the voltage is 1/4 the power. Probably not going to work for you....but would be pretty safe.
  5. 88rxn/a

    88rxn/a Member

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  6. Chad S.

    Chad S. Member

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    +1 at 110 you would only be getting 1/4 of the heat that 220 would put out
  7. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    Sort of hard to know what you''ve really got there, without a wiring diagram. Is there a diagram in the install manual?

    BTW--Wattage=voltageXcurrent.

    So halving the voltage will halve the wattage (or heat output), if the heater even works at this voltage. Depends on its design.
  8. 88rxn/a

    88rxn/a Member

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    they are dayton electric heaters
    model #3ug85
    the instructions show to AMP ratings for 208 volts and 220.
    208 is 4.5 amps and 220 is 5.2 amps.
    the wiring instructions arent very clear. just stating which are black, white and ground (or L1 L2 and G).
    then it shows which wires go to a thermostat and it dont state which brand or what kind of thermostat to run?
  9. 88rxn/a

    88rxn/a Member

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  10. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The only thing I know about electricity is that you shouldn't stick your finger in a light socket and I had to learn that the hard way. But, if you can and do run them at 110 these are handy for corded heaters or window air conditioners. Pricey but full programmable. We have then on the backup oil filled heaters in the bedrooms and switch them to the window A/C units in summer. Much more accurate and consistent than the thermostats built into either the heaters or the A/C units.

    http://www.luxproducts.com/thermostats/win100.htm

    ACE Hardware online has them and shipping to the local store is free.
  11. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    It would help if you could post the wiring diagram, because there's probably a clue there about the proper way to hook it up, but based on what's listed on Grainger about these two products, I'd say the thermostat listed at the bottom of the heater web page is meant to be wired in series with the heater. They're both made by Dayton, and Grainger is pretty good about listing links to compatible parts. So if I had to guess, I'd say the thermostat is meant for that heater.

    But as has been said, the listed voltages are higher than what you've got. Actually, I believe the posters who said you'd only get 25% of the listed heat output were right, as you'd be running off just one leg of the service coming into your house. So you might go through the work and expense of installing them for little benefit.
  12. 88rxn/a

    88rxn/a Member

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    tomorrow morning i can scan and post the wiring instructions. i have to leave for work now.
    thanks for the link BrotherBart. i will look into that. im trying not to spend to much on this (temporary) setup as im switching to wood for next winter. ive just gotten a bill from the snake oil man friday. he tried an estimate of $90 for our last statement which was an ESTIMATE. i called them gave them an actual reading which knocked the bill to $40 !!!!!
    they weren't to happy with that. its bad enough they already raised the prices, now they charge an extra $50 for GUESSING the amount im using.
  13. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Our house is all electric. The electric company comes out a minimum of every three years and changes the meter. You would think they would put a note in their computer system: "Has two chimneys and had to walk past 13 cords of wood to get to meter.". :mad:
  14. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Unless these specifically state they can be modified, I prob would not do it!

    220 uses two hots, whereas 100 is only one. I'm not an electrician either, but it would seem like one of the 110 lines is going to be left out in the cold. Hopefully, someone with a bit more knowledge will weigh in.
  15. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Okay here's what you do. You say you have a 110 circuit you can use for the heater. Well all of these 220 volt heaters are run on three wires. The standard romex in the wall for your 110 circuit has 3 wires and is rated for 600 volts. The white wire that is now the neutral will be marked and moved to the second phase at the panel and that 110 circuit will become a 220 circuit. Of course you will need the 220 breaker to replace the existing 110 breaker. There is nothing special about 220 wiring. A 12 gauge NM wire will still run 20 amps whether it is at 220 volts or 110 volts.

    So rather than trying to make 110 volt heaters out of 220 volt heaters why not make your 110 volt circuit into a 220 volt circuit?

    I have the little wall mounted heaters with fans on them. The thermostats are universal "line voltage" thermostats which can be bought at the hardware store. I bought programmable ones but the standard ones are old fashion dials. The wires that serve these wall heaters look no different in the attic and are run right along side all the other wires. The trick is that the white wire is hot instead of neutral. Totally legal.

    5 amps is a pretty small heater. You might need several and remember not to overload the circuit. Plan for 75% utilization.
  16. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    I echo what I beam says....
    By the way for the record
    Half the (rated)voltage= half the wattage.....
    Half the (rated)voltage= Double the amperage
  17. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    What Highbeam has suggested makes sense, it's really just rewiring the circuit for 220V. But unless the original poster wants to run all new wire, he needs to make sure that the circuit(s) he converts are used solely for receptacles, and not for other things such as overhead lights. Also, he'd need to make sure no one tried to use a 110V appliance in any of the (now) 220 V receptacles. I got the impression these heaters were going into separate places, which would mean converting several circuits to 220 V at the box.

    And for the record, I also thought that in this situation that the heaters would emit 50% of their wattage at 110 V. But then I asked a friend who's an electrcician, and right off he said "Nope, 25%."

    I didn't get the whole explanation, but it has to do with the phasing of the service lines coming into the house. But since I'm not sure of the explanation, I can't defend it too well, so if someone can prove it wrong, I'd like to learn it correctly.
  18. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    Actually, if i'm not mistaken, if he reconfigured some circuits for 220V, he would be required by code to replace all the receptacles on that circuit with 220V receptacles, even the ones that weren't being used. He'd also need to install 220V receptacles to match the 220V heaters, or if they came without plugs, to hook up with junction boxes.
  19. 88rxn/a

    88rxn/a Member

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    wow, i really opened a can of worms on this one!!! hahaha

    heres the situation:

    the house isnt a "finished" house and the main part of it that isnt done is the heat. we have an old OLD gas stove in the cellar and a vent less heater in the kitchen that spits fire balls if left on to long. trying to rely on the gas stove in the cellar makes for HUGE gas bills and a cold house. im currently saving for the EKO wood boiler and using baseboard heat. 90% of the rest of the house is done. all but the kitchen and heat.

    so right now we are looking into electric baseboard heat for a "temporary" solution this winter. im trying to sneak into this without spending to much money on it but it turns out im just getting deeper. we already have 2 baseboard heaters,

    http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_39348_39348

    these are heating the bedroom and living room. id like another for the living room, 1 for the basement and 2 small for the kitchen. that would be the ones he got (father in law) us. so id have to change at least 3 reciprocals in order to convert them to 220 correct? these will not be used after this cold season is gone. im wondering if i can get him to return these and exchange them for 110 instead of trying to change all these things around.


    i understand what HIGHBEAM explained and im sure i could do that. im just worried of someone plugging into that socket with something else other than a heater.
  20. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    The easiest solution then, IMO, would be to go out and buy some cheap 110V heaters (with internal fans), at a box store, which usually can deliver the maximal heat per 110V line, or around 1500 watts. I have a couple, and just one heater works fine to heat an average-sized room. They're just as efficient as baseboard electric heaters, namely 100%, and they're pretty cheap these days. Turn them on when needed, and off when you don't. They're cheaper than baseboard heaters, take up less space, are mobile, plug right into the wall, require no change in wiring, and can be put away or stored easily.

    As for the 220 V heaters, if they can't be returned, and they're still in the box, there might be a good second-hand market for them in your locale. Or save for later, such as a workshop, basement, etc.

    But the work and expense of rewiring for 220 V seems like a lot for something you'll only use this Winter.
  21. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Oh, this is not a dedicated heater ciruit? Then to make the entire circuit into a 220 then you would need to consider each item on that circuit be it receptacles or lights. If the circuit is known to only serve wall receptacles then you could switch each plug from the standard wall plug into the 220 version which looks only slightly different and is available at HD. The other alternative is to simply remove the 110 plugs and cover the boxes with a blank plate. How many 20 amp 220 volt plug devices do you have? If you have light on this circuit then you should stop the job.

    That is too much work for me. I would run a new circuit from the panel to the heaters if I wanted to use these 220 heaters.

    Or, I would buy those silly portable oil filled/ceramic heaters that run on a thermostat and just plug them in. Buy them at walmart and know that every bit of power that goes to the heater will heat your room so don't spend a mint on them.
  22. 88rxn/a

    88rxn/a Member

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    no, not dedicated. its temporary. i already have a little space heater which didnt do squat compared to the electric baseboard heaters im using....i may just have to buy a couple more i guess....

    thanks for helping though! im glad i just didnt try and wire them in the way he suggested. i knew it wasnt right. now to convince him!! hahaha
  23. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    www .hotwatt.com/Ohms Law/wiring.htm
    This helps explain it....
    Funny how when I went to the owner of hotwatt years ago because I needed a 120v 500w heater for a extruder he gave me a 220 1000w and told me the half thing though their site supports the 1/4 wattage theory.
    Who can you trust nowadays? :coolsmirk:
  24. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    The link you posted at northern hydraulics is a 1500watt heater and so are most of the small 110volt, plug in space heaters you can buy anywhere. I haven't seen your 220 heater but it would have to be on a dedicated, or seperate, circuit. For a thermostat, you can use a wall mount for one or all, or if you look, you may find little knockouts at the end of the heaters where you can install a thermostat on each heater. They should have them wherever the heaters were bought. The wiring is very easy unless you just haven't got a clue. This is not the place for anyone to try and explain. You need to be shown and educated some.
    lotsa luck-
    Ken
  25. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    About the 1/4 power....

    At a fixed coil resistance, halving the voltage also halves the current. Since power is volts*amps, power is 1/2 * 1/2 = 1/4.

    Theory aside, if the heaters have three wires, as highbeam mentioned, it might be possible to rearrange the wiring so it
    does work out. That is, the units may have two separate coils inside that are run in series at 220, but could be put in
    parallel for 110V operation. You would want to check the Ohms between the three terminals, and have a manual for the
    units that draws that configuration in 110, OR have a electrician do it/pass on it.
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